I just sent this to my library patrons. Thought some of you may enjoy it as well.
If you have been in my library for more than a day, you know that one of the most beautiful books ever written for children (or adults for that matter) is The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy. This book affected me so profoundly that I own three copies. When I found my first copy, I was in need of a decent winter coat. I bought the book instead. Since then I have gone to great lengths to have a copy for each of my sons. (I’ve done the same with A Tree for Peter as well, though it’s not so expensive.). I own at least two copies of every book Kate has written.
Recently a lady who is preparing to open a library in another part of the country found an article in her copy of this book. I thought I would share it with those of you who have either read it or will discover this treasure in the future.
‘I am Hoping for a Rain of Questions’ by Kate Seredy, written in ‘Young Wings: The Junior Literary Guild, The Book Club for Young Readers’ Feb 1949
Waiting, as I am now doing, for one of the books I’ve written to reach the boys and girls I’ve written for is like waiting for rain after a long, hot, tiresome summer day. One can never be sure that rain will come, but one can hope. I can never be sure that boys and girls will like a new book. But, of course, I always hope they will. When they do – it rains! It rains letters full of questions like these: “Is it a true story? Did you know the people the story is about? How did you come to think of the story?”
Perhaps I’d better answer these questions here and now – hoping, of course, that the question-rain will come and knowing that all too often I haven’t time enough to answer each letter.
All the people in The Chestry Oak are real, and everything that happens to them in the story has happened. I don’t mean that I know them, one by one. But I’ve known boys like Michael, men like his father, and women like Nana; and I often meet people like Pop Brown and his family among my neighbors in Orange County. What happens to Michael in the story has happened to countless boys and girls all over the world. In a way, Michael’s story is my own; it is the story of all those who have had to leave their country, their family, and their friends, and make a new life for themselves in America. Yes, it’s all real.
Even Midnight, Michael’s horse, is real. It’s because I met Midnight personally that I came to write the story. Two years ago, I went to the County Fair, where the Army was showing cavalry horses. Among them were some that had been brought over from Europe, and the most beautiful of them all was a black stallion from Hungary. Looking at him, I thought how far away from home he was and yet how little difference it made to him what language people around him were speaking as long as they were kind. And I thought how wonderful it would be if human beings were as wise as horses; if we could stop building barriers of the differences in language, race, color, and creed, and learn the universal language of kindness and understanding.
Stories, like plants, grow from one small seed that falls on fertile ground just at the right time. Seeing the Hungarian stallion Midnight at an American County Fair was the seed from which grew The Chestry Oak. While it grew, it took nourishment from all the things I remember of Hungary and strength from all the thjngs I’ve learned of America and her people. So The Chestry Oak is my own story, and it is very true.missceegeeParticipant
Thank you for sharing. I’m going to read this to my kids before our next installment.
I long for the day they reprint her books so that more people can read them. I’m still trying to find my own copies.
Thanks for sharing this. Lovely.bethannaParticipant
How do books come back into print? I’ve been wondering about this. I know that the Andreolas reprinted CM’s writings and SCM has reprinted a few old books. Do publishers consider suggestions/requests?
Actually this is being worked on. At this point it would mean a pre-sale (meaning ordered and paid for) of at least 500 copies. So if it gets to the point that it is entirely possible, I may be calling for a Chestry Oak sales campaign. We’ll just have to see how many would be willing to invest upfront.missceegeeParticipant
I would buy several copies, esp. Hardback.Alicia HartParticipant
I would buy this as well!
Count me in!
I will certainly keep you posted. If/when we need to place orders I will rally the troops. 🙂ourLittleFlockParticipant
Is this just for Chestry Oak, or is A Tree for Peter included in this?
Thank you for your efforts, Robin!
Right now it is just for The Chestry Oak. Purple House Press had once done a reprint of A Tree for Peter but it was expensive for them to do and took awhile to sell them, as I understand. Now that one is OOP as well. I’m hoping Kate Seredy’s books are finally being recognized for the treasures they are, at least in the living books homeschool community, and someone will want to reprint them. But only if people show an active interest in buying them. That’s the bottom line, I’m afraid.
I would buy 5 copies….maybe more! One for each kid, one for me, and perhaps another 1 or 2 for my one-day lending library. It’s just crazy to me that her books are so well-loved but so hard to find (or expensive). I’m sure she wouldn’t want people to have to pay crazy amounts of money. She seems like the sort of person who would give you the book for free if she could.JanellParticipant
Thank you, Robin, for the quote. I read it to my entire family and used it to justify my year long pursuit and purchase of The Chestry Oak.
My husband is used to my book hunting and was sweet to head on down to the post office just now to pick up my latest set, a 1907 set of Eva March Tappan’s The Children’s Hour.
Count me in on purchasing a stack of The Chestry Oak as well. Happy book hunting, reading, and sharing.
i will take 4.
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