4.27.2014

A Home For Mr. Emerson


This post joins other
kidlit bloggers on the
Nonfiction Monday Roundup
and also joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

Scholastic Press
(pub. 2.25.2014) 48 pages

A True Tale with 
A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Barbara Kerley
           and Illustrator: Edwin Fotheringham
    
C haracter: Ralph Waldo Emerson 

O verview from the jacket flap: 

    "Before Ralph Waldo Emerson was a great writer, he was a city boy who longed for the broad, open fields and deep, still woods of the country, and then a young man who treasured books, ideas, and people.
     When he grew up and set out in the world, he wondered, could he build a life around these thing he loved? 
      This tender and joyful portrait of the man whose vision helped shape the American spirit illustrates the rewards of a life well lived, one built around personal passions: creativity and community, nature and friendship.
     'May it inspire you to experiment and build the life you dream of living.'"

T antalizing taste: 

     "In the afternoons, he walked in the woods, thinking about the books he had read and the nature that surrounded him. 
     He wrote down his thought in his journals, each one a 'Savings Bank' for his idea.
     And after he filled his journals, Mr. Emerson filled his parlor with next-door neighbors and far-flung friends. They spoke about literature, theology, self-reliance,and freedom, in evenings of grand discussion...
    And he talked.
    Too many people, he observed, accepted the opinions of others instead of thinking for themselves."

and something more: Several years ago, I was fortunate to attend a nonfiction writing workshop co-led by the wonderful Barbara Kerley in the picturesque setting of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania at Highlights Foundation's conference center. I remember the suggestion that writers find a "thread" to weave through the story to develop a theme. In reading A Home For Mr. Emerson, I was intrigued to follow the thread of home from the first to the last line of the story. Emerson built the life of his choosing by creating a home for his family and connecting to his neighbors, friends and community. In this "creative, supportive environment, he did his best work." He could pursue his unique ideas through lectures and writing.
      In Emerson's words, "Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world ... Build therefore your own world."

4 comments:

Tara Smith said...

Loved the "something more" - this is definitely a book I need to find.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Tara! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I think you'll find this an interesting book with great biographical information in the back, too.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Hi there Jeanne, I am in the midst of preparing for a conference presentation on picturebook biographies, I figure that I will be visiting your site quite often in the next few weeks, and looking more incisively at many of your recommendations, including this one. Thanks for providing such a valuable resource!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Myra! Wow! Thanks ever so much for your kind words. I'm flattered that you find my reviews helpful. I'm sure you will be dynamite at the conference -- wish I could attend!