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Letters from Ann
To: My Fans!
From: Ann
Revisiting Main Street in an eBook

April 2013

Hello, readers!

It's been six years since the publication of the first book in the Main Street series, Welcome to Camden Falls. In that book, readers were introduced to the Northrop sisters, eleven-year old Flora and nine-year old Ruby, who lost their parents in an automobile accident five months earlier. Their maternal grandmother, Mindy Read ("Min"), temporarily left her home in Camden Falls, Massachusetts, to live with the girls so they could finish the school year in their own home. But come June, Flora and Ruby move to Min's house to begin a new life, in a new town, without their parents. They have many adjustments to make, including making new friends and attending a new school, as they settle into their home in Camden Falls.

Nine more Main Street books followed over the next few years. I've loved hearing from readers who have followed the series and become attached to the characters and to the town of Camden Falls. Until now, readers have had the option of reading the books in paperback, or listening to them in audio book format, with actress Ariadne Meyers doing an outstanding job with the narration. I'm thrilled to announce that as of April 1, readers have another way to enjoy the series, because Scholastic has released all ten Main Street books in eBook format! eBooks are a convenient way of carrying your library with you wherever you go, and I'm happy that Main Street can now find a spot on everyone's digital bookshelf.

Creating the Main Street series allowed me to write about many of my favorite things. Growing up, my mother loved two series of books by a British writer whose pen name was Miss Read. Miss Read wrote about the day-to-day lives of characters in small towns. As an adult, I discovered the books and fell in love with these characters and with the British countryside. In creating Camden Falls, I moved the setting to Massachusetts, but the essence of the small town is the same. I've also always been intrigued by orphans I've read about in literature, from the comical (Pippi Longstocking) to the serious (Jane Eyre), but I wanted to portray the challenges that Flora and Ruby face in a way that contemporary readers could relate to. And in creating Min's sewing shop, Needle and Thread, I had a lot of fun weaving my favorite pastimes — sewing, knitting, and needlework — into the storylines of the books.

I enjoyed writing each of the books in the series, but my particular favorite is #5: The Secret Book Club. At the beginning of Flora and Ruby's second summer in Camden Falls, they receive an anonymous package containing books for them and their friends, Nikki and Olivia. A letter inside says that they will receive a new package every few weeks, with another book, activities, topics for discussion, and some instructions for them to follow. I loved picking the titles for The Secret Book Club, but it was very difficult for me to whittle down a long list of childhood favorites to just five books! In the end, I chose books from different genres (historical, realistic, and fantasy), and from different time periods, including the early 1900s, the Depression era, and the 1940s.

If you're a long-time fan of the characters in Camden Falls, I hope you'll enjoy re-reading some of your favorite books in the series. And if you haven't had a chance to visit Camden Falls yet, check out Main Street at Scholastic for lots of fun activities!



P.S. Are you curious about the five books in The Secret Book Club? They are: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of N.I.M.H. by Robert O'Brien; The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright; Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor; The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars; and Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Happy reading!