Albert Sidney (Sid) Fleischman, born March 16, 1920 in Brooklyn, NY, and grew up in San Diego, CA. As a youth, he wanted to be a magician. After high school, he performed in vaudeville shows across the country, and had a book of original magic tricks published when he was 17. After graduating from college he worked briefly as a newspaper reporter in San Diego, then turned to writing full-time.
His first children’s book was written for his own children, to show them what their father did for a living. He wrote books for adults and children, as well as screenplays. He said, “Nothing surprises me more than to discover myself a writer. I wanted to become a magician.” He infused his writing with a sense of magic, using wild language, unusual names, exaggeration, and a sense of humor.
Mr. Fleischman won numerous awards for his adult and children’s books, including the 1987 Newbery Award for The Whipping Boy. Among his other books are Mr. Mysterious & Company (1962), McBroom Tells the Truth (1966), Humbug Mountain (1978), and Jim Ugly (1992). Recent titles were Escape! the Story of the Great Houdini, The White Elephant, and The Trouble Begins at 8: a Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West.
Mr. Fleischman passed away on March 17, 2010, the day after his 90th birthday.