Thrifting Gems

I got seriously lucky last week at Goodwill. The Goodwills around here have a price of 79 cents on all children’s books (note, this is NOT true of Goodwills everywhere unfortunately), whether it’s a ripped up Elmo’s ABC book or a pristine collectible. While the store seems to have someone on staff who knows how to gouge prices on clothing depending on the brand, it seems they count all childrens’ books as equal… much to their own ignorance… and a fact upon which I am happy to capitalize. As it is, for $6.32 I scored 8 great books. The Tomie De Paola book you see was a quarter at the “Friends of the Library” book sale last week.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I normally wouldn’t have taken the time to purchase this beloved classic because it’s so readily available at the library and at thrift stores. But this particular copy is an old, hard copy with divine illustrations and a dust jacket that makes it worthy of prominent display on the shelf. It smells like precious old books (once Kindle can nail that, they might win me over). Books of this sort are like deepwater pearls for me.

The Boxcar Children.I’ve passed up millions of Boxcar Children books because while I think they are fine on the moral compass, they aren’t necessarily super high quality literature that I’m dying for my children to read. But many children love series like these and I don’t mind if a child of mine gets hooked on these benign books. I bought it that day because it was a mint condition hard copy of the first book in the series… and I had just read a blurb about The Boxcar Children earlier that same day from an (adult) book I’m enjoying right now.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado. We have a ton of Christmas books in our home because we tend to slow school WAY down during Advent and focus on liturgical activities and lots of good reading. Some years, I wrap up all our Christmas books and the kids open them one each day… so I like to invest in quality Christmas stories… and this is a lovely one. Same reason I bought Tomie De Paola’s “Country Angel Christmas” up there.

The Sign of the Seahorse: A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts. All the goodness we can expect from Graeme Base. I’m not familiar with this particular story yet, but the copy was mint and we’ve loved everything else we’ve seen from Base thus far!

Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley. I love when children’s stories show a strong sense of place or culture and this one highlights Venice at its best. Not only is the book in excellent shape, but it was on my wish list. This book may be elaborated upon more greatly in a future post about best books around which to design a curriculum.

The Vikings… I couldn’t find author information on this offhand and it’s disappeared into the folds of a child’s blankets for now, so fascinating it is. The book offers great visuals about real Viking artifacts and art and stories, it’s a great supplement to our Vikings study (which we finished last fall and won’t revisit for a few years, but still…)

Ollie’s Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow. Now I just got done ranting about how Beskow books NEVER make it to the second-hand world but I was proved wrong as I found one of her titles for the first time EVER! Little Ollie sets out on skis and runs into Old Man Winter who’s trying to keep the Spring Thaw lady away… what a great find!

Finally, Little Rose of Sharon by Nan Gurley. This is a sublime little book, one of the best analogies on Christ I’ve ever seen in children’s literature. It’s a story of sacrifice and love and absolutely great Easter timing. I am VERY happy to own it!

“Good children’s literature appeals not only to the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.”

1 thought on “Thrifting Gems

  1. Bethany

    Hi, I came here through 4 real and love your blog. I too love children's books a little too much ; ) ! What great finds at the thrift store, Elsa Beskow! I could only dream. I've found some treasures in thrift stores over the years, but that would make me squeal out loud in delight.

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