We are a mother-daughter team dedicated to promoting literacy, education, and a lifelong love of books by helping others establish a culture of reading in their homes and beyond. We write about books we love, the process of learning to read, the benefits of reading aloud, how to establish good reading habits, and more.
In addition to running this blog, our family also owns and operates Yesterday’s Classics, a publishing company that specializes in reprinting classic books from the golden age of children’s literature, and Gateway to the Classics, one of the best online collections of classic literature for children and the young at heart.
We hope you enjoy the blog, and if you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a child, Lisa treasured the few books she owned, reading them over and over again. She still remembers poring over the pages of the family copy of the Junior Classics that lived in the hall bookcase right outside of her bedroom door. At Christmas she looked forward eagerly to the box of books she received from her Aunt Sarah and to the individual books presented to her by her Granny and Uncle Ralph.
Even as a young adult, Lisa continued to be interested in children's books, but her interest blossomed when her first child was born 36 years ago. She started scouring used book stores and thrift shops for quality children's books, and eagerly devoured any book about children's books that she could find. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease introduced her to the joys of reading aloud and Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler pointed her to lots of wonderful titles for children up to the age of 5, her only frustration being that many of the books that Butler, as a New Zealander, recommended were not available in this country. From Babies Need Books she moved on to the titles recommended in For Reading Out Loud! by Margaret Mary Kimmel and Elizabeth Segel and finally to the books profiled in Books That Build Character by William Kilpatrick and Gregory and Suzanne Wolfe. By that time she had had two more children, so she had a chance to go back and start the whole journey over again!
When her oldest child was in the sixth grade, she became interested in the homeschooling movement. She was delighted to find so many wonderful books offered in the pages of the homeschooling catalogs. She was also intrigued to find that a number of older books were being reprinted for use by homeschoolers.
About that time she also began making lists of books to add to the classroom libraries of her son's 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at Emerson Waldorf School. When her younger children were in the lower grades she began working on the libraries for those classrooms too. Through this work, as well as through the reading she and her family did at home over the course of the last 36 years, she learned a tremendous amount about children's literature.
One thing Lisa discovered was that many wonderful books for children were published at the beginning of the 20th century and the end of the 19th. Some of these books were still in print, but many were not.
A number of paths converged to make it possible for her to share some of these older books with a broader audience. First, her interest in children's books. Secondly, the software development skills she acquired in 26 years of working in the software industry. Thirdly, the advent of the internet, making it possible to locate books long out of print, and then publish them electronically.
In 1999 Lisa founded the Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project (Baldwin Project, for short) at mainlesson.com to make some of the best children's books available to all through the internet. Over the course of the next decade she made 473 classic books for children available for reading online through the Baldwin Project. Now those books and more can be read at Gateway to the Classics.
In 2005 Lisa and her oldest son joined forces to found Yesterday’s Classics, so they could publish some of these titles in print editions. Later they introduced ebook editions of all the titles they had published in print format.
Publication of new ebooks continues to this day with new ebooks released periodically in treasuries and collections available through Yesterday’s Classics.
One new project Lisa is in the early stages of is the development of a Living Books Library for children near her home in Ithaca, New York. One reason she took on this work was to familiarize herself with the best titles for children published in the last century.
Lisa has three children, all grown. They all started out their formal education at a company-sponsored Montessori day care, then transferred to Emerson Waldorf School for the early grades. Her oldest son attended Waldorf schools through the twelfth grade. The younger two were homeschooled during their middle school years. One continued to homeschool through the high school years, the other returned to a Waldorf High School. Two of her children graduated from college, one from UNC-Asheville and the other from St. John’s College. The third has just completed his fifth semester at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Her own education consisted of public school for elementary, middle, and high school, followed by four years of undergraduate work at Cornell University, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in Classics. She even did three years of graduate work in Classics at Cornell before she realized that she didn't love Classical Philology enough to devote her life to it. Two years of course work in Computer Science at Clemson University prepared her for a career in the software industry. She left the corporate world in 2003 to homeschool her children, beginning her entrepreneurial adventures a couple of years later.
As a parent of children attending Waldorf schools for many years, she became very familiar with the Waldorf system of education and has great appreciation for it. In recent years she has become enamored of the educational theories of Charlotte Mason, attracted first by the prominence of books in her system of education, and later by her emphasis on children as persons, with her motto being “Education is An Atmosphere, A Discipline, A Life.”
In 2018 she began this blog to inspire readers to build a culture of reading in their homes and beyond, spreading the love of books far and wide.
Unlike Lisa, Rebecca grew up in a home filled with books and was read to extensively as a child. She began to love reading independently around age 12 and hasn’t looked back since.
Rebecca has a diverse educational background, with experience in Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and classical education. For her undergraduate coursework, she studied liberal arts and the western canon at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. She then taught literature, writing, and American history to middle and high school students for 2 years at a classical charter school in Phoenix, AZ, where she also served as the school’s lead writing instructor during her second year.
In addition to now working for Yesterday’s Classics and writing for A Culture of Reading, Rebecca is currently applying to medical schools, and hopes to someday practice OB/GYN, as well as teach medical students.
To complement Lisa’s love for younger children’s literature, Rebecca is primarily interested in reading with middle and high school aged children, as well as in helping them develop their writing. In her own reading, she tends to gravitate toward Southern gothic literature, Nigerian literature, poetry, and writing about writing. Despite her love for more modern literature, Don Quixote and Jane Eyre are still her favorite books of all time.
Outside of the reading and writing, Rebecca is interested in a wide range of outdoor activities, as well as Ashtanga yoga, classical music, doing the NYT crossword every day, and baking increasingly elaborate desserts.