Serena: There were a lot of contenders for this one. Well, there were a lot of contenders for all of them, obviously, but ten years old probably takes the cake. I think it’s safe to say that I read more between the ages of 10 and 15 than at any other time in my life. And unless I somehow manage to retire to Hawaii (or the backwoods of Vermont), it looks like it’s probably going to stay that way. I read a lot now, but during that time, I lived in books. And at ten, I’d say I lived in Juniper most of all.
Juniper is the prequel to Monica Furlong’s earlier Wise Child, a fantastic middle grade book about magic and nature and being different and growing up. I loved both of them, but Juniper was my favorite because it shows the title character, a fully grown, beautiful, and highly capable woman in Wise Child, as a young girl. I loved reading about her trials and tribulations, knowing all along that by the time the next book rolled around, she’d be living in a wonderful house on a cliff overlooking the town, growing herbs, fighting evil, and protecting Wise Child. I wanted to be her more than anything. And since that wasn’t an option, I named my cat Juniper and reread the books more times than I could count.
(These links go to Better World Books because the Monica Furlong’s titles are no longer available from the publisher. It’s an online bookstore that donates books and money to literary initiatives and isn’t owned by Amazon.)
Dana: If Eloise is the person I think of every time I see a child living in New York, Anastasia Krupnik is the one I associate with every Cantabridgian kid. Mainly because I think Anastasia would really like the word Cantabridgian—very precise and a little pretentious. Anastasia has a very big year the year she’s ten:
1) She writes a
wonderful terrible fabulous poem.
2) She develops a small pink wart on her thumb.
3) She gets to know her grandmother, Ruthie with the red red hair.
4) She gets a baby brother, whom she graciously refrains from naming One-Ball Reilly.
She keeps track of everything in her green notebook full of lists, and updated lists of Things I Love and Things I Hate punctuate every chapter.
When I was ten, I was a giant poseur, so I did everything my favorite characters in books did. I decided a clump of trees in my backyard was Terabithia. I made myself a spy kit complete with marbled composition book. When my dad told me to bring the trash bins back from the curb, I changed into a pink gingham dress and lace-up boots and dragged them all over the wide prairie (or, you know, front yard).
And so of course I also had a green notebook full of lists. But I think the Anastasia behavior has stuck with me more than Jesse’s or Harriet’s or Laura’s. Here’s an entire blog of lists to prove it.