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Christy Catherine Marshall

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May 19, 2010

In high school, I used to be a cheerleader, holding up my green megaphone encouraging fans to cheer on our school team. If I were cheering now, I’d have Betsy-Tacy written all over my uniform! Go Team Lovelace!

I’ve written the people at HarperCollins Children’s Books to thank them for bringing the Betsy-Tacy books back in print, and you can too! And today I found out my post about the Betsy-Tacy houses being recognized as National Literary Landmarks made the Betsy-Tacy Society News Page!

YAY! I feel like my feet are in Georgia and my heart’s in Mankato today! Thank you, Betsy-Tacy Society, for all of your hard work!

May 18, 2010

My oldest daughter started wearing her hair in braids recently, and I wasn’t surprised to see she’d tucked a Betsy-Tacy novel into her backpack. I love it that she’s reading this series for the second time, and in the world of Betsy, cell phones haven’t been invented yet.

For anyone who is a fan of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series, you can rejoice along with me that there’s a big celebration going on this week in Mankato, Minnesota. After years of publicity efforts, fundraising, and restoration, both the Betsy and Tacy houses will be dedicated as National Literary Landmarks in a ceremony Thursday, May 20th starting at 6 pm.

If I lived anywhere near Minnesota, this is where I’d love to be.

I started reading the Betsy-Tacy books only a few years ago, after I discovered a copy of Betsy and the Great World in a used book store on St. Simon’s Island. I recognized the series from Gladys Hunt’s wonderful book, Honey for a Child’s Heart.

I’m so happy that HarperCollins Children’s Books has brought all ten of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books back into print. The Harper Perennial Modern Classic editions, published in 2009, are gorgeous, with covers illustrated by the original artist, Vera Neville.

I’d love to gather a whole set of these books for my three daughters to take with them someday when they leave home. I hope HarperCollins will continue to keep these books in print for fans like me who are raising the next generation of Maud Hart Lovelace readers.

Here are the ten books of the series:

1. Betsy-Tacy
2. Betsy-Tacy and Tib
3. Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
4. Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
5. Heaven to Betsy
6. Betsy in Spite of Herself
7. Betsy Was a Junior
8. Betsy and Joe
9. Betsy and the Great World
10. Betsy’s Wedding

There are three other companion novels set in Deep Valley (Mankato). I especially enjoyed Emily of Deep Valley. HarperCollins is due to release these new editions in October 2010. You can pre-order your copies here.

1. Winona’s Pony Cart
2. Carney’s House Party
3. Emily of Deep Valley

The Betsy-Tacy Society has a whole upcoming calendar of events, including a Victorian Lawn Party, Ice Cream Social Concert, Neighborhood Walk, and Victorian Christmas.

In her introduction to the new Betsy Was a Junior/ Betsy and Joe 2009 edition, author Meg Cabot writes:

How could a series of novels in which the heroine has neither red hair, a tiara, magical powers, a boyfriend who is a vampire, or a cell phone be so bewitching? Well, Betsy won my heart not just because of the humor, vivacity, and realistic emotion with which her creator, Maud Hart Lovelace, imbued her, but also because of her believable struggles to find her voice as an author…not to mention true love (both of which echoed my own struggles not just at Betsy’s age but through my twenties and even beyond.)

These books do so much toward preserving a beautiful time period of American history. I’m thinking a field trip to Mankato would be a nice way to help bring literature to life!

Update: If you’d like to contact HarperCollins Children’s Books to show your support for bringing the Betsy-Tacy books back in print, you may contact them with this email address: Let’s keep these books in print for the next generation!

May 17, 2010

Parents today face many challenges trying to raise children who are kind, respectful, and exhibit good character qualities. Sometimes it seems like an impossible task.

I’m in the thick of it, with my kids still in preschool, elementary school, and middle school. I have no idea how they’ll turn out, and I cringe at the thought of giving anyone advice on parenting.

Still I have hope, which is all we need, right? What I do is try to surround myself with amazing people who are experts in certain areas, and I seek them out for advice. So here, I want to point out to you a wonderful program that has been an immense blessing to our family.

You can read about the National League of Junior Cotillions on their website. In our hometown, this program reaches sixth through eighth grade students, and it’s one of those word-of-mouth things where you hear about it from somebody whose kids are in it. There’s a limited space, and it fills up extremely fast.

So I’m telling you about it now, because if you’re interested, you can look up your state on the website, find out if you have a local program, and contact the director. The directors are planning the 2010-11 season now, so if you want to get involved, now’s the time.

Here are a few topics the classes cover:

* First impressions
* Introductions
* Greeting and shaking hands
* Paying and receiving compliments
* Correspondence
* Telephone manners
* Family dining
* Table manners
* Polite conversation
* When to rise
* Doors and coats
* Sports etiquette

* Formal dining
* Party courtesies
* Hosting a party
* Receiving lines
* Eating unusual foods
* Instructional dinners

* Honesty
* Integrity
* Promise keeping
* Fidelity
* Caring
* Respect
* Citizenship
* Excellence
* Accountability
* Handling peer pressure

* Cell Phone Courtesies
* Phones and Digital Manners at Home
* Electronic Etiquette at Home, School, or Office
* Fax, Copier and Printer Protocol
* Digital Courtesies in Public Places
* Parent’s Guide to Electronic Etiquette

-Rules associated with the use of web surfing, emails and instant messaging
* Responsibility
* Ethicality
* Consideration

* Music appreciation
* Teamwork
* Timing
* Coordination
* Basic dance courtesies
* Current popular line dances
* Dance include the Waltz, Fox Trot, Cha Cha Cha, Shag/Swing,
Rhumba, and Tango.

Our local program hosts two balls: a winter ball and a spring ball. For all of us moms whose daughters have grown up reading books and watching movies about princesses, these balls are dreams come true. In the spring, the girls all wear white dresses, with elegant white gloves, and the ballroom scene creates a gorgeous picture of budding womanhood. The boys, I must add, look mighty handsome in their coats and ties.

In her novel, Betsy in Spite of Herself, Maud Hart Lovelace, describes the dance programs that were being created for the Leap Year Dance of 1908:

Tacy and Alice are making the programs. They’re terribly cute, with a bar from the ‘Merry Widow Waltz’ painted on the cover. But fifteen dances, Julia! Cab will ask me for one, of course, and Tony, and Dennie, and Pin, and Al, probably, and Squirrelly and Harry, but that’s only seven. I’ve fifteen to fill.

Over a hundred years later, I have the feeling that Maud Hart Lovelace would be pleased that girls are still filling out dance cards and waltzing through their coming-of-age years. As a parent, it was a happy experience for me, and I’m passing my joy along to you.