Charkes (Outdoors With Kids—Philadelphia, 2013, etc.) shares a collection of countryside-inspired essays, many previously published.
This compilation opens with a thoughtful examination of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, history as seen through the art of 19th-century folk painter Edward Hicks and the writings of William Penn. In this essay, Charkes suggests an essential human need to connect with nature (“Through wildness comes peace”). Most people, she says, are disconnected: “For many of us, we have to take a car to get to a place that looks anything like…country.” She then suggests a course of action: “To know the wild, look from where you are, listen from where you stand. Here and now.” Each chapter begins with pretty, relevant black-and-white illustrations by artist Priestley, who also provided the color cover art. Each of four chapters is devoted to a particular season, followed by an epilogue featuring the haunting song of the veery, a small bird that the author notes is still audible in the increasingly urban landscape. She pays careful attention to natural elements in a world where small farms “still form part of the fabric of the landscape, but nowadays they are embroidery, no longer the warp and woof of a living rural culture.” The carefully crafted, engaging essays seamlessly interlace Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau quotations with the unforeseen and whimsical. Charkes links the legendary Boston Red Sox player Carl Yastrzemski with the lowly dandelion flower and describes butterflies as doing “the insect equivalent of a pub crawl from one flowerhead to another.” With its minute, local detail, Charkes’ musings and gentle queries will resonate with all readers who wonder about the value of flowers and birdsong in an increasingly urban world.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)