Older Grades

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At the Hot Gates

An Account of the Battle of Thermopylae

Donald Samson

Illustrated by Adam Agee

Softbound

$6.00

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We welcome this outstanding reader for the Waldorf Grade 5 curriculum!  Between the excitement of the story and the resounding history that lies behind it, any student (an their teacher!) will be hungry to get to read more.

It’s the year 480 BC and the greatest army ever gathered in the ancient world is on the march to conquer all of Greece. An irresistible force, they are destroying whatever dares to stand in their path. One man steps forward to stop them, followed by 300 companions. His chances are next to null; yet he goes. This man is Leonidas. And his companions are Spartans. They go to stop the Persian advance and meet their destiny at the narrows known as The Hot Gates.

The Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said

Padraic Colum

$16.50

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This is a gem of a book by the renowned poet, dramatist, novelist, folklorist and storyteller, Padraic Colum.  No less than three of his books for children received retrospective citations for the Newbery Honor.  Filled with drama, action, tenderness and adventure, Padraic Colum spins a series of tales which draw us into a world of imagination and beauty.  The tales have a strong and clear storyteller's voice which is still as alive, fresh and direct as it was when first spoken.

This edition has been edited by the artist, teacher and author, Reg Down, with grade 4 to 8 students in mind.  In addition to editing for clarity and pronounceability (Celtic spellings are sometimes impossible!), he refreshed the original illustrations by Dugard Stewart Walker, inserted footnotes where a word was uncommon or seldom used, added a map to show where countries and mountains mentioned in the book are located, added a section with characterizations and drawings of all the birds which appear in the book, included the Celtic Ogham alphabet referenced in one tale (plus examples for the reader to deciher and encouragement for them to write their own Ogham), and finally, added a brief biography of Padraic Colum, with a description of his dramatic life and times in Ireland and his arrival in the land of hope, America.

Outstanding! Highly recommend for ages 9 and older.

Little Bee Sunbeam

Jakob Streit

Softbound

$10.00

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This story reader for younger children relates the adventures of a honeybee named Little Bee Sunbeam. The little bee is in a search for a particularly good nectar to make honey when it suddenly becomes very cold. Honeybees cannot fly when the temperature drops so abruptly and our little bee must spend the night alone in the forest where an exciting adventure unfolds.

I would recommend it for Grade 5 as a reader based on the level of vocabulary used - it also fits in beautlifully with the Botany lesson block. For grades 3 and up, it can be used as a story to be read by an adult.

The Bee Book

Jakob Streit

Softbound

$10.00

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Streit’s father was a beekeeper and it was in early childhood that Jakob developed a passion for the honeybee. This exquisite reader factually and scientifically allows one to enter into the magic and mysterious world of the bees.

The Bee Book offers a beautiful transition from the Animal and Human Being lesson block of Grade 4 to the Botany lesson block of Grade 5 - and would be an appropriate reader for those grade level.

Sticks Across the Chimney

A Story of Denmark

Nora Burglon

Softbound

$11.95

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When young Siri, Erik, and their widowed mother buy a deserted farm with an ancient Viking grave mound on the land, they have no idea of the challenges and adventures that await them.  First they must use their wits and humor to survive without money, as well as deal with superstitious townspe0ple.  Later they participate in mysterious and exciting events that lead to the opening of the mound and the discovery of unbelievably ancient Viking treasures.

The interweaving of an exciting mystery and the adventures of surviving on the farm with tales of Danish Viking life and lore is irresistible to both children and adults. Brought back for all of us after too many years out of print, this is a book to welcome warmly back into our homes, classrooms and hearts!

Sticks across the Chimney is a wonderful addition to any child's library and an exceptional book to offer 4th graders during the Nordic myths blocks of the Waldorf curriculum.

The Gate Swings In

A Story of Sweden

Nora Burglon

Softbound

$14.95

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The Gate Swings In is a lovely companion to Burglon's Sticks Across the Chimney. I love the ruggedness and ingenuity of the characters in this story - there is a warm self-discipline and love of the land that shines through the story in evocative, inspiring ways that are sure to move young hearts in wholesome directions.

