Monday, November 28, 2011

Picture Books to Accompany Walden

In this post I am recommending a few picture books to accompany, accentuate, supplement, and complicate reading Henry David Thoreau's Walden.

  1. D. B. Johnson’s five “Henry” books offer a wonderful correlate to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. These books are now available as Kindle books. I used most of these as a high school teacher and the books were well received by students.  Offers a fascinating look at episode and art.

Johnson, D B. 2000. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin Books.
----------------. 2002. Henry Builds a Cabin. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin Books.
----------------. 2003. Henry Climbs a Mountain. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin Books.
----------------. 2004. Henry Works. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin Books.
Johnson, D.B & Linda Michelin. 2009. Henry’s Night. Boston MA: Houghton Mifflin Books.

Opening to Henry's Night

From Henry's Night

From Henry's Night.

2. Michael McCurdy's (2010) Walden Then and Now: An Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau's Pond  offers another way to become familiar with Thoreau's Walden. Published by Charlesbridge. Interesting concept (ABC book) and one students might elaborate upon in composing their own versions.

From Walden Then and Now. Woodcutting by Michael McCurdy.

3. Steven Schnur's (2007) Henry David's House works well with high school students as Schnur directly uses Thoreau's words. Using the illustrations by Peter M. Fiore's (watercolor and oil paintings) can help students to extend meaning and to  have an opportunity to see how transmediation might work (words and visual symbols).  Students may want to select additional  'episodes' from Walden and work together to illustrate one or more episodes.  Published by Charlesbridge Publishing.

4. Deborah O'Neal and Angela Westengard's (2005) The Trouble with Henry: A Tale of Walden Pond is beautifully illustrated (Ink drawings by S.D. Schindler, although the 'story' is a bit of a stretch. I have enjoyed using the drawings as ways into and out of Walden. Published by Candlewick.

A Mind with Wings5. Gerald and Loretta Houseman wrote and illustrated A Mind with Wings: The Story of Henry David Thoreau (2006). This book presents a fuller sense of Thoreau as it chronicles his more political acts (refusal to pay taxes). Published by Trumpeter.

6. Jim Murphy's  (illustrated by Kate Kiesler) Into the Deep Forest: With Henry David Thoreau (1995) is out of print nut used copies are available. This text focuses on Thoreau's trip to the Maine Woods.  The paintings (oil) and pencil drawings are well done. Published by Clarion Books.

7. Marybeth Lorbiecki Julie Dunlap's (2002) Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau's Flute offers a fictionalized account of a series of encounters between Louisa May Alcott (at 8) and the young teacher, Henry David Thoreau.   The jewel in this book though are the hand tinted woodcuts by Mary Azarian. Magnificent art. Published by Dial Publishing.

Mary Azarian's illustration
Mary Azarian's illustration
8. Thomas Locker's (2002) gorgeous Walking with Henry: Based on the Life and Works of Henry David Thoreau is a study in visual art and recommended based on the quality of his landscape paintings. They glow. Published by Fulcrum Press.

9. NY Times editorial: Walking with Henry.


  1. Wow, great blog with lots of educational resources. I've taught high school English and have used lots of art in my lessons and student projects I've assigned.

  2. Thanks Jeri. So glad you enjoyed the post and the blog. Would love to know more about the ways you use art in a high school Englsh classroom.

    Hope you will stop by again.

  3. Thanks Jeri. Glad you enjoyed the post & blog. I would love to know more about how you use art in a high school English classroom.

    Hope you will stop back.


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