Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Soldier. Producer. Playwright. Children’s Author.
Evslin’s professional career was by no means linear. A graduate of
Rutgers University, the acclaimed jack-of-all-trades served a tour in
the Second World War—which is perhaps where he acquired his resilience
and taste for adventure.
Upon his return to the States, Evslin
launched himself into television and film production, spending years
developing features for the small and silver screens alike. Face of the Land, one of his made-for-television films, was named Best Television Film by Variety magazine
in 1959. With his successes in film as a springboard, Evslin explored
his options on the stage, becoming enamored with the playwriting
process. Much like his previous entertainment ventures, he found success
in original works, even gaining critical accolade with an Obie award
for the off-Broadway production of his original script The Geranium Hat.
that success was short-lived. It might have been a sign from the
gods—more likely one too many jabs at Poseidon—but Evslin’s playwright
reputation took an irreparable hit when his production of Step on a Crack,
an original play, closed after its premier at the Ethel Barrymore
Theater. Though disappointed by his declining influence in the spheres
of New York theatrical society, Evslin’s own mantra that “bad luck makes
good stories” was about to guide him into the next phase of his career:
writing children’s literature.
The classics remain the
classics for a reason: They’re universally great stories of adventure
and morality that stand the test of time. Combined with Evslin’s
riveting storytelling, his children’s novels achieved, and continue to
achieve, great commercial success. His best-known work Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths has sold over 10 million copies across the globe and has been translated into 10 different languages, while his original story The Green Hero was nominated for a National Book Award.
Evslin’s books captivate middle grade students with a writing style that the English Journal praises
as “straightforward . . . appealing and easily accessible to young
readers without being condescending.” And this month, Open Road is
adding to our collection of Bernard Evslin classics with the release of
five new titles. Add them to your personal library today.