In Memoriam – Norton Juster

Author Norton Juster (b.1929) died on March 8.  Juster was working as an architect when he began work on a book on urban planning aimed at children. The book eventually became The Phantom Tollbooth, which has been adapted for the screen and stage. Juster also wrote The Dot and the Line. Other books included Alberic the Wise and Other JourneysOtter Nonsense, and As Silly as Knees, as Busy as Bees. Throughout his career, he continued to practice architecture, founding his own firm in 1970.

Prior to writing The Phantom Tollbooth, he became friends with Jules Feiffer, who would illustrate that book as well as The Odious Ogre. Wordplay, jokes, puns, and the creative use of mathematics featured heavily in many of Juster’s books. His book The Hello, Goodbye Window won the Caldecott Medal. He also wrote two nonfiction books aimed at an adult audience, both looking at the role of women in rural America.

According to SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal, “I had the privilege of meeting Norton Juster, when I was working on a production of The Phantom Tollbooth. He was kind, enthusiastic, and generous with his time.”