The American Boy’s Handy Book

Ever since I can remember my mom would take all of us to a library book sale every summer. We would buy piles of books for excellent prices and spend hours of our summer evenings reading them. As the years have gone by, my love for going to book sales has not diminished. In fact I now try to make it to three local ones each summer. The prices have gone up some in recent years but are still far better than paying retail.

Every once in a while I find a real treasure amongst the thousands of books stacked in rows on tables. This year has been no exception to that either. I stumbled across a book entitled The American Boy’s Handy Book by Daniel Beard. Originally published in the late 1800s it is full of how to projects that are entertaining and educational and despite the title, girls can enjoy it just as easily. Beard was hugely influential in the founding of the boy scouts in later years and you can see much of that work originated in this book. Projects include kite making, snow forts, various boats to build, many inventive methods of fishing, knot tying and much more. Beard was concerned that as times were changing, boys were spending less time in nature and he wrote this book to try and bring boys back to nature. If he thought kids were abandoning nature in the late 1800s the poor fellow would probably have a stroke if he saw how kids spend their time these days.

I just love reading books like these because even though many of the projects in the book are geared towards entertainment value, there is always an educational element. Kids who can successfully build some of the projects in this book will have a large advantage over other children when it comes to being self-sufficient.

I was lucky and managed to find a copy of The American Boy’s Handy Book at a book sale for only fifty cents. You might not be able to find it that cheap but it’s not much more expensive on Amazon.

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