What the Mixed-Up Authors Think About…Characters Like Us

I thought our readers might like to get to know the Mixed-Up Authors a little better by learning about the characters that are like us.  You can learn a lot about someone by finding a character to compare them to.

For example, when I was younger, a neighbor whom I admired very much told me I reminded her of Anne Shirley from L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.  Some may have wondered if that was a compliment or not, but I was pleased by the comparison.  I had always secretly felt like a modern version of Anne.  And I spent my childhood summers at my own version of Green Gables (my grandparents’ small farm in Idaho, where my grandmother ruled much like Marilla did, and my grandfather was exactly like Matthew), so I understood Anne’s world.

Recently I sat down with some of the Mixed-Up Authors and asked them which characters they had a lot in common with.  Some responses surprised me…and others didn’t.  Read on to learn more about us than you ever thought you could…and more than you probably wanted to.

When Anastasia Krupnik was ten, she grew a pink wart on her left thumb and later in the story, when the wart fell off, she was sad. During my tenth summer, growing up in the Louisiana swamps, I noticed a brown mole growing on my collar bone. As the summer passed the mole kept getting bigger and more interesting. Then one day, I was absentmindedly picking at it and it fell off. As I held it in my hand it started to crawl around! My mole was actually a tick! I was sad to have to flush my summer mole down the toilet.–Jennifer Duddy Gill

I wanted to hang out with Beezus and Ramona. Beezus, because I understood her pain–I was that big sister with an embarrassing little sister–and Ramona because you never knew what she was going to do next!–Karen Schwartz

I wish my best friend had been Alan Mendelsohn, the eponymous character from Daniel Pinkwater’s Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars. The real hero of the book is Leonard Neeble, a pudgy, nerdy kid who is having trouble adjusting to junior high school until he meets Alan. Alan is completely indifferent to the opinions of others, happy and confident and subversive. Everybody wants to be Alan’s pal, but he chooses to hang out with Leonard. What they have in common is intellectual curiosity and a sense of adventure, which leads to some extraordinary developments. I see Alan as the perfect friend — he sees what’s cool about Leonard that no other kid sees, and helps bring out the best in him. Of course, I would have also liked to know Leonard.–Kurtis Scaletta

One of my favorite characters of all time is Jay Berry in “Summer of the Monkeys”. I’m pretty convinced that I was Just. Like. Him when I was younger. Boys were yicky, my best friend was my hound dog and I spent all my time in the river bottoms of Oklahoma. Yep. Me and Jay Berry? LIKETHIS.” –Jen K. Blom

I had so many favorite characters as a voracious reader. Pippi Longstocking, the heroines from the Chronicles of Narnia and from A Wrinkle in Time.

All of them faced very different challenges, but one thing makes them the same and made me love them. I wanted to be just like them because each one had a disregard for doing exactly what was expected of them. And through their individuality went on to save the day (or the worlds, as it were.)

When I was young, I was so scared about breaking the rules, their freedom was refreshing and exciting for me. I often wished I could stand up for things like they did.–Wendy Martin

I was Margaret in Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret. Like Margaret I wasn’t “any religion” and I grew up sampling my friends’ churches, hoping to find a place I fit in. I never could understand how Judy knew so much about me when I lived in small-town Wisconsin and she and all of her characters lived in far-away New York.” –Laurie Schneider

Which character is just like you?  Please tell us in the comments below!

13 Responses to What the Mixed-Up Authors Think About…Characters Like Us

  1. Thanks, everyone! (Sorry I’m replying so late…but I’m here now!) I’m glad to see so many people loved this post. I appreciate all the support! And I’m happy to see it’s inspired a story of your own, Cali.

  2. I’ve never commented before but I love reading this site! It’s always loaded with interesting information and stories plus I usually leave with an ideas for a story of my own. Grin

    Thanks,
    All

  3. Katie Schneider

    Harriet the Spy. I was a snoop. I wasn’t particularly considerate about people’s feelings. I wore glasses and had a bowl haircut. She wasn’t the one character I liked the best, but the one I’m most like. (And I used to lick my own knee in the summer to smell my own warm, wet skin AND once had to be told to wash my hair after 10 days of not showering, so I’m not judging about the tick business.)

  4. Linda Andersen

    Correction–I meant to say George Washington Carter instead of George Washington. Oops!

    Linda A.

  5. Linda Andersen

    What fun! I loved reading biographies and imagining that I could do something special some day. George Washington’s ability to find so many uses for the peanut amazed me. I don’t have the science skills required for that type work.

    Personally, I’d say I was more like Mary from Little House on the Prairie. I was the oldest and didn’t get into the trouble Laura did.

    Could someone contact me about permission to spotlight this blog on Write2Ignite’s blog. I write for “Thrift and Gift” and feature a different writer’s resource each week.

    Linda A.

  6. It was a fun question and I loved learning more about my fellow Mixed Up File authors. But I have to admit, after reading my own answer over again I’m a little grossed out. :)

  7. I wanted to be Nancy Drew!

  8. Fun question, Elissa! Count me in as another “Margaret” who also wondered how Judy Blume managed to get a window into my brain when I was eleven (heck, I even had the grandma who knit me sweaters and, um, absolutely no use for a “training” bra ;-). And before that, I was (okay, make that Really Wanted To Be), Nancy Drew. Too bad nobody wanted to hire a mystery-solving eight-year-old on a yellow banana seat bike…

  9. great post – fabulous stories!

  10. Karen Schwartz

    love these stories!

  11. The first character that came to mind for me was Peter Hatcher from the Fudge books. I was the oldest in my family, and a pretty serious-minded kid, which often led to exasperation with my younger sister. I had very little tolerance for antics or breaking rules, and I hated that she always got more attention than I did (or so it seemed).

    I also really related to Jill Brenner from Blubber, also by Judy Blume. She witnessed bullying, participated in it, and became a victim of it, which are all things that happened to me during fourth and fifth grade.

    I loved this post. I like thinking of the world in terms of fictional characters!

  12. Oh! I loved Anastasia Krupnik!

  13. Jennifer’s story about the tick has me cringing and laughing at the same time. Hoe very funny/gross! How very 10 year old though!