The timeless stories of a precocious little girl and her friends growing up in the 1960s. Follow Becky Chalmers in a series of humorous adventures. The first four books are picture books, beautifully illustrated by Linda E. Jones. Then, watch the crew move on to middle school in Becky Chalmers Beautified and Becky Likes Boys.
Diane Campbell Green
Author of The Becky Chalmers Series
About The Author
After completing college and attending graduate school, author Diane Campbell Green’s thought was to someday write history books. She didn’t know at the time that it was her own history that she was meant to share through her beautiful works of fiction.
A child of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Diane had a wonderful childhood growing up in the Delaware River town of Yardley, Pennsylvania. Her memories of lazy summers playing outside, peashooters, and paper airplanes, fishing trips and kickball games inspired her to write children’s stories, including her newest, Becky Chalmers Beautified, a precious coming of age story about an eleven-year-old girl finding her place in the world in the ‘60s, for early middle-grade readers.
Diane’s Becky Chalmers series first originated from her own childhood adventures. She hopes her young readers will come away from her books learning what it was like to grow up in a national period of peace and prosperity and with a sense of inner faith and self-confidence that lasts long after the book is closed.
When she isn’t writing poignant stories for young readers, Diane enjoys taking walks with her husband, visiting with her son, reading, and completing jigsaw puzzles. She currently lives in the sponge capital of Florida, Tarpon Springs.
Becky Likes Boys
Becky Chalmers is growing up in the sixties. Face powder hides freckles. Life is Pop Stars and Teen Magazines. And there are the Boys; David, the American Dragon, Scotty, Big and Clumsy, Juan Carlos, Becky’s Crush.
Becky Chalmers Beautified
On the cusp of her eleventh birthday, young Becky Chalmers is straddling childhood and growing up as she navigates the world of the 1960s in her idyllic hometown of Yardley, Pennsylvania. Whether it’s making new friends, her first kiss, or learning what true beauty entails, this spirited girl is an “everygirl,” finding an inner faith and self-confidence that young readers will relate to.
In Becky Chalmers Beautified, young readers follow Becky through her carefree days as she learns about herself and the world she lives in. Whether it’s the bond with her best friend Sharon being put to the test when she moves away, finding comfort in community during a Christmas Eve bonfire outing following President Kennedy’s assassination, or making a wise friend in an unlikely stranger named Mr. O-Angel outside her library, Becky’s experiences have lasting meaning.
When Becky’s eleventh birthday nears, she tells her mother she doesn’t want a doll or toy. She wants something that will make her beautiful. Becky and her friends’ efforts include staining their lips with red M&Ms, dousing in perfume, and painting their nails. When a chance encounter during a snowy walking trip to the grocery store has Becky helping a cold and frightened little girl, Becky learns that beauty comes from within—from her kind and gentle heart.
Reminiscent of beloved characters such as Ramona Quimby and Scout Finch of a bygone children’s book era, Becky Chalmers Beautified exudes the emotional appeal of a childhood of the ‘60s with the modern strength and vigor of girl storybook characters today. The book provides middle-grade readers with an eloquent story that will stand the test of time, a true classic in the making.
I’d Rather Be a Kid signed, Becky Chalmers
Becky Chalmers and Friends are back. It’s 1963, more characters are introduced. Little sister Susie becomes part of Becky’s crew. All are infatuated with Sally Star the television cowgirl. Cousin Sandy is introduced. She is as fearless as Becky herself. The neighborhood moms have a disagreement over the party line. Scotty Cadwallader, the biggest second grader, gets “managed” by Becky and friends. Cousin Eric, Becky’s favorite cousin takes Becky horseback riding. And Gramma and Pop-pops bring Becky and cousin Sandy to New York City. Becky gets a taste of adulthood when she is given chores—thus, “I’d Rather Be a Kid, signed Becky Chalmers.
Goats and Ginger Ale Floats
I’m in the third grade at Yardley Elementary School. My sister-friend, Sharon, my twin brothers and baby sister live in this quiet little town in the Delaware Valley. There are other people here like mean-old Mrs. Pincher, my favorite boy-friend, David, Colonel Belleview, a war hero, and the biggest first-grader you ever saw named Scotty Cadwallader. Someday I’m going to grow up. It’s hard to know exactly when you’re a grown-up, so I told some stories and made a list of signs so you can measure your own growing up.
