Monday, September 23, 2013

The Indelible Years

Looking over old class photos, remembering
Yes, my elementary school reunion happened, and it was a lot of fun! And it struck me again how powerful the growing years are. How they mold you (or scar you), and how they stick with you for the rest of your life. It was interesting to reminisce and listen to what people remembered. Besides recalling things about each other, there was quite a bit of talk about teachers. Which ones were nice. Which ones were mean. And which ones went crazy.

The kids in the neighborhood were like family--you saw them every day, you went to school together, you played in the street together, you played at their houses, you spied on them (and they spied on you!). They had a part in shaping you, and no matter the time or distance, you will always remember them.

I write for young people not because I can't write for adults, but because I think writing for young people matters; that what you experience during your growing years--in real life as well as in literature--will influence the person you become. What you're imprinted with during that time can be indelible.

Sammy Keyes is the person she is because I truly believe that she can help young people find their center. She's there for the fun and adventure that comes with having a good friend, but she's also there to help kids believe in themselves and face their fears on their way to becoming strong, confident adults.

Having so many of us travel long distances to see and celebrate the kids we knew in each other reminded me of the importance of who we were to each other back then, and how our shared experiences helped us to become the people we are today.

I'm so glad I went.


Kylie said...

I am glad that you had fun. I have to agree with you that our childhood has a great effect on our adulthood. I am so glad that I had Sammy in my childhood because she taught me so much about life and friends. So thank you for helping my childhood to be awesome.


Bella Honeydew said...

Kylie I hope you don't mind that I steal this from you, but you said it perfectly, so
Thank you for helping my childhood to be awesome!!
I am so glad you had fun did any of them read your book/s?
I wonder if some of them knew who they where and I bet they would all die laughing when they read about those neighbors you knicknamed and spied on!;)

Mel said...

Wow! An elementary school reunion sounds like such a blast! Everyone must have looked so different, but remarkably the same, right? Thank you for sharing part of your reunion with us!

Sammy Keyes definitely left an indelible mark on my childhood. I look back on my childhood with Sammy Keyes and I am so happy that I had her as a role model and friend. I'm an only child, like Sammy, and it got lonely sometimes. Having Sammy along made growing up less lonely, and less scary. I cannot even remember when I first read Sammy Keyes. I know I was in elementary school, but she has been a part of my life for so long that I cannot remember her not being there.

So, yes, writing for kids does matter. You have done such an incredible job writing for kids, in all your books, even if I really have only read Sammy Keyes. :)

Gabrielle said...

An elementary school reunion sounds fun!! And Sammy Keyes definitely had an impact on my childhood. I started reading the Sammy Keyes books when I was in sixth grade, I actually remember the day I read the first Sammy Keyes!! I remember going to the library and the librarian asking if I had ever read Sammy Keyes, because she was naming of all these other books I read, and I hadn't. At first, I will admit, I thought Sammy was a boy, but I realized she wasn't. And the first book I read wa Moustache Mary. And it was absolutely amazing! And I went back to our local library and got another and another and another, until I read the whole series!! But I learned so much from the Sammy Keyes books, each book had a moral. She also made me grateful for what I had because her situation was hard. And even though it was she always made the best of it. And I love the relationship between Sammy and Grams; it's just so sweet. And Wendelin, you are an amazing author. It can be a challenge to right children's books. I remember watching this video that Jeanne Birdsall made, and she was taking about the process of writing a childrens book, and it isn't easy. So, you are truly talented when writing for children. :)
Have a good week everybody!


Jessica said...

Wow. I'm not sure I have anything to say after those 4 awesome comments. I wish I'd had Sammy when I was in elementary school (because 3rd-5th grade were harder for me than middle or high school). But I had Sara Crewe, Jo, Maggie the bound-out girl, Laura Ingalls, etc. I know Sammy would have been on that list. But your books don't just touch children's lives. The Running Dream had as big (if not bigger) an impact on me as any other book I've read, throughout my life.

There weren't any kids on our street around my age (except a neighbor's grandkids who would sometimes visit), but I had my two nearest siblings to play with, which was enough. But that big group of neighbors sounds like it was a blast.

kleb pneumo said...

I'm 32 years old and I'm letting Sammy re-shape my childhood, not that my childhood was bad, but I was sort of a wimp. I love this series so much, but books like these are hard to come by in the Philippines especially in our island, which only has 5 bookstores,which actually sell the same books.

Isabel said...

I'm happy you had fun. Must have been fantastic. My elementary school reunions is a long way down. I gotta go, sadly, homework is finally getting tougher. :)

Yusa said...

I am kinda late on commenting but high school doesn't give me a chance to breathe.

Everyone has basically said everything there was to be said. I visit my elementary school some times, for the teachers. I was at that school for 7 years since it was a middle school also.

I've been reading SK for around 8 years. It has shaped me a lot. And Gabrielle :) When i was younger, even when I knew Sammy was a girl I would always read it with the perspective of a guy for a while. But when I rediscovered the series after 3rd grade I was the same age and I connected better to it even though I enjoyed the plot as much when I was younger.

I guess an elementary school reunion is fun, but I feel like in some ways it might be awkward if you didn't stay in touch with those people after 6th grade. I think i would prefer a high school one since these people make a bigger impact on my life. To each his own.

Well I need to sleep now or else i'm sure i'd have more to say. :)

RowAn said...

I actually kind of hated my elementary school. I went to a weird one where we had the same teacher for all eight years, and that particular teacher's best year was 2nd grade. But I figure maybe I'll think more kindly of it once I'm farther away. (Maybe.)

I found Sammy in 7th grade. Actually, I found Holly first: I read Runaway and thought, "Wow, I want to read more about this girl! And who's this Sammy person?" Runaway was one of the very few books that made me cry.

So I started the Sammy series from the beginning and totally fell in love. I reread them sporadically and fall in love all over again. Even though I'm older than Sammy now, she's still my role model and I look up to her.

(Also I'm really glad that Holly's a recurring character, and grateful to her for making me pick up Sammy in the first place!)