Opinion | DANA KELLEY: "Holiday Harvest"

2021-11-13 07:15:44 By : Ms. Jane Yan

As a subscriber of the tsundoku practice, there are more books in Japanese than you can't read words. I especially like finding unusual but reasonably priced items at the flea market.

When I recently stopped at an antique mall along US 412 in Gasville, Fortune smiled at me when my eyes fell on the few volumes of Collier’s juvenile classics on the low shelf.

Collier's is one of the "ABC" among the encyclopedia publishers, along with Americana and Britannica, and has been producing the popular national weekly magazine for more than half a century since 1895.

In addition, PF Collier & Sons also published the "Five Foot Bookshelf" because the 50-volume Harvard Classic Set was originally registered and promoted in 1909.

Peter Fenelon Collier is amazingly ahead of his time. In order to make books affordable for ordinary families, the Irish immigrant began to offer subscription mode purchases in 1875.

A key to the success of Collier's Encyclopedia is its door-to-door sales strategy, which combines family credit eligibility criteria (the presence of a telephone is one of the criteria) and the purchaser's choice of paying for books over time, usually three years.

In the heyday of heavy smoking in the 1950s and 1960s, Collier's Encyclopedia was priced at the equivalent of the daily cost of a pack of cigarettes so that low- and middle-income families could obtain more than 20 prestigious cigarettes.

"Juvenile Classics" was originally published in 1918 and offers "10 volumes, about 5,000 pages, a classified collection of ancient and modern stories, stories and poems, suitable for boys and girls aged 6-16", according to the introduction. Charles Eliot, Honorary President of Harvard University.

The green volume in the colorful binding set that caught my attention was "Holiday Harvest", described in the preface of the 1962 edition as "a feast of stories, poems, documents, and factual materials about 22 American national and religious holidays."

Most holidays are obvious; the surprising outlier is book week, which is sandwiched between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day.

This celebration of literacy and early reading began a century ago when Franklin Matthews, the Boy Scout librarian, proposed the idea in November 1919. Sunday.

In "Holiday Harvest", Book Week won six entries (four on Veterans Day and five on Thanksgiving Day), including Emily Dickinson’s famous "No frigate like a book".

An obscure poem by Eleanor Farjeon expresses the joy of reading in this way:

"This is our body sitting in a chair,

But our hearts are there.

Every book is a magic box

The child can unlock it with a light touch. "

Although most holidays are well-known, many entries about them are not. Of the 15 Christmas items, more than half are unfamiliar to me. In addition to the four eternal hymns, there is a wonderful editorial response to Virginia O'Hanlon’s "Is there a Santa Claus?" The letter and the necessary "Visit from St. Nicholas", I don't know the rest.

It is interesting to discover and leaf through old but new short stories for me, such as "Barney's Red Hat Story" and "Hans' Star" and the poems "The Week That Christmas Comes" and "Christmas Morning" ". "

The same is true for most other holidays, full of material that is new to most young readers and many adults.

"Nancy Hanks" by Rosemary Bennett (Wife of Stephen Vincent) is a flash poem about Abraham Lincoln, written from the hopeful perspective of his mother, who was 9 years old. When he died: "Do you know his name? Has he ever gone?" It was the end of the line.

Less well-known is Julius Silberg’s exciting answer, which concluded: "You ask first,'Where is my son?' He lives in everyone's heart." Both are part of Lincoln's birthday. Add luster and luster.

The combination of choices for each holiday is for education and learning. Articles on Labor Day explain the harsh employment conditions before the large-scale organization of workers’ reforms and pay tribute to workers, such as the poem "The Psalms Before Dawn" by Carl Sandburg.

Flag Day's entry ranked second, detailing the history and symbolism of Old Glory, and ending with "The American's Creed". The creed was written by William Tyler Page, who worked in the U.S. Capitol for 61 years. It was the winner of 3,000 entries in the patriotic competition and passed as a House resolution in 1918.

As Page said, it is still a profound summary of the basic principles of American political beliefs (only 100 words), and the language used comes from its greatest literature and most valuable tradition.

Although the creed is still part of the naturalization ceremony for new citizens, I bet it is an unfamiliar concept for most local-born school-age children.

Many of the contents of "Holiday Harvest" will cause controversy today, which is a pity. When out of touch with universal truth, education becomes erratic. Those who slander and undermine the fundamental principles of the United States will weaken the character of our country—and its children.

Find and give away a set of basic classics this Christmas. They are bargains and treasures.

Dana D. Kelley is a freelance writer based in Jonesboro.

Copyright © 2021, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.

This document may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc.

The Associated Press materials are copyright © 2021, The Associated Press, and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The text, photos, graphics, audio and/or video materials of the Associated Press may not be directly or indirectly published, broadcast, rewritten in any media for broadcast or publication or redistribution. Except for personal and non-commercial use, none of these AP materials or any part of it may be stored in the computer. AP will not be responsible for any delay, inaccuracy, error or omission or any delay, inaccuracy, error or omission of all or any part of the transmission or delivery or any damage caused by any of the foregoing. all rights reserved.