Rarely do splendid characters reach across space and time, inviting us into the unexpected familiar of the past.

Living history books are truly great treasures and Caroline Dale Snedeker writes just such works. Mrs. Snedeker shapes and develops her characters with such vivacity that they come to life not only within the context of her stories but continue to exist long after the last page has been read. With her delightful weaving of history and fiction, she guides us through the winding streets of ancient Athens, the war-torn lands of Gaul, and the lovely solitude of old Nantucket.

Snedeker’s true love is the ancient world. Six of her books from American Homeschool Publishing are in that genre:, including Lysis Goes to the Play, Theras and his Town, A Triumph for Flavius, and The White Isle. Common threads of human emotion fill the pages of her works, connecting us in familial love, fear, pride, honor, compassion, and friendship to her vivid characters. Each story highlights the beauty found in the honor and responsibility to one’s family.

Theras and His Town (Ancient Greece)

Publisher: American Home School Publishing

In the pages of Theras and his Town, the young Theras is orphaned when his father dies fighting for Athens. More misfortune befalls Theras when a Spartan adopts him and tears the young boy away from his family and his beloved city. He plots his escape in the harsh landscape of Sparta, where all education is bent on warfare. Will he make it back safely to Athens or will more danger find this courageous young man? (Gr. 6+, 237 pages, PB, $$)

The Spartan (Ancient Greece)

Publisher: American Home School

This story is the tale of a young man who leaves his beloved Athens for the harsh brutality of Spartan military life. He adapts to the austere Spartan culture and quickly rises to fame. Because he survived a battle, he is disgraced by Spartan code and must flee the city with his mother’s curse upon him. This powerful story of Aristodemos the Coward recounts one man’s journey to clear his tainted name and legacy. It is during this pilgrimage that Aristodemos fully realizes his destiny to save Greece from the grasp of the Persians. Follow the courageous soldier from Sparta to Sicily as he searches to clear his tainted name and free himself from the bonds of his mother’s curse. Caroline Dale Snedeker weaves a fascinating tale around the historic battles of Thermopylæ and Platæa and the men whose lives were defined by these contests. A great addition to your studies of Ancient Greece! (Ages 13+, 374 pages, PB, $$)

Lysis Goes to the Play (Ancient Greece)

Publisher: American Home School Publishing

Lysis Goes to the Play involves a young boy who longs to attend an extremely popular event in ancient Greece–the theater! With his mother and father away, all hopes of going to the play are dashed until Lysis and his sister hatch a plan. Mrs. Snedeker artfully depicts ancient Grecian life, symbolizing the differing roles of men and women as well as free men and slaves, through Lysis and his relationships with family and friends. (Grade 3+, 62 pages, PB, $)

The White Isle (Ancient Rome

Publisher: American Home School Publishing

Lavinia and her family leave the safety of ancient Rome, exiled to the wilds of Britannia in The White Isle. As they make their way across Europe, they encounter many Roman outposts, as well as curious strangers before reaching the frontier country of Britain. What an exciting and dangerous time to be living in ancient England! The building of Hadrian’s Wall begins at the time of Lavinia’s arrival as well as the dawn of Breton Christianity. Will Lavinia cling to the traditions of Rome or will she realize her destiny in this distant and barbaric country? (Gr. 7+, 271 pages, PB, $$)

A Triumph for Flavius (Ancient Rome)

Publisher: American Home School Publishing

Snedeker delicately treats the subject of slavery in A Triumph for Flavius. Flavius’ father returns from war and presents him a captured Greek nobleman as a slave. Even young Flavius recognizes this man’s dignity and his right to live freely. Discover how the love of one boy can change the course of another’s life. (Ages 9-11, 87 pages, PB, $$)


The Forgotten Daughter (Ancient Rome)

Publisher: American Home School Publishing

Chloé is abandoned by her Roman father and made a slave on one of his villas, forced to live in a tiny, dark slave hut. Chloé’s only comfort is her late mother’s friend and fellow slave, Melissa, who tells the young girl about her Grecian mother. For years, the young girl existed only through Melissa’s stories and her own dreams. Chloé’s life is tossed upside down the day she rescued the young and handsome nobleman, Aulus, and life really begins! The unlikely friendship between the noble Roman soldier and the young slave quickly blossoms into love. Many obstacles lie ahead for the new couple, one of them being Chloé’s reluctance to accept and welcome the father she has bitterly hated. This amazing narrative on the life of a Roman slave seamlessly ties the studies of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome together and is a wonderful way to bridge these two civilizations! (Ages 12+, 206 pages, PB, $$)

