My name’s Emily Berenstain, I’m the granddaughter of Stan and Jan Berenstain, and the daughter of Michael Berenstain. I wanted to take a minute to clear up a few things about the books and debunk some myths about our last name.
People have questioned the pronunciation of my last name since I can remember. It’s not a name you hear every day.
Many people would ask me, “It’s BerenstEIN, like the Bears right?” to which I would respond “No it’s actually BerenstAIN, like the Bears”. It was never a big deal when people got it wrong, I would just chuckle and correct them, a simple mistake. But then this last summer for some reason the fact that our name was spelled “Berenstain” and not “stein” got brought up again and again and people took to the internet in frenzy!
It was pretty funny at first, seeing how upset people were that they had remembered the Bear Books incorrectly. “It’s Berenstain? Not Berenstein? My whole childhood is a lie!” I remember seeing someone’s comment on Facebook. Everyone started asking me about it, friends of friends, coworkers, long lost classmates from elementary school. It was getting kind of crazy! The internet presence grew and grew until it was trending on Facebook! Even a few celebrities commented on Twitter about it.
Some people would not accept the fact that they had been pronouncing the name incorrectly for so long. I even saw pictures online where people photo shopped the name to “Berenstein”, it was ridiculous! There were many different theories circulating the internet about our name, some believed we changed the spelling on purpose (why on earth would we do that?), and then a few believed in the Mandela effect. According to the Mandela effect, a parallel universe exists aside of ours where the books are indeed spelled “Berenstein”. My response to that theory is, who knows maybe there is another universe, who am I to say there isn’t? But in this universe, the Bears are and have always been the Berenstain Bears.