Monday, August 4, 2008

The Books I Wouldn't Sell, Part 1

Books in Winter by Jessie Wilcox-Smith
Books in Winter

When we moved last summer, we ended up with two storage units full of stuff. Last fall, we pared down to one unit, overloading the nearest Goodwill store in the process. Forced to reduce my mountain of books, I pulled all the ones that were easiest to give up but kept my favorites from 20 years of homeschooling.

This spring, I went back to the storage unit for the first time in months and became completely depressed at how much stuff we still had. I decided I needed to be more ruthless about paring down our library. I went through all of the remaining books one more time, removing many wonderful books that I forced myself to admit I could give up.

One of my summer projects this year was to post those books to a blog called Used Homeschooling Books. It was a great success. Most, though not all, of the books have sold. The rest are still for sale there, in case you feel like browsing.

As for my favorites, some are back on my bookshelves, and the rest are in boxes here at the house, not in the storage unit. I want them to be where I can get at them.

Why am I saving them? Well, you never know, some of my grandkids (none of whom have arrived yet, of course, but I like to plan ahead) might be homeschooled and their parents might want these books. And even if my future grandchildren aren't homeschooled, we'll need some good books to read together when they come to visit.

So I want to share some of these titles with you, because we booklovers like to recommend good books to our friends.

The Eloise Wilkin Treasury is so beautifully illustrated. I love the way she depicts small children. We also have many of the Little Golden Books she illustrated, including my youngest son's favorite, We Help Mommy .

I'll bet I've read The Seven Silly Eaters aloud to my youngest son at least a hundred times. He likes the silly story and the cadence, while I just love (I know it sounds ridiculous) the house the family lives in. Illustrator Marla Frazee has captured my dream house in a dream location, which is why reading this book to my son is never a chore for me.

Like many homeschoolers, we enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series. One of the versions I kept, Little House on the Prairie: Deluxe Edition (Little House), is particularly pretty, with beautiful borders and a nice hardbound cover.

Along the same vein, A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 is such a lovely book that I couldn't give it up. Each of my older kids went through a "pioneer" phase when they were younger, and books like this really helped them imagine what it was like back then.

History comes alive when you give your kids good historical fiction. Some of our favorites have included Matchlock Gun, Diary of an Early American Boy: Noah Blake 1805 (Dover Books on Americana), and anything by the D'Aulaires, particularly Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln.

A curriculum we loved, Literature Approach to Geography (History Through Literature), introduced us to the works of Holling Clancy Holling. We added the Holling Geography Map Packto the mix, along with Pagoo, Tree in the Trail, Paddle-to-the-Sea (Sandpiper Books) and my daughter's favorite, Minn of the Mississippi, and we not only had a wonderful learning experience, but discovered four books we now love too much to give up!

When I was a child, I inhaled every book of the Childhood of Famous American series in our school library. Once I found out they were still available when I had children, I bought quite a few of them. We're keeping them all, of course. The kids' favorites included Paul Revere: Boston Patriot (Childhood of Famous Americans Series.), Amelia Earhart: Young Aviator (Childhood of Famous Americans), Teddy Roosevelt: Young Rough Rider (Childhood of Famous Americans) and Ronald Reagan: Young Leader (Childhood of Famous Americans). My own personal favorite was Betsy Ross: Designer of Our Flag (Childhood of Famous Americans (Sagebrush)), a book I received on my sixth birthday and which I still own.

Wow, this post is getting kind of long, and I still have quite a few books to write about. I think I'll save the rest for the next post.


Marbel said...

Oh oh oh, you named some of our favorites! We will never, ever get rid of the The Seven Silly Eaters! And we are just about to start the geography study with the Hollings books, looking forward to getting into that!

Barbara Frank said...

Wow, Marbel, you know that book! We love it. And you and your family are going to love the Hollings books. My dd17 begged me not to get rid of them, but there was never any chance of that happening :)

Renae said...

Love the Matchlock Gun! My husband and I reread it. Other favorites include The Apple and the Arrow and Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin.

Thanks for sharing your favorites. I'll probably have to expand my wishlist now. :D