25 October 2008

Faith and Freedom Readers

Catholic homeschooling mothers already know about this excellent series, published in the 1940s and 50s, and available from grades Kindergarten and up. These books are compilations of simple stories meant to inspire and teach about the good of family, faith, and all the virtues, in a specifically Catholic context. Titles include A Book of Fortitude, A Book of Valor (which opens with the prayer of pilgrims at Walsingham), This Is Our Heritage (with pieces by Hilaire Belloc and WWI poet Joyce Kilmer), These Are Our Freedoms (with a focus on American history), and many more.

The illustrations, as you can see, are delightful, and no less so because they teach one, of all things, how to dress well (which is no small matter, not because one desires to foster vanity, but rather because modesty and comprehension of proper roles between the sexes seems largely forgotten these days). Little Anne dons girlish dresses appropriate for her age, with matching socks and black Mary Janes; Little Tom and David wear slacks, collared shirts, and brown patent leather oxfords at play.

Mother understands modesty and femininity in dress, and works hard to keep the home tidy and cheerful, while Father looks manly and put together, though he works many hours through the week. The priests are masculine, faithful, and kind, and, of course, go about in clerical garb.

Moderns will laugh at such idealism, preferring their androgynous clothing (and roles), but the rest of us who know better need pay no attention...