Awhile back a good friend of mine started using We Choose Virtues with her young kids to begin a dialogue about traits, characteristics, and the choices we make to be ethical, moral people. A short time after that a separate, unrelated friend showed me a book she was using called Portraits of Integrity. I flipped through it and loved their premise– that one of the most powerful ways to inspire people to greatness is through the stories of great people from the past. I liked the idea of reading short stories about real people with my children in order to discuss the decisions, circumstances, and effects of these historical figures. If I was homeschooling from a biblical worldview I would have happily picked up this book and been on my merry way. As it was, I toyed with the idea of trying to utilize it anyway but finally opted to continue my search for something from a more secular standpoint.
A few weeks later, Mira and I were flipping through the television early one morning when we stumbled upon a cartoon based on the life and work of Louis Pasteur. It was an older cartoon- nothing flashy or high def about it- yet Mira got sucked into it. (And truth be told, I found it engaging and informative for myself as well.) I’ll go into greater detail about this awesome series later in the post but wanted to say that after we finished the cartoon I remembered picking up a Louis Pasteur book awhile back at a local used-curriculum sale for $1 on a whim. I searched my house and finally found it among my hoard of homeschooling resources. I casually left it out where Mira would see it and waited to see if she took the bait.
A short time later she was engrossed in the book! She literally poured over the pages and then asked if she could read it aloud to me. She was so freakishly amused by the cheesy 70′s illustrations, and interested in the presentation of the story, that afterwards I decided to do a bit of research on what the heck this book actually was. Turns out it’s a series of books written about historical men and women with each book focusing on one specific value or characteristic that the figure personifies. I stumbled upon this blog post on the Pioneer Woman’s website that officially sold it for me.
A very short time later I shelled out $80 on Ebay, and then shortly before Christmas, this beautiful package arrived:
Howard made fun of me for wanting to wait and surprise the girls on Christmas with them. I was talked out of wrapping each book individually and instead left the box opened like this underneath the tree on Christmas morning alongside the abundance of wrapped gifts. And sure- Mira noticed them and even pointed them out to me but quickly forget about them during the subsequent melee of unwrapping between her and her sisters.
I myself had forgotten about them until later that day, while cleaning up stray scraps of wrapping paper littered on the floor, I stumbled upon Mira like this—
Reading on Christmas Day no less!! It doesn’t get much better than that! Well- actually it does because now this is a frequent site:
True- my girls are currently only interested in stories on females right now.
But I’m confident they’ll appreciate the rest of the series just as much when they grow out of the “girls rule, boys drool” phase.
Seeing their interest in these biographies grow prompted me to look up that initial Louis Pasteur cartoon that started it all. They’re called the Animated Hero Classics and you can try to cobble together your own DVD collection(which could get pretty pricey), or you can find them on Discovery Streaming if you have a paid subscription (pick up a discounted subscription here), OR you can set your DVR to record the BYU channel on Saturdays. BYUtv currently seems to be the only station airing these.
My girls love when they can match up an Animated Hero Classic cartoon with a corresponding ValueTale book. Even if it is only a stinky boy one.