The central character is Minda, an inspiring young heroine. Together with her intelligent, crafty goat, she goes out to earn enough money for her winter schooling. Throughout her efforts, she has frequent talks with a wise Tomte (Swedish farm elf/gnome - see The Tomten and The Tomten and the Fox) and shows herself to have the fortitude to move ahead in the midst of all kinds of struggles and hardships. At each turn, friendship and love of the land and animals open paths and inspire new directions.

Very highly recommended - especially good in conjunction with the Waldorf Grade 4 curriculum, but wonderful for children of all ages at other times, too.

 

Gilgamesh - Man's First Story

Bernarda Bryson

Softbound - elegantly illustrated

$24.95

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This is a powerful - and powerfully beautiful - retelling of one of the oldest stories known to humanity. Bernarda Bryson tells this story with simplicity and grace - retaining as she does the uniquely Sumerian view of the world, some of the poetic responses, and above all, the heart and soul of this story that combines in equal measure the elements of both transcendent victory and deep tragedy. This retelling was written for children, but I can't think of any adult who wouldn't enjoy it as well. Ms. Bryson is rightly remembered as an author whose sensitivity was matched by her literary skill - and who used the fullness of her capacities in the making of this book.

The story of Gilgamesh was first written down about 3000 BC in Sumeria. It tells of a great flood and of one man, befriended by the gods, who survived by building an ark. In the feats of Gilgamesh and his companion, Enkidu, a monster who turns into a gentle man who loves and respects the King, are found the sources of great mythological heroes: Hercules, Jason and Theseus.

In addition to its vital importance in the history of literature, Gilgamesh is an exciting and often amusing tale - setting jealous god against jealous god, god against man, and man against man in remarkable battles of wit and strength.

A must for fifth graders - wonderful for the rest of us!

Homer's Odyssey

A Retelling

Isabel Wyatt

Softbound

$17.95

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This is a book I've been hoping to see for years - it is happy news that it is now available. Isabel Wyatt's retelling of the Odyssey is masterful and engaging. Without sacrificing any of the grandeur or scale of the original, she tells the complete story in a way that makes it a bit more immediate, more alive than the translations. This is the perfect reader for Grade 5 students in the Waldorf Curriculum, and a great story for everyone else.

Geron and Virtus

A Fateful Encounter of Two Youths A German and a Roman

Jakob Streit

A Reader for 6th or 7th Grade

Softbound

$10.00

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Geron and Virtus written by master storyteller and Waldorf teacher Jakob Streit, is a remarkable book. It is a story about two boys during the Roman campaign to conquer the Germanic tribes. It was out of this Roman/German encounter that a new Europe and the transition to a new time was born. The story is about friendship, slavery, honor, and adventure. The text is rich with spiritual insights provided by Druid priests and their stories of Nordic mythology. The book has vivid illustrations and is aimed at sixth and seventh grade students.

Grades 6-7

Milon and the Lion

Jakob Streit

Softbound

$16.95

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I don't know how it came about, but I first encountered this story of an Athenian slave's kindness to a lion and how that lion later saved his life when I was about 10 years old.  My guess is that it was either told to me in Sunday School, or was in a book I read to myself.  In any event, it has lived in my heart all these years as a beautiful reminder of the nature of goodness and the bond between man and animal.

Needless to say, I am grateful toJakob Streit for retelling it and to Floris Books for making it available in English so that we can share it with today's children.

Young slave Milon starts his journey at home in Athens.  When he sets sail on a ship bound for Italy his adventures really begin.  He narrowly escapes with his life in Pompei as the great volcano Vesuvius erupts and destroys the town; he experiences the colourful life of the metropolis of Alexandria in Egypt, and he faces a battle fo rlife and death in the Colosseum in Rome.

When he meets a small community of Christians in Rome, he finally gains his freedom and finds a purpose in life.  At the center of the story is Milon's relationship with a wounded lion who he bravely helps.  Will the lion remember him and return the favor when Milon faces death at the hands of the mighty Roman emperor?

