When I was in fifth grade, my mother was our school librarian. That was very helpful because that was the year that I dealt with a lot of bullying. Somehow, we never forget those pains as another Twitter writer and I agreed during an interview.
Carol Hedges wrote,” I have blogged elsewhere how I was subject to teasing, bullying and ridicule when I was a teenager, as I found myself the only Jewish pupil in a girls’ school of over 800 Gentiles. It was easy for me to put myself in Annie’s shoes, and recall those times; if you have ever been bullied, the memories never leave. Even at 64, I can still see the faces of my tormentors! (https://dixonl2014.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/introducing-british-author-carol-hedges/)
I would receive my note right before recess, which stated, “We are not playing with you today.” I took a deep breath, faced the mean girl behavior and I went to the library and read. Eleanor Frances Lattimore, along with those little blue biographies, kept me entertained and served as my lifeline during that pivotal year.
Lattimore wrote and illustrated more than 50 children’s’ books and they were mostly about children in China. Peach Blossom and Lee Ling became my friends. Her books transported me to another time, location and culture. As I read her stories, I felt as if I was walking down a street in China. I could see, feel and hear the sights and sounds of the movement in the city as the girls went about their daily lives.
Lattimore is better known for her Little Pear stories and I was able to buy Little Pear and Friends through Amazon. I recently shared his stories with the children in the library. They often asked me when I would read more about Little Pear. He was a mischievous little boy who got in trouble for things like trading his two month-old baby brother for an older child who could walk and talk. The tales are light and humorous and they always turn out well in the end. The children laugh as they listen to the read-alouds about Little Pear.
Eleanor Frances Lattimore was born in Shanghai, China to American parents. She was one of five children. Two were born in Washington D.C. and the other three were born in China while their father worked as a professor of English at a Chinese university. She later returned to the states, married and lived in North Carolina. She spent many years in China as a child and wrote about Chinese children.
I am grateful to Ms. Lattimore for writing those stories because they served as a great diversion for me. We all have millions of stories in our heads, but to actually take the time to sit down and write those tales takes a high level of commitment and skill. Writers never know what child or adult’s life they might be saving by merely putting pen to paper.
So, during this Women’s History Month, I would like to sincerely thank Ms. Eleanor Frances Lattimore!
Lynn March 17, 2015