I've been collecting the Dear America books when I find them at used book stores. I now have quite a few and they look really pretty on my shelf.
After Bud read the Journal of Scott Pendleton, I decided to read it and see what I thought. I was surprised by some of the content. There was some swearing, and some derogatory statements towards women such as this quote on pg 11:
"I wish we could go back to Darmouth. If Mikey was right about English girls being easy, I would like to find out about it. Wojo said that French girls were nasty. Sounds good to me."Why would anyone write something like that in a children's book? I don't think Bud understood it, but I still didn't like him reading such statements. Maybe they were trying to gear these books towards teenagers who read at a third grade level, but even so - they could do without such statements right? Isn't World War II pretty dramatic as it is?
I skimmed through the Civil War one, since it was written by a different author and Bud wanted to read it. I found it was more tame and I told him he could try it. He read for a while, but then told me that there was some swearing in it and asked me if he should keep reading it. I told him I didn't know. I told him to put it down if the spirit left him while he read it. He decided to stop reading it.
Still unsure if I should just get rid of them all, or if I should read each one (since they are written by different authors), I read The Fences Between Us: The Diary of Piper Davis about the Japanese Camps in America during World War II. I really liked the message and I learned a lot. I think it was worth reading, but again - the language was pretty simple and there was a little bit of teenage romance (which I think is silly at the age of 14), but the romance was very tame compared to The Diary of Anne Frank which I also just finished reading.
However, at least the Diary of Anne Frank was real. There was no reason for the author of The Diary of Piper Davis to put that stuff in there. (Not that I would let my children read The Diary of Anne Frank anytime soon - at least not without some editing!) I know there has to be other great books about World War II out there that Bud could read! I just with I knew where to find them. Any suggestions?
I guess what I am struggling with is whether or not a book is worth keeping if the content is very good (like the Diary of Piper Davis), but the language is not of high quality. Little Miss just finished a book called Heroes of America: George Washington and the language, again, was very simple, but she loved the book and she learned so much about George Washington. Another example is the Work and the Glory books. I learned church history through them and they taught good values, but the language was not high quality. Should I keep them? There are also the Childhood of Famous Americans books. I've collected quite a few, but they are also pretty simple in language.
I know it may seem like no big deal to have a few books with low language and high content - especially historical ones, but it is very important to me for the children to get well-versed in the language of the classics. That is just not going to happen if they spend their time reading simple watered-down language. Does anyone have recommendations?