The Compulsive Reader: Re-Launch Redux, or A Petition for Dear WORLD

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Re-Launch Redux, or A Petition for Dear WORLD

Yesterday, I talked about how Scholastic is re-releasing many books in its Dear America series, and how excited I was. I also found this blog post by Liz from A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy here interesting.

In short, it talks about how other countries have their own versions of the series (whether or not they are still in print, I'm not certain): Britain's My Story, and there is also a Dear Canada as well, and then Liz suggests that these be opened up to American kids. I wholeheartedly agree!

As much as I adored the Dear America books, and as much as I learned from them, I'll admit it: after a while, I got a bit sick of the same tales of {insert war here} or the survival stories of the West. That's why I loved the Young Royals books (a sort of "sister series" to the Dear America books). Not only did these girls actually exist, but they were real princesses as well (which combined history and fantasy--my favorite genres--together into one pretty, gold book). They were about girls from all across the globe, and if I learned a lot about American history from the Dear America books, then I learned loads from the Young Royals (though I will admit that Marie Antoinette's fictional diary gave me a tad too much sympathy for her). I clearly remember shocking my ninth grade World History teacher when discussing the Spanish Inquisition--all thanks to Isabel: Jewel of Castille. Those princesses taught me a lot about world history, and usually exposed me to a whole new culture as well, and I devoured their words!

In fact, they reminded me a lot of the Girls of Many Nations books that were put out by the same company that produces American Girls dolls. I remember there being middle grade novels, accompanied with a doll, about different events in history. I only read three or four of those books, but once again, those are some that I adored. Does anyone recall these? (On a side note, I was also a tad bit obsessed with History Mysteries!)

There's no doubt that the Dear America books were varied and educational: from slave girls to Native Americans to Quakers to immigrants, they were both culturally and racially diverse. But...how cool would it be read those diaries of girls from different countries? I started getting excited just browsing the Dear Canada website. Now my mind is racing--I want to read diaries of girls from Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Nepal, Germany (I'd totally go for a book that does for middle grade readers what All Quiet on the Western Front did for the rest of us).

In short, I have to agree with Liz--forget Dear America! Think DEAR WORLD.


-k said...

I loved the Young Royals books; the Cleopatra and Elizabeth Tudor ones were my favourites. They also always looks just so pretty with their guilded pages and classic covers.

Rebecca Herman said...
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Rebecca Herman said...

I also loved the Royal Diaries series and Girls of Many Lands. I would love to read World History diaries. The UK series started out as UK settings only but now covers world history too, there's one set in Ancient Egypt, one in Ancient Rome, one in France during WW2, and the next one is set during the French Revolution. There's also a series published in France that makes me wish I could read French because it covers world history as well as French history and a lot of the books/settings look so interesting! Here is an example of one of the covers, this one was about the Russian Revolution: http://www.sauramps.com/imagettes/9782070612345.jpeg

I actually bought most of them to add to my "diary book" collection though it's unlikely I will ever learn french. :(

MissA said...

Yes, Yes, Yay! I loved all those series (total history nerd); History Mysteries, Girls of Many Lands, Dear Ameria, Young Royals and Royal Diaries. I learned so much from them, and it defintely helped me in history class :) Also, the covers were gorgeous.

I willl join this petition! I'll work on a post about it too. Seriosuly, reading Dear India, Australia, England, Canada, etc.?! Amazing! We Americans need to read about other countries a lot more often.