Monday, September 5, 2011

The Autobiography of S. S. McClure

Tim has had great success reading biographies and autobiographies aloud to N.  This reading is a central part of their morning "school" time.  In the past year they've read Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, the fictionalized autobiographical works of James Herriot, Oliver Sacks' Uncle Tungsten, and Madame Curie, learning so much history, science, and life wisdom along the way.  They've begun this second-grade year with The Autobiography of S. S. McClure, ghost-written by Willa Cather in 1912.  It's a wonderfully written, thoroughly compelling, rags-to-riches story of an Irish immigrant who became a powerful publisher in early twentieth-century America. 

One of the notable traits of young Samuel McClure was his absolute thirst for knowledge.  His simply loved learning and adored going to school; he did whatever he could to be able to attend.  I think boys in today's rather anti-intellectual boy culture, even those who love learning like N., can benefit from hearing the stories of boys like McClure who crave learning and who become important men because of that learning.

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