Saturday, January 14, 2012

American History

American History 

Recommended Books from Young Years Library: Mother's Guide to Children's Reading by Rachele Thomas, Parents' Magazine's Press, 1963. {LOC 63-15865}

Young Years Library was a five or 10-volume anthology of reading material for children. The product evolved over the years, but generally it was sold direct to parents who wanted to provide an educational or literary advantage to their children. Many of the great children's librarians of the day were involved, including the pioneering Augusta Braxton Baxter. My copy, published in 1963, includes a 72-page list of recommended books for various ages and stages. To my eye, many of these books have long since been forgotten, not least because of the revolution in children's literature that took place following the publication that year of Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. I'll be transcribing the sections of the Mother's Guide to Children's Reading reading list, one by one, in hopes of providing a starting point for modern mamas looking to explore more unusual, likely out-of-print book suggestions, beyond those usually included in generally available contemporary reading prescriptions. Copyright, of course, remains with Home Library Press.


For the Youngest

And There Was America, by Roger Duvoisin, illustrated by the author. Knopf.
Pictures and simple text tell the story of the discovery of America.

Land of the Free, by Enid L. Meadowcroft, illustrated by Lee Ames. Crowell.
American history nicely simplified in the form of episodes understandable to young people.

The Thanksgiving Story, by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Helen Sewell. Scribner.
A Pilgrim family sails to the New World, participates in the founding of Plymouth, and celebrates the first Thanksgiving. A holiday companion book by the same author:
     The Fourth of July Story

For the Nine-to-Twelve-Year-Olds

Abraham Lincoln, by Ingri and Edgar P. d'Aulaire, illustrated by the authors. Doubleday.
A moving story of Abe Lincoln's life, beginning with his boyhood. A Caldecott Medal winner. Other excellent biographies by the d'Aulaires of illustrious men and women in American history:
     Buffalo Bill
     George Washington
     Benjamin Franklin

America: A History for Peter, by Gerald W. Johnson, illustrated by Leonard Fisher. Morrow. American history in a brilliant trilogy:
     America Is Born

A fine introduction to early American history.

Childhood of Famous Americans Series. Bobbs.
This series consists of fictionalized biographies of the important episodes in the childhood of outstanding Americans. The more popular books in the series are:
     Dan Beard: Boy Scout, by Miriam E. Mason
     Buffalo Bill: Boy of the Plains, by Augusta Stevenson
     Daniel Boone: Boy Hunter, by Augusta Stevenson
     Kit Carson: Boy Trapper, by Augusta Stevenson
     George Carver: Boy Scientist, by Augusta Stevenson
     Tom Edison: Boy Inventor, by Sue Guthridge
     Henry Ford: Boy With Ideas, by Hazel B. Aird and Catherine Ruddiman
     Nathan Hale: Puritan Boy, by Augusta Stevenson
     Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: Boy of Justice, by Montrew Dunham
     Cyrus McCormick: Farmer Boy, by Lavinia Dobler
     James Monroe: Good Neighbor Boy, by Mabel C. Widemer
     Paul Revere: Boy of Old Boston, by Augusta Stevenson
     Pocahontas: Brave Girl, by Flora W. Seymour
     Sacagawea: Bird Girl, by Flora W. Seymour
     Sitting Bull: Dakota Boy, by Augusta Stevenson
     Booker T. Washington: Ambitious Boy, by Augusta Stevenson
     Wilbur and Orville Wright: Boys With Wings, by Augusta Stevenson

The Columbus Story, by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Leo Politi. Scribner.
A good biography of the great explorer.

Stirring biography full of hair-raising adventures.

Frontier Living: An Illustrated Guide to Pioneer Life in America, by Edwin Tunis. World.
Life as it was lived on the American frontier. Other good historical portrayals by the same author:

The first of an excellent series of initial biographies of American Presidents. Others are:
     Abraham Lincoln

Authentic facts about the Indian tribes whose territory centered in the State of New York, imaginatively presented. Others in the Indian tribe series by Sonia Bleeker:

Minutemen of the Sea, by Tom Cluff, illustrated by Tom O'Sullivan. Follett.
Five days before the battle of Bunker Hill, a British ship was captured of the coast of Maine by the townspeople of Machias. And thus was the first blow struck for American liberty upon the sea. This is the story of a little-known event in the early days of the American Revolution.

A remarkable biography for young people of a very remarkable man. Other fine biographies of illustrious Americans by the same author.

Excellent biographical accounts of the political leaders of our country.

Story of the Totem Pole, by Ruth Brindze, illustrated by Yeffe Kimball. Vanguard.
The fascinating symbolism and history of the totem poles of the North American Indians.

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