Alice Blog

approximate age level appropriateness for for each of the Alice series books

Comment:

I would like to have a general idea as to the reader age level appropriateness of each of the Alice series books.
My 12 and 15 year old granddaughters and I love the Alice books but as we now about to read Alice On Her Way and others in the series that will presumably deal with more “mature” subject matter, I would like to have a general idea if and/or when I should consider putting off reading the later books until the younger of the two girls is a year or two or three older. Thanks for your help with this question and for your wonderful Alice series books that the three of us so dearly appreciate and love to talk about.

PS Do you know if there is an Alice book group in or near the Seattle area?

 

Phyllis replied:

If you go to the “Alice series” section of my website, www.phyllisnaylor.com, and click on the book you are thinking about reading next, it will tell you what grade Alice is in, in that particular book, and/or how old she is.  If the three of you are reading those books together, then select the book according to the age of your youngest granddaughter.  If your older granddaughter is reading the books on her own, she, of course, could be reading those in which  Alice is her own age.  What you may consider appropriate may differ from what I would allow my own daughter to read, if I had a daughter.  But I think you will find that Alice tries to think through each situation, and although she makes mistakes sometimes, she is genuinely close to her dad, and wants him to love and respect her.  I don’t know if there is an Alice group near Seattle, but the young adult librarian at your public library might know.

Posted on: November 18, 2017

Thank you for Alice!

Hello Phyllis (or should I call you Mrs. Naylor),

I’m a 22 year old girl living in Montgomery County, Maryland. I’m writing to you because I just got back from the library and while looking for a new book to read, I walked by the Alice series. I saw them and was transported back in time to when I was in middle school and early high school and spent my summer vacations reading ALL of the Alice books. I grew up with her and her friends (and it was easy to do so since she lived in Maryland as well, so the places she mentioned were familiar to me and made her seem more real) and I’ve pretty much forgotten how she was such a big part of my teen years, until I saw your books again at the library the other day. I decided to contact you (I hope you read this eventually) and thank you for writing those books. I read a lot growing up, but no series impacted me more than the Alice series (except maybe Harry Potter) because she and her friends went through and talked about the things that my parents and I weren’t comfortable discussing. I’m Korean American and was born in South Korea but moved to Maryland when I was six years old. While I’m extremely proud of my heritage, the honest truth is that I am culturally American simply because I grew up here. However, my parents are still very much Korean and our culture has somewhat of a stigma against discussing things like sex, crushes, and basically everything that girls experience while going through puberty, so I didn’t have someone I could turn to if I wanted to talk about anything like that. Of course, I had my friends, but I still didn’t feel like I had anyone I could completely trust and confide in, because you know how teenage girls can be. I even started writing myself, typing journal entries into my computer every now and then to get some of my thoughts organized, and part of this was inspired by your books because of the way Alice was so introspective at times. Reading the Alice books reassured me that the things I was feeling were totally normal, and helped me go through somewhat of a normal “American” puberty process in a household that was less than understanding about it. All of my friends were white and didn’t understand the idea of a cultural gap between someone and their parents. I’m so glad I decided to check out your books 10 years ago and I will be sure to recommend Alice to my children someday.

Sorry if that was too long to read and/or poorly written, but I’ve been meaning to send you a message thanking you and finally had some time to do it today. I hope you have a great Halloween/Thanksgiving/rest of 2017!

Phyllis commented:

Many young women have written to me expressing similar feelings, and I’m so happy I helped you feel better about yourself.  I can remember worrying about a number of things when I was entering junior high and high school, and didn’t feel comfortable bringing them up with my mother or sister. We always feel like we are the only ones to feel a certain way about ourselves and our lives.  Thank you so much for writing to me.

