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Link Librarian

by Gayla Thorsen


And the winner of last issue's book giveaway is (drum roll, please) Sherri of California! Sherri won for her list of classics of Women In History. Congratulations, Sherri and a big 'Thank you' to everyone who entered the giveaway. Keep reading for your chance to win the next Link Librarian book giveaway!

Our topic this issue is the classics. One note of caution: Many of the classics have strong themes and situations that may not be suitable for young children. Please review any book listed before placing in your children's hands.

Now, what exactly is a classic? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a classic is a work of enduring excellence, something notable as the best example. The classics have stood the test of time.

Which book is the number one classic? The Bible. It is the best seller of all time, yet it was completed almost 2,000 years ago! The Bible is available in over 2,100 languages and dialects.

As the World Book Encyclopedia tells us - "The Bible is the most widely read book in history . . . The Bible has also been translated more times and into more languages than any other book." Impressive!

Now, see which ones you've read from the following list. If it's been awhile since you've read your favorites, check them out of the library again and read them with your children. It's fun (and nostalgic) for the kids to know that you read the same books when you were their age.

"Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This was Ms. Montgomery's first book which she sets in her homeland of Prince Edward Island, (PEI) Canada. The author wrote 24 books, more than 500 short stories and many poems. She was a journalist and teacher as well. If you visit PEI, be sure to see the author's house.

"Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell. The author was so upset by how mean people were to horses that she spent the last years of her life writing this book. She hoped it would change the way people treated animals, and I think it did. Anna Sewell was crippled in an accident at the age of 14 and needed horses to get around. She lived from 1820 to 1878, when they were the main mode of transportation. A movie based upon this book is also available.

Who hasn't heard of the "Little House on the Prairie" books? But, did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder did not begin writing her stories until she was 65? All nine books are based on the real adventures she and her family experienced during the late 1800s.

E.B. White wrote 20 books for children and adults, but three that I am most familiar with are "Charlotte's Web," "Stuart Little" and "The Trumpet of the Swan." Mr. White started out writing for magazines and then bought a farm in Maine. Here he and his wife, also a writer, had one son. Eventually they had three grandchildren. He died in 1985 at the age of 86, but his stories live on for us to enjoy. By the way, what does E.B. stand for? Elwyn Brooks.

See if you can guess this writer: He worked as a cartoonist and newspaper columnist. He won many awards for his books (about 45 books which sold more than 200 million copies), including the Pulitzer Prize and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lasting contributions to children's literature. His real name is Theodore Geisel. Did you guess Dr. Seuss?

His first book was turned down 43 times before someone published it. Aren't you glad he didn't give up? That book, by the way, was "And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street."

A few titles that some of our Link readers sent in are: "Pride and Prejudice," "Sense and Sensibility" and "Emma" by Jane Austen. "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London.

Titles by Charles Dickens include: "Oliver Twist," "David Copperfield" and "A Tale of Two Cities."

William Shakespeare's work was also mentioned, so if you'd like to get a book with all of his writings, look for "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - All of the Plays, All of the Poems" Volumes 1 & 2 by W. G. Clark and W. Aldis Wright. (Nelson Doubleday, Inc.)

Other titles we have enjoyed and also found a movie based upon the book are: "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott, "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe, "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri, "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson, "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain, "The Time Machine" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne.

I know there is quite a list of titles here, but it is only a sampling. Now you may ask, "How can we use the classic books?" Here are a few suggestions.

You may want examples of good writing to help your students improve their writing skills. Or, when studying a particular topic, such as horses, you can use "Black Beauty" or "National Velvet" on your reading list.

Are you studying certain time periods in history? You will learn much about everyday life during the late 1800s when reading "Little Women."

If you are looking for a more modern twist to reading the classics, check out the "Wishbone" books. Through the eyes and narrative of Wishbone, a jack Russell terrier, you read stories interspersed with the present time period. These books are fun to read. A few titles from the collection are "Salty Dog" (based on "Robinson Crusoe") "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "The Prince and the Pooch" ("The Prince and the Pauper"). A brief biography of the classic's writer is included at the end of each book.

A website for Wishbone is at: You will find information on their T.V. show, books, CD-Roms, and even a book club. Sounds like a great way to get kids reading!

Another way to enjoy the classics is to attend a play or musical performance based upon one of these classic books. Check your local area for theaters, colleges or high schools who may be putting on plays.

You might also put on a play yourself! Your homeschooling friends or your support group can decide which classic you want to do - either the entire book or a portion of it. Kids love plays and they will love being in one.


FUNNEWS carries the following items in their FUN BOOKS catalog. Request one at 888/FUN-7020.

A game about Shakespeare's plays called "The Play's the Thing" by Aristoplay; Shakespeare coloring books; "Shakespeare for Children" cassette by Jim Weiss (Greathall Productions); and the series of books "Shakespeare Can Be Fun" Weston Woods, 12 Oakwood Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850-13818 or call 800/243-5020. They have a catalog of 40 colorful pages featuring CD-Roms, videos, 16 mm, filmstrips audio cassettes (free curriculum guide with video) based on popular children's books. Some items are in Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese. Subjects include American History, folklore, heroes and legends, fairy tales, families and animals.

Novel Units, Inc. POB 791610, San Antonio, TX 78279-1610 or 800/688-3224. Web: E-mail:

There are two catalogs to choose from, Pre-K - 8 or Grades 9-12. Some classics listed in case you want to get your own copy of the book. Some books are on cassette, teacher guides included for some books and videos and teacher's resource books also listed.

What's coming up next in The Link Librarian? Some future topics will be Women In History; Oceans; State Study and Inventions. If you have read a good book or know of one for the topics listed above, send me the title and author so I can find it and then share the information with our readers.


This time I am asking for a list of the subjects/topics you are planning to study this year. Whoever sends in a list will get a resource address or website address pertaining to one of their topics. Plus, your name will be entered in the drawing for the free book entitled "Top Notch 1 Teacher Tips - All Across the Curriculum." The deadline for submitting your lists (required to enter the drawing) will be November 30, 1999.

Send e-mail to or by postal service to Gayla Thorsen, POB 173, Fort Kent Mills, ME 04744. Thanks for your participation and happy reading!

Gayla Thorsen also writes book reviews for Treasure Isle. She has homeschooled her two children, April and Eric, for five years and freely uses library books in all of their subjects.

Copyright © 2006 Modern Media