Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Dee Romito

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-three authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Dee Romito

Dee Romito is an author and former elementary teacher. You’re likely to find her on adventures with her husband and two energetic kids, at the local ice cream shop, or curled up in a comfy chair with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. Her middle grade debut, The BFF Bucket List, is now available from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin with co-authored Best.Night.Ever., No Place Like, and The Italy List to follow in 2017-2018.

Author Links: WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

When I was a kid, I collected stuffed animals. One of my favorite things on vacation each summer was our annual trip to a store called The Christmas Shop to pick one out. There was a little room in the back you almost had to duck to get into, and it was filled with all kinds them. I could only pick one, but there always seemed to be someone who called to me.

I managed to collect over two hundred stuffed animals over the years (not great for my eventual allergies – my kids have a limit!) and I was convinced they came alive and had a party whenever I left the house. I mean how could they possibly just sit there every day and not talk to one hundred ninety-nine of their closest friends, right?

I knew each animal’s name, exactly where I got them, and who needed to be placed next to whom on the shelves. They were all unique to me and had their own stories to tell.

So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite books was Corduroy, a story about a little stuffed bear who hops off the shelf and goes in search of his missing button. I loved Corduroy and his sweet demeaner. His way of looking at things. His sense of adventure.

But it wasn’t until years later when I read it again, that I realized how much I related to Lisa, the little girl who falls in love with Corduroy. Not only was I a lot like Lisa, I also admired her.

She saw a toy that wasn’t perfect, and she didn’t care. How many kids walked by him simply because he was missing a button? How many parents, like Lisa’s Mom, told their kids not to buy him because he didn’t look new? But Lisa saw something in Corduroy. He was the bear she’d always wanted. The imperfections didn’t matter, they just made him more special.

In the end, Lisa takes Corduroy home and sews a button on his overalls. But not because she needs to change him.

“I like you he way you are,” she said. “But you’ll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened.”

Yes. Lisa would go far in life. She’d have good friends and not worry about the latest trends. She’d be strong and she’d know what she wanted. She’d look at the world like I wish we all did — not searching for perfection, but instead, knowing that we should love each other for who we are. (With the obvious caveat of mean or hurtful never being okay. I imagine Lisa would know that too.)

My love of stuffed animals, and the belief that they did more than sit on a shelf, might have been what drew me to the book, but it was the connection between Lisa and Corduroy that made me love the story so much. And to think, their special friendship would never have existed had Lisa not been able to really see him.

As an author, I sometimes wear my Corduroy t-shirt to visits and events and I smile every time a kid points and yells out, “I love that book!”

I’ve since donated most of my stuffed animals, and I know every one of them is somewhere in a little kid’s hands. Hands that will love my treasured friends, and know their names, and know that they are wonderful just the way they are.

Title The BFF Bucket List
Author Dee Romito
Pages 240 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published May 3rd, 2016 by Aladdin
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Ella and Skyler have been best friends since kindergarten – so close that people smoosh their names together like they’re the same person: EllaandSkyler. SkylerandElla.

But Ella notices the little ways she and Skyler have been slowly drifting apart. And she’s determined to fix things with a fun project she’s sure will bring them closer together – The BFF Bucket List. Skyler is totally on board.

The girls must complete each task on the list together: things like facing their fears, hosting a fancy dinner party, and the biggest of them all – speaking actual words to their respective crushes before the end of summer. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face.

And with each girl hiding a big secret that could threaten their entire friendship, will the list – and their BFF status – go bust?

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