Monday, August 20, 2012

Modern Day Laura Ingalls. Do You Know Her?

Pamela Tracy here and I've got a question for you.

So, here's the scenario. 

I'm taking an online children's literature class and right now I'm putting together a unit with the theme "Female Adolescents' Roles Throughtout the Ages."  It's not nearly as boring as it sounds.  See, I've started with Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Her books represent growing up rural in the late 1800's through early 1900's.  We're looking at great stuff, like churning butter and lots of migrating.  We're comparing and contrasting Pa in the book and Pa in the television series - sometimes Michael Landon overshadowed Melissa Gilbert (opinion here).  Etc.  Biographical.

Then, we're looking at the Grandma's Attic series.  These books, I think, are the christian publishers' secret.  They're wonderful and hardly anyone has heard of them.  The books are about a young girl who often visits with her grandmother Mabel and always finds something, usually in the attic, that causes her to get a story about grandma's youth.  We still have churning, but only for the first few.  These take Mabel through the early 1900's to mid 1900's.  We get the arrival of the telephone to small towns and living in just one place, a farm but close to town, all your life.  We'll be making a quilt in class.  This book is faction.  Lots of biography, the author's childhood, mixed in with fiction for what she can't remember.

Then, we're doing Ramona by Beverly Clearly.  This is mid 1900's.  We will read the exploits and talk about urbanization and having a boy for a best friend.  We will not the role of the television - almost non existant - and how going out to eat is a real treat.  We will write the author (still alive and in her 90's) and then we will interview mothers, aunts, friends to to do comparisons.  While these are pure fiction, they're written in a believable and not sensationalist manner.

Here's my dilemma.  I can't think of a young girl's series for the late 1900's to early 2000's.  So, I'm turning to you.  Can you think of one?  The Princess Dairies are too fanciful.  I need stories that the girls identify with.  I need there to be 6 - 8 books in the series.



  1. How fun! Ramona was one of my favorites when I was a kid. :)

    I can't think of any for the more recent time period. The Babysitters Club came to mind, but there a gazillion of those. I'd suggest asking a librarian.

  2. Babysitters Club, but yes there's a TON of them.

    What about Robin Jones Gunn Christy Miller Series & Sierra Jensen Series? There are 12 in each one as long as you don't get into the series that come after them. :)

    Hunger Games for older girls, but there's only 3.

  3. I'll look into the Christy Miller Series.

    Hungar Games won't work because I need true to life.

    I hadn't thought of the Babysitters Club. I've not read any of them. Might be a possibility, too. Thanks!

  4. Missy,
    I read Ramona as a kid, too! The Babysitters' Club was after my teen years.

  5. My daughter got into anything to do with horses. There's a few series with horses. I think one of them was called Saddleclub. She also liked the Trailblazer books, but those aren't a continuing type series. Trixie Beldon books were my favorites in the 70s :)

  6. Pamela, I've never heard of Grandma's Attic. Who's the author and what level are the stories? I've got a 3rd grader in mind who loves to read. Would the stories work for her?

    Beverly Cleary is in her 90s? I loved the Ramona books. Weren't they written in the 1970s? Not sure, but I thought that was around the time period.

    I loved Nancy Drew...older, of course. Written when? 1940s maybe? They do have an updated series for younger girls now.

    There's an author in my town: Carole Marsh. She has a darling series based on her grandchildren's travels. Carole has built a large publishing company with her books and sells to Scholastic and other school-based groups. The grandchildren travel with their parents and Carole, grandma, often goes too. She fills the stories with lots of great facts around the various spots they visit...Hawaii, Disney Land, Washington DC, Japan, Europe, and lots more.

    Carole's publishing house is Gallopade. Here's the URL:

    I understand that her books are well loved by kids and the teachers love them too.

  7. Sandra, I love Trixie Beldon. I still go back and reread them. I thought that she was much more realistic than Nancy Drew. :)

    What about the Madeline L'Engle books about the Austins? I know there are several (Meet the Austins is the first I believe). I've never read them as I was always drawn to her Wrinkle in Time books.

  8. for the 60's there is the peggy series. I read and reread them so many times.
    also for now the camp club girls series is really good. 6 authors 6 girls from different backgrounds who meet at a christian camp and stay friends and solve mysteries.

    Debby grandma's attic is by Arleta Richardson.

  9. the peggy books were by Dorothy McKay Martin

  10. Sandra,
    I love books about horses, too. I've heard of the saddleclub books. Was their one main character, and were the parents involved quite a bit?

  11. Deb,
    AusJenny is correct. The author is Arleta Richardson. Think of Little House for the Christian market. The Grandma Attic series is just as good as Little House. I read them, then started over right away and read them again.

  12. Oh, I loved a Wrinkle in Time. I didn't realize she'd written a series. I'll have to go look.

    Trixie Beldon books rock! But I need a series with more parental involvement, not mysteries to solve You suspense writers, you

  13. Im thinking of the Sweet Valley Twins- when the twins were in middle school (before Sweet Valley High)
    I think this was set in the 1980s but there are tons of books in the series

  14. Kids somehow put series behind until Twilight and such came along.
    One reason was that there were plenty of single stories you could visit and revisit without the need to have a sequel. I'm thinking of Anne of the Green Gables and Black Beauty... they learned to dram and imagine the happy ever after they wanted, then there were still some classics Mums :guilty: made them read and then computers, cell phones, a technological age came along and somehow their interests changed... When Happy Potter and Twilight came parents were already fretting of all this technology and applaud their interest and somehow book became cool again.

    Can't help. Sorry. We had a series called "Os Cinco" by Enid Blyton which was a big success between Portuguese teens before Apple ;)

    Good Luck!

  15. Pamela the saddleclub is about 3 girls who become friends not alot of adults in it.

    There is also the Mandie series which is a christian series.

    Had to look up "Os Cinco" by Enid Blyton and see its the famous Five. Loved that series.

  16. Teresa,
    I think you are right about a void in series literature in the 80s and up until Harry Potter. Anne of Green Gables in one of my favorites. Of course, again, no parents per se. The lesson I'm writing has to do with girls' roles in the family by generations.

  17. Jenny,
    I've read some of the Mandie ones. I think they might be a little too sweet LOL Am I remembering correctly?

    I've never heard of the Famous Five. What's that?

  18. The famous five by Enid Blyton was 5 kids who solved mysteries. They were a bit older than the secret seven. She is an english writer.

    Oh she has the naughtiest girl in school. there are three books the girl goes to boarding school and goes from being considered naughty to being an ideal student (who still has fun) in the final book.

  19. LOL, maybe I'll read them for myself. I turned in my assignment yesterday. Three classes down; one to go. Thanks everyone.