T h e B a l d w i n O n l i n e C h i l d r e n ' s L i t e r a t u r e P r o j e c t
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I, Lisa, have always loved books! As a child I treasured the few volumes I owned, reading and rereading them. A family copy of the Junior Classics was in the hall bookcase right outside my bedroom door and I spent many hours poring over the pages of those ten volumes. At Christmas I looked forward eagerly to the box of books we received from my Aunt Sarah and to the individual books presented to me by my Granny and Uncle Ralph.
Even as a young adult, I continued to be interested in children's books, but my interest blossomed when my first child was born 25 years ago. I started scouring used book stores and thrift shops for quality children's books. I eagerly devoured any book about children's books that I could find. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease introduced me to the joys of reading aloud and Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler pointed me to lots of wonderful titles for children up to the age of 5, my only frustration being that many of the books that she, as a New Zealander, recommended were not available in this country. From Babies Need Books we moved on to the titles recommended in For Reading Out Loud! by Margaret Mary Kimmel and Elizabeth Segel and finally to the books profiled in Books That Build Character by William Kilpatrick and Gregory and Suzanne Wolfe. By that time I had had two more children, so I had a chance to go back and start the whole journey over again!
When my older child was in the sixth grade, I became interested in the homeschooling movement. I was delighted to find so many wonderful books offered in the pages of the homeschooling catalogs. I was also intrigued to find that a number of older books were being reprinted for use by homeschoolers.
About that time I also began making lists of books to add to the classroom libraries of my son's 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at Emerson Waldorf School. When my younger children were in the lower grades I began working on the libraries for those classrooms too. Through this work, as well as through the reading we have done at home over the course of the last 25 years, I have learned a tremendous amount about children's literature.
One thing I have discovered is that many wonderful books for children were published at the beginning of the 20th century and the end of the 19th. Some of these books are still in print, but many are not.
A number of paths have converged to make it possible for me to share some of these books with you. First, my interest in children's books. Secondly, the software development skills I acquired in 26 years of working in the software industry. Thirdly, the advent of the internet, making it possible to locate books long out of print, and then publish them electronically.
I hope you are as excited about the possibilities of this project as I am. Those of you who are familiar with Waldorf education will notice that the grouping of books into the different grades follows the Waldorf curriculum closely. Interestingly enough, though, this same sequence was popular among many educators in the early part of the twentieth century!
Besides Waldorf education, I am also interested in the educational theories of Maria Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and Friedrich Froebel. I graduated from Cornell University in 1972 with a B.A. in Classics. I even did three years of graduate work in Classics at Cornell before I realized that I didn't love Classical Philology enough to devote my life to it. Nevertheless, I still have a fondness for the Classics and am excited by the possibilities of reviving the classical curriculum, as outlined by Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath, in their Who Killed Homer? While they dwell mostly on how Classics could be revived at the university level, I maintain that we need to start much earlier, by inculcating a love of literature in youngsters long before they reach their teenage years.
This Web Site is my answer. Thanks for your support.
I have three children, one grown, and two teenagers still at home.
Nate, a graduate of High Mowing School in Wilton, NH, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. He started out his education at a company-sponsored Montessori day care, then transferred to Emerson Waldorf School for K-8. He attended High Mowing for grades 9 to 12. When he is not working with me on preparing books for publication through Yesterday's Classics He enjoys running, cycling, and other outdoor activities.
Daniel, after attending Emerson Waldorf School for grades 1 to 5, is now a homeschooler. He is currently doing a slightly-modified Year 7 of the Ambleside Online curriculum, based on the philosophy of Charlotte Mason. He, too, attended Montessori preschool before joining the first grade at Emerson Waldorf School. He came later to reading than his siblings and was my guinea pig for the readers that I have published on this site. Because he was born three months early, he has a mild case of cerebral palsy, affecting his legs primarily. He has compensated for his physical disability by becoming a wonderful listener. Not only does he remember all the stories he hears, he can recite them almost word for word long after he has heard them. His observational skills are also strong, which stands him in good stead as he explores the natural environment.
Rebecca, after attending Emerson Waldorf School from kindergarten through grade 4, was homeschooled for three years. This year she has returned to Emerson Waldorf High School as a 9th grader. Like her siblings, she too attended company-subsidized Montessori day care before joining the Kindergarten at Emerson Waldorf School. An early reader, she has a special interest in literature, but was surprised to discover this year that she also enjoys science. She has aspirations of becoming a physician.