Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price

Judy Moody is coming!

For years, I have been reading to my 10-year-old niece, Camille. When she was younger, I would take her to the library for story hour.

I wanted her to be a reader. In covering education - that's my beat - the thing I hear time and again is that children need to be read to, need to read on their own, and need to be able to sit and listen quietly, to learn to be able to focus on one thing for more than two minutes, something like a story.

But I had an even more important reason. I grew up reading and in my childhood, the thing that made me feel okay, that I wasn't quite the freak I thought I was, were the characters I read about in books, especially my Judy Blume books. I would sneak flashlights to read under the covers in bed. Books also made me ambitious. I would read about things Nancy Drew figured out and accomplished and I remember thinking I bet I could do that.

About a year ago, for Camille's birthday, I bought her the first book in a new childrens series I had hear about called Judy Moody. Camille read it. On her own. Then she asked for more.

For that, I will always be indebted to author Megan McDonald, a Pittsburgh native who has created a series about a moody young girl named Judy, her best friend Rocky and her younger brother, Stink. The wonderful, moody, spit fire of a little girl, Judy Moody, turned Camille into a reader.

I spoke to McDonald on the telephone earlier this week and, like the characters in her books, she is a generous soul. She talked about how books shaped her childhood along with a childhood shaped by four older sisters. She talked about her father who read constantly to make up for quitting school in eighth grade. She talked about her mother who bought her a Harriet the Spy notebook so she could find her voice. She talked about her husband, Richard Haines, who grew up in Washington County.

Megan McDonald is coming to speak Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Carnegie Library in Oakland. It is free and I think you should go.

So click here to read more about Megan and the event, Black, White & Read all over. Click here for directions and such.

If not, you should definitely check the Judy Moody series out of the library.

I bought Camille, Judy Moody,M.D. The Doctor is In! for her birthday. She'll get it as soon as I'm done reading it.


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