Jane O’Connor’s popular Fancy Nancy books are a staple of our school library, but to be honest, I had not given the fancy little girl too much thought until today – when she popped up not once, but two times!
Her first appearance was at lunch when I was reading a few pages of this week’s New Yorker profile of Jill Abramson, the new executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson is the first woman in the paper’s 160-year history to serve in that role. Fascinating story, but here’s what caught my attention – Abramson is Jane O’Connor’s sister! No wonder Abramson looks so “fancy” in the New Yorker photograph. Her sister may have been the consultant! That little tidbit made my day…but there was more.
Later in the afternoon, an teacher stopped by the library to ask for a book to introduce the idea of ancestors and family history to her 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students. I looked at a few picture books and found some good ones about family traditions and holidays, but not one that defined ancestors in an accessible way for a six or seven-year-old child. I decided to consult Amazon, and the first thing that popped up was: Fancy Nancy: My Family History. Ancestor is kind of a fancy word, isn’t it! The book is part of the HarperCollins’ I Can Read series, and the book cover says it’s a Level One. I’m not sure I agree with that – too many “fancy” words for a new reader, but it’s a perfect way to introduce ancestors to a child. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s a sweet intergenerational story that reminds readers that their grandparents began life as children.