Free Read: An Hour with Miss Streator

Isabella she was an acknowledged expert in developing Sunday-school lesson plans for young children.

At Chautauqua Institution she taught classes for Sunday-school teachers; and because she was “an advanced thinker,” she encouraged teachers to employ modern devices—such as slates and blackboards—to keep their youngest students engaged and eager to learn.

Some of her teaching methods are revealed in this month’s free read, “An Hour with Miss Streator,” an 1884 short story about a young Sunday-school teacher who has more influence over the hearts and souls of her young students than she will ever know.

Book cover showing a classroom of young children. A young woman bends down to speak to a little boy and little girl who stand at the head of the class.

In Miss Streator’s Sunday-school class every child is welcome, even the trouble-makers that have been ejected from other classrooms! Although she’s not a trained Sunday-school teacher, Miss Streator is earnest and determined to teach her young students about salvation. Will her innovative methods help her succeed?

You can read “An Hour with Miss Streator” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can read, print, and share with friends.

You can read more about Isabella’s efforts to educate Sunday-school teachers by clicking here.

Free Read: Philip Kendall’s Fire

This month’s free read is a short story Isabella wrote in 1916 about the power of faith.

Philip Kendall dreams of going to college, but he has no way to pay for it. His only hope is to convince his long-estranged—and extremely parsimonious—aunt and uncle to lend him the money.

You can read “Philip Kendall’s Fire” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can rad, print, and share with friends.

Free Read: A Christian Endeavor Picnic

This month’s Free Read is a short story Isabella wrote about the Christian Endeavor movement and the opportunities its members had to influence others for Christ.

While on vacation, Dorothea Conklin is determined to invite the local teens to her Christian Endeavor prayer meeting, even if her friends oppose her plan. Somehow she must find a way to convince her friends—and the local teens—that there’s room for everyone at an Endeavor prayer meeting.

Sharp-eyed readers might recognize the name of one of the characters in the story: Eurie Shipley. Why does it sound familiar?

Because Isabella introduced Eurie Harrison and Flossie Shipley in her 1875 novel, Four Girls at Chautauqua.

Perhaps when she wrote “A Christian Endeavor Picnic” in 1896, she meant to imply that Eurie Shipley was somehow a relative of those two beloved characters from twenty years before. What do you think?

You can read “A Christian Endeavor Picnic” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can read, print, and share with friends.

New Free Read: The Spool-Cotton Girl

Isabella was very involved in the Christian Endeavor movement and often mentioned the organization in her stores. She strongly believed Christians were called to serve others—even in small ways—as Christ would.

She illustrated the point in “The Spool-Cotton Girl,” a short story she wrote in 1892 about a young girl who labors long and thankless hours in a department store selling the store’s cheapest cotton threads.

Young Marion Wilkes takes her Christian Endeavor pledge very seriously. She always looks for ways to witness for Christ through service to others, even though her job selling cotton threads at the local department store can sometimes test her commitment and her patience.

You can read “The Spool-Cotton Girl” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can read, print, and share with friends.

New Free Read for Easter

This month’s Free Read is “Celia’s Easter Offering,” a short story Isabella wrote in 1892.

For months Celia Foster has been planning the decorations that will grace her church on Easter morning. It’s important work, but as Easter Sunday approaches, Celia begins to wonder what’s more important: embellishing the church or helping someone in need?

You can read “Celia’s Easter Offering” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can read, print, and share with friends.

New Free Read: Their Opportunity

This month’s Free Read is a short story Isabella wrote in 1908. You’ll see that it was a very “modern” story that reflected the times; her characters drove about town in automobiles!

Cover image showing a young woman about 1910 dressed in coat and hat exiting a limousine as her chauffeur holds the door open for her.

Poor Rachel Norse is in need of help! She’s far from home, working a job she dislikes, and thinking of abandoning the Christian principles her mother taught her. Little does Rachel know someone is developing an interest in her; someone who can point her in a brand new direction, if only Rachel will have a little faith.

You can read “Their Opportunity” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, table, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “My Computer” option to receive an email with a version you can print and share with friends.

