Dear Mr. Longfellow: Letters to and from the Children's Poet

December 6, 2020
Dear Mr. Longfellow: Letters to and from the Children's Poet

If you were attending school in the late-nineteenth century,it's very likely that your teacher would have taught you tomemorize lines from "The Village Blacksmith" by renowned poet HenryWadsworth Longfellow. And on the classroom wall you'd probably seehis portrait looking down benignly on you and your classmates.Longfellow was so famous and beloved by youth in this era that hewas known as "the children's poet." Students not only memorized hispoetry but sent him hundreds of letters.In this charming biography, storyteller and author Sydelle Pearlrecounts the life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by drawing upon theletters he received from his young admirers. In their letters,children from yesteryear reveal details about their lives thatreach across the years to young people today. The letters alsohighlight the unique, close relationship that children shared withLongfellow. A girl from West Virginia writes, "Thank you so muchfor writing for children.... It makes us feel that we are notforgotten." Others ask him about what he did as a boy or a youngman. In one extraordinary gesture of friendship, the schoolchildrenof Cambridge celebrated his birthday by presenting him with a chaircreated from the wood of the "spreading chestnut tree" made famousin his poem "The Village Blacksmith." Longfellow dedicated his poem"From My Arm-Chair" to these thoughtful children.Complete with selected poems and photographs of the poet and hisfamily, Dear Mr. Longfellow brings to life a famous figureof American literature and a distant, simpler age in the history ofour country.