Baldwin’s stories are highly anecdotal in nature, and many have a gentle moral. They do not tell complete histories or biographies, but usually only touch upon a single anecdote in a famous person’s life. For example, the stories of “Columbus and the Egg”, and “Bruce and the Spider”, tell only of a single incident in the lives of these famous characters, but at a level of great interest to a young reader. The stories are selected to lay the foundation for broader studies, since nearly all are alluded to frequently in literary, as well as historical works.
Category Archive: Authors
The story of Magellan’s voyage around the world is one of almost uninterrupted adventure and peril. His men faced harrowing hardships, storms, mutiny, disease, starvation, sunstroke, shipwreck, cowardice and desertion, treachery, savage warfare, and vicious national jealousies. Yet at great cost they prevailed over all obstacles and after three year’s one of Magellan’s ships returned to Spain with only 18 of the 250 who set forth. This book follows one of the greatest adventure stories of all time and introduces dozens of fascinating indigenous peoples the Spanish encountered in their voyages.
Alfred Church is especially gifted at exciting a real interest in classics for the intermediate student. He does not write introductory histories, in the style of Guerber, or Macgregor, but rather, he writes for junior or senior high school students who are already familiar with the basics of Ancient history, but would like a more in depth knowledge of these areas, without having to tackle college-level classics. Church’s works are full of fascinating details that introductory texts leave out, and they inspire an abiding interest in the ancients.
One of our favorite biographical series is Eva March Tappan’s Makers of England series. This series introduces middle school aged students to the lives of four fascinating kings and queens and each book is entertaining and fast moving.
In all four books, the author emphasizes the childhood and education of the monarch, rather than dwelling on the political events of their reign. In this way the author introduces the reader to the world in which each of her heroes grows to manhood or womanhood. The heroes’ relationships with their parents and tutors, the customs of their society, and the ideas which guided the education of well-brought up children of their age are all explored.
James Otis, author of the Colonial Children’s series has an extraordinary ability to weave complex characters and communicate vivid images with exceedingly few words. The series was written to appeal to very young readers, and features short chapters, simple sentences, and an illustration on nearly every page. The books can be read by novice readers, yet the stories are rich with character development, drama, and fascinating observations.
Robert Van Bergen was one of the first American scholars to study in Japan after its opening to foreigners in the 1860’s. In addition to mastering Japanese and other oriental languages, he taught English to the Japanese and was personally known to many of the revolutionary statesmen of Japan who transformed the country from a feudal empire, with medieval customs to one of the most advanced technological countries in the world in only a single generation.
Paul du Chaillu’s “Stories of the Gorilla Country” series tell the humorous and hair-raising story of the earliest American explorer of equatorial Africa. It has all of the attractions of a good Tarzan style adventure story, combined with the reflective philosophy of Robinson Crusoe. It differs from both of these however, in that it is the true account of the first American explorer to live among the interior African tribes of Equatorial Africa for an extended period of time. . .