Juster was born in New York City in 1929 and served for three years in the U.S. Navy. In 1961, he published The Phantom Tollbooth, which follows Milo, a boy who discovers a magical booth that takes him to a mysterious kingdom.
Admirers of the author paid tribute to him on social media. On Twitter, journalist Joanna Robinson wrote of The Phantom Tollbooth, “I’m so grateful for this, my most favorite and emotionally complex imaginary world that I often escaped to as a child.”
Norton Juster, who wrote the iconic, and wildly imaginative PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, has died. I’m so grateful for this, my most favorite and emotionally complex imaginary world that I often escaped to as a child. (Shout out to Jules Feiffer’s iconic art as well.) pic.twitter.com/DIl6qsCofK— Joanna Robinson 🇺🇸✌️🏳️🌈 (@jowrotethis) March 9, 2021
And Jules Kelly of Random House Children’s Books tweeted, “We lost one of the great ones, Norton Juster was an incredible man. I was lucky enough to work with him right when I started at RHCB tell him that THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH was the book that made me a reader.”
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.