Friday, August 3, 2012

Kidlit Characters Alum: Where Should They Be Now?

Recently, I read an article on Yahoo where authors of old school kidlit shed light on where their former characters would be now as adults. The characters from Lois Duncan's I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and KILLING MR. GRIFFIN, and Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield from Francine Pascal's SWEET VALLEY series were spotlighted in this article. (Frankly, I find it so gross and unforgivable that Jessica from Sweet Valley would hook up with Todd, her sister's long-time beau.)


Just for fun, I'm sharing how I'd want a few beloved characters from old school kidlit books to end up as adults:

Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby: Because Ramona had such an active imagination, I imagine her pursuing the arts, perhaps becoming an actress. Remember in RAMONA AND HER FATHER when she imagined being cast in a commercial and she put the plant-made crown on her head and it got stuck there? Or the theatrical way she'd gone about cracking the egg on her head in RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE 8? Ramona clearly liked attention when she was a child, and it would make sense that as an adult, she would continue to seek out an audience for her antics. Wanting to escape her wild Hollywood lifestyle, she'd return home to Klickitat Street for a break and go on a date with Howie Kemp.

Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet M. Welsch: I don't know if I ever finished the whole book, HARRIET THE SPY. But I remember it's about a girl named Harriet who wrote down her observations about her peers in a secret notebook, and then her peers discovered her notebook and shunned her. I imagine as an adult, Harriet could use her keen wit for observations to be an investigative journalist, a detective, or celebrity gossip blogger. 

Louis Sachar's Bradley Chalkers: THERE'S A BOY IN THE GIRL'S BATHROOM is one of my childhood faves. The story of a misunderstood boy meeting a counselor who got him really moved me. I'd like to think that Bradley grew up to be someone who helped troubled youths, perhaps being a counselor or teacher. 

...On a side note, the Yahoo article also mentioned that Lois Duncan, one of my favorite old school YA authors, had to revise her stories for recent e-book re-releases so that the content reflects the technology teens have access to today, such as cell phones and computers. While I can see how doing this could help teens see the stories taking place today as opposed to a few decades ago, I think Lois Duncan's stories could've stood well on their own even without these new edits. I commented on another blog recently that good writing is good writing, regardless of the time period a work is consumed. Besides, sometimes I get this warm nostalgic feeling when I read kidlit or YA books written at a time before everyone had Google at their finger tips.

Would you like to share any notions of how you would've liked for your favorite kidlit characters to end up as adults?

Do you think old school kidlit or YA authors should have to edit their previously published stories so they reflect the current technology (e.g. instant messaging, emailing, texting) today's young people have access to?


Lynn Proctor said...

my daughter was obsessed with harriet the spy!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Thanks for that link, because I loved Lois Duncan's books.

"Do you think old school kidlit or YA authors should have to edit their previously published stories so they reflect the current technology (e.g. instant messaging, emailing, texting) today's young people have access to?"

No. Because things keep changing, and you'd end up rewriting endlessly. Also, I think we can accept that characters are products of their times. Can you imagine Anne of Green Gables with a cell phone?

Nick Wilford said...

Interesting post. I did used to like the Ramona stories.

I agree with Jennifer. While a good story is timeless, I do think it's nice to imagine yourself in the time the story takes place, with the trappings appropriate to that era.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I've seen this done editing for modern times. I guess I'm ok with adding new technology and scenery, but lets not change the story. :)


PS I painted my dining room the prettiest tan/green called coffee with cream. I knew coffee was the best.

Cynthia Heart Books said...

Lynn: I wonder what your daughter thought of the movie for Harriet the Spy.

Jennifer: How about Laura from the Little House books with Internet access, LOL.

Nick: Oh, I loved the Ramona books.

Teresa: That sounds like a lovely color.

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