• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Celebrating International Literacy Day, Part I (redux)

::A repeat from three years ago, with a (very) few new additions, mostly in the “Something New” section::

(There may be some wonky links — I noticed some hiccups moving the old Blogger post to WordPress. Let me know in the comments if you find anything odd and I’ll see if I can fix it.)

How to Read (for Children and Adults) and How to Enjoy Reading

The ABC’s and All Their Tricks by Margaret M. Bishop

McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers by William Holmes McGuffey

Why Johnny Can’t Read: And What You Can Do About It by Rudolf Flesch; recommended by Flesch, and still available secondhand, is the old textbook Reading with Phonics by Julie Hay and Charles E. Wingo [I used this as a supplement with Daniel to great success, having found a copy on eBay]

The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Reading by Jessie Wise, co-author of The Well-Trained Mind. The WTM website also has a number articles on reading; “Games to Play with Phonics“; “Teaching Reading: Phonics Programs That Work“; “Why Whole Language Seems to Work for Some Children“; “Our Favorite Books by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer“; and “Our Readers’ Favorite Books

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year and How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike by Esmé Raji Codell; she has a nifty children’s literature website, too, Planet Esmé, and a blog.

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren; you may decide you require the study guide How to Read “How to Read a Book”, by Maryalice B. Newborn.

How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom

The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer

Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster

How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World’s Favorite Literary Form by Thomas C. Foster

A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel

Something Old

The SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages

Loganberry Books’ Stump the Bookseller

Purple House Press

NYRB Classics

Flying Point Press (which I wrote about here)

Bethlehem Books

The fabulous “horizontal history books” by the fabulous Genevieve Foster

The Little Bookroom: Eleanor Farjeon’s Short Stories for Children Chosen by Herself by Eleanor Farjeon and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

A Child’s Delight by Noel Perrin

A Reader’s Delight by Noel Perrin

Onward and Upward in the Garden by Katharine S. White

Clementine in the Kitchen by Samuel Chamberlain

The Reader’s Encyclopedia: An Encyclopedia of World Literature and the Arts by William Rose Bénet; my old edition was published by Thomas Y. Crowell in 1948. As handy as a dictionary by a reader’s elbow, especially with little ones asking all the questions they do.

Oxford Companion to American Literature by James D. Hart; I knew my edition was old (1941) but I didn’t realize it was a first edition until I checked for this blog entry. Makes me like it even better.

Something New

The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body by David Macaulay (Houghton Mifflin, October 2008). By the way, did you konw that Houghton has an online page of Homeschool Resources?

Arthur of Albion by John Matthews (Barefoot Books, September 2008)

Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Harry Bliss (HarperCollins, September 2008); Susan, head’s up!

Peter Pan: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda (Simon & Schuster, November 2008)

Champlain’s Dream by David Hackett Fischer (Simon & Schuster, October 2008)

BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking by Shirley Corriher (Scribner, October 2008)

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats by Jane Brocket, a cookbook inspired by children’s literature

The “kidlitosphere” is new, at least since I first wrote this post. I was looking around for a comprehensive list and discovered this list of children’s book related links — from Bound To Stay Bound Books, which is, according to the website, the world’s foremost prebinder of juvenile books as well as a third-generation family-owned business. I was surprised and delighted to see that Farm School is on their blog list, too — for which, many thanks.

Something Borrowed

Quotations about libraries and librarians

Access to the New York Public Library for non-New Yorkers: for Readers & Writers; for Children

The Library of Congress

Library Elf

Burnaby, B.C. Public Library Children’s Literature Page, with lots of links

Multnomah County (Oregon) Library’s book lists for readers of all ages; if you live nearby, sign up for their Read the Classics discussion series

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Please Bury Me in the Library by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Kyle M. Stone

Our Library by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Maggie Smith

The Library by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small; new in paperback this month

When I Went to the Library: Writers Celebrate Books and Reading by Deborah Pearson

Richard Wright and the Library Card by William Miller

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles

Free printable bookplates from Anne Fine’s nifty website

A Passion for Books : A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books by Harold Rabinowitz