Downright Dencey (19th C. America)

Publisher: Bethlehem Books

I could not put Downright Dencey down and when I was forced to do so, I could not wait to begin reading again! This charming story is set against the backdrop of Nantucket Island life where tranquility is disturbed by the War of 1812 and by husbands and fathers leaving families for long absences to make a life at sea. Into this world, we meet Dionis “Dencey” Coffyn who struggles against her natural tendencies and the Quaker discipline she has been taught. She risks her family, reputation, and the promise of a bright future when she vows to teach Sam Jetsam, a troublemaker and outcast, how to read. Will she lose everything or will the determination of one young girl change an entire town? This is a beautiful story of love, friendship, family, responsibility, and religion that readers of all ages can enjoy! (Ages 12+, 268 pages, PB $, .epub $$)

Here we share a biographical note fromThe Horn Book Magazine written by her sister, Nina Parke Stilwell:

“She was happiest while writing, for her characters were companions whom she missed when she finished her books. Before actually writing a story, she would steep herself in the background of her characters; then, as she wrote, they acted of themselves. The author could not force them to act contrary to their way of life. She studied Greek art, literature, religion, and philosophy for six years in preparation for her first book, The Spartan[1912], which was laid in ancient Greece. She was a student all her life, even during the latter part when she was bedridden; at 82 she published A Triumph for Flavius [1955].”


Featured Author: Hilda Van Stockum

Want the perfect read aloud books for the family?  One that will be enjoyable to a range of ages?

Our family has fallen in love with all of Hilda van Stockum’s stories!

Every time we finish reading aloud one of her books, we feel as if the characters have become old friends and a part of our family. They have so much charm and warmth that they seem to literally spring Hilda_van_Stockum_(circa_1957)to life!  Mrs. van Stockum’s books  seem to invite themselves into our home and our hearts. In fact, the author frequently used her six children as models for the characters in her stories, she even put direct quotes from her family into her stories! Her vivid imagery and flair for dialect encourage the reader to become an active participant in the stories where they will travel to rural Ireland, post World War II Canada and Holland to name a few.

Drawing on her extensive travel experiences as a child (her father was in the Dutch Navy), Hilda van Stockum introduces us to some amazing characters including the Mitchell family, living in Washington, D.C. during World War II and the O’Sullivan family from County Cork, Ireland. These families are just like yours! They are very close-knit, deeply rooted in their faith and at times, more than a little mischievous! You are bound to recognize your children and some of their escapades in these delightful stories. Sadly, a few of these treasures are no longer in print but we are happy to carry The Mitchell Series, The Bantry Bay Series, The Borrowed House and The Winged Watchman. These are all excellent read-aloud stories.

The Mitchell ’s Series

The Mitchells: Five for Victory
By Hilda van Stockum

The Mitchells: Five for Victory eVersionThis first volume introduces us to the Mitchell family, whom you will immediately love. With Daddy off to war and summer vacation looming before them, the five Mitchell children form a victory club to occupy their time. The club finds many adventures, including the discovery of a war refugee orphan. Your little ones are bound to see themselves reflected in faithful Joan, gentle Patsy, steadfast Peter, impish Angela, or brazen baby Timmy. This tale is absolutely delightful. Adults and children alike will enjoy reading all about the Mitchell family in Five for Victory. Excellent for read-alouds too! (Ages 10+, 236 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Canadian Summer
By Hilda van Stockum

Canadian Summer eBookThe Mitchell family is back again and this time they have taken their adventures to a whole new country! Daddy’s new job has brought them to Montreal and the only house they can find is miles from the nearest town with no running water nor electricity. Will they ever survive the summer? Follow the Mitchells through the beautiful Canadian countryside as they encounter new friends and new escapades. (Ages 10+, 180 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Friendly Gables
By Hilda van Stockum

Friendly Gables eBookHere come the lively Mitchells again and this time with new additions to the family. This beloved family is now two years older and living at Friendly Gables in Lachine, Quebec. There is never a dull moment in the Mitchell house! Discover how the children cleverly escape the clutches of Miss Thorpe, the nurse who has
come to help Mother. You will be delighted as the Mitchells make new acquaintances and when old friends, the Jolicoeurs,
resurface. (Ages 10+, 165 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

The Bantry Bay Series

Having lived and studied in Ireland herself, Hilda van Stockum brilliantly captures the lilt and melody of the Irish language. You will be amazed at how quickly you’ll master an Irish brogue! Your family will be instantly enchanted with both the O’Sullivan family and the rich Irish history woven throughout these stories. So, gather the whole family together and take a trip across the pond to the Emerald Isle.

