I love books. My family loves books. Since we began homeschooling over a dozen years ago, we’ve cultivated a taste for old-fashioned books, written in a previous century. The language may be a little more formal, perhaps even challenging, but the content is usually richer and more wholesome in nature.
(Yes, I said “usually.” You still have to be discerning in selecting books. There are some doozies from previous centuries as well as the wholesome, family-friendly books I’m talking about.)
Being a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew has introduced me to a publisher of old-fashioned books, Salem Ridge Press. Salem Ridge Press was born out of a love of books and reading, and, in their own words, “dedicated to bringing back quality children’s books of the 1800’s and early 1900’s for a new generation of readers. We strive to republish books that are well-written, interesting and wholesome, and we hope that you enjoy these books as much as we have!”
Our family received three books, tailored to the age range of our students, and there was much excitement and jockeying for position. (Have I mentioned we love books?) I had to step in and make assignments.
The youngest got to read Mary Jane, Her Book, which is aimed at an audience aged 6 to 10. She was at first reluctant to read it because she thought it would be too babyish. Her older sisters enjoyed the book! I began to read it aloud, and she was drawn in by the story of the cute little girl and all her homey pursuits, playing, planting a garden, entertaining her great aunt, and more. Pretty soon the book disappeared into her room… and was thoroughly read, cover to cover. You can read the first chapter online at the link above, if you’d like to get a flavor of the book.
I assigned Glaucia the Greek Slave to our middle daughter. It is the story, set in the first century, of two children sold into slavery to pay their father’s debts. In the course of the story, Glaucia is set free both literally and spiritually. I’ve heard a vivid narration of the book, though I haven’t had an opportunity to do more than skim through the pages because it keeps passing from hand to hand. It’s a very popular title at our house!
Eldest elected to read The White Seneca, and liked it so much that she bought the sequel, At Seneca Castle, with her own money. The White Seneca is set during the time of the American Revolution. A boy gets captured by the Seneca tribe and eventually becomes a member of the tribe. The book is full of adventure, a real page-turner that is difficult to put down.
You can read the first chapter of Glaucia and of The White Seneca at the Salem Ridge Press website. Just click on the links above.
Glaucia is available in hardcover for $24.95 or softcover for $14.95. The White Seneca is available in softcover ($14.95). Mary Jane, Her Book is available in both hardcover ($22.95) and softcover ($12.95). I haven’t seen the hardcover versions, but the softcover books are sturdily constructed and have stood up to a fair amount of wear so far.
As these are books that were written in earlier times, you might run across words in some of the books that were in common use at the time, that are considered offensive today. You can judiciously edit, in reading aloud, or use them as a starting point for discussion of culture, language, and values.
You’ll find historical fiction, adventure, allegory, and books for younger readers among the selections, and new books are in the process of being evaluated and added.
The founder of Salem Ridge Press is a homeschool graduate. His standard for quality is Philippians 4: 8 (look it up if you don’t know it; it’s a great verse to memorize), and his goal is articulated on the company’s website: “Daniel firmly believes that what we read matters and what we take into our minds is a major factor in forming our ideas and character. His goal is to be a blessing to others by providing reading material that fits the qualifications outlined in the Bible. While not every title that Salem Ridge Press publishes is explicitly Christian, all of our titles have strong moral values and encourage positive character.”
When you sign up for their quarterly newsletter, you’ll be automatically entered in a drawing for a free book.
All our girls have Salem Ridge Press books on their Christmas and birthday wish lists, and that says a lot.