The Sparkling Adventures of Becky and Friends
Introducing me, Becky Chalmers. I am eight years old and I live on Cadwallader Court in Yardley, Pennsylvania. It’s the 1960s. Jimmy, Billy, Sharon and I, and a few other friends, travel around Yardley having adventures. We don’t always do the right thing and sometimes we do the exactly wrong thing, but we have some great fun.
The Sparkling Adventures of Becky and Friends is the second book in a series. The first, Santa and the Cotton Tree is a 2020 Royal Dragonfly Award winner.
Santa and the Cotton Tree
It’s Christmas Eve day, 1963, in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Eight-year-old Becky Chalmers leads her three younger siblings on a journey to introduce baby Susie to Santa. At home her father is creating a magical cotton tree and her mother is preparing for the Christmas Day celebration. The story takes the reader back to a simpler time when a child’s freedom to explore the world was almost unlimited. Travel with the Chalmers kids to “Santa’s House” and wake up with the whole family together for a magical Christmas.
“Becky Likes Boys is the sixth book in the Becky Chalmers series for advanced elementary to middle grade readers. Like its predecessors, Becky's 1960s life is revealed with a close attention to contrasting Becky's experiences, perspective, and coming of age with the cultural and social milieu of the '60s. This makes for the perfect choice for modern young readers who would learn about this period of time and the forces affecting its young people.
The story opens with Becky and her sister-friend Sharon discussing the elementary school's spring dance, which will be their first.
Diane Campbell Green does a fine job of both introducing the adults in Becky's life and adding their perspectives to Becky's world: "In the Chalmers household, Becky’s mom, Jackie, focused on her daughter’s first dance. Jackie was ready to launch Becky, her oldest child, into the grown-up world of school dances. After all, Jackie had met Jim when they were both nine-years-old."
While, at times, an adult reader might wonder at points of authenticity (in the '60s, adults were seldom identified by their first names, by children), one can argue that, for the sake of relevance to modern young readers and their experiences, any slight adjustments such as this make the story more accessible and realistic to modern audiences (today, many adults are known to children by their first names).
As Becky faces the "bumps and curves" of a maturing body and the mental changes that lend new interest to different relationships with boys and their potential for change, readers receive a realistic portrait of a girl facing physical and emotional maturity challenges in nearly every aspect of her life.
Realistic dialogues capture not just peer interactions, but shared family experiences. Adversity is portrayed as an obstacle that introduces creative thinking; especially one Christmas when first the oven, then the power, go out on the cusp of the biggest entertainment day of the year:
“It’s nice to be inside and with family on Christmas Eve,” Jackie said.
Overnight, ‘nice’ turned to worry; then to catastrophe. When Jackie checked the turkey an hour after putting it into the oven on Christmas morning, it was as raw as when it first went in. The oven was simply not working. Jackie panicked turning to her husband, “Jim, what am I going to do? I have a dozen people to feed this afternoon.”
“Becky,” Daddy said, “go tell Mrs. Edwards our oven is not heating up. We can’t cook anything here.”
Becky slid on the ice, covered now with a thick layer of snow. At the Edwards house she gave the message to Pat. Right at that moment, all of Cadwallader Court lost power when a tree, heavy with ice and snow snapped the last of the working power lines. The adults huddled.
From its title, readers might anticipate a story replete with boy-crazy dilemmas, but there's much more going on than boys alone.
Through various shared experiences and questions about school, boys, changing friendship, and new ventures, Becky receives life lessons that set the stage for growth and opportunity.
Green brings Becky and her world to life. Libraries seeking stories rooted in the milieu of the 1960s will welcome yet another exploration that brings these times and this girl to modern audiences as it explores how enemies become friends and individuals from disparate experiences (even boys and girls) learn to connect with one another in new ways.”Diane Donovan (Becky Like Boys)
“"Becky Likes Boys" begins with awkward moments at Becky Chalmers' first dance. She and her Asian friend, David, talk about dreams of travelling and college. These are heavy thoughts for Becky who decides to focus on her fun-filled todays. A Christmas celebration is almost ruined by an ice storm. Becky, Scotty Cadwallader, and a new friend, Hayley, attempt to thwart a mean girl's plans and persuade her to try kindness. The stage is set for crush to appear.