Because this story presents the world of the early Christians in an engaging way for children, it is ideal for use in Steiner-Waldorf Class 6 (ages 11-12).

Columban

Jakob Streit

Translated by Nina Kuettel

Illustrated by Christiane Lesch

Softbound

$10.00

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Jakob Streit's Columban tells the story of St. Columban (540-615 AD), also known as St. Columbanus or St. Columbano, but not to be confused with St. Columba of Iona who was also Irish and a contemporary of Columban's. 

Columban is largely credited with the development of monasteries and monastic life, and revered for his tireless travels and the development of "Celtic Christianity," thereby merging the Celt's reverence of nature with Roman Christianity. More recently, though this of course plays no part in the story, St. Columban was officially endorsed by the Vatican as patron saint of motorcyclists.   

As a reader, Columban serves as an interesting story of a fascinating life, told well by a master storyteller.  The story takes us from his early years through to the completion of his life, and lifeworks.  It fits well into the transition between Roman and Medieval history, usually taught in 7th grade in the Waldorf curriculum. [And what 7th grader wouldn't want to learn about the patron saint of motorcyclists?]

The Boy Apprenticed to an Enchanter

Padraic Colum

Illustrated by Patrick Reinhart

Wonderful as a 6th Grade Reader - a beautiful read-to for earlier years

Softbound

$9.95

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Padraic Colum was one of the greatest English language storytellers ever to have lived. In general, his work was focused on retelling the classic tales of Western history, shaping them with vivid language and a lilting cadence such that you could almost hear his Irish voice ringing forth from the pages. Sometimes, however, he burst into a tale of his own (see, The King of Ireland's Son, for instance) and took us into new worlds with a feeling for both story and language that is rare and unique. I just love his work.

The Boy Apprenticed to an Enchanter is one of Colum's own creations - and it is a rich and masterful treasure. It languished in the hazy realms of out of print books for years and years, almost entirely forgotten save by a few whose tattered copies were still passed from hand to hand. Now, one of my favorite publishers, Whole Spirit Press, has brought it to life again. Hooray! It is a perfect 6th grade reader and a wonderful read-to for earlier years.

The story unfolds during the Middle Ages and is filled with mystery, intrigue and adventure. There are battles against evil in several forms, and a long journey to find the truth and Merlin the Magician (who knows all the answers). Revelation and adventure abound and include Eean arriving at the Tower of Babylon and meeting Chiron the Centaur and Hermes Trismegistus.

This is fabulous, wonderful reading that will fire the imaginations f children and adults. How lovely to see it in print again.

Grades 6-7.

Legends of King Arthur

Medieval Stories Collected and Retold

Isabel Wyatt

Softbound

Formerly published as Tales the Harper Sang

$16.95

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Enter a world of duels and jousting, where knights battle to protect the honor of fair maidens and defend King Arthur’s castle. Knights meet in fellowship at Camelot, where they are entertained with feasts and pageantry. Honor and chivalry are valued above all else, and courageous knights fight strange, unearthly foes to prove themselves worthy of a place at King Arthur’s table.

These ancient tales have been told since the fifth century, when Welsh bards traveled the countryside, entertaining lords and ladies with stories and songs. Those exciting tales were retold in verse by Chretien de Troyes in his twelfth-century Le morte d’Arthur and in prose by Sir Thomas Malory during the fifteenth century.

The book includes a selection of these enthralling legends, skillfully retold by renowned storyteller Isabel Wyatt.

Invisible Guardians

True Stories of Fateful Encounters

Jakob Streit

Softbound

$8.00

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This is a lovely little book - a gift of the heart for children and adults.

The stories in this book are based on actual events.  Some of them were told to me during conversations, and a few are taken from my own experiences.  Still others came to me by way of letters that were written in answer to a survey.  Only a portion of those were suited for the purpose of re-telling as a story. However, all the people who reported such experiences were consistent in their belief that a guiding force had intervened in their destiny.

Jakob Streit, from his Preface