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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Vicki Palmquist

Boys and Girls of Bookland

Boys and Girls of BooklandThis is how book collecting goes. You see something that piques your curiosity. You wonder: “Why did this book get published?” “Who would have bought this book?” “On whose shelves did this book rest and why did they let it go?” “Was it a gift, never opened, or was it cherished and read over and over again?”

Sometimes you’re curious about the text or the illustrations or the binding or the publisher.

When I first began collecting books, satisfying my curiosity was hit or miss. I would go to the library and look up some of the things I wondered about in the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature or in the card catalogue (I know I’m dating myself, but that’s the point). Usually, I had to keep wondering.

Book collecting today is entirely different. Many of the antiquarian bookstores I frequented are gone because it became too expensive to maintain a physical store. They sell on the internet where one entirely misses the smell and randomness and happy accidents of book collecting. And yet I have access to used bookstores across the country. One comes to appreciate the buyers in these stores, their particular tastes.

A couple of my favorites? Cattermole 20th Century Children’s Books in Ohio. The Hermitage Bookshop in Denver.  Old Children’s Books in Oregon. Do you have a favorite? Please share in the comments.

Sometime last year, I purchased Boys and Girls of Bookland from Bob Topp at The Hermitage Bookshop. I did this because it was illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith and I hadn’t ever heard of the book. I admire Miss Smith’s work a lot. And I admire the story of her life.

David Copperfield and His Mother

David Copperfield and His Mother by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Nora Archibald Smith

Nora Archibald Smith

The book is written by Nora Archibald Smith. I’d never heard of her before. Because of the internet, I quickly discovered she was Kate Douglas Wiggin’s sister. You remember Ms. Wiggin: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I also learned that the two sisters were instrumental in founding the Kindergarten movement in San Francisco in 1873. They wrote 15 books together. I’ll have to hunt for more about this author.

The book’s copyright is with the Cosmopolitan Book Corporation which, with a little digging, I learned was owned by William Randolph Hearst. Why would he publish this book?

David MacKay

David MacKay

The publisher of this book is David MacKay. I learned that he was born in Scotland in 1860. He immigrated to the USA in 1871, when he was 11. At age 13, he started working for J.B. Lippincott, learning the bookselling trade. A rival publisher, Rees Welsh, offered him a job. During his tenure, he published Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass before he was 21, even though the attorney-general of Massachusetts didn’t want it published for its “alleged immorality.” At age 22, MacKay opened his own publishing company, eponymously named. Will I be able to find out more about him?

You see, the author wrote roughly nine pages each about famous books such as Little Women, The Jungle Book, David Copperfield, Jackanapes, and more. They’re summaries of the stories, hoping you will read the full book. I guess you could say they’re lengthy booktalks in writing. And Jessie Wilcox Smith did a painting for each story in full color. What an interesting format. Were other books like this published?

I even searched online to find the name of the woman who was given this book as a gift, Susan Class House, from Uncle Thad and Auntie “B” Lawrence. I would like to know more about their lives.

There are often objects inside a book. This one did not disappoint. I found a plastic bookmark, a Yahtzee® scorecard with a 1996 copyright date, and a “Thank you!” card from Bob Topp.


Book collecting isn’t just buying a book to read the story. It’s about discovering the stories that swirl around the book.


From the Editor

by Marsha Qualey

Untamed: the Wild Life of Jane GoodallThank goodness for public libraries. I’ve been a user and fan for well over 50 years now, but for the last eight months, as I’ve worked with the other bookologists putting together the magazine, I’ve put more book miles on my card than in many years combined.

My local library is the largest in a consortium of nearly 50 libraries in western Wisconsin, which means delivery of special requests happens quickly; that reach and speed has been a key element in my ability to keep up with the necessary book work. This is especially true for the Bookstorm™ books. Before we recommend or write about those titles we like to—at the very least—get our hands on the candidate books, riffle pages, and examine back matter and illustrations. And of course we read. For nearly a year now I make the trip to the library several times a week to see what’s waiting for me on the hold shelf.

