Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill — nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo — but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination. In glowing desert hues, artist Barbara Cooney has caught the magic of Alice McLerran’s treasured land of Roxaboxen — a place that really was, and, once you’ve been there, always is.
Alice McLerran was an “Army brat” and moved every year or so — from Hawaii to Germany, from New York to Ecuador.
She still leads a gypsy life, traveling the world with her physicist husband and dividing time between their home in New York and their “dacha” in the mountains of Oregon. She’s happy to visit schools anywhere! The McLerran cat, Shuwa, prefers to stay home.
“Children often ask me how I started being a writer, and I tell them: by loving stories. My mother made up stories at bedtime, and my grandmother was a story-teller as well. I always read, and read, and read. I think most writers do. One bit of luck, I think, was that from the first I wrote for others. Over the years I made countless poems and little books as gifts. When you write for real readers, of course you want to do your best.”