Tag Archives: My Bookhouse Books

Guides to My Bookhouse Books

I’ve written elsewhere about My Bookhouse Books. When I was in Elgin in February I brought the parents’ guide to the set back to Bethesda.

The first of the two guides is called “In Your Hands: A Parents’ Guidebook” and features such quotes as “The child who reads is the child who leads.” and “…..Today is one fleeting moment…..A miracle and unrepeatable.”

The first part of the book is full of guidance to parents on raising their children to become readers which will help them become solid citizens with not only an appreciation of literature but also a firm grasp of language skills and a good character to boot. The rest of the book continues the guidance in a more age-specific way from birth through age twelve. At the end are chapters on how to use the book for holidays or seasons of the year. At the end of the book is a “Character Building” index for different parts of “My Bookhouse.”

Reading through this now, as dated as the photos and some of the guidance is, it does mention ideas that are still popular in current thinking about children and books such as “if your children see you enjoying books, they are more likely to enjoy reading”. Here’s what “In Your Hands” says about that:

Baby Reflects Your Attitude Toward Books

Children quickly sense your attitude and actions toward books as well as other things. You will find your child imitating the very things you do when handling a book.

Of course, most of the photos of a parent reading to their children are of women. There is one photo of a father and son, but they are standing outside and on a page with a poem titled “A Little Fellow that Follows Me.”

The second of the two guides is called “Your Child’s World: The Specific Approach to Daily Problems.” The first chapter, called “Some Ideas About the Home, the Family and Being a Parent” talks about how to make a creative home, how to foster security at home and why parents say “no.”

The rest of the book is packed full of scenarios that may occur in the home and tips to handle them as well as a discussion at the end.

For instance here’s one titled “What Would You do about Father’s Ill-timed Treats?”

What Would You do about Father’s Ill-timed Treats?

Evelyn, age six, and her brother, age four, rush up to greet their father upon his return from work and he usually has some candy treats for them. However, when they eat the candy this spoils their appetite for dinner.

If you were the parents of Evelyn and her brother, what would YOU do?

  1. Make them promise to save the candy until after dinner,
  2. Give the candy into Mother’s safekeeping until after dinner,
  3. Take it away from them and gie them none the next day if they begin on it before dinner,
  4. Let them have a little taste before dinner, saving the greater part until after the meal is over,
  5. Insist that they eat a certain amount of dinner “no matter what.”
  6. Have Father postpone giving them anything until after they have finished eating.


This issue is a matter for parental unity. The most efficient and reasonable approach is (f). All of the others represent needless compromise which is difficult on all concerned. (a) would be an acceptable first step if it works, and it may. However, if it results in broken promise, such punishment as is involved in (c) is not good. (e) would probably create more problems and larger ones than the orignal. (d) would cerate a lot of fuss and even a “little taste” may take the edge off the children’s appetite. (b) is not quite fair to Mother since it puts her in the position of withholding, and in addition, the sight of the candy may make the dinner less attractive. Father should be able to hold off with his largesse and, who knows,may he not in the long run be assured that they are running to greet him for himself and not for the goodies?

I don’t think my mom read much of these books, but I might be wrong. I don’t remember he going through the Bookhouse Books with me, but I do remember reading them on my own. Whatever the case, I am so grateful that she and Dad bought the books because I attribute my love of reading to them.


A list of books

I posted this on Facebook after being “tagged” by at least 3 people to post a list of ten books that somehow influenced me. Mali suggested I post this on my blog. As I said on Facebook, I think the main connecting theme of my list is that I have vivid memories of reading each of them — and images in my mind of the characters, settings and plots. I can even feel the emotion I felt when reading each of the books.

1. Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn — this book opened my eyes to the civil rights movement. Many of the characters still live with me to this day.

2. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote — I read this in middle school. The images it evoked are still etched in my mind.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker — the first non-young adult novel I ever read (in 7th grade). I adored stories about vampires and this was a classic.

4. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (she also wrote 101 Dalmatians) — “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink” is one of my favorite opening lines.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (Yes I know this is 7 books, but I consider it one large book) — I loved these books which I read in my teens, although my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to us in 6th grade. I’ve re-read several of the books since my first reading and shared them with my students and children.

6. Billy Brown the Babysitter by Tamara Kitt — the first book I ever read on my own. I remember suddenly being able to read and just read it.

7. My Bookhouse Books edited by Olive Beaupre Miller — another set of books, but each one was extremely important to me. These books made me a reader. I learned so much about literature from this set. The very best gift my parents ever gave me was this anthology set of 12 books (which seems to be available for purchase again! I wonder if it has been updated for political correctness.)

8. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu — I received this book to review for a website before it was published. I didn’t have high hopes since it was written by a — then — unknown author, but absolutely loved it. I rarely re-read books, but have read this one a few times. I wrote the first Amazon review about this book. The next day I got to meet Mr. Mengestu. When I told him my name so he could sign my copy he recognized it and thanked me for the review.

9. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters — a well-written ghost story in which a house is a main character.

10. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson — I’d never read anything by Shirley Jackson except The Lottery but I liked the Gothic-like look of the cover of this book so bought it and read it. It is another book in which a house is a main character. Very well written and another book I re-read.