Posted on: November 4, 2017

A big thank you from Germany

Comment:

I’m 23 years old and I’m from Germany. I don’t have a question regarding your work or anything, I just wanted to tell you how awesome your work is. I’ve started reading Alice when I was 8 years old, when I received one of the first books of the series as a gift. And then I got a new book every christmas. I grew up with Alice and she taught me, that I’m not alone with my problems and my worries growing up. Every other children’s or teen book is about girls or boys who have something special about them. But Alice was so refreshingly normal. She wasn’t the prettiest of her friends like Pamela, she wasn’t as prude as Elizabeth (in the beginning), or didn’t have obvious talents. Though I’m sure (and I know) that her friends had their own problems, Alice was always the one who saw herself as normal and not special, even though she is. Losing her mother was hard for her, but that just led her to even searching more for her true self and her own values.
She was the one I could identify with, she made the same experiences I did, and went through the same problems I had.
Mrs Naylor, thank you for your work, for showing me I am normal, and for encouraging me to be myself.

Phyllis replied:

It was so wonderful to hear from you.  We are all special in that there is only one of us in the billions of people in this world, but we don’t have to have a special ability in order for someone to love us and for us to like ourselves.  I think the happiest people are those who accept themselves, and others, for who they really are.  I’m so glad that the Alice books were meaningful to you.

Posted on: November 4, 2017

Puberty in a South Korean culture

Comment:

I’m a 22 year old girl living in Montgomery County, Maryland. I’m writing to you because I just got back from the library and while looking for a new book to read, I walked by the Alice series. I saw them and was transported back in time to when I was in middle school and early high school and spent my summer vacations reading ALL of the Alice books. I grew up with her and her friends (and it was easy to do so since she lived in Maryland as well, so the places she mentioned were familiar to me and made her seem more real) and I’ve pretty much forgotten how she was such a big part of my teen years, until I saw your books again at the library the other day. I decided to contact you (I hope you read this eventually) and thank you for writing those books. I read a lot growing up, but no series impacted me more than the Alice series (except maybe Harry Potter) because she and her friends went through and talked about the things that my parents and I weren’t comfortable discussing. I’m Korean American and was born in South Korea but moved to Maryland when I was six years old. While I’m extremely proud of my heritage, the honest truth is that I am culturally American simply because I grew up here. However, my parents are still very much Korean and our culture has somewhat of a stigma against discussing things like sex, crushes, and basically everything that girls experience while going through puberty, so I didn’t have someone I could turn to if I wanted to talk about anything like that. Of course, I had my friends, but I still didn’t feel like I had anyone I could completely trust and confide in, because you know how teenage girls can be. I even started writing myself, typing journal entries into my computer every now and then to get some of my thoughts organized, and part of this was inspired by your books because of the way Alice was so introspective at times. Reading the Alice books reassured me that the things I was feeling were totally normal, and helped me go through somewhat of a normal “American” puberty process in a household that was less than understanding about it. All of my friends were white and didn’t understand the idea of a cultural gap between someone and their parents. I’m so glad I decided to check out your books 10 years ago and I will be sure to recommend Alice to my children someday.

Phyllis replied:

Thank you so much for your wonderful email.  I know it will be helpful to a number of girls.  I think you might find, however, that you don’t have to be from another culture to feel that there are many things you can’t bring up with your parents.  Many, many American mothers are uncomfortable talking about certain things with their daughters, and vice versa.  From letters I receive, parents sometimes answer questions by saying, “Why do you want to know?” or “You’re too young to know,” or “Why are you even thinking about this?”  I remember asking  questions of my mother when I was nine or ten, and she answered as honestly as she could, and I’ve always appreciated that.  But when I was a teen, she initiated a couple of topics, perhaps hoping I would discuss them with her, but I was too embarrassed myself.  I’m so very glad that the books helped you.

Posted on: October 25, 2017

Pamela or Elizabeth?

Comment:

Between Elizabeth and Pamela,  which do you think would have come closest to being a lead character if Alice weren’t the lead? Of the two, based on the back stories you gave them, who would have been a closer second for protagonist? Note, I’m not asking you to write another series from one of  their points of view, I’m just curious which would have been a closer choice for protagonist if it wasn’t Alice

Phyllis replied:

Interesting question.  I would probably choose Pamela, just because there was more drama in her life.  Elizabeth’s was more subdued, but the two together, with Alice in the mix, made a great trio.

