I hate that I’m sharing my reading time with text books now, and also with Pokemon blue for the gameboy color if anyone was wondering, but it must be done. I got many books read this weekend so I’m hoping that is indicative of how things will go this semester. I’m into the books where they all have letters from Ann at the end and scrapbook pages… I’m in the 90s of the main series. I’m officially reading all the books I never read as a kid and its great because I honestly have no idea what to expect.  Reading the earlier parts of the series was mostly re-reading, so I knew little bits and pieces of what was going on usually. But now I’m in uncharted territory. She’s been hitting on some super serious stuff in the books recently. A girl gets killed by a drunk driver and the students of SMS are left to deal with their own mortality in Mary Anne and the Memory Garden. I appreciate how often in the series Ann (or the ghostwriter working for Ann) recommends that the kids go to a therapist. A lot of stigma is placed on being in therapy now and it wasn’t any better in the late 80’s early 90’s, so its a big deal to me that she’s willing to put that recommendation out there. Mary Anne visited a therapist in Mary Anne and the Memory Garden to learn how to adjust to her feelings. There was also a book called Kristy + Bart = ?? about defining relationships. It was a serious topic for a series geared at tweens and early teens. Plus, it further cemented my feelings that Kristy is a lesbian. Claudia and the First Thanksgiving tackles the idea of censorship, and Abby’s Lucky Thirteen is about Abby and Anna’s Bat Mitzvah and what it means to be an adult in the Jewish community.

I learned so much from these books growing up, but I feel like I’m learning a lot now, too, as I’m reading the newer ones… It really pushes it home for me that this is a great series for 11-14 year olds to learn some life lessons in some other way than from tv or the movies.

Anyway, as promised, here is a survey style notebook page taken from #97 – Claudia and the World’s Cutest Baby:

Claudia thinks her cousin Lynn is the world’s cutest baby. The cutest baby I’ve ever seen is my cousin Sara Grace when she was born. She is the only baby that I can look back on baby pictures and still think she’s cute. Every newborn is cute after you’ve been waiting for them for 9 months and you fall in love at first sight. But, more often than not, when you look back in 4 or 5 years you think “Ew! Alien baby!” Sara Grace was just plain gorgeous, though. Russ and Peaches choose Lynn as the baby’s name because it is Claudia’s middle name. My two favorite names for a baby girl are Gracie and Yael. (These change every few days.) My two favorite names for a baby boy are Josiah and Ranier (Again, every day with the changing.) Claudia’s cousin Lynn is a very sweet baby. When I was a baby, I was very fat. The first word I ever said was probably something like dada or mama, but my parents remember me saying bear pretty early. The second word I ever said was again, probably something like dada or mama, but apparently I said light after I said bear. If I had been born a boy instead of a girl (or a girl instead of a boy), I would have been named Denny Luther or Adam Stanley. I’m so glad I’m a girl. If I could pick any name for myself right now, it would be Emily Ellison Rhoads, & I’ll be getting that wish soon enough!