So many of my favorite books are old books that have been discarded by our local library. Several years ago our local library decided to purge the children's section....and purge they did!! Huge bins of books were made available to some of their "preferred" patrons and many of my friends and I took advantage of the opportunity to gather up these books for FREE! I made several trips to the library searching through the bins and filling the back of our old Suburban with many great finds that have become favorite resources for my children.
My 8-12 year old children LOVE the Childhood of Famous American series and it's a good thing. We have over 100 of these books and most of them were discarded from our library. I brought home bags of these when they were first discarded for free, but also purchased some from our library's yearly book sale and from the library's book store. I haven't seen any in the library's book store in a very long while, so I think we got them all! ; ) These series of historical biographies have reinforced provided a good basis for our young students in American history and we build on that with lots of reading aloud, discussion and field trips. These are the books that I find scattered throughout the house and one of my children requested to take them with her when she marries to use with her own children. With seven children, though, I think they will have to stay in Mom-mom's library and can be checked out by careful grandchildren. Here is the description of the Childhood of Famous Americans series in Jan Bloom's Who Should We Then Read?
"The Childhood of Famous American (CoFa or CFA) series introduces younger readers to important historical characters. Children will appreciate the antics, dreams, and desires of other children. These are available in many different editions. Many of the titles were reprinted in the mid 1990s in a soft-cover edition. Some new titles were added at that time... Then begins a list of the books arranged by author and then another list by the child's first name. I like to keep mine in order by the child's last name, but if you look closely you will see that they get put back out of order. I'm just glad they get put back on the shelf sometimes! I know that there are several books missing from the shelf....most likely on Kaelan's nightstand!
Another old series that I love is the Landmark series. Again, most of ours were acquired free from our library or were purchased at library sales or through independent sales. I think we have about 100 of these as well. I assign some of these for independent reading and have read many aloud to the whole crew. Again, here is the blurb from Jan Bloom's book: "American Landmarks and Wold Landmarks feature the stories of outstanding people and events. Bennett Cerf, editor at Random House, inaugurated the series to honor a request from his son who had asked for interesting biographies written for young students. Popular authors were commissioned to write for the series, which became incredibly popular. Over twenty million hardcover copies sold in the U.S. The books are written in a novelistic style to keep the mid-range reader entertained and interested. This is considered on of the best biographical series. There have been numerous printings of many of the books. Some titles have been recently reprinted in a soft cover edition."
We also have several of the We Were There series which are written about various expeditions and historical incidents and are told as if by children who were actually witnessing the events.
Several of our favorite authors' books were also discarded from the library shelves: Lois Lenski, Charlotte Zolotow, Maud and Miska Petersham, Alvin Tressalt, Louisa May Alcott, Josephy Altsheller, Sonia Bleeker, Clyde Robert Bulla, Walter Farley, Jean Fritz, Stephen Meador, Opal Wheeler, Sterling North, Margaret Sidney and so many more. While I am saddened that our library no longer offers many of these books I am overjoyed to have them here in my home to share with my own children and grandchildren. I have several other bookshelves where these books have found happy homes.
I encourage you to check you own local libraries for booksales and stores. You never know what treasures you may find!