Cover of House, House by Jane Yolen

House, House

We live in a small New England town in western Massachusetts. When we moved in, the Town Clerk gave us an old black and white photo of our house from the 1910s. It was by the Howes Brothers, turn of the century photographers who had been in “the view business,” taking photographs of houses and their owners up and down the Connecticut Valley. For years I thought that a book using the old photos and new photos of the same house would make a great non-fiction book teaching about what changes a hundred years could bring. When my son Jason became a professional photographer, I got serious about trying to sell the idea. It took us eight years! Judy Whipple of Cavendish fell in love with it and produced a gorgeous book that the New York Times gave a two-column rave. It’s one of my husband’s favorite books of mine.

See Jason’s description of this book.

What reviewers have said:

  • “Yolen’s account is full of the kind of stuff kids really want to know: in 1898 sugar was 4 cents a pound, whereas today it’s $2 for a five-pound bag, or 40 cents a pound; in 1900 an electric trolley ran from Hatfield to Northampton, while today there’s no public transportation at all. Best of all, Yolen describes the attic room in her own house, which was the maid’s in 1906, and is now the place where Yolen writes “from sunup to sundown.” The Howes’ sepia photographs of the beautiful, rambling houses, with their families arranged in front of porches and doorways, survived in thousands of glass-plate negatives; those images face a contemporary, crisp color incarnation on each spread. The pithy text never fails to engage; for example, Yolen tells us that in the early 1800s, Hatfield girls could go to school for only four months of the year–the town wouldn’t pay for more.” — Booklist Boxed Review
  • “The houses seem dwarfed by sheer human joy. … Life is good. And this book is good, too.” — New York Times

Out of print.

Look inside:househspr