Books of Knowledge… by Herbert S. Zim (Among Others)

Golden Guide - Wikipedia

Here are a few I still have

How about a little break from the nooze, for something more wholesome?

When I was a wee child, one of the first authors whose name I could cite was Herbert S. Zim, author of almost 100 books on nature and other scientific subjects (–you name it, he wrote about it. Golden Guides, assorted field guides for older children and adults, on everything from insects to dinosaurs, and even a book or two on cars: he must have been a terribly busy man.

He wasn’t the only one. Bertha Morris Parker could give him a run for his money. She wrote the whole Golden Encyclopedia for children and wound up with more than 80 titles in print.

The Golden Book Encyclopedia 16 Volume Set

16 volumes! I wish I still had them.

My parents saw to it that my brother and sister and I had plenty (!) of books to read–our house was full of them. We picked up a habit of reading that’s still with me today. And it wasn’t all science: novels, histories, collections of Bible stories (some of those illustrations by Gustave Dore kind of freaked me out), and stacks of comics. My father had a Life of Kit Carson that’s probably worth its weight in gold today. I read it several times. He also had Knute Rockne; I read that, too.

Are kids still reading books like these? I wish I could say yes, but I don’t know. I suspect not. It’s a kind of poverty. And that makes me sad.

5 comments on “Books of Knowledge… by Herbert S. Zim (Among Others)

  1. I have the Stars one! (inherited from my older brothers. Nonetheless…) and I love the Gustave Dore engravings, and wore a t-shirt for years with one of his Bible Illustrations. Now William Blake… his work creeped me out. Definitely a reason Thomas Harris used Blake’s work to inspire his Red Dragon novel.

  2. I remember seeing those books and read many of them. I also had, and read, the Golden Book Encyclopedia. I wish I still had mine. That was great material for curious young minds.

  3. Those five books look familiar. My mother must have read them to me. I hated English and all things pertaining to it, like reading. However, sometime during the seventh or eighth grades, I found a love for reading, not textbooks, but science fiction and fantasy genres. I read Robert E. Howard’s books hosting Conan the Barbarian. I enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, Robert A. Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy, and many others. But my favorite author was Edgar Rice Burroughs. I read every book of his I could find. The hollow Earth-themed Pellucidar series with David Inns, John Carter of Mars Barsoom series, Carson Napier of Venus Amtor series, the lost world-themed Caspak trilogy, and of course, the twenty-five books, starring Tarzan of the Apes.

    This love of reading prepared my way and has served me greatly, for when I became a Christian, I set aside science fiction for a new love; reading and studying the Holy Scriptures, and all things written concerning it. And years later, taught Sunday school, numerous home Bible studies, and wrote books dealing with scriptural issues.

    1. We have that in common–ERB fans.
      I think most readers pass through a science fiction phase, mostly while in high school.
      I never outgrew Burroughs, though.

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