Hornbooks were used in the 1600s and 1700s because paper was hard to come by and expensive as well. They were not really books at all, but a piece of wood with paper attached to it. The wood was usually in the shape of a paddle, similar to a large spatula or hand mirror. A sheet of sturdy paper attached to the paddle contained the alphabet, blends of letters, and a prayer. It was then covered with a thin layer of cow’s horn to protect the paper, hence, the name, ‘horn” book. Hornbooks were made so children could use them over and over again, memorizing, reading, and tracing the letters and words with a sharp stick or dry quill pen. The students used hornbooks to learn the alphabet and letter blends and to help them learn to read by studying the words of a familiar prayer.
One of the advantages of the books in the Eleanor Series is that each book has fun facts and journals. One of the fun facts in Victoria Grace is how to make a hornbook.
This set of fictional books are based one the true-to-life stories of my family’s history, and these heart-warming stories span generations, are historically accurate and highlight the nation’s Christian heritage of faith.
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