Monday, February 09, 2009

A Favorite Children's Book Series

Unlike some authors, I was not a total bookworm as a young child. Until I was a teenager, I didn't LOVE books the way that I do now. Now, I'm always reading at least a couple books at a time, non-fiction, biography, fiction, mystery, thriller, whatever. As a young child, I read a lot. My mom took me to the library very often. But it wasn't until I was a teenager that I found that human connection, that link to the human condition in books. That's when I fell in love with books.

But I've always liked stories and I've always loved word play. One series of books I couldn't get enough of as a child was the Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. Amelia's problem was that she always took things literally. Here's the pitch from Harper Collins' website: "Everyone loves Amelia Bedelia, the literal-minded housekeeper! When she makes a sponge cake, she puts in real sponges. When she weeds the garden, she replants the weeds. And when she pitches a tent, she throws it into the woods!"

Once children learn the literal meanings of words, then they can start to appreciate the key to a good joke: the play on words where a single word can mean more than one thing and twists things around in a funny way. This was, as I think back on it, what I think I liked best about Amelia Bedelia, and why I love to write today. I love the sound of words, the play of words, goofing around with language. I've decided to check out the Amelia Bedelia books from the library again to experience the fun again.


  1. Anonymous6:12 AM

    You should check out Adventurebox books. They are great for Kids aged 6-9 and have award winning writer Michael Morpurgo as a guest author in the upcoming March issue!

  2. I loved the Amelia Bedelia stories too - maybe that's why your stories always grab me.

    Just don't try to check out any of the older editions of the Amelia Bedelia books, like the ones you read as a child. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act goes into effect today, and libraries can no longer lend children's books printed before 1985 (because some had a little lead in the ink). They cannot be sold or even given away except for pricey collectible editions to certified adult collectors.

    People call your senators and representatives! You can learn more about this law at and Books are only one of the many threatened objects - basically anything made for kids under the age of 13 must comply with strict lead and phthalate limits as of today (and some products must comply with other provisions, like no small parts for anything for children under 3). Thrift stores, ebay, etc. are not exempted, and the law is retroactive. While well-intentioned, the law simply goes too far and affects everything from school supplies to clothing to art hung on the wall in a child's room, even if it's behind glass and not easily accessed for gnawing on.