Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

On Being a Virginian

They sure don't write textbooks the way they used to. I wish my elementary school text book for Virginia history had spoken less of exports and imports and more of the great men of Virginia's history. Take this example from a textbook written in the late 1800s for elementary schools in Virginia.

"Now, my children, I want to tell you of the 'Makers of Virginia,' by which I mean the men who, by their wisdom and their talents, made Virginia the great and honorable State that she has always been; so great and so honorable that, no matter into what part of the world you go, when you say, 'I am a Virginian,' you are expected to be an honorable, brave gentleman or lady; and I hope that you will all try to keep up the reputation which the sons and daughters of the Old Dominion have always had."
- From Stories from Virginia History by Mary Tucker Magill

Reading this just fills me with pride for my state. It's quite possible in the future that I may do a few blog posts here and there about Heroes of Virginia history in order to show my pride in being a native of such a great and honorable State.

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