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William Alexander, Age 8

Winner of a National Book Award, William Alexander is the author of four novels: the sci-fi duology Ambassador and Nomad and the fantasy duology Goblin Secrets and Ghoulish Song. Already grappling with writer’s block at a young age, he penned this poem in the third grade.

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William Alexander Poem

— William Alexander, Age 8

William Alexander

“Third grade was my first and only year at Catholic school. They made a thief out of me. I won’t name the place, but it was close to Philadelphia. Our librarian considered it her duty to protect children from books—or books from children—and refused to let me check out a copy of The Hobbit. ‘You’re too young for Tolkien,’ she said. I was incensed. I had read The Hobbit several times already. But now I felt honor-bound to read this copy, the one that belonged to the school. So I stole it, and savored it, and I am not sorry.”