Sunday, March 22, 2009

Salem Ridge Press - Great books for the family!

Salem Ridge Press is a publishing company which is dedicated to bring back the best in children’s books of the 1800s and early 1900s. Established in November 2005 by Daniel Mills, Salem Ridge Press operates from Pennsylvania and is in the business of republishing books who respect the qualifications outlined in the Bible based on Philippians 4:8. The founder of Salem Ridge Press is a homeschooling graduate who dedicates his work with the company to the Lord. He hopes that giving others the opportunity to read well-written books which have strong moral values and encourage positive character. His love for reading and for history make it that he really enjoys what he is doing with Salem Bridge Press.

As part of the review process, I received three books that I had to read and write about. I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect from books written in the 1800s or 1900s but I was pleasantly surprised by them.

The first book of the package is Mary Jane – Her Book written by Clara Ingram Judson and originally published in 1918. This little treasure that many little girls would like tells the story of a five-year-old as she helps and learns various tasks. She goes on a picnic, plants a garden with her father, learns to sew and more. She is curious like any five-year-old can be and eager to learn new things like sewing for example. This book is written for 6 to 10 years old but I think it is more for children age 5-7 years old. It is a very good book to put in the hands of an early reader once he or she has mastered the basics of reading. Now mind you the book is about a little girl doing little girl things so I am unsure on how a boy would react to this book. My oldest son is above this level of reading and I doubt he would be interested in reading it…

The second book of the package is The American Twins of the Revolution written by Lucy Fitch Perkins and originally published in 1926. Geared for readers ages 8 to adult, this historical novel recounts the adventure lived by the Priestly family during the war between the America and Britain. I enjoyed reading about this period of time and learning how the family evaded the soldiers so that they can bring the food and money to the ones who were fighting for them. Even though it was not about Canadian history, I think it was a good read and very informative.

Finally, the last book I received from Salem Ridge press is Glaucia the Greek Slave written by Emma Leslie and originally published in 1874. This book is part of a series called the Church History Series. It is a tale of Athens in the first century and is an historical fiction. Glaucia is the first book of the Church History Series and is for anyone ages 10 to adult who would love to read more about how Christianity was able to attract followers in a time where there was so much corruption and many gods... Here’s what Emma Leslie says about the book:

“In the pages of the following tale I have endeavored to show some of the many
difficulties with which Christianity had to contend, on its firs introduction to
the centers of civilization, not only from paganism and philosophy, but from
every mode of life and the whole tone of thought then prevailing. It was an age
at once of atheism and superstition; of boundless wealth and the most abject
poverty; of reckless luxury and selfish cruelty; and against all these, with the
long train of evils they bred and fostered, the simple Gospel story of the life
of Jesus, as told by a few fishermen, was all this new power could boast.That it
would make any progress in such a world of corrupt, luxurious, cruel
pleasure-lovers, or proud, self-satisfied, disdainful philosophers, seemed
impossible; for what chance had a religion whose whole teaching ranged itself
against everything that the popular mind accounted as worthy of notice? It had
no gorgeous ritual, there were no feasts or games in its service, it held out no
hope of wealth or power; but, on the contrary, was despised, sneered at, and
contemned by the rich and powerful, and yet, in spite of all the abounding
corruption on the one hand, and the proud disdain of Jews and philosophers on
the other, this “grain of mustard-seed” grew so mightily, that before its first
founders had passed away its branches had spread into many lands, and weary soul
were resting beneath their shadow.”

During the story, Glaucia is introduced to the Gospel and is told early on that she has to choose between Jesus and the other Gods she serves for her mistress as she cannot worship both…. She decides to worship to God of the slaves who loves everyone who comes to Him. The story is set up during the times of Nero and the famous (or should I say infamous) fire of Rome. The story starts in Rome and finishes in Athens. You get introduced of the way of living in that period of time and also the difficulties that were present for the ones who decided to follow God – persecution. Persecution still exists these days in other countries. The faith of those who are persecuted is so strong. While I was reading I was impressed of how the characters didn’t rejected God even though they had hard times and their lives were in danger. I also appreciated the boldness of the characters to share their faith with unbelievers. It was refreshing to read this.

I personally enjoyed all three books. However, I must admit that I had a bit of trouble “translating” the slang of the slaves in the book The American Twins of the Revolution or the King James way of talking in Glaucia the Greek Slave. I totally understand that it makes the book more interesting but not being used to reading it (and English not being my first language…), I had a hard time figuring out the words… but once I had caught the slang/King James then I was able to read it with more ability.

I loved the books I have received from Salem Ridge Press and I plan to get more of them. Believe it or not, I discovered that they are available at! And Daniel also told me that he is working to make them available with other bookstores like Indigo in 2009 as well as potentially making them more affordable for us, Canadians. The Church History Series is certainly on the top of my list!

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