Letter Re: Books For Home Schoolers

I saw your list of recommended reading for young people, especially those being educated at home by their parents.

I would like to add my own list. Anything by Stephen W. Meader (1892-1977).

Meader published 44 novels in his lifetime. The subjects range from entrepreneurial to adventure to American history. The grammar, vocabulary, and storytelling qualities are first rate.

His books are set during difficult times, including the American Revolution, the westward expansion, the War Between the States, and the Great Depression. Characters are mostly young men trying to make a living through common sense, hard work, and persistence. Most of the characters live satisfying, adventurous, and productive lives in a world where electricity, plumbing, and all the modern conveniences had not yet been invented.

Though aimed at boys, they would have relevance and appeal to girls, as well. I enjoy reading them as an adult. The first fiction book I ever read, many, many years ago, in the fifth grade, was “T-Model Tommy”– the story of a young man in the 1930’s who rebuilt an old truck and started a coal-hauling business. He helps to support a widowed mother, while still attending high school and taking some time to court his girlfriend.

All of Meader’s stories are wholesome and promote honesty and moral values. Meader does not shy away from violence, because that was and remains a fact of life, but he is not grotesque or explicit. There is no profanity nor sexuality. Meader quit writing when such matters became commonplace in juvenile fiction.

When I tried to find a copy of T-Model Tommy on eBay, the price was prohibitive. It took years of scavenging thrift stores and online auctions to complete my set of all 44 books.

Today, all the Meader titles are available new from Southern Skies Press.

I have no financial stake in the company, but they did a favor for me. When the copy of “The Will To Win”, an anthology of sports stories which I purchased from an eBay seller, turned out to be missing four pages, Southern Skies graciously sent me the four missing pages so I could graft them into my book. That tells me something about the people who are publishing these treasures, not only for financial gain but to spread the memory of a man who dedicated his life to producing good reading for young people. – PMW