Wishing Upon a Star – or Wishing for a Best-seller

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Our Wednesday Fox asked, “If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?”

Normally, I’ll sit down and write my post for the week in one sitting. But this topic required more thinking time. First, I started to think about all the classic literature, most of which I haven’t read. Of the few titles I did manage to slog through, thanks to my awesome high school English teachers, I noticed a few that presented problems. Some have come under fire for the way they represent parts of the population. Others are so long and rambling I had difficulty staying awake to read them, and putting readers to sleep is not my idea of success.

Then I started thinking about more recent best-sellers. Some are quite gritty, and I don’t do grit. Some are quite spicy, and I don’t write spicy stories. Most deal with stuff I will never experience. There are several romance authors whose books I greatly admire, and I’d love to be able to create wonderful stories with the pace and quality that they do. But choosing just one would be difficult, because I love them all for different reasons.

I began to despair that I wouldn’t have selected a book and author in time for this post to appear on my blogging day, when I learned that the author of some of my favorite childhood books passed away. I remember my second grade teacher reading Henry Huggins to our class. The next time we went to the school library I found the shelf where Beverly Cleary’s books were kept and I began reading my way through the whole shelf. When I read all those, I turned to my local library. Years later, I read several of these books aloud to my elementary classes.

As I mourned Mrs. Cleary’s passing along with the rest of the world, I realized that I could have no better mentor than the author of Henry Huggins, Beezus and Ramona, and all the other books about the residents of Klickitat Street. These were stories that resonated with us because they were about characters with whom we could relate, living through situations with which we were all familiar, and dealing with them in a way we could all understand. These are things I strive for in my stories, but the Cleary books set the standard.

Almost 50 titles were published by the great Beverly Cleary. Which do I wish I’d written? Any of them, but if I must choose one, it would probably be The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Even though it’s about a mouse, the thoughts and actions described seem totally logical and understandable, especially from a child’s point of view. This is the first of three books about Ralph, an intrepid little mouse who takes off on all sorts of wonderful adventures. When I read this and the two sequels (Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse) aloud to my second and third graders, there was very little fidgeting and no behavior problems, because the children were totally engaged in the story. What more could an author wish for?

About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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9 Responses to Wishing Upon a Star – or Wishing for a Best-seller

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I will face a similar struggle this week — and I hope I’m able to pull a rabbit out of my hat before Thursday morning (Hound Day).
    Funny thing about author Cleary: loved by children, parents, and librarians… her books were mega-sellers. Every library had them.
    Yet, I — with 30 years in the library profession — never read the first one.
    Why? No particular reason.
    Perhaps it’s as simple as the analogy that if you worked in a candy store you wouldn’t necessarily have opportunity to sample every single one.
    Or, actually, this may be a better analogy: suppose you worked in a hardware store. You’d have to be familiar with all the tools, machines, widgets, and geegaws… but that wouldn’t necessarily mean you had USED all of them yourself.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      So you never read ANY of Cleary’s books, not even to your kids? How sad. They’re treasures. Can you read to grandkids? Or neighbors?
      Then again, there are a lot of popular favorites I’ve never read. And I’ll never begin to catch up with you on the movie watching!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Salter says:

        It’s certainly possible I read one or more to our kids… but simply didn’t make note of which author it was. But usually I was tuned in to the authors pretty well.


  2. Oh, I got hooked on Beezus and Ramona and Henry Higgins when I had to be about nine. I read them for years. I still remember scenes when they relate to something in my life, or wish that they had!
    I am at a loss this week myself. What a tough topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Yes, the topic took a lot of thought. It’s been so long since I read these stories that I have trouble remembering the plots, but what I remember is feeling that I really knew these kids and considered them my friends. And although I’d never want to have a pet mouse, Ralph’s stories were quite entertaining!


  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    The first Cleary book I read was Ellen Tebbitts. I loved Ellen, and from that time on I was a fan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great choice! Wyatt and I just read Runaway Ralph together a few months ago. He absolutely loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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