The Cottage at Bantry Bay
By Hilda van Stockum

The Cottage at Bantry Bay eBook - 65% OFFFrom the thatch-roofed cottages to Paddy, the traveling piper to the generous hospitality of neighbors, The Cottage at Bantry Bay paints a stunning portrait of the Ireland of yesteryear. It is here that we are introduced to the remarkable O’Sullivan family of County Cork, Ireland. Though they lack monetary wealth, they are rich in faith and love. Like all of Hilda van Stockum’s books, your whole family will enjoy this story. Everyone is bound to relate to one of the four O’Sullivan children. There is sweet, quiet Brigid who is always willing to help Mother, steadfast and studious Michael and the twins, Francie and Liam, both with hearts of gold that are all too often overshadowed by their many “adventures.” Mother O’Sullivan certainly has her hands full with the lot of them! Go along with Brigid and Michael as they travel the weary roads through the Kerry mountains or with Francie and Liam as they bravely face Clementine, Mrs. Flaherty’s mean-spirited cow or with Bran, the dog, to find hidden treasure! (Ages 10+, 239 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Francie on the Run
By Hilda van Stockum

Francie on the Run eBook -65% OffFrancie is sent to the Orthopedic Hospital in Dublin far away from his family and friends, but in typical Francie style, the young boy quickly meets new friends everywhere he goes. Sick of being in the hospital and being treated like a “babby” by the nurses, the young adventurer sets out for home all on his own. Along the way, Francie meets some extraordinary characters including Mrs. McDermot in the castle, Ireland’s famed little people (fairies), kind Father Kelly and Pegeen. Francie journeys all over the country learning the different customs and legends of each region. Will Francie ever reach home or will he be taken back to the lonely hospital ward? (Ages 10+, 293 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

By Hilda van Stockum

Pegeen eBook - 65% OffAfter her Grannie dies, Pegeen stays with Francie’s family while Father Kelly tries to locate her American uncle. With Michael away at school, Mother O’Sullivan couldn’t be happier having another child around, but she soon finds out Pegeen is not a very quiet addition. Poor Pegeen, no matter what she does, it always
comes out wrong, but it’s never her fault! The young orphan manages to upset everyone in the O’Sullivan family, each time
concocting another tale to place the blame anywhere but on her! As the weeks go by, however, Pegeen slowly becomes a part of the family when a letter arrives from New York. Will Pegeen have to leave her new family or will Uncle Dan let her stay in Ireland? (Ages 10+, 266 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

The Borrowed House
By Hilda von Stockum

The Borrowed House eBook - 62% Off!Janna Oster is a proud, young German girl living near the Black Forest during World War II. With her famous parents entertaining in Holland, Janna is all alone and turns to the Hitler Youth group where she was taught to never question the authority of Hitler, the supremacy of the Aryan race and to view the Jewish race as inferior. Janna’s life is turned upside down when her parents summon her to Holland. It is there that the young girl begins to question the validity of Hitler’s teachings and begins to realize that no one deserves the cruel treatment being shown. (221 pages, Ages 14+ File Type: EPUB)

The Winged Watchman
By Hilda von Stockum

The Winged Watchman eBookThis is a great historical fiction of WWII—rich in suspense, characterization, plot and spiritual truth. A story of courage and hope in occupied Holland: a hidden Jewish child, an “underdiver”, a downed RAF pilot, an imaginative, daring underground hero, and the small thing of family life which surprisingly carry on in the midst of oppression. An inspiring story of those who suffer, but do not lose faith! (.epub, 191 pages, Gr 5+ $)

We carry copies of these books in ebook format as they are inexpensive and easy for mom or dad to use as a read aloud but to build our family library we suggest purchasing the paperback books from Bethlehem Books, who is continually looking for these kinds of treasures and holds a high standard when choosing books that inspire and edify a child’s imagination.