Friday, March 02, 2012

Sad News

Jan Berenstain, coauthor of The Berenstain Bears books, passed away this week. (Read the Washington Post obituary.) Stan Berenstain died in 2005. Their son, Mike, continues to work in the franchise. The very first book that I read all by myself, in July of 1970, was The Bears' Picnic. I can remember sitting in the picture window of our split level house in Kent, Ohio, very early in the morning on a sunny summer morning. My mother, an elementary school teacher, must have taught me some of the basics, but I vividly remember that all of the words in the book made sense. And they made a story.

We had other Berenstain Bear books, and I Can Read books. My parents apparently loved joining book clubs where they mailed two books every month; we also had the Childcraft Annual books and Cricket Magazine. (This might explain why I have no memory of going to the public library or a bookstore!)
Oddly, I kept this news to myself. I didn't tell my kindergarten teacher in the fall, and when I came home from first day of FIRST grade with the exciting news that I had read the entire short basal reader On Our Way, my mother wrote it down in my baby book. No wonder I was such a good reader in elementary school. I had a year more practice than anyone knew! In second grade, we had individualized reading, and I read a 6th grade text book. I had to reread it in 6th grade because the teacher didn't believe me. I read in middle and high school, and obviously still love to read. I had a lovely secret for a year. And I have the Berenstains to thank.

1 comment:

  1. My parents had me in the I Can Read book club, too and The Bears' Picnic was my favorite Berenstain Bears book of all time. I still have most of the books, although they are about 30 years old and falling apart. I credit my love of reading to those books. That and the fact that my dad would read those books to me at night. So sad to hear about Jan, but so thankful that she and Stan gave us so many great books to remember them by.