Saturday, January 17, 2015

Death of an author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I've been meaning to write this post for several months. Back in October 2014, I received an email that informed me that one of my favorite authors had died: Zilpha Keatley Snyder. She was 87 and died of a stroke. She wrote one of my all time favorite books from childhood: The Velvet Room. I absolutely adore this story. It transported me into a mystical, magical world that sent my imagination soaring. Here's the description on the back of the book:

Why does everyone warn Robin to stay away from the old house? "Something bad lives there," the women in the village tell her. "It's the Ghost of the Palms!" But Robin has found a beautiful and secret hiding place in the deserted mansion. And nothing--not even a wailing ghost--is going to frighten her away from the Velvet Room.

I was just fascinated with the description of this room. It was circular and when Robin pulled the curtains shut, she was engulfed in pink velvet. She also found antique treasures in the room and...oooh...I get shivers just thinking about it mean, let's face it. How many circular rooms have you hid out in? I don't know if I've ever seen one. I imagined myself ensconced within this mystical hideaway along with Robin. I experienced the highs and lows of her life as the daughter of a migrant worker and then her magical transformation each time she snuck away and entered The Velvet Room.

Several years ago, I found an old copy in a school and snatched it up! And it was only 75 cents!! You can't even buy a pack of chips for that now. It's so old it's in danger of falling apart, so I have it carefully situated in a place of honor on my book shelf. I need to read it again because I've forgotten so many of the details, but I'm afraid the book will disintegrate if I handle it too much! I think I'll try to track down another copy so I can read it! Lol...

I think it's so cool that Ms. Snyder was still writing kids books practically till the time she passed away as her last book was published in 2011 and The Velvet Room first came out in 1965.

Do you have any treasured childhood books that have stayed with you over the years?


Zilpha Keatley Snyder
(Even her name has a magical lilt!)


  1. For some reason I would read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn over and over and over...that and all of my Cherry Ames books...

  2. I've never read any of those. Going to have to check them out. Especially the Cherry Ames ones.

  3. An excellent coming of age as well as adult story of a family having to move on after the loss of a job and income in the 1920s. The Velvet Room itself it is a private room in an old boarded up mansion with a secret room full of comfort and books. Treat yourself! I will look for more from this author!


  4. Loved this book as a young person, and was happy to have found it on amazon. While recuperating from a couple of surgeries I had my sister read it out loud to myself and her daughter (my niece) and it was just as enjoyable as I had remembered. Glad I own it now!

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