May 9 – Happy Birthday, Eleanor Estes

Posted on May 9, 2017

Have you ever read Ginger Pye or The Hundred Dresses? Or any of the books in the Moffats series?

If so, you have already sampled the work of today's famous birthday, Eleanor Estes.

Estes, who was born Eleanor Rosenfield, lost her father when she was young. Luckily for her, she had a strong mother who loved to tell stories. Estes said that her mom had an "inexhaustible supply of songs, stories, and anecdotes, with which she would entertain us while cooking dinner." Her mom was a dressmaker to earn money for the family.

Estes grew up to be a librarian and a children's author. She married a librarian, too!

I think it is interesting to reflect on where authors get their ideas for books. Estes has said that she based the town in Connecticut in which her fictional Moffats family lives on her own hometown, and she based the Moffats family on her own.  Obviously, Estes may have been influenced by her mother's profession as she wrote the book One Hundred Dresses, but she also knew a girl in real life who was teased and bullied for being different. She didn't stand up for the girl, and she felt terribly guilty all her life about that. The book was one way to urge others to stand up against bullies.

Here is a video based on the book.

I loved drawing and designing dresses, when I was a little girl, and this story spoke to me on a bajillion different levels. 

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