the first thing that comes to mind is wanting to be madeline and live with a bunch of my friends in paris. i think there was something comforting about simply fitting in the way they all did. they all looked basically the same, had the same clothes, were all friends. plus, i always thought paris was the most magical place anyone could ever live--like some kind of fairy tale city that actually exists. i never felt like i fit in anywhere when i was a kid. i was always the only black girl in my elementary school and was always called a liar for saying that my parents were my parents because they looked too old (must be my grandparents), or just disbelief that black and white people could have babies together. my hair didn't do what any of the other girls' did, and i'd often have people just stare or ask me strange questions or want to touch my skin or hair because i was the only person of color they had ever met. now, i loved being different and not having any particular label be appropriate--but i had to grow into it and find my own ways of belonging. 

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Jun. 3, 2008 at 12:47 PM i fear this so much for my own daughter, that she would feel outside because of her brown skin and curly hair.  i am doing everything in my power to keep her in an environment of beautiful people of all ethnicities, but i can never know what she will feel or what she will go through.  i also loved the madeline books as a girl and remember how i loved the sense of security that was the conformity.  i have to really start thinking about the impact that these books would have on children of color or even foster children.  think anne of green gables...would this be a comforting story to an adopted child? 

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Jun. 4, 2008 at 10:45 AM

I love Madeline so much that is my daughter's middle name.  She was my very favorite when I was quite young.  I adored her intrepid nature and natural daring.

When I got a little older I was all about the Little House books, I wanted to be just like Laura, although I was more of a Mary type. . .I used to imagine myself in many of the books that I really loved.  There are two by Elizabeth George Speares that I also was very fascinated by    - The Calico Captive and teh Witch of Blackbird Pond.  I guess I always had a thing for the adventurers and the outsiders in my stories.

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