A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Gloria D. Miklowitz (Secrets in the House of Delgado), Barbara Ann Porte (Beauty and the Serpent), Ron Hirschi (Ocean Seasons), Diane Duane (So You Want to be a Wizard), Deborah Guarino (Is Your Mama a Llama? ), and Debbie Dadey (Bailey School Kids series).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Irene Hunt (1907-2001), Across Five Aprils, and Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), Bread and Jam for Francis.
- In 1897, Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, is published. Read Dick and Jane and Vampires by Laura Marchesani, illustrated by Tommy Hunt, and Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber.
May 18 has been designated Visit Your Relatives Day. The idea of a trip to see family members can bring many different images to mind. When I was a child, one of my happiest times each year came during the month of July when my father, my mother, my two sisters, and I got in the car and drove from northern Indiana to southern Ohio to visit our relatives. I had, it seemed to me, hundreds of kinâ€”aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousinsâ€”near the small town of Oak Hill, Ohio. We had picnics and outings and get-togethers that lasted for days.
Cynthia Rylant grew up not far from Oak Hill, in Appalachia, West Virginia. Although she had rich childhood experiences, she didnâ€™t have books. When she started reading childrenâ€™s books in her twenties, she realized that most of them didnâ€™t reflect the people, or the situations, she knew so well. So she set out to write about the types of people she had grown up with. In her career as an author, sheâ€™s crafted so many great titlesâ€”When I Was Young in the Mountains, Missing May, and the Henry and Mudge series. One of my favorite Cynthia Rylant books, The Relatives Came, has been in print for twenty-six years and won a Caldecott Honor Medal.
Traveling all day and all night from Virginia, a carload of relatives arrive to visit those they love during the summer. They stay for weeks, have picnics, pose for pictures, share the bed and floor of a humble house, play music, and hug. Oh how they hug. Eventually they have to leave for their own home. When they get back, they fall asleep, dreaming about next summer. This wonderful account of a family reunion has been written in simple but poetic language and extended by Stephen Gammellâ€™s evocative watercolors. Although this family may be poor in possessionsâ€”they are very rich in love and community.
Today I canâ€™t visit my relatives in northern Indiana and southern Ohio, but I send a virtual hug to them. If you can, bring along a copy of The Relatives Came. Then you can all enjoy itâ€”and the hugsâ€”together.
Originally posted May 18, 2011. Updated for .