YEAR OF THE CAT Written by Richard Ho Illustrated by Jocelyn Li…
Good Reads With Ronna is thrilled to share today’s guest post from Carol Weston.
Weston is the author of the popular Melanie Martin novels, AND the woman behind the “Dear Carol” advice column in Girl’s Life magazine! Weston joins us as part of her Ava and Pip (her latest tween book) Blog Tour. If you didn’t read Rita Zobayan’s review of Ava and Pip, here’s the link to bring you up to speed. Also, be sure to scroll down all the way for our giveaway details.
“Have you ever done something you never wanted anyone to know about? Quirky word-obsessed fifth grader Ava did, and now she’s about find out what happens when you let things get too far. Get ready to have fun with Ava who’s ready to do anything to help her older sister Pip finally come out of her shell.”
But now, without further ado, Carol Weston shares her thoughts on a topic confronting many kids, tweens and teens today, and yes Virginia, even when we were growing up in the Dark Ages before social media!
GRWR asked Carol Weston a question and here’s what she wrote.
“As for your tough question …
– ‘Have you ever done something you wish you could take back?'”
Oh man, haven’t we all? That said, while Ava and Pip is about a good kid who does a bad thing, I myself am not racked with guilt about having been a bully or committed any crimes. This is not to say I was a goody goody as a child. I was not, and I will now tell a story I’ve never told before.
When I was in fourth grade, I was a Girl Scout. One day, a dozen of us in forest green dresses and dark green sashes went on a Girl Scout field trip. I’m not sure what badge we were off to earn, but we all arrived at the police station in Westchester, north of New York City, where I grew up. A policeman met us and showed us around.
I was not a little klepto. But apparently back then, I did have a thing for thumbtacks. Not the flat silver kind. The colorful plastic pushpin kind. Yellow! Red! Green! Blue! Well, that day the policeman showed us a giant bulletin board dotted with bright pushpins. I was dazzled. When the policeman started leading our troop into the next room, I lingered behind, looked both ways, and pocketed a few. I truly did. I stole thumbtacks from a police station while wearing a Girl Scout uniform! Was it a bulletin board that showed crime scenes? If so, after I’d done my deed, it may have seemed like there was less crime in Scarsdale, New York, when in fact a little criminal was right in their midst!
Soon afterward, my young friends and I got into making phony phone calls and ringing doorbells and running. In math class, if we were taking a hard multiple choice test, I sometimes took a seat by a math whiz so I could compare my answers with his or hers. And when I worked at a drugstore for minimum wage, I’ll confess that I pocketed a lipstick. Maybe even two. (Three?)
But at some point I had an epiphany: I didn’t want to be that person. I didn’t want to pull pranks or cheat or shoplift. I lived in France senior year of high school and this proverb struck me: Qui vole un oeuf vole un boeuf. In French, it rhymes and means: Who steals an egg, steals a bull. In short, if you’re a petty thief, you might become a big honkin’ thief. Well, I didn’t want to be. So I stopped. No more free thumbtacks or test answers or lipsticks.
The upside of my childhood dark side is that I am not judgmental and I understand people’s complexities. I’ve been the “Dear Carol” advice columnist for Girls’ Life for twenty (!) years, and have answered many girls who wish they could take back unkind words or foolish deeds or poor decisions that ended friendships or eroded parental trust or got them pregnant or into juvi or kicked out of school. I’ve worked hard to offer guidance and comfort.
Taking thumbtacks may seem like small potatoes, but I did it in uniform at a police station, so part of me is still amazed at and ashamed of myself as a little girl. Why did I do that? For attention? For the thrill? For the thumbtacks? I’m glad I straightened up on my own accord, and glad I have not led a life full of regrets for omissions or commissions.
Will going public with this thumbtack story be something I’ll someday wish I could take back? I hope not. My husband says it’s cute. But in truth, this author / advice columnist still feels funny about having been such a very human little kid.
Like what you’ve read? We sure did and are so very grateful to Carol Weston for sharing this heartfelt story with us. Why not enter our giveaway so your tweens can enjoy the great writing and messages to be found in Ava and Pip? Enter to win a copy of the book by clicking here. Please include your name and address and write Ava and Pip in the subject line. Giveaway ends at midnight PST, on March 13, 2014. Entrants from US and Canada only. Winner selected and notified on March 14th. Please like us on Facebook for an extra entry. Good luck!
order AVA AND PIP
Meet Carol Weston’s at one of the following locations:
Mar 9 2 p.m. BookCourt Brooklyn
Mar 11 5:30 p.m. New York Society Library
Mar 21 10:30 a.m. Politics and Prose DC
Mar 29 2 p.m. Watchung Montclair
April 5 2:30 p.m. BankStreet NYC
April 13 2 p.m. Thurber Center Col’s OH
April 14 6 p.m. Lennox B&N Col’s OH
April 23 6:30 Wild Rumpus MN