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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Children's Reading.

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” Oscar Wilde.I have always loved history & some of the blame for that particular preoccupation must be laid at the feet of this woman: Marguerite de Angeli. I found her books in our public library when I was quite young, certainly before high school, though they are such lovely books I reread them for years & am slowly aquiring my favourite ones because I still enjoy these books & I'm all grown up now. At least, that's what the calendar tells me.

My interest in Quakerism began with Thee, Hannah. I had absolutely no interest in sitting in silence for an hour but I was charmed that someone thought enough of the plight of black Americans to help them before it became politically correct to do so. As an introduction to an important period of American history I was intrigued by something that would otherwise never have interested me in the least. Besides the illustrations are absolutely charming.
This was how I first learnt about the Amish & Mennonites too. I researched for ages, wading through all the available encyclopedia links in the years before internet usage provided more links than you know what to do with & the library catelogue. I learnt a lot about basic research skills chasing this one down.
And who now remembers the *New Sweden* of Delaware, founded in 1638? This one has some particularly fascinating tid~bits about the customs & anniversaries of the first Swedes in the New World. And of course, the Door in the Wall is still a text in America for the medieval period.
Marguerite was a lovely person as well as a lovely illustrator. Born to people named Shadrach & Ruby [can you imagine?!], she was one of 6 children & a gifted contralto who sang professionally before marrying her violinist. She also had 6 children, one of whom died early & left an enduring heartbreak.

I am trying to get my hands on her autobiography via the library, Butter at the Old Price, though if I get desperate I will resort to Amazon or L'Abri, both of whom carry it.

I think I have always been a Quaker at heart. These books speak to me of the the need to love despite differences & diversity, in the midst of trouble & hardship, of loving through being vulnerable to those who most need us, of standing firmly in the Light so that we can uphold those around us.

I like the old books with their moral certitude & sense of duty. I don't like how modern books for children so often seem to pander to their selfishness. That certainly needs no pandering. We are all born with a good pinch of selfishness in our make~up. It takes character to overcome it & these are books that show children developing the character to stand up for what is right, to do what they know is right & to then act righteously. No, they're not as exciting as Harry Potter but even dessert freaks like Ditz & I occasionally like plain bread & butter.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ganeida,
I, too, like the old books. They have a certain flair, and there's no swearing in the old books, either.

It's nice when people love through being vulnerable to those who most need us - all too often, people don't stand firmly in the Light.

Have a wonderful week.

Persuaded said...

Those books look *precisely* my style... and I've never heard hide nor hair of them! How could I have missed such delights? I am going to check and see if our library has them.

and you know, I was raised an Episcopalian, went to Assembly of God churches for many years and am now a Baptist, but I think I am truly a Quaker at heart too♥

Ganeida said...

Oh Diane! I think you will just adore these books! They are sweet & simple & absolutely sound, like a good apple. Very family.

& as for Quakerism, the lack of theology, which has nothing to do with God, is one of it's attractions for me now ~ & the silence! Blessed silence! Quakerism walks a fine line between liberalism & grace but isn't afraid to ask the hard questions like how do you love the sinner yet not condone the sin? Uhhu. How indeed?

Jillian, you are quite right. When we allow Christ's light to illuminate our lives we see far more clearly who we are meant to be & how we should act ~ especially to the unloveable. I wish I was better at it but I get lots of practise & it is plain hard work! :(

Sandra said...

I also have never heard of these books. I know little of Quakers, other than they lived in Pennsylvania and they are pacifists. And Loretta Young played one who fell in love with bad guy John Wayne. : ) I think you are the first Quaker I have met.

Allison said...

Once again, you've given me more books to check out!

I went to a Quaker-founded college, befriended a few Friends, and have been attending meetings for several months now. It has always struck me as just so obvious and simple.

Jan Lyn said...

I love all these books, they may be old but old is some times the best, the richest and most living of books. I enjoyed hearing about your first introduction to Quakerism.

Mine was by a man at my husband's church that watched me struggle with a LOUD baby every week. I'd finally give up and stroll the baby outdoors and one Sunday he followed along and let me flap off at the mouth how hard it was to get my family and self ready for church, only to miss the sermon each week! He quietly said, "What you are doing while walking your baby outdoors may be the best sermon you've ever had if you'd start by just really listening to God--it was for me, he said." Went on to explain why he was missing from church once a month as he was at Quaker Meeting instead of with his wife to get his "fill" of unprogrammed worship. From then on, I kept running into Quakers. I realized I was a LOT more Quaker than I thought. It was a bit of refreshing freedom and a good fit, though I feel I am a Christian Friend. THAT, on the internet and about can raise some eyebrows! LOL......

Ganeida said...

Sandra: Jan Lyn is your second Quaker ~ & maybe Allison [sort of?] :)

Jan Lyn: Yes, I am a Christian first & a Friend second ~ & my closest meeting is more than a little weird. Lots of *seekers* but as no~one is preaching anything my theological sensibilities aren't offended & I can listen to God as I like.

alecat said...

These look just lovely!
Thank you for sharing. :)