Laura Ingalls Wilder rediscovered

Some weeks ago, I blogged about the publication of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s memoir, entitled Pioneer Girl.  This was the manuscript she wrote about her life on the frontier that she could not get published, whereupon she switched gears to write a slightly fictionalized version in a series of  books for children.  These became the nine titles in the Little House books, which, in turn, have become classics of  American literature.  The publication of that original autobiography by the South Dakota Historical Society–complete with photographs, historical annotations, and scholarly notes that give the real-life context for the later novels–has proven to be a literary sensation.  The small press was having trouble keeping up with the demand, and Amazon was overwhelmed with lengthy backorders.  (Something that seems to have been rectified.  Last I checked, the book is available now, without the earlier delay, from Amazon.)

The day my post went up, in which I said how anxious I was to read Pioneer Girl and lamented how hard it was to get ahold of, the intrepid librarian where I teach, Sarah Pensgard, told me that she had found a copy for the library.  So I checked it out and was soon immersed in the real world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. [Read more...]

The World Beyond Your Head

Matthew Crawford, a philosopher who has found wisdom in being a motorcycle mechanic, is the author of an excellent book on vocation entitled Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.  He now has another book that shows how the Enlightenment has given us a very distorted view of the self, one which insulates the inner mind from outside reality.  The new book has the felicitous title  The World Beyond Your Head.

After the jump, I excerpt and link to an extremely thoughtful and perceptive review of the book, one that interacts with Crawford’s ideas with great learning and insight.  I was stunned to see that the reviewer is Gracy Olmstead, a recent student of mine!  I can see Patrick Henry College’s classical liberal arts curriculum underlying her essay, as she draws on the “great books” that we have read and takes part in the “great conversation” of the history of ideas.  Note too the depth of her thinking and how she compares to other recent graduates that you might have encountered.  Sorry–I’m just proud of her, that’s all. [Read more...]

The new Encyclopedia of Christian Education

The  Encyclopedia of Christian Education  has been released today, a three-volume reference book packed with information about the influence of Christianity on education as a whole, as well as the various ways Christians have taught the faith.  I wrote the entries for the Liberal Arts, the Renaissance, Johann Sturm, and the Concordia University System.

Details after the jump. [Read more...]

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s latest best-seller

Back in the 1930′s, an elderly woman wrote a memoir about her life on the American frontier.  But no one would publish it.  So she recast her memories as a series of children’s novels, giving the world the immortal Little House on the Prairie books.

Now that original manuscript, entitled Pioneer Girl has been published in an annotated edition that gives the complete historical context of this woman’s remarkable life.  The 472-page book has become a smash hit, to the point that its publisher, the 7-employee South Dakota Historical Society Press, can’t print enough copies to keep up with the demand.

When I was in the fifth grade, if we were good, our teacher, Mrs. Waldrop, would read us a chapter from the novels.  I will never forget the impact they had on my imagination in their portrayal of family, America, overcoming hardship, and growing up.  I have got to read this true-life adult version, if I can ever find a copy.  Read an account of the book after the jump. [Read more...]

Readiness for 1st grade then and now

In a column on the cops busting the parents for letting their 10 and 6 year olds walk home from the park by themselves, columnist Petula Dvorak has a felicitous sentence:  “Our rapid march toward police-state parenting has got to end.”  But then she compares the checklists to see if your child is ready for 1st grade from today as compared to 1979. [Read more...]

Keeping Easter going

It’s still Easter, that season lasting for the 40 days in which Christ was with His disciples again, culminating in His Ascension, and then adding the next 10 days that take us to Pentecost.  So we should keep  Easter going, by continuing to contemplate Christ’s resurrection and what it means for each of us.

We’ve been going to lots of church lately and hearing lots of sermons.  Give the insights you have gained this season by telling about them in the comments section.  I’ll go first, after the jump. [Read more...]


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