New Free Read: Carl Hammond’s Lesson

This month’s free read is “Carl Hammond’s Lesson,” a short story that first appeared in The Pansy magazine in 1892. 

Twelve-year-old Carl Hammond is in big trouble. Not only did he disobey his father’s instructions, he lied about it, too. But Carl’s conscience won’t allow him to forget the incident, which makes him wonder: If he confesses his crimes, will his father ever forgive him?

You can read “Carl Hammond’s Lesson” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, tablet, kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: Louie Chalmers’ New Year’s Table

Christmas may be over, but the spirit of the season continues with this Isabella Alden short story from 1889.

Miss Louie Chalmers just turned eighteen, and she’s ready to throw a party! She wants to impress her friends by serving only the best food and drink; but when she happily embarks upon a lavish shopping spree, an unexpected encounter makes Louie rethink all her party plans.

You can read “Louie Chalmers’ New Year’s Table” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: A Long Christmas

Last week’s post was about some of the ways Isabella’s encouraged readers to “remember the poor always, but especially at Christmas.” Our December free read continues that theme.

“A Long Christmas” is a short story Isabella wrote in 1891 about a group of children—all cousins in the same family—who discovered their enjoyment of Christmas lasted much longer when they focused on giving instead of getting.

“We have everything imaginable already. We need Christmas presents less than any young folks in the kingdom, I suppose.” That’s what sixteen year old Holly tells his cousins when they gather together on Christmas morning, and his cousins agree! But which child should receive the cousins’ unwanted toys and books?

Cover of "A Long Christmas" showing a man and dog outside a small cabin, with tall pine trees covered in snow and a mountain peak in the background.

You can read “A Long Christmas” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Reads about the Mackenzies

Isabella’s writing career was launched when her best friend Theodosia Toll Foster entered one of Isabella’s stories in a contest, and it won! (Read more about it here).

Theodosia began her own writing career years later. When she was 34 years old her husband died, leaving her with a toddler son and a second baby on the way. Theodosia had to find a means of supporting her family, and writing provided the answer.

Under her pen name, Faye Huntington, Theodosia co-authored novels with Isabella, and regularly contributed to The Pansy and other Christian magazines.

She also wrote full-length novels, some of which can still be found today, but because the majority of her novels were published as pamphlets in the late 1800s, very few have survived over the years. However …

Two of her most popular books were about the Mackenzie family and you can read both books for free!

Book 1: Mr. Mackenzie’s Answer

When Miss Marvie Anderson first saw Mr. Mackenzie at a prayer meeting, she thought, “What a saintly man!” But after staying in Mr. Mackenzie’s home as the guest of his daughter Delia, Marvie doesn’t know what to think! How can a man who prays with such fervor and devotion be so inconsistent when it comes setting a Christian example in his daily life?

Raised by her minister father, Marvie thought she knew how to lead a Christian life; but as her visit continues, she finds herself succumbing to Mr. Mackenzie’s influence, and leaving her own Christian upbringing behind.

Click here to go to BookFunnel and read Mr. Mackenzie’s Answer. You can download it to your computer, phone, tablet, Kindle or other electronic device. Or choose “Read on My Computer” to print the story as a PDF to read and share with friends.

Book 2: Ripley Parsonage

At Ripley Parsonage, the Reverend Mr. Anderson works earnestly for his flock and for the town, even as he leads the local temperance cause with unfailing devotion. He has seen first-hand the wreck alcohol can make in the lives of his congregation and community; little wonder, then, that his most constant prayer is that the town elders will come to their senses and vote for prohibition.

But Mr. Anderson has other worries, too, especially for his daughter, Marvie. He’s not certain what the future may hold for her and her two best friends: Delia Mackenzie, the society girl who tries so hard to live a Christian life despite her own father’s disapproval; and Tina Stevens, the quiet infidel who was taught at an early age to disbelieve anything related to the Bible.

In this 1877 sequel to Mr. Mackenzie’s Answer, Mr. Anderson’s faith and devotion are brought to a head that will test one of the very foundations of his religion: the sacred communion service.

Click here to go to BookFunnel to download the book in the format you like best.