I am ready for a game of Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy! Perhaps, I’ll actually get a few answers correct. No, on the other hand, I have no need for a competition today. After all, trying to get published is plenty of competition for me. I would rather brew up some tea and share a cup of all the facts and findings from my past week of research for my new young adult novel, a nonfiction article for a children’s magazine, and a picture book. Oh, how lucky I am to be a perennial student, day after day!
Enjoy! (Not in any particular order):
- In the 1960’s, farm kids who ran away from home were called, “field rabbits,” because they roamed the roads with no attachment to their parents.
- According to an FBI report, in 1967, there was a record number of teenage runaways in the U.S. – some 90,000.
- The Beatles hit, “She’s Leaving Home,” is based on the true story of 17-year-old runaway Melanie Coe. In the 1997 biography PAUL MCCARTNEY: MANY YEARS FROM NOW, McCartney recalled, “We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who’d left home and not been found…there were a lot of those at the time, and that was enough to give us a story line. So, I started to get the lyrics – she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up. It was rather poignant.”
- A high school freshman in California has a collection of more than 3,000 library cards.
- The first library cards were probably issued at membership libraries, 18th Century organizations where members paid fees (and sometimes books from their own collections) in exchange for the right to check out materials.
- Crows have a unique way of marking the location of their snacks. They don’t bury food; they cover it with a leaf, twig, grass or other item.
- Ever since their summer 2020 audition on “America’s Got Talent” TV show, Brothers Gage have made harmonica hip for teens. 15-year-old Brody and 17-year-old Alex have both been playing since they were five. The harmonica-playing, dancing duo perform at events and school pep rallies around Los Angeles.
- Some researchers believe that in the 1970’s, teens were running TO something, such as communes, freedom, cults, etc., whereas, today, they are running AWAY from things, such as difficult home life.
- Wonderfully simple first sentence in a YA: “My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood.” WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN A CASTLE by Shirley Jackson.
- The best character name in a YA: Uncle Big. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, also author of I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN.
- A turning point in a picture book that kept me hooked: “Feeling unsure, the girl thought the best thing was to put her hear in a safe place. Just for the time being. So, she put it in a bottle and hung it around her neck. And that seemed to fix things…at first.” THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE by Oliver Jeffers, also author of THE GREAT PAPER CAPER and HOW TO CATCH A STAR.
- In the early to mid-20th century, the majority of New York City libraries had live-in superintendents. They were known as the families that lived behind the stacks! Living in the library meant that their kids had 24-7 access to books. One girl used to have sleepovers and then in 1965, went on to hold her wedding in the library.
- Early library cards were also called “tickets.”
- In 1886, a library card for the Lowell City Library in Massachusetts stated, “Marking of all sorts on books is punishable by statute with fine and imprisonment, and directors will prosecute.”
- In 1924, Oakland (CA) Free Library issued two different cards: One was “good for any book”. The other stated, “No fiction shall be issued.”
- Darby Free Library, which started in PA in 1743 is America’s oldest public library.
By the way, a photographer and journalist came up with the idea of Trivial Pursuit while playing Scrabble. Photographer Chris Haney was always open about being a high school dropout, often joking, “It was the biggest mistake I ever made. I should have done it in earlier!” The final board game artwork was done by 18-year-old Michael Wurstlin.
And, in case you’re wondering, the word trivia is a derivative of trivium – and the origin of trivium is, place three roads meet. Oops, I forgot to share: Peril is a synonym for jeopardy.
Maybe, I’m actually ready for questions. Game on! If my answer is wrong and I get the gong, I’ll simply say, “I Should Have Known That!” (a board game for young adults) and brew up another cup of tea.