Friday, July 23, 2010

When you're the president of the Breakfast Club, and you're not hesitant to fall in love, To fall in love with the eighties...

* Warning: This post contains a random assortment of childhood books/authors/memories. It may or may not be coherent :) *

With the opening of Ramona and Beezus in theaters today, had an interview of sorts with Beverly Cleary. I have to admit, I was more than a little excited to click on the article. I grew up reading books, and one of my top 5 favorite authors was Beverly Cleary. I read every book she wrote - more than once. Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, Ralph S. Mouse, Beezus, Ellen Tebbits, Socks, and my all time favorite - Ramona Quimby. I fell in love with the all of Cleary's stories, because on some levels you could relate to them, but they were also outlandish enough to make you laugh and cringe all at the same time. Ramona had this incredible imagination - one that I wish I had.

Anyways! I started this post because I read the article with Cleary, and I felt like she is exactly the person who I would have expected to write such wonderful books. She's 94 now, and seems like a wonderful woman who has done so much in her life! (I ended up reading a Wikipedia article on her as well, so not all of my thoughts stem from the article.) She has a love for books and children, and both are evident in the way she has lived her life and the way she talks about her books. My favorite quote from the People article:

She doesn't analyze her characters.
During one meeting with Ramona and Beezus director Elizabeth Allen, "[Beverly] asked, 'What are the themes in Ramona?' " recalls Allen. "I said, 'It's about this iconoclast who's learning how to navigate in society.' And she looked at me cross-eyed and said, 'No. It's about growing up.'

I love the simplicity that she keeps to her charters and her stories. They are timeless, as she says, and she wants children of any generation to be able to pick up the books and be able to relate to them, or feel a sense of normalcy when they read them. I know it worked for me. Growing up, we moved around a lot and I was constantly changing schools. While I would eventually make new friends in the neighborhoods we lived in or at school, I never felt like I had a place. One thing I did have was books! The characters never changed no matter where I lived, and I would read books over and over again and it gave me a sense of security in new places. As I've grown up, every now and then I will pick up one of my childhood favorites and those feelings and love of the characters are still there. I look forward to sharing those books with my own kids one day! (In fact, I just cleaned out about 3 or 4 boxes of those books from my mom's basement and now they are in my basement! It was fun to go through them all.)

Since this is sort of a hodgepodge of ramblings, I think I will leave you with my some of my favorite childhood authors.

Beverly Cleary, of course.

Ann M. Martin - Babysitters Club Series

Louise Fitzhugh - Harriett The Spy and The Long Secret

Norton Juster - The Phantom Tollbooth

Francine Pascal - The Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High Series

Judy Blume (there are so many that I loved!!)

Roald Dahl (also, so many favorites!)

Carolyn Keene
- I loved anything and everything Nancy Drew

Anyways, those are just a few. I read so much that I can't remember them all now! It was fun to take a trip down memory lane though...I really want to go home and read the Phantom Tollbooth now :)


Sara said...

Oh, man -- I love the cover of that Ramona book! I read every book in the series, and last year, I gave all of them to my nieces, who also read them. Tomorrow afternoon, we are going to see the movie! I'm so excited!!!

My favorite authors of the ones you listed are Roald Dahl and Nancy Drew. Gosh, young adult literature is the best!

Sara said...

I'm havin' a thought.
I'm gonna name one of my girls Ramona. I think. We'll see what my future husband says. But I think I can sell it. :/

Jacob said...

It sounds like you might not know that Carolyn Keene isn't a person - it's a pseudonym used by a number of writers that were hired by the owners of the Nancy Drew license to write the books. You can read about it on Wikipedia:

Emily T said...

Thanks for the blast from the past! How I love Beverly Cleary. I'm looking forward to checking out that article!

Cam and Mary said...

I loved all of those books, too! It's fun to remember them. Fun post!

Lisa Cook said...

Oh my gosh, that was so fun to read. I loved the Babysitters Club and Sweetvalley Twins and Nancy Drew and Ramona and all of them. You are so awesome :)

Lara said...

First off, I LOVE Harriet the Spy, and Ramona, and Sweet Valley Twins, and the Phantom Tollbooth, and regarding your previous post 30-Rock! You are so cool! And congrats on the pregnancy - Greg and I are very excited for you guys.

blueeyedfreckle said...

I loved all these books too!!!!! I never knew we had such similar taste! well I should have known.. oh and I also had no idea that there is a ramona movie coming out. HAVE to see that. we used to call my sister ramona bc of that book!