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Few fantasy or science fiction writers have won a National Book Award in its 76-year history. One is Ursula Le Guin, a giant of the genre who wrote for both adults and children including the “Earthsea” series published between 1968 and 2001. Alexander grew up reading Le Guin, and was overwhelmed a few months back when the 83-year-old author praised “Goblin Secrets” on her blog.

“I wish I could have read it when I was 11,” Le Guin wrote.

“At 11, of course, was when I was reading her,” Alexander said.