Today he receives an average of a hundred letters per day and tries to devote one day a week to answering the mail he receives from readers.
Before there was Percy Jackson or Harry Potter, girls and (especially) boys were caught up in Barron's Lost Years of Merlin series. The Ancient One from the Kate Gordon books has also frequently been a favorite with my reading friends.
Barron was speaking at a local bookstore last week and my entling asked me to change an after school appointment so she could go hear him. He is touring to talk about his Great Tree of Avalon trilogy.
What a kind and genial man! He shook hands with us and talked with each person who attended the signing.
The mail he receives from readers touches his heart. He shared some of the funny and moving letters he has received over the years. Even though his best know stories are fantasy, he still does extensive research. He studied 12 different Native American tribes from the Pacific NW for The Ancient One.
I told him that he was really a pioneer as an author in his use of the WWW. He was one of the first children's writers to have a fully developed site and kids can email him there. My own entling wrote him and received a personal reply over seven years ago.
His book The Hero's Trail grew out of his concern over our national confusion between celebrities and real heroes. The book tells real stories about real kids and he sponsors the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes (named for his mother) which "honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Their leadership and courage make them true heroes—and inspirations to us all."
His idea of "The Hero" was voiced by Mother Theresa:
I have done no great things but I have done many small things with great love
Judging from the crowd there on a week night, lots of readers love T.A. Barron.