Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Home for Mr. Emerson

A Home for Mr. Emerson

Barbara Kerley
Illustrator:  Edwin Fotheringham 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Scholastic , 2014   ISBN: 978-0545350884

When he was a boy, Ralph Waldo Emerson lived in the city of Boston. His family “struggled to make ends meet,” and living in a nice house with a garden was beyond their means. Ralph walked through the crowded streets of the city dreaming of a home that would be out in the country “amid broad, open fields and deep, still woods.”

   When he went to college Ralph still dreamed about a home in the country. He also fell in love with books and writing, and enjoyed discussing what he read with his friends. Later, when he finished college, Ralph set about trying to combine the things he loved to create a life that he felt would make him happy.

   He bought a farmhouse in the little town of Concord, and then brought his young bride to share it with him. Together they filled Ralph’s study with a writing desk, books, and his collection of journals. Ralph hoped that he would be able to turn his writings into books and that his ideas could be the foundation for lectures, and this is just what happened. Thus he was able to make a living and provide for his family doing something he loved in a way that made him happy.

   He now had the house, and the country, the books and writing that he had dreamed of. What was missing were the friends who would visit and discuss topics of mutual interest with him. Ralph therefore set out to find friends and he found people whose friendship warmed his heart and whose intellect delighted his mind.

   Ralph had created the life he had dreamed of, and all was well for many years until something terrible happened and his perfect life was shattered.

   In this remarkable book the author explores the way in which Ralph Waldo Emerson “built his world around the things he loved,” and she shows us how the world Ralph created ended up becoming bigger and richer than he could have imagined. Throughout the book the narrative is punctuated by quotes from Emerson’s own writings, and is accompanied by beautifully expressive illustrations that fill the pages with vibrant color.    

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