This month our Bookstorm™ features Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, written by Anita Silvey, with photographs and book design by the editorial team at National Geographic. The companion book reading for this month’s storm has quite possibly covered more literary distance than that triggered by previous Bookstorms. Not only have I crossed and recrossed the African continent, but I’ve read about animal friendships and inspiring scientists, East African trickster stories, and visited a market in Zanzibar.

golden-baobab-prizeI’ve discovered more than books, of course. I’ve learned about the developing and exciting children’s literature scene throughout the African continent: The Golden Baobab Prize, first awarded in 2009 to celebrate and encourage emerging writers and illustrators of children’s stories; Bookshy, a wonderful blogger who focuses on African literature and book art; Book Dash, a writers and illustrators’ project designed to provide thousands of children with story books at little or no cost, and–most intriguing–Worldreader, a nonprofit that provides e-readers and e-books to schools and students in Africa and also works with African publishers to digitize their titles. 

And of course, I’ve read and thought a lot about Dr. Jane Goodall. As Bookstorm™ creator Vicki Palmquist says in her introduction to this month’s ‘storm, “[i]t’s not often that a book offers us a glimpse into the childhood of a woman who has followed a brave, and caring, career path, but also follows her through more than 50 years in that chosen profession, describing her work, discoveries, and her passion for the mammals with whom she works.”

Thanks for visiting Bookology. Please roam, and enjoy.


Skinny Dip with Vicki Palmquist

Rice Lake Carnegie Library

Rice Lake Carnegie Library

What do you wish you could tell your 10-year-old self?

A good many things, but most emphatically I would tell myself to not listen to the comments about being too smart or showing off by using big words or being too curious. I have always enjoyed learning about new things and sharing what I’ve learned. I love discussing ideas and unknown-to-me corners of the world and people who have accomplished great things and shown great imagination. In hindsight, my 10-year-old self would have found more joy in school and in life without accepting those limitations. “To thine own self be true” is something I’ve learned to live by, but it’s taken many years.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

Start my own business in partnership with my husband. There’s the working-with-your-husband aspect twenty-four/seven, which I’m happy to say has been rewarding and enlivening. Being in business (which was always anathema to me when I was in my teens and twenties—I may have coined the term “suits”) has been a process of continually reinventing ourselves, keeping ahead of the changes in a rapidly globalizing world, and learning every single day. Most of all, it’s been the kind of challenge I’ve needed for the past 27 years.

From what public library did you get your first card?

The Rice Lake Public Library in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. I was ten. I could ride my bike there during the summers when I visited my grandparents. They gave me a wicker bike basket for my birthday in June. I rode to the library every other day and filled up that basket with new treasures. It was a Carnegie library, upon a hill, with the adult collection upstairs and the children’s collection downstairs. We weren’t allowed to go upstairs. Who knows what trouble we might have gotten into!

Did your elementary school have a librarian?

I adored my elementary school librarian at Ethel Baston in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota. I don’t think I ever knew her name. Is that possible? She always had a new book to recommend when I ran out of steam. I remember reading the Boxcar Children books, racing through the mysteries, and the Landmark History books. When I’d finished all of them, she had wonderful new suggestions. In sixth grade, our librarian and my teacher, Mr. Gordon Rausch, cooked up a scavenger hunt in the library, asking us all kinds of questions that could only be found in specific books in that library. It was one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever participated in. Then and there, I decided that I would become a librarian, too. I’m not but I do have a minor in library science.

What’s on your nightstand?

My Kindle. A clock radio that plays internet stations. It’s on all night, playing jazz or classical music. A beautiful coral rose that a friend brought me today.  Samurai Rising, a new book by Pamela S. Turner and Gareth Hinds. The Most Important Thing by Avi. Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman. I’m a very lucky woman—I have to read for my job!



From the Editor

by Marsha Qualey

Welcome to Bookology.

Thank you for coming back, or checking us out for a first look, or for pausing if you landed here by accident.

Chasing FreedomReturning readers know that each month much of our content is connected to the magazine’s monthly centerpiece: the Bookstorm™, a bibliography of books and websites compiled and written by our chief Bookologist, Vicki Palmquist, which has at its starting point a single book. This month that book is Chasing Freedom by Nikki Grimes, in which the author imagines a conversation that might have occurred had Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman sat down for tea. Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman’s “paths frequently crossed one another’s,” Grimes says in our interview with her, but she could find no documentation of an actual shared tea.  Still, “[t]he fact that these historical powerhouses knew one another was exciting.”

