• R.I.P. Betsy Byars, 91, Edgar winner, Newbery Medalist, etc.

    From lenona321@yahoo.com@21:1/5 to All on Fri Feb 28 10:10:28 2020
    She won the Edgar in 1991 for "Wanted...Mud Blossom."

    (reviews of that book - it's part of a series)


    The Blossom family has an especially eventful weekend during which Junior Blossom loses the school hamster and Pap's dog Mud is put on trial for the hamster's murder!"Byars captures the conflict and tension of courtroom drama, the ups and downs of
    personal relationships, and the rewards of lasting friendships."-- "School Library Journal," starred review.

    (end of description)

    She won the Newbery Award for "The Summer of the Swans" in 1971.

    I knew her best for "The 18th Emergency," about a boy trying to dodge a bully he's carelessly angered. (Many modern readers might be shocked at how it turns out. The author of "Why Johnny Can't Tell Right From Wrong" speaks in glowing terms of the book -
    partly for that reason.) The book was filmed for TV in 1974.

    (photos, book covers)

    (birthday post from 2018 - it includes her site, videos, reviews, and the 45-minute TV movie: "Pssst! Hammerman's After You!")


    Seneca - Betsy Cromer Byars, 91, loving wife of 69 years to Edward Ford Byars, died peacefully on February 26, 2020 in Seneca, SC.

    She was the daughter of George Guy Cromer and Nan Aline Rugheimer Cromer of Anderson, SC.

    Betsy Byars was born August 7, 1928 in Charlotte, NC. She attended Queens College and graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in English. That same year she married the love of her life, Edward Ford Byars.

    They began their life together in Clemson, SC and eventually moved to Morgantown, WV, where they raised their family and lived for 20 years. They moved back to Clemson in 1980, then retired to Seneca, SC in 1990.

    While her children were young, Betsy Byars began a writing career that would last a lifetime. She started with articles for Saturday Evening Post, Look, TV Guide, and women's magazines, then moved on to writing children's novels, publishing over 65 books
    and receiving numerous awards, including: a Newbery Medal (1971), a National Book Award (1981), an Edgar Award (1991), a Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association for the body of her work (1987), SC Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame, as
    well as many state children's book awards. Her books were translated into over 20 languages and are still being enjoyed by children around the world.

    Besides writing, her creativity spilled over into many other areas, including sewing, knitting, and silk screening. She was an avid reader, devouring 4-5 books a week. She participated in her husband's love of flying and in 1985 earned her own pilot's
    license. She had many dogs in her lifetime and loved each one.

    She was known for her generous nature, infectious laughter, cheerful disposition, clever wit, and her ability to tell a great story. She loved her family, and her children were a great joy.

    She is survived by her 4 children: Laurie Myers (Michael) of Augusta, GA, Betsy Duffey (Bill) of Atlanta, GA, Nan Byars (Don Boekelheide) of Charlotte, NC, Guy Ford Byars (Nellie) of Cincinnati, OH; and her 11 grandchildren, Amy Myers Martinez (Dario),
    Alan Myers (Eliza), Paul Myers (Shannon), Charles Duffey (Rebecca), Scott Duffey (Susan), Anna Boekelheide, Ben Boekelheide, Angela Byars, Edgar Byars; and nine great grandchildren.

    In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Talking Books Services, sctalkingbook.org or the Oconee Humane Society, oconeehumane.org.

    Please visit www.RobinsonFuneralHomes.com or Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Cremations, Central - Clemson Commons for service information.
    Published in The Greenville News from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, 2020


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  • From lenona321@yahoo.com@21:1/5 to All on Sat Feb 29 11:57:35 2020

    I knew her best for "The 18th Emergency," about a boy trying to dodge a bully he's carelessly angered. (Many modern readers might be shocked at how it turns out. The author of "Why Johnny Can't Tell Right From Wrong" speaks in glowing terms of the book
    - partly for that reason.) The book was filmed for TV in 1974.

    The first 17 emergencies are mostly imaginary and some are fantastic - such as vampires and werewolves. However, at least four are worth reading about - the ones about gorillas, parachuting, sharks, and quicksand.

