Friday, May 14, 2010

Shows Us Your Life: Children's Books

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner
This weeks edition of Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Life is favorite children's book. Growing up I enjoyed reading most of the standards. Series like the Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and of course if you grew up in the 90s, The Baby-Sitters Club. But my favorite series is unfortunately somewhat lesser known. (I only say unfortunately basic I think EVERYONE should have read them.)

I loved reading the Betsy-Tacy series. They're written by Maude Heart Lovelace, and they're similar to the Little House books since they are somewhat autobiographical stories of the author's childhood. The first book tell the story when 5-years-old Betsy meets her lifelong best friend Tacy. In a way the stories in this book are almost perfect for a 5-year-old. They're full little girl adventures, where they play dress-up, or paper dolls, or imagine themselves being able to fly like a bird. I'm sure any five-year-old would love having this book read to them, and my one regret is that I didn't discover these books until I was in middle school.

The reason I still loved these books, even though I was in middle school, is because the characters don't stay 5-years-old throughout. Each book they get older, and each book their world expends. Each book takes place two years later, until the high school years, which begins with Heaven to Betsy.

Betsy's high school years are pretty much my perfect idea of high school. As you would expect there's tons of boys, lots of parties, school dances, football games, and a sorority or two. Reading these books in middle school, I had only hoped I would have 4 years of high school just like Betsy's. Of course there's some heartbreak, as well as some friendships that turn a little sour, but it only makes it feel more real. What's more amazing about how much I identified and wanted to be Betsy, is that these books take place in the early 1900s. The stories seem so universal, that they could easily take place today.

Thankfully the stories don't end with high school graduation. The go on to take Betsy out into the great world, and finally end with her wedding.

I've read and reread these books so many times I can't count. I've even reread the Betsy-Tacy Companion, which is a biography of the author's life, but also shares pictures of the "real" characters and gives the truth behind a lot of the stories. The actual houses where both "Besty" and "Tacy" grew up are still standing, and have been turned into museums in Mankato, Minnesota. I've never been to Minnesota, but I desperately want to go someday if only to visit the houses. I'm really hoping that someone who reads this loves the books as much as me. And if you've never read them, I strongly encourage you to do so. I think it's practically impossible to read this series and not fall in love!



  1. I LOVE Betsy-Tacy books!!! I grew up in Minnesota and have toured the neighborhood where Maud Hart Lovelace grew up - all those beautiful old houses and the "Big Hill" and everything! So neat! I would love to do it again some day.

    I can't wait to read these books to my children. So far I just have a boy but maybe I can convince him that they are not just girlie books!

  2. I have not read the books you have listed, but added them to my summer reading list. Thanks for listing them! Hope you have a great week!

  3. I had never heard of these books before! they sound like good ones though. I read a lot of the American Girl books-- all the ones for Felicity, which is the doll I had, and then the books of some of the other dolls, too. I loved them because the stories were set in history... I hope my daughter will read about and have an American Girl! :)

  4. Thanks for the comment! You have a great blog!

  5. I love those books for my girls! They are definitely hard to find, but I read about them a few years ago and was determined to find them. My girls are almost 9 and 10 now and I'm glad I saw your blog today b/c I actually didn't know about all of them. I'll be looking for some of the ones you mentioned. Thanks!

  6. I wrote about the Betsy-Tacy books in my post today! Love them! And I had the later ones but just got the earlier ones from my best friend today. So I was going to curl up with Betsy-Tacy tonight since I haven't read it in such a long time.

    My best friend and her family are going to Mankato this summer and I sooooo want to go with them. Someday...

  7. I got to your blog through Kelly's corner, and I adore the Betsy Tacy books too! I read them over and over again growing up! Actually, I still re-read the entire series every few years! I'm like you, when I was about 12 I hoped that my high school years would be just like Betsy's! Have you read "Carney's House Party" and "Emily of Deep Valley" as well? My sister and I did a little Betsy Tacy themed "either or" game that I posted on my blog that you might enjoy! :)