The September Bookstorm™ focuses on the 19th century and the early 20th century and the political and social environments and institutions in which Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman lived and worked: slavery, war, Reconstruction, the advent and dawn of Jim Crow, the new century.  If you don’t have time now to look over the bibliography, our Bullet Point Book Talks offers a quick look at some of the books in the ‘storm.

On the lighter side, today we also celebrate the back-to-school season with a Quirky Book List of books involving classroom pets. Cautionary reading for our teacher friends? Perhaps.

Catch You Later, TraitorDon’t forget to return after today, because, as usual, throughout the month you can join us for some skinny dipping and read what our regular book-loving contributors have to say about their latest forays into children’s literature. Want to be alerted to Bookology updates? Please subscribe.

And finally: We have a winner. Last month we encouraged our readers to comment on our articles, and we offered a signed copy of that month’s Bookstorm™ book, Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi as the prize for a drawing for which all commenters would be eligible. Linda B. from Colorado took a moment to comment on our August Literary Madeleine, and it was her name we pulled out of the Bookologist Hat. Congrats to Linda, and thank you to all who commented.

That’s enough. Time to explore Bookology. Thanks for stopping.


From the Editor: Welcome

by Marsha Qualey

Welcome to Bookology.

WelcomeWhat began almost a year ago as a conversation among colleagues has now taken shape and arrived on your virtual doorstep: an e-magazine dedicated to nurturing the essential conversation about the role of children’s books in the K-8 classroom.

That meeting was convened by Vicki and Steve Palmquist, owners and founders of Winding Oak and perhaps more familiar to many of you as the founders and heartbeat of Children’s Literature Network, an organization they rolled up last year after providing 12 years of leadership as well as an unparalleled online platform for communication between children’s book creators and the adults who love those books.

Vicki and Steve wanted to create a similar online presence, one that would not only highlight the work of Winding Oak’s many clients, but which would also invite a larger network of readers, writers, illustrators, teachers, and librarians into the conversation.

A quick guide to what you’ll see each month:

A Bookstorm ™.  Each “storm” begins with one book. From there we spin out a cross-curriculum array of subjects and provide titles for each category. Common Core, STEM/STEAM, state standards—any curriculum structure will be served by the Bookstorm™ bibliography. But we also go beyond a simple list, and each month much of the Bookology content we present will emanate from the Bookstorm™ titles.

Columns.  Whether written by one of our regulars or a guest writer, these posts are intended to share the voices of people immersed in the world of children’s literature. We are especially delighted to launch “Knock Knock,” a blog collective from Winding Oak’s many clients that will appear on alternate Tuesdays. Heather Vogel Frederick gamely accepted the assignment to write the inaugural column; she’ll be followed up later this month by Melissa Stewart and Avi.

Interviews and articles. We will be visiting with illustrators, writers, teachers, librarians and others in order to expand what we all know and understand about children’s literature. We’ll also be offering a lighter, more humorous getting-to-know-you interview venue: Skinny Dips, in which we ask about almost anything except the creative process.

We will scatter about the magazine features and incidentals we hope will be of interest, such as Literary Madeleines—discoveries that even the veteran readers on the staff savored—and Timelines, quick at-a-glance looks at seminal books in a genre or subject. Contest, quizzes, and book-giveaways will also appear throughout the month.

What you won’t see are book reviews. While many of our articles and columns will of course discuss and recommend books, those recommendations will always be in context of a larger topic. There are plenty of book review forums available, and we weren’t interested in adding to those voices.

And for now you won’t see “Comments” sections. This is ironic of course in view of our stated mission of nurturing a conversation; we’ll open those, and soon. In the meantime, should you have a comment or suggestion or request, send me a note.

Thanks for your time and interest. Now please go explore Bookology.



Joy-in-Words Day

Isn’t it about time for a holiday? It’s been three weeks since the Fourth of July and we won’t celebrate Labor Day for another five weeks. Well, I hereby declare July 25th Joy-in-Words Day. Help celebrate! What’s your favorite word to say out loud? What word gives you joy as it rolls around in your […]


Our bookmarks are in … books recommended July 2010

Author Heather Bouwman is reading The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer, published in the US by Arthur Levine. “This book is one of the weirdest and best I’ve ever read. Post-WWII Netherlands, quirky characters, and a protagonist you want to root for forever.  I’d love to know what you think of it if you […]