The Wall Street Journal ran a lovely article last Saturday on the enduring popularity of Maud Hart Lovelace's books from the 1940s and 50s, which have recently been re-released by Harper Perennial. I never read the books as a child, but this article and reviews by other bloggers has made me want to read them now. It also makes me long for more YA literature that doesn't contain vampires, mean girls, abusive parents, adolescent sex or other topics that seem currently to be popular. I know that young adults are not immune from troubles and that realistic and gritty books have an important role. But there's also something to be said for not exposing children and teens to weighty issues before their time. While Lovelace's novels might seem sentimental, Alexandra Mullen says that "one of the pleasures of reading Lovelace's work, in fact, is witnessing the many varieties of happy families and seeing in particular the kindness of fathers."
"Lovelace's books show people discovering how to be good, but the books themselves are not goody-goody or preachy. They focus on everyday matters, from playing with paper dolls to keeping a diary to feasting on midnight sandwiches in the kitchen with high-school friends. Within such activities, Lovelace reminds us, we learn a great deal about the ways of the world and the governing of our hearts."
Did you read Lovelace's books when you were younger? Do you plan to read them now?
You can read the full article from the Wall Street Journal here.