While I was working on a manuscript that you could call an “absurd romp” for aesthetic shorthand, the founder of Inked Voices, a terrific writing community, pointed me to Aaron Reynolds and Emma Reynold’s RESCUING MRS. BIRDLEY. Count me forever grateful.
TL;DR (not that you’d do that!): When Miranda sees her classroom teacher outside of her “natural habitat,” she’s delighted and determined to use the skills she’s gleaned from watching a beloved nature show to rescue her teacher and return her to school. Of course, her whole premise is wrong. Hijinks ensue.
Being true to yourself and change are not necessarily at odds. But I often feel conflicted about change in PBs. So often, it’s the moralizing piece. So often it happens so, so quickly – like, most change takes a lifetime, amiright? – and I think there is often an impetus in PBs that goes something like this – the MC needs to change to become their best selves—more resilient, more tenacious, kinder, more observant.
That’s all well and good (I think I think), but I deeply believe “don’t change, stay your truest self” is a more radical message. Maybe what I really want to say is just this: Sometimes being wrong, really wrong, is the absolute best right. It’s gleeful, self-assured, joyful, and validating. Young readers sit up and take notice and, in our limited one-house study, the books are a form of ear-candy, like a pop song on repeat. The kids are alright. And, damn it, we love them any which way.