Hello, Mixed-Up Filers!
Hope everyone is doing well since my last post a short three months ago. Many of you have written to me privately and asked how do I maintain this grueling once-every-three-month pace of posting? Well, I want to let you know that while yes, it is incredibly taxing on me both physically and emotionally, it is all worthwhile in the end when I think of the thousands of kids out there who are eagerly awaiting my post. Their smiling faces as they read. I do it for the children.
So, with that being said, it is time to launch into my post, which is always easier said than done. This time though, with summer being almost upon us and school being nearly over, I found the choice easy. And by easy, I mean I decided around five minutes before I started writing this. But, in any event, I decided to write about books dealing with different places to go on summer vacation.
A lot of kids get to go away to camp for the summer. However, my own memories of being a camper were not great. I was always jealous of the kids who did get to go and have those great experiences. I always wanted to have those adventures and make those friends who I would look forward to seeing every summer like in the movies, but alas, my own experiences more mirrored Rudy’s from the movie Meatballs, only without winning the deciding race against Camp Mohawk at the end.
The fondest memories I have from summer camp, come from when I was a counselor instead of as a camper, but since this site isn’t called The Mixed-Up Files of YA authors, I won’t list them and instead talk about the fun things I did get to do over the summer. And that’s go away. I remember going to some really cool places with my family, which I still remember vividly to this day. So, that’s what I decided to write about. Being away in different places. In particular focusing on some of the places where I have been to,
So, without further ad, here we go!
The first one is a bit of a cheat, since I happen to live here now, but when I was a kid, we visited Florida more than anywhere else. Not only did we have family here, but there was the magical place where that mouse with the big ears was. For books based in Florida, you have to start with Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen is from Florida and bases his books here, with most having some environmental theme. What other thing his books have is a sense of adventure and a whole lot of fun. My favorite book by him is still Hoot.
Hoot deals with Roy Eberhardt, who has just moved to Florida in the town of Coconut Cove. He is immediately picked on by school bully, Dana Matherson. The book deals with so much more than a story about bullying. During the course of events, Roy meets Beatrice Leep and her step-brother Mullet-Fingers, who show him what’s really going on around Coconut Cove with the endangerment of burrowing owls because a brand new Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House is going to be built on their nesting grounds. Hoot is a really fun book and I have read it a few times. I also recommend Hiaasen’s other books as well, but Hoot is still my favorite.
The next place I want to stop on our vacation list is where I’m from. New York. Gee, let’s see, I wonder if there are any good middle grade books set in New York? Oh, wait! I think I thought of one. I would probably be sent my termination notice, if I didn’t include the story from where this site takes its name, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg.
The story deals with twelve-year-old, Claudia Kincaid and her nine-year-old brother, Jamie, who run away from home and hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They sleep there at night and mingle with tour groups during the day to blend in and keep from being discovered. When a new exhibit of an angel, comes in from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, there is a lot of mystery as to who the sculptor was. The children visit Mrs. Frankweiler at her home in Connecticut to try and uncover the secret. It is also a fun book and gives a feel for being in the museum in New York.
The next stop on our tour is Mexico. I used to go to Mexico quite often and even lived there for a couple of years. I loved visiting and it is a country rich in tradition and history. For this selection, I picked a non-fiction book to learn about some of the life in Mexico. Mexico: New True Books: Geography, by Elaine Landau. I have this book and it is a lot of fun to look through and really brings back good memories of my time there.
England is like New York in the fact that there are countless stories set there. A certain boy wizard among them. But, for now, I chose to go with an oldie but a goodie and one of my favorites still, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. The story is about four siblings, the Pevensies, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, who are sent from their London home to the English countryside for safety during WW II. While there, the children discover a magical wardrobe which transports them to the world of Narnia. There, they try to help free the land from the clutches of the White Witch. This is one of my favorite series of books and I still occasionally take all seven books and reread them.
These are just a few of the places I’ve been, but it is fun to picture yourself in different settings and places. Reading takes you away to anyplace you are willing to travel. What are some of the places all of you have been and what are good novels set there?