Patience and Fortitude: Wherein a Colorful Cast of Determined Book Collectors, Dealers, and Librarians Go About the Quixotic Task of Preserving a Legacy by Nicholas A. Basbanes; and just for fun, here are the real Patience and Fortitude as well as Nicholas Basbane’s website

The Librarian of Basra written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski

Something Blue

Peter in Blueberry Land by Elsa Beskow

Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow

Uncle Blue’s New Boat by Elsa Beskow

Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure by Joseph Wechsberg

The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? by Robert E. Wells

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Book Lists

The New York Review of Books Children’s Collection

1,000 Good Books List for Children, arranged by reading levels (K-12) and by author, from the Classical Christian Education Support Loop; not entirely secular but great good stuff

Searchable Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature

Caldecott Medal & Honor books, 1938-Present, awarded to the artists of the most distinguished American picture book

Newbery Medal & Honor books, 1922-Present, awarded to the authors of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children

Horn Book Magazine’s annotated reading lists for children

Waterboro Library’s complete list of book lists and bibliographies, for adults

Waterboro Library’s complete list of book lists and bibliographies, for children

The Good Books list, from The Great Books Academy

The Baldwin Project: Bringing Yesterday’s Classics to Today’s Children

The Well-Trained Mind K-4 Reading List

The Well-Trained Mind High School Reading List

Junior Great Books/Readalouds (from Mortimer Adler’s Great Books Foundation)

Junior Great Books, Grades K-8 (from Mortimer Adler’s Great Books Foundation)

The Great Books; also GBF’s/Penguin Book’s free online discussion guides for various classics

Miscellaneous “Great Books” sites and lists

Project Gutenberg: Fine Literature Digitallly Re-Published

Bartleby.com: Great Books Online

Banned Books Online

Reading List for the College Bound, compiled by the Center for Applied Research in Education and online courtesy of St. Margaret’s School, Tappahannock, VA; for more, get this from your library

Five in a Row’s Book Lists

Online version of Clifton Fadiman’s New Lifetime Reading Plan (4th edition)

A state-by-state book list for children (not comprehensive but still some good things and a dandy idea); this is one of the only times you’ll find a link on this blog to anything at the NEA’s website, so enjoy it…

Canadian literature links, from Northwest Passages bookseller

Reading with your eyes closed (or while you’re driving) (but not both at the same time, please)


Kiddie Records Weekly, to take you back to your childhood, for free

Just One More Book! children’s book podcast

CBC Radio’s “Between the Covers” podcast and “Writers and Company” podcast

BBC Radio’s “Book Panel with Simon Mayo” podcast and “World Book Club” podcast

Poetry Speaks and Poetry Speaks to Children, both edited by Elise Paschen

Poetry Archive, “the world’s premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work”

Storyteller Jim Weiss’s audio books/Greathall Productions

Odds Bodkins, another storytelle

And finally

For my father, and in honor of the Rev. James Granger


Don’t forget Part 2 of Celebrating International Literacy Day over here, with quotations about books, reading, libraries, and librarians.

7 Responses

  1. Wow! I think I’ve hit the motherlode & found a kindred spirit all at the same time! Thanks for all your hard work!

  2. I’ll second that! I’m wrapping up week one of homeschool with my 7 year old and your blog has been my spine. I’ve spent endless hours digging through your links and resources – I’m also a regular visitor at the Secular CM group. I can’t thank you enough – sorry it’s taken so long to say hello!

  3. A-mazing list. And I must find Louise, A Chicken. Merci.

  4. Glad to oblige, Amy and Rachel : ).

    JS, ha!

    Susan, de rien, bien sur!

  5. […] enough of the celebration — how about doing something about literacy and reading?  Start out with this great post from Farm School, with dozens of links to and about good, mostly sorta new books you ought to be reading and giving […]

  6. We have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos on the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    When we discovered them and how intrinsically edifying they are, we negotiated an agreement with Encyclopaedia Britannica to be the exclusive worldwide agent to make them available.

    For those of you who teach, this is great for the classroom.

    I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

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