Bloganuary: Who is your favorite author and why?
Like Anno, what I’m reading and why depends so much on my mood that I wasn’t sure I could pick a single favorite author.
But actually, I do have one.
It’s always bothered me that Maud Hart Lovelace never received the same attention as that other author who spent time in Minnesota.
The Betsy-Tacy books were my constant companions when I was growing up. How many times have I read the series? No idea. And I can’t remember when I “graduated” from the elementary school stories and started reading the high school (and beyond) ones. Relatively young, I think—I remember being dazzled.
I grew up in Maud’s Deep Valley (AKA Mankato). My house was in the area known as Little Syria in Maud’s day. And if I trudged up a sizable hill, I ended up in Betsy’s old neighborhood.
In fact, when I was in junior high, I had a paper route where I delivered papers to Betsy, Tacy, and Tib’s old homes. If you’re of an age, you’ll remember the weekly shoppers that landed on your doorstep—advertising and classifieds held together with a smattering of human interest articles. The route was only once a week (rain, shine, or snow). And I didn’t have to collect any money. Again, if you’re of an age, you’ll remember that part of newspaper delivery.
And it was in junior high that I needed Betsy the most. The progressive school I attended—which was run by the university—closed down when I was in sixth grade. The only other option was the public school system.
So on the first day of junior high, I had no friends. Worse, on the first day of junior high, I already had a reputation—as did everyone who attended the progressive school. Fill in the blank with every derogatory term for mentally deficient, and you’ll have what I was called daily.
By eighth grade, I had a friend group. By eighth grade, I’d spent every quarter on the honor roll, so I was deemed a bookworm, a brain, a nerd.
But in seventh grade, when the days were dark, and I was sore from lugging papers around the neighborhood, I’d pull the Betsy-Tacy high school books off the shelf. I’d escape into her world of picnics and dances, the crowd and crushes. My first inklings that I, too, could be a writer began with watching Betsy write.
There’s much I owe both Betsy and Maud. And that is why Maud Hart Lovelace is my favorite author.
2 responses to “Down in the valley”
Interesting! When you’d mentioned this series in previous posts, I’d always assumed it was just one of those things — like Sweet Valley High — that I’d missed because they’d been published after I was “too old” to discover them. But, no, to my surprise I just discovered that they were published in the 1940s! And one of my favorite authors/illustrators (Lois Lenski) illustrated the first four of them. Sounds like something I might need to read.
Also, after reading Lois Lenski’s entry in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lois_Lenski), I might need to re-visit some of her work as well.
Thanks for making this introduction.
I’ve never heard of these books! I’ll have to check them out.