    "Mouse" - real name, Benjie - is likely 11 and Hammerman is at least 14.

    From Chapter 2 - after "Mouse" tells his friend Ezzie about what started it all:

    “Marv Hammerman!” Ezzie sighed. It was a mournful sound that seemed to have come from a culture used to sorrow. “Anybody else in the school would have been better. I would rather have the principal after me than Marv Hammerman.”

    “I know.”

    “Hammerman's big, Mouse. He's flunked a lot.”

    “I know,” Mouse said again. There was an unwritten law that it was all right to fight anyone in your own grade. The fact that Hammerman was older and stronger made no difference. They were both in the sixth grade.


    As a kid, I thought the "unwritten law" was created by the ADULTS! (It never occurred to me that "laws" could be made by kids.)

    By the way, Byars had 5 entries in the "Something About the Author" encyclopedias - one was a long autobiographical essay she wrote in 2000. She also had an entry in the "Children's Literature Review" encyclopedias, vol. 72.


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  • From lenona321@yahoo.com@21:1/5 to All on Tue Mar 3 10:50:40 2020


    By Shannon Maughan |
    Mar 02, 2020

    Second half:

    ...With a new hobby that became increasingly important to her, Byars wrote steadily and sold her first short article to the Saturday Evening Post. She eventually published more articles and started some longer works, too. The family had grown to include
    a third daughter by the time the family moved back to Clemson in 1957.

    Byars said in her autobiography that she no longer needed writing to fill her time, but she was determined to continue because she had come to love it. She joked that “in my spare time I had a fourth child, a son” in 1958.

    At last, in 1962, after receiving rejections from nine publishers, her first children’s book, Clementine, was published by Houghton Mifflin. Though she’d officially become an author, Byars wrote in SAAS that “the first book that turned out the way
    I envisioned it was The Midnight Fox” (Viking, 1968). She called that title her favorite, and a turning point in her career that proved a confidence booster.

    Byars’s books were often lauded for their blend of humor, empathy, and realistic detail. One example, the 1970 novel The Summer of the Swans, features Charlie, a mentally challenged boy who becomes lost seeking out the swans on a lake hear his home,
    while his older sister frantically searches for him. The story was inspired by the author’s experience as a volunteer tutor for children with learning difficulties in 1968 when her family was living in West Virginia. The book was awarded the 1971
    Newbery Medal, something that Byars said “literally changed my life overnight.... For the first time in my life I started feeling like an author.”

    Byars published her work steadily for decades, earning many honors and state book awards as well as the 1981 National Book Award for The Night Swimmers, a tale of siblings who “get to the point where they hate each other,” sparked by the author’s
    childhood memories of her sister and reading of her daughter’s fifth-grade diary, found many years after its creation.

    In all, Byars produced more than 65 books including a popular series about the Blossom family, Bingo Brown, and Herculeah Jones. In her later years, she collaborated with her daughters Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers on several animal-focused short-story
    collections including My Dog, My Hero (Viking, 2002) and Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society (Holt, 2007).

    Byars remained an avid reader all her life, according to her family obituary, “devouring four to five books a week.” Byars also enjoyed knitting, sewing, and silk screening. Additionally, she shared her husband’s love of flying and earned her own
    pilot’s license in 1985.

    Regina Hayes, former longtime publisher and then editor-at-large at Viking Children's Books, where Byars published many titles, told PW, “She was quite a lady and I really admired her.” Hayes also offered two amusing memories in tribute. “On
    addressing an audience of authors, [Byars] told them: When you receive an editorial letter, just skip over all the flattering words at the beginning and look for the word ‘however.’ She was right on target. On another occasion, [Byars] was one of
    several panelists invited for ‘a conversation.’ When they arrived, they discovered they were each supposed to give a short introductory speech before the ‘conversation’ began. The other panelists were quite flustered, but Betsy simply pulled out
    remarks she had prepared and said, ‘It’s always a good idea to have a speech in your pocket!’ ”


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