In cutoff jeans, a ratty, old T-shirt, and sneakers with holes in the toes, Becky meets her first love. Jackie Chalmers, Becky's mother is asked to describe what love feels like. "Yup, I'm in love," Becky says. Oblivious of those around them, Becky and her crush become close until an unexpected event changes everything. Becky suffers—an old friend's presence revives the hope in her heart.
Becky Chalmers' story is a compelling one. Although set in the 1960s, all contemporary preteens and teens will personally identify with the situations and emotions of the characters. "Becky Likes Boys" ends with a twist and a promise.
Set in Yardley, Pennsylvania during the 1960s, Becky Likes Boys spans roughly two years in the life of young Becky Chalmers in this delightful and heartfelt novel about family, faith, friendship, and discovery.
Sensitive and thoughtful, Becky encounters all kinds of situations, questions, and relationships as she navigates her way through the final days of elementary school into the uncertain and turbulent waters of Charles Boehm Junior High. Along the way we meet several memorable characters. These include Sharon, Becky’s “sister-friend” and trusted confidante; Scotty Cadwallader, who’s convinced he’s her boyfriend; David Yong, “American Dragon;” and her new heart throb, Juan Carlos.
When Becky meets David Yong, they have a discussion about the future and college. David’s parents are saving up to send him to college. He dreams of being an engineer like his dad. Becky isn’t exactly sold on the idea of college. She likes Yardley and doesn’t want to leave. But she also loves history, so maybe…?
When Becky gets to junior high, she finds herself in the crosshairs of the meanest girl in school, Meg. When Meg cooks up a plan to frame Becky for cheating on a math test, an unexpected turn of events takes place and then… Oh, wait. To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the book yourself.
There’s also the high dive at swim club. Summer camp. Face powder. Go-go boots. “Keep your peace.” Bazooka bubble gum. The Gettysburg Address. Mr. O-Angel. Tostones. The Beatles and forty-five records. Mary Janes. A Dodge Dart station wagon and a Rambler. Cupcakes! “The Temperamental Madame Queen.” And some unexpected plot twists.
There’s something rich and warm about the writing that makes it almost incandescent. Like turning on a light in a darkened room. The author expertly captures the swirling and ever-changing emotions of preteens and young teens as well as their anxieties, uncertainties, hopes and dreams. The bittersweet experience of leaving one’s childhood behind on the road to maturity will resonate with many.
The writing is skilled and supple. You can almost smell the newly-mowed hay wafting through the open car windows. Taste the Christmas turkey and Becky’s date-walnut-sugar treats. Feel the wind whipping over the snow during a Christmas sleigh ride.
In terms of structure, each chapter glides effortlessly into the next as the story unfolds and readers get to know more about Becky and her friends and family. The introduction to Becky’s great-great grandfather is masterful. So is this gently faith-flavored story of family, togetherness, kindness, community, friendship, shared hurts, and grace.
Sturdy writing, crisp characterizations and a briskly paced plot will appeal to this book’s target audience of preteens and teens. Although perhaps a bit abrupt, the ending opens the door for a smooth sail into the next book in the series.
Becky Likes Boys is Book #6 in the Becky Chalmers Books series. Reading the prior books in this series may be helpful but is not imperative. At just under one hundred pages, Becky Likes Boys can be read as a stand-alone.
Evocative, uplifting and effervescent, Becky Likes Boys is as welcome and refreshing as a cup of cold water on a hot August afternoon. It will leave you wanting more.”Kristine L (Becky Likes Boys)
“This memorable Christmas story demonstrates the love between families and that the simple things in life are often the best and the most meaningful.”Santa and the Cotton Tree:
“Highly recommended for a warm, cozy, and memorable holiday read.”Santa and the Cotton Tree
“A touching tale of a girl named Becky.”The Sparkling Adventures of Becky and Friends
“A book of childhood wonder, written ever so eloquently by Diane Campbell Green”The Sparkling Adventures of Becky and Friends
“Ideal stories for families to read aloud and discuss, or just laugh at the misadventures of Becky Chalmers”Goats and Ginger Ale Floats Becky and Friends
“[Diane Campbell Green] writes in a very easy-to-read style and her descriptions of the events and reactions to them give life to her characters.”The Sparkling Adventures of Becky and Friends
“Indeed, it’s not a bad idea to have a copy of I’d Rather Be a Kid in the house. Children sure have a lot to learn from this amazing storybook.”I’d Rather Be a Kid signed, Becky Chalmers