Classical Literature Spotlight: My Book House, The Book-house for Children by Olive Beaupre Miller.

Olive Beaupré Miller was a writer, publisher and editor of children literature.

In 1919 Miller established a company, The Book House for Children, and shortly thereafter published an anthology of children literature under the same name. First edition of The BookHouse for Children was published in 6 volumes. Later reprints were in 12.

My Book House was the first collection of children’s literature specifically arranged to meet the developing needs and abilities of children at different ages. Each entry had to meet the following three criteria (defined by Olive Miller):

  • "First,--To be well equipped for life, to have ideas and the ability to express them, the child needs a broad background of familiarity with the best in literature.
  • "Second,--His stories and rhymes must be selected with care that he may absorb no distorted view of life and its actual values, but may grow up to be mentally clear about values and emotionally impelled to seek what is truly desirable and worthwhile in human living.
  • "Third,--The stories and rhymes selected must be graded to the child's understanding at different periods of his growth, graded as to vocabulary, as to subject matter and as to complexity of structure and plot."

My Book House is an excellent resource for every family! The very first edition consisted of the following 6 volumes:

Volume 1 - In the Nursery. 

432 pages of nursery rhymes, short poems like Who Has Seen the Wind, Little Drops of Water, The Swing and simple Children Stories from many cultures, - Indian, Native American, Dutch, Japanese, France, Scotland, England, along with simple written tales. There are a lot of pictures and they are  lovely.

Since these books are already in Public Domain, you can also get your free digital copy here

Volume 2 - Up One Pair of Stairs 

A Chester H. Lawrence Little Red Riding Hood plate on A printing, followed by a Snow White and Rose Red plate on B printing. Its 448 pages of longer and more complex folk and other stories. You will find here Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Legend of a Water Lily, The Snow Maiden, Cinderella, The Fisherman and His Wife.    It also has a good selection of poetry for growing kids. Longfellow, Wordsworth, some Shakespeare, and much more.

Pick up your free digital Public Domain copy of volume 2 here

Volume 3 - Through Fairy Halls 

Its almost 450 pages long. It has a variety of longer fairy tales and variants (like Rhodopis, the Egyptian Cinderella, Princess on the Glass Hill (Norse)). A lot of international folk tales! Short stories from around the world, some excerpts from longer works, and some poetry from Shakespeare, Milton, Sir Walter Scott, Hogg.

You can get your FREE digital copy of volume 3 here

Volume 4 - The Treasure Chest

Again, its nearly 450 pages! It has more longer stories, like the Recollections of the Arabian Nights and The Merman by Alfred Tennyson, Tolstoy's Where Love Is, There is God Also, retold excerpts from Dickens and George Elliot, Theodore Roosevelt on George Rogers Clark, The Knights of the Silver Shield by Raymond MacDonald Alden, Greek Myths, some (not much) poetry, and some biography.

Free digital copy of Volume 4 now available in Public Domain here.

Volume 5 - From The Tower Window

Stories, epics, and legends from history: The Exile of Rama, Robin Hood, Beowulf, the Homecoming of Ulysses, King Alfred, Robin Hood, Don Quixote, Joan of Arc, incredible selection!

Free digital copy of Volume 5 is here

Volume 6 - The Latch Key

This is a volume for parents and teachers. It also can be used as a study guide for older children. It has information about different authors, short articles about myths, folk tales, epics. It also addresses an importance of classical literature in child upbringing. At the end of the book there are more then 100 pages of various indexes: title index, author index, characters index (that one is really neat), geographical and historical indexes, etc

Free digital copy of Volume 6 is here.

Its an incredible anthology of children classical literature and a must have for every family! You still can find incredible deal for out of print copies on Amazon (click on the images above for an idea!) and with all of the books in the series being in Public Domain, you can also enjoy your free digital copies (we always have those with us on iPad when we are traveling).