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A Little Literacy, Please: The Berenstain Bears

I grew  up with the bear family who lived down Sunny Dirt Road.   Recently I located my worn collection of mama, papa, brother and sister bear and presented them to my own two daughters.  They came in handy when we were trying to get Kate to stop biting her nails (“The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit.”) as well as eat healthier, watch less television, etc.  Many of these classic titles are still around; yet the bear family has changed slightly.  I was curious, so I did a little research. 

Stan and Jan Berenstain met in art school in the 1940’s…they fell in love, married, and had two children–Leo and Mike.  Stan and his wife were already successful magazine cartoonists–their adult humor appearing in issues of Colliers, McCalls, and the Sunday Evening Post (in fact, you can even find a book on those early cartoons, “Child’s Play”). 

In 1962, the first Berenstain Bear book was published, “The Big Honey Hut.”  Later, in 1974 “Sister” was added to the family.  “Baby Honey” came along in 2000.  Talk about spacing your cubs far apart, huh?!  

Mike Berenstain, the youngest of the two “real life” brothers joined the author/illustrator duo in the late 1980’s.  It was in the mid-late 1990’s that the brand introduced Christian living books for kids, which such titles as “Doing the Right Thing,” and “Saying Prayers.”  He and his mother continue to write and illustrate Berenstain Bear stories at their couple’s Pennsylvania home.  Stan passed away in 2005 at the age of 82 years. 

All in all, there are over 300 Berenstain Bear titles–260 million in print and it doesn’t seem like they are stopping anytime soon! 

A new book called “The Bear Essentials” is now available for parents…self-esteem, weight control, etc. 

Mike Berenstain, author/illustrator of the Berenstain Bears® children’s books, will visit Chicago on June 8 & 9 to read and sign the newest titles in the Living Lights™ series:

Wednesday, June 8th, 6:00-7:00pm

Barbara’s Bookstore
1218 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60608
**Kids are invited to meet life-sized costumed characters from their favorite Berenstain Bear books and watch a drawing demonstration of the characters. This event is free and open to the public.**

Thursday, June 9th, 10:30-11:30am

Anderson’s Bookshop
123 W Jefferson Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540
**Kids are invited to meet life-sized costumed characters (Mama and Papa Bear) from their favorite Berenstain Bear books and watch a drawing demonstration of the characters. This event is free and open to the public.**

Eight new titles in Berenstain Bears® Living Lights series (Zonderkidz) include:

The Berenstain Bears’ Perfect Fishing Spot

The Berenstain Bears’ Gossip Gang

The Berenstain Bears’ Neighbor in Need

The Berenstain Bears’ Kitten Rescue

The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree

The Berenstain Bears: Let the Bible Be Your Guide

The Berenstain Bears: Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple

The Berenstain Bears Follow God’s Word

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