Posted on: October 17, 2017

age appropriate books

Comment:

i have many books that belong to my now adult daughter that can be given to my nieces who are 10 and 14. can we send them all?
thanks

Phyllis replied:

You didn’t tell me what books you’re referring to, so I can only guess they were some of the 28 books of the Alice series.  It took me 28 years to write them, one book per year, so obviously I can’t go back and read them all to see what book included what topic.  If I were a mother, I would let my 14 year old daughter read them all, but I would check the publication dates and have her begin with the earliest, as Alice grows older in each book.  I would allow my 10 year-old daughter to begin with the earliest books, and I would be prepared–and let her know that I was–to answer any questions at all that she might have about her body, about sexual intercourse, about religion, about death…..   The books are realistic, some are sad mixed in with happy, some are very funny…  But I can tell you that not a week goes by that I don’t hear from young women telling me that they grew up with Alice, that they learned things they were afraid to ask, that they helped them become more sympathetic with others, and more confident in themselves.

 

Posted on: October 12, 2017

Thank you for Alice

Comment:

I started reading the Alice books when I was 12 (I’m currently 23). Growing up with these books felt like I was growing up with Alice. They helped me through some tough times and were a HUGE part of my childhood (and my teenage years). I hope to have a little girl someday so that I can pass down this wonderful series to her. Thank you so much!!

Phyllis replied:

I hear this so often, and am so happy that they were a part of your childhood.  Thank you for telling me so.

Posted on: October 9, 2017

Thank you for an amazing childhood!

Comment:

I am writing to you not only because I want to thank you for writing such amazing books based off a girl we can all relate to but because I was wondering if in the near future you would write any more Alice McKinley books? This series definitely touched me in more ways than one because I can relate to most of what Alice has undergone throughout the whole series. All of those awkward questions thatAlice had, were the very same exact ones that I had when I was around her age too. I grew up reading the Alice book series and along with her, I matured into a young adult. Rather than seeing her as a fictional character I see her as one of my close friends which is why I would love if you would write ore books based off of her. The Alice series have touched millions of girls’ lives because we all undergo the awkward stages of our teenage years and we also always had questions regarding our bodies. Thank you so much for writing such amazing books!

Phyllis replied:

Thank you so much for your email.  I’m just delighted that they meant so much to  you.  I think that no matter how close we feel to sisters, friends or mothers, there are often just questions that we don’t want to ask of anyone; they are just too private.  And I’m pleased that readers react so well to them.  I really believe that I have ended the Alice series where I did.  I’m not sure the readership would have followed Alice into her sixties and seventies, but I appreciate your loving the books that much to suggest it.

Posted on: September 23, 2017

Advice for Life?

Comment:

I loved reading your Alice McKinley series because I can relate with Alice so much and I would like to say thank you for writing this series. I would also like to ask if you could give me the best advice that you have for life because I would really enjoy what you have to say. Thank you for making my reading experience with Alice an amazing one and I appreciate your advice if you do give me one and if not I still appreciate you!

Phyllis replied:

Advice for your whole life?  Nobody has that much wisdom; we can only offer what has worked for us and what we have observed in others.  But here are a few things I find helpful:  Don’t sweat the little things.  Learn to distinguish between the things that are really important and those that aren’t, and save your energy for the big things.  Be honest about who you are and what you want.  Don’t try to transform yourself into whatever group you are with.  And remember that whatever problem you are having, whatever embarrassing thing you have said or done, other people have experienced something similar.  These are things that will help you not only be more accepting of other people but will make you more comfortable with yourself.

Posted on: September 16, 2017

Alice McKinley

I had answered long ago on my blog.  Sorry.  Alice wasn’t gay because that wasn’t her character.  Her friends Leslie and Lori were gay.

Posted on: September 12, 2017

 

Twitter Phyllis on Twitter Blog Alice's Blog Facebook Phyllis on Facebook