Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday's Forgotten Books: Jean Craighead George

I was saddened to hear of the death of Jean Craighead George yesterday. I think Liz Hand first published a link on Facebook, but loads of others shared the news with the same feeling of loss for her absence and joy for her vivid adventures of the outdoors. One of my former students said she gives a copy of My Side of the Mountain to all the children she knows on their eleventh birthday. What a wonderful habit!

It's no hyperbole to say that book changed my life. A born pagan, I spent months afterward trying to live in the wilds of our back yard (>_<), constructing a "home" in the grapevines dividing my grandparents' house from the Tabors' next door, forming ambitious plans for the giant maple at the corner of our yard in the elbow of the L-shaped fields belonging to St. Gerard's, and attempting to mash acorns into some kind of pancakes -- producing bitter results, which I think Bertie can attest to as well (what are brothers for, but to experiment upon?).

I still long for a falcon.

She has an immense list of publications, which she admits to find intimidating:
This alphabetical list of books is enough to scare off even me. Some of the books listed below are no longer available in print. If you're interested, you probably can find them in the library. The list is not really long when you consider that there are almost 250 million beautiful plants and animals on this earth that I could have written about. 

Generous with herself she posted her email for people to write to her and gave children advice on how to write:
Most of us need a prod to get ideas swirling in our heads. Once that happens it is easy to write. Here are a few prods for writing a story. Perhaps you can use them, perhaps you will say "ugh" and come up with your own original way to write a book. No matter which - write - and write out of the love of words.
Drop by and see some videos with this lovely author and celebrate her life.

See the roundup of FFBs over at Todd's this week.

✍ And a proper announcement later, but check out the new dark fiction site, A Knife and a Quill, for whom I'll be writing reviews; they've kicked off with an interview with me. ☠


Todd Mason said...

JULIE OF THE WOLVES was the one that spun me around, though I liked MOUNTAIN nearly as well. Novels dealing with The American Dream came up on the librarian-heavy Fiction-L just after I posted the link to the NYT obit, and I noted that JULIE was about as savage a critique of that concept as I could probably handle at age 9 (MOUNTAIN only a bit less so)...I think I need to read or at least look at the sequels.

K. A. Laity said...

I didn't know about the sequels -- to Mountain and to Julie. I think when I was a kid, if I didn't see the other books right next to it in the library I would never know there were more. How much of an impact the internet must make on reading habits of kids now -- and add in ereaders and wow.