Once Upon A Time by James C. Christensen

Since the invention of the World Wide Web we’ve never lacked for resources or opinions!  There are many superb ideas with each magical click of a button, AND with so many splendid choices, we never need to settle for the mediocre.  Listen to this introduction of a phenomenal writing titled, “Book of Marvels.”

“Dear Reader:

When I was a boy in school my favorite subject was geography, and my prize possession my geography book….I loved that book because it carried me away to all the strange and romantic lands. .. the stories of such things always set me to dreaming, to yearning for the actual sight and touch of these world wonders.

Sometimes I pretended I had a magic carpet, and without bothering about tickets and money and farewells, I’d skyrocket away to New York or to Rome, to the Grand Canyon or to China, across deserts and oceans and mountains.

I often said to myself: ‘I wish my father, or somebody, would take me to all these wonderful places.  What good are they if you can’t see them?  If I ever grow up and have a son, we are going traveling together.  I’ll show him Gibraltar and Jerusalem, the Andes and the Alps, because I’ll want my boy not only to study geography – I’d like for him to live it too.’

Well I’m grown up now.  But as yet I haven’t any son or any daughter to go traveling with me.  And so, in their places, may I take you?

Your Friend, Richard Halliburton”

Who can read this without wanting to plan an excursion themselves?  The rest of the book is just as inspiring, as the author takes us to every corner of the world through real stories of his life adventures.

Contrast that with a typical text book approach to geography and see how you feel when you’re done.  It’s a remarkable experiment.

A few outstanding resources are worth their weight in gold and will leave the kind of impressions on our children that increase their own imaginations and interests.  Find fifteen or twenty really great foundation books and then build from there.  More is generally not better, but simply confusing in my experience.

My Favorites:  Fairyland of Science and all other books  by Arabella Buckley; A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer; Thornton Burgess Books; Storybook of Science as well as the many other books by Jean Henri Fabre; Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit; The Golden Windows by Laura E. Richards; Hurlburt’s Story of the Bible and A Child’s Geography of the World, also by V.M. Hillyer.  From here I recommend lovely books such as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men and Little Women, My Side of the Mountain, Where the Red Fern Grows, Charlotte’s Web, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as well as Anne of Green Gables.

Many of these books are out of print but can be purchased as used books or found on the amazing website –   –   May I just say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” to the organizers of this website.  I have benefited immensely from its use and I know you will cherish it as well!


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