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A Brief History of Beautiful Feet Books

Since 1984, Beautiful Feet Books has provided quality products to the home education and private school markets. Beautiful Feet Books is committed to integrating the best works of children's literature into all aspects of the educational curriculum by publishing noted authors and study guides that enable parents and teachers to incorporate those works easily into a comprehensive study.

Beautiful Feet Books is owned and operated by Russell and Rea Berg. As CEO, Russell administers all aspects of the business and has overseen the growth of the company from a small cottage based industry to a nationally regarded provider of home education products. His role has allowed him to work with the home schooling community for over two decades. Founder, Rea Berg, with a Masters in Children’s Literature, was initially inspired by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children's Sake, to pursue a "living books" approach to education when she began home schooling the first of their six children in the mid 1980's. Macaulay's work inspired Rea's creation of our History Through Literature Study Guides, which combine a biblical worldview with a solid literature approach. The writings of Charlotte Mason also confirmed that creating a love of learning within an academically stimulating and challenging environment could best be achieved by girding the curriculum with a rich selection of well-chosen classic and historical literature for children. Our History Through Literature Study Guides reflect this commitment. Beautiful Feet Books now provides guides and educational products to home educators all over the globe and many of our products have received national attention and recognition such as: Mary Pride's Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards for categories in History, Geography, and Literature, Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks, and The Old School House magazine.

In pursuing fine quality literature for children, the Bergs discovered many of the best historical works of this past century were originally published in the golden era of children's historical literature, beginning in the 1930s and extending into the 1960s. During this time, such notable authors as Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, James Daugherty, Olivia Coolidge, Genevieve Foster, Esther Forbes, Elizabeth George Speare, Holling Clancy Holling, Alice Dalgliesh, Marguerite De Angeli, among many others wrote award-winning books noted for their literary quality and artistic beauty. But discovering these treasures often became a lesson in frustration as many of these wonderful works had been allowed to fall out of print.

Thus, in 1995, Beautiful Feet Books entered the world of children's book publishing with our first-born book child, Leif the Lucky—a reprint of Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire's classic work of 1941. This book, originally illustrated by the labor-intensive method of stone lithography, had been out of print for 50 years. The only copies available were those printed from the original stone lithographs and it was from one of these that Leif the Lucky was reborn for our modern audience. We have since added seven other d’Aulaire titles including Caldecott Award winner-Abraham Lincoln. Genevieve Foster’s six “World” books, most notably Augustus Caesar’s World, have become home school favorites and are currently used in many other curriculums as well. Newbury Award winning author James Daugherty, Albert Marrin, Brinton Turkle, Jeanne Bendick and noteworthy Scott O’Dell are several of the authors we have brought back into print to be enjoyed by children and parents alike.

The liberal use of literature within the curriculum necessitated the development of certain helpful products to enrich and support this approach to education. This explains how our Historical Timelines came to play an important role in our studies. Students can cutout and color illustrated depictions of seminal events and key figures, and paste these on their own timeline to give them a vivid chronological picture of history. Currently, Beautiful Feet Books publishes Timelines for Ancient History, Early American History, Medieval History, a History of Science, a History of Music and a History of California.

One of our most popular products designed to enhance the use of classic literature is the Geography Through Literature study guide and map set which accompanies the Holling Clancy Holling books Paddle-to-the-Sea, Tree-in-the-Trail, Seabird and Minn of the Mississippi. Holling Clancey Holling was another children's author from the golden era of historical fiction for children, and his works created a new genre which children's book authority Anita Silvey calls "geo-history of a hybrid sort not seen before." Holling combined rich depictions of the geo-physical, natural, and scientific world with an engaging story—always featuring a child protagonist--to introduce children to the wonders of the world around them. Each book depicts a different geographic region lavishly illustrated with charming drawings that will hold a reader's interest for hours. Beautiful Feet Books designed four unique oversized maps to accompany the individual books and provide students with a hands-on application of the wonders they learn as they enjoy each story.

Currently located in San Luis Obispo, California, Beautiful Feet Books continually endeavors to provide quality products for educators committed to the liberal use of literature. In this pursuit, we are always on the lookout for works that enhance and enrich the student experience, recognizing that literature is art, and as such demands that it meet what Matthew Arnold described as the "best that is thought and known in the world."