Thursday, November 8, 2007

Orange Books on the Classroom Shelf

My first four years of school were at Beeline School, a two-room country schoolhouse. We walked most days down the gravel road, running the last few yards if the bell started ringing (one of the boys was assigned the task of pulling the heavy rope to ring the large bell atop the school).

One of my clearest memories of the schoolroom is of the little library -- long, low shelves of books, really -- especially I remember the long row of books on the lowest shelf, the biographies with orange covers.

I remember reading so many of them and learning odd 'facts' about various famous Americans. The book about Thomas Edison told the story of how he lost his hearing -- he was running to jump onto a moving train and stumbled; the train conductor grabbed him by the ears and pulled him aboard, thus damaging his hearing for the rest of his life. Well, that doesn't even make sense, does it? But I sure was fascinated by the story.

All this rushed back over me when I found 'Jane Adams: Little Lame Girl' at the thrift shop. It's pictured open above, showing the silhouette illustrations. How fun to find it! Copyright 1944, published by Bobbs-Merrill Company, part of the "Childhood of Famous Americans Series."

'Bird Girl: Sacagawea' soon found me, too, via Ebay. And listed in the series is 'Tom Edison: Boy Inventor.' I also remember 'Clara Barton: Girl Nurse.'

'Twould be fun to find more of these books -- but not the more recently published of the series -- I want the orange books of my childhood.


dana said...

I remember Bird Girl but I didn't know it was part of a series. Your photo has transported me right back to my grade school library-not so small as yours, but a favorite place of mine. Those old books were the best. Thanks for the memories.

Nancy Jo said...

Funny how some things can take you back. Those are really nice books. I love books and can't resist getting them. If I should see any books in this series that you are showing I will get them for you.Did they all have orange covers?

Katie said...

Nancy Jo -- The series continued to be published -- I see lots of the more contemporary ones on Ebay. But the ones I love have orange covers. They are illustrated with silhouettes, and are published around the mid 1940s. Do let me know if you discover any! I'd be happy to pay or barter for them.

Littlepenpen said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Yours is wonderful. I plan to visit often. I love your story about "you are too creative!"

Felicia said...

What a delightful find! I remember enjoying many festively colored library books as a kid.