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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Salem Ridge Press

Salem Ridge Press is a book publisher that, according to their letter of introduction, is "dedicated to bringing back the very best children's books of the 1800's and early 1900's for a new generation of readers." They desire "to build a reputation as a trusted source for the kind of books parents can feel good about giving to their children, that children will really want to read, and that can be enjoyed together by the entire family." Based on the three books they sent me as representative of the types of literature they strive to carry, I can say they have achieved their objectives very well.

The first book was Glaucia the Greek Slave from the Emma Leslie Church History Series. How interesting! It was a fictional account of the time when Paul was imprisoned in Rome and how the gospel was spread. Featuring both a boy and a girl as main characters and values such as doing what is right no matter what the cost, it was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to reading more from this series. Currently 6 other titles in the series are available from Salem Ridge Press, but they are hoping to offer approximately 25 titles in the series in the future.

American Twins of the Revolution is one of their historical fiction titles. Based on a true story, it too featured a boy and a girl whose bravery in the Revolutionary war may indeed have changed history. What a wonderful way to learn about the times and customs and vernacular. Reading the details in a story hardly feels like learning, but the text is rich in information about that period in history. Although some might find it hard to read, I especially loved the dialect of one of the main slaves of the house. It's written as it would have been spoken and really gives you a sense of that colorful jargon.

Mary Jane - Her Book was charming. It's a title for younger readers and is reminiscent of Betsy and Tacy in its wholesome family and friend adventures.

Salem Ridge Press was founded by a homeschooling graduate, Daniel Mills, with a passion for republishing old books that have strong moral values and encourage positive character. He "strongly believes that what we read matters and what we take into our minds is a major factor in forming our ideas and character". As someone who took in WAY too many not-God-glorifying stories as a child and teen, I wholehearted concur, and that's another reason these books by Salem Ridge Press appeal to me so much.

If there are any drawbacks, it may be little things such as some of the vernacular being hard to read if you aren't used to it. Or the fact that some of the stories, by their very nature as historical fiction, depict less than pleasant topics like slavery and war. Also, unfamiliar words are defined on the bottom of the page, and I did find a place in Glaucia where "the Archipelago" from the text "the numerous islands of the Archipelago" was defined as "the Aegean Sea." The actual definition is "a group or chain of islands OR an area of sea with many islands." So in this case, they defined the specific place the story referred to, but may leave a reader unfamiliar with the word thinking it means just THAT sea and not a group of islands or area of sea with many islands. But maybe I'm being too picky, LOL. It certainly wouldn't stop me from recommending Salem Ridge Press or even this book specifically. In fact, I liked that book most of all.

The one other thing I did want to mention is that some of the books that Salem Ridge Press publishes are edited slightly for content. They have a firm standard that there should be no kissing or embracing in the books they publish as they want to encourage young people to "maintain the highest standards of purity in their relationships." They will also edit out derogatory comments that they feel are offensive or unnecessary. Sometimes illustrations are edited to "keep things modest and appropriate." I don't find this particularly troubling. In fact, I appreciate the fact that I can let one of my children read these books and not have to worry about potentially inappropriate subject matter.

Based on the books I had the chance to review, I would totally recommend Salem Ridge Press and their offerings as a wonderful way to add to your homeschool library. The books are priced between $12.95-$14.95 each, but are well worth it for the rich living history they will add to your homeschool program. They are available for order through any bookstore, and are carried in store by Barnes & Noble and Borders, as well as online at . I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
To read other reviews about this company written by other Crew members, go HERE.
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