It’s time for a trip down memory lane. If you grew up reading picture books, chances are you’re familiar with Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Originally published in 1972, Alexander is one of those instant classics because, like the titular character, we’ve all had our fair share of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Alexander’s hitting the big screen next month with Disney’s adaptation starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Coincidentally, \ Viorst has two new books (out now) leading up to the movie’s release: Alexander, Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever and And Two Boys Booed, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Here, Viorst talks about her inspiration for both, and Alexander’s lasting legacy. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Nostalgia (1-7 of 7)
Harriet M. Welsch would eat Anne of Green Gables for lunch.
Not literally, of course: Anne isn’t a tomato sandwich. But if the two went toe-to-toe in some sort of battle royal for 11-year-olds, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s plucky orphan wouldn’t stand a chance. Unlike Anne — and Pippi Longstocking, and Pollyanna, and countless other cheery kid-lit protagonists — Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet isn’t friendly or agreeable. She’s rude, impatient, temperamental, arrogant, and sharp, especially when taking vengeance on the classmates who read her meticulously kept notebook.
Harriet is, in short, a jerk — but a smart, perceptive, lovable jerk, one who’s wholly relatable whether you’re 11 or several times that age. When I’m snaking my way through a crowd of cement-footed commuters, I can hear Harriet’s indignant voice whispering in my ear: “Fast. That’s the way I move, fast. What’s wrong with that?” When I surreptitiously write down snippets of strangers’ conversations — what, doesn’t everybody? — I can sense her silent nod of approval.
Harriet’s edge has won her scores of fans, including novelist Jonathan Franzen. “I don’t know of a better novel about the costs and rewards of being a truth teller,” Franzen says in a cover blurb for Harriet the Spy‘s 50th-anniversary edition, which will be released Feb. 25. “I love the story of Harriet so much I feel as if I lived it.”
I get where he’s coming from. When I first discovered Harriet circa second grade, I had never even heard of her favorite drink (the egg cream) or the contraption she uses to spy on crazy old Mrs. Plumber (a dumbwaiter). She was an only child in 1960s New York; I was the youngest of three in 1990s Pittsburgh. While we both sported glasses, hers were merely cosmetic; she wore them “because she thought they made her look smarter.”
But those surface details hardly mattered. Like Franzen, I identified so fully with Harriet — her emotions, fear of change, frustration, and loneliness — that she instantly felt like an old friend. Inspired by her, I even started keeping a journal in which I carefully wrote mean things about my friends. During a fateful fifth-grade camping trip, that choice came back to bite me…hard. (P.S. Katy, Julia, Whitney, Kate — I’m still sorry.)
Despite that episode, Harriet wasn’t a bad influence. My bond with her was so strong precisely because her faults and virtues mirrored my own. Later incarnations of the character penned by people other than Fitzhugh — the 1996 film that introduced me to fan rage (Ole Golly does not look like Rosie O’Donnell), two wan sequels by Helen Ericson and Maya Gold, a horrific 2010 TV movie called Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars — fail to capture what made the original so captivating because they turn her into someone the real Harriet would find insipid. Thank heavens, then, for this anniversary edition, which I hope will introduce a new generation to my endearingly jerky little heroine.
'Clarissa' meets 'Girls'? 'Clarissa Explains It All' continues with 'Things I Can't Explain' -- EXCLUSIVE
Watching repeats of Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All is like opening a neon-colored ’90s time capsule, where 15-year-old Clarissa Darling could explain absolutely anything with the help of quippy monologues, her best friend Sam, and rudimentary computer games. Now, almost 19 years after the series finale, Clarissa creator Mitchell Kriegman is letting our fashion-forward heroine enter uncharted territory with a new book, Things I Can’t Explain, tentatively slated for Fall 2014.
Acquired by Thomas Dunne Books editor and Macmillan Films head Brendan Deneen, the novel will follow 23-year-old Clarissa as she tries to carve out a career as a journalist and deals with the obstacles toward becoming a real adult: finding and keeping a job in a turbulent economy, the luxury of a first apartment without roommates, figuring out how to deal with parents all over again, and unexpected feelings for a really cute guy who — of course — has an on-and-off again girlfriend.
The premise sounds a lot like Clarissa Now, the 1995 CBS pilot that never made it to series but I would have given my right pinky toe to see. Will Ferguson be as dorky as always? (I could picture him as a business major at NYU). Will Sam climb up Clarissa’s New York fire escape like a terrifying intruder? Will Things I Can’t Explain ever get adapted for the CW or ABC Family? What are your hopes for 20-something Clarissa?
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First the Baby-Sitters Club and now Sweet Valley High? We might just explode from a fit of teen lit nostalgia. Sweet Valley High is the latest ’80s YA series to receive an electronic makeover. The first twelve books will be available on eReaders, smartphones, and tablets Tuesday. Have identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield — the original “California gurls” — changed at all since they first hit the shelves of teens and tweens everywhere in 1983? Brainy Elizabeth and on-again-off again boyfriend Todd Wilkins are still having their ups and downs and the popular Jessica is still getting into hijincks with her frenemy Lila Fowler.
The colors on the covers may be brighter in pixel form, and the books live on to pack their addictive candy-like punch. Click through to see exclusive images of the book covers, featuring the Wakefield twins and their BFFs. READ FULL STORY
What’s the secret to The Baby-sitters Club‘s phenomenal success? According to Scholastic editorial director David Levithan — who began working on the series as a 19-year-old Scholastic intern — it’s simple: “Girls have always connected with The Baby-sitters Club [because] they feel it’s real. It’s not amped up, action-packed drama or mythology or something that has no bearing on their lives,” he says. “And reading the books now, it’s amazing how relatable it all still is.”
Levithan is right. Any girl — any person, for that matter — can empathize with the struggles BSC members faced, from dealing with divorce to experiencing your first major crush. Relive all of middle-school’s trials, tribulations, and triumphs throughout the following pages, in which author Ann M. Martin selects her favorite titles from the 20 BSC books that are getting an electronic re-release in December. Martin has also added personal commentary about each of her picks, which are accompanied by their classic cover illustrations. You want side ponytails? We’ve got your side ponytails right here.
So, which books made the cut? Find out below!
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