RTW: Best Book of April ~ Betsy-Tacy
From YA Highway:
Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic:
What was the best book you read in April?
My list of reads for April is rather short – On Writing by Stephen King (read about it here), The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (finally finished!) and my favorite book of the month: Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace, which I am reading to my darling daughter, Birdy. She just celebrated her fifth birthday. How timely.
And what better day to post about Betsy-Tacy than this, Maud Hart Lovelace’s birthday?
Betsy-Tacy is a sweet book introducing us to two playful, imaginative five-year-olds who become fast friends, who argue with their older sisters, who run away on the first day of school, who defend each other, who find a way to grieve the loss of Tacy’s baby sister, who play and daydream and float away on a pink feather.
As a young child (and still as an adult), I devoured the Betsy-Tacy books. I read them again and again. The first four books are simple stories of friends growing up during the turn of the century in Mankato, Minnesota, called Deep Valley in the books. Betsy was an adventurous, imaginative, creative child, and I wanted to be just like her (even though I thought Tacy had the prettier name). In some ways, I was: the plain brown hair, the ever-present pencil and notepad, the wishes and dreams of a young writer.
My favorites of the series are the High School books, a time when Betsy searches for her true self, becomes rather obsessed with boys (Tony Markham – my favorite), and longs to be a grown-up. The illustrations by Vera Neville in these books are fabulous and dreamy.
Betsy taught me how to be a friend. She taught me how to overcome embarrassment. She taught me how to admit mistakes. She taught me that no matter what, family was important. She taught me how to celebrate success, no matter how small, and to move past disappointment.
The setting, the characters, the stories of these books taught me to appreciate a time in history during which life was difficult but uncomplicated. It’s an era to which I am still drawn. Samantha is my favorite American Girl doll. I love the movie Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland, which takes place during the 1904 World’s Fair. I lived in "Deep Valley" during graduate school and quite often my daily walk took me past the familiar places in these books. Betsy's House and Tacy's House are now owned by the Betsy-Tacy Society and are open to the public.
Maud Hart Lovelace and her books allowed me to dream, to believe that one day I could grow up to be a writer.
|Maud at age 5|
Happy Birthday, Maud Hart Lovelace. I am forever grateful.
What was your favorite read this month? What books inspired you to be a writer?