As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The New Books Series: Always Books

This begins a series I will call Always Books. These are some of our family's favorite living books. Gathered through our twenty-four (so far) years of homeschooling, they are books that we have loved, books that are inspiring, books that we heartily recommend. These are books that will stay on our shelves...always. 

(The birth of this series is in this post.)

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Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris is our "go to" poetry book. This is one anthology that I think no home with children should be without! It has 598 pages filled with over 700 wonderful children’s poems. The plethora of poems are arranged in such enticing categories as "My Almanac", "Little Things That Creep and Crawl and Swim and Sometimes Fly", and "Roundabout the Country, Roundabout the Town". Within its pages are sonnets, ballads, nonsense poems, seasonal poems, and Bible passages. There are poems by Shakespeare and Ogden Nash, by Christina Rosetti and Emily Dickinson, by Sir Walter Scott and Carl Sandburg, by John Keats and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Some of the verses are quite well known, and some neither of us has heard before, but the poems are well-chosen, carefully selected by Helen Ferris—Helen Ferris whose delightful forward to the book is sure to inspire you to create a life of poetry for your family!

We have used this book countless times over the years. My children have chosen poems to memorize from this book. They have chosen poems for copywork. They have found poems to accompany a drawing in their nature notebooks. We have looked for a poem to enhance something we were studying in history. And we all have simply read poems for our delight.

My mother taught Kati and her cousin Alec "The Purple Cow" by Gelett Burgess.

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!

We have read aloud ballads found in Favorite Poems Old and New: "Hiawatha," "The Wreck of the Hesperus," and "Paul Revere's Ride." (We may have even read a ballad that Longfellow didn't write. ~smile~)

If you have children, I suggest that you buy this book today. If you are a home educator, you need this book. If you are a grandparent, purchase this book for your grandchildren...or keep it at your house and read from it when the little (and bigger) ones come to visit. It will be money well spent.

Yes, this book will remain on our shelf. Always.

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(More on teaching poetry ~here~.)


  1. Do you know after all these years home educating, I DON'T have this one?! I am going to have to remedy this!


  2. Oh my, as soon as I saw this post title - Always Books - I was hooked! I am a total bibliophile and want to keep every book always. This one is on our shelf and, as you say, will never be leaving. Along with The Waldorf Book of Poetry. So looking forward to this series!

  3. My two daughters have taken most of our books that they like to their homes to use for their children who will be homeschooled. I'm left with a few, mostly poetry that I still enjoy. I'll admit, most of what I read nowadays is on Kindle.

  4. We are winding up our home educating years, and yes, this is one book I intend to keep. I've never been a huge fan of poetry, but there is something about this book. Maybe the layout, maybe the fact that there's nothing too deep and dark, and maybe because most of the poems actually rhyme! Ha!

  5. I'm inspired to read more poetry to my grands. Maybe this series will enforce what books you want to keep forever. We were talking about downsizing today--or just cleaning out a bit.

  6. I love reading poetry with children; it's a lot of fun and can be very funny, too. I love alternate reading and choral reading...easy ways to learn. (I will refrain from sharing my favorite children's poem.) One thing, I can't imagine Longfellow's poems in a poetry book for children. Oh well! This is going to be a fun series.

  7. What a fun series! I love reading poetry out loud.

  8. What a great series, Cheryl! Brilliant! I'm very familiar with all those poems and can recite a few. Do you know 'The Vulture'??

    "The vulture eats between its meals and that's the reason why--he very very rarely feels as well as you or I -- His eye is dull, his head is bald, his neck is growing thinner -- Oh what a lesson for us all to only eat at dinner!"

    I do not have that particular book, but mine were in an old 1949 vintage set of Childcraft books that a couple friends gave me at the baby shower when our youngest daughter was born. Unfortunately, I think I made way too big a fuss over those books. Why is it that it's so much easier to get excited about books than about baby clothes?! LOL


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