Clare Ruedi, an education major at the University of Dallas, began collecting books about a year and a half ago. In that time, she has accumulated around 50 well-loved volumes and has acquainted herself with antique stores throughout Dallas. Though she has discovered five favorite antique stores, including Finishing Touch Antique Mall in Carrollton, Ruedi does not limit herself to these options.
“Wherever I go, if there’s an antique store I just make my way in,” Ruedi said. “I just love old books in general.”
Like other collectors, Ruedi cares about the age and condition of the books she collects.
“If I find some, they usually have to be in a certain condition,” Ruedi said. “I like to find ones that are antique of course — ones that are past 50 years old, but if they’re not past 50 years old, then that’s okay too, because at some point they will be antiques.”
As an education major, Ruedi has taken courses like “Kiddie Lit,” officially Child/Young Adult Literature, and chooses her purchases from the perspective of a future teacher.
“I always do a scan as I’m reading them, just to see what they’re about [and] the type of language that’s used, because I want to be able to actually read them to my future class if I do get them,” Ruedi said. “I may not be able to put them in a practical classroom library because they might be a little worn out and you want to keep them in pristine condition, so you don’t want kids touching them all day long, but if I can just do a read-aloud with them, it’s perfect.”
When looking for books, she often uses a list of classic children’s books which one of her professors provided.
“Those [books] are steals,” Ruedi said. “But if I don’t find classic ones, I find other ones too that were not as popular.”
She seeks titles that will hold the attention of listeners from kindergarten to fifth grade. And while she loves popular authors like Beatrix Potter, Ruedi also loves lesser-known children’s authors like Adelaide Holl, whom Ruedi loves for her beautiful illustrations.
As she adds to her collection, she plans to begin collecting books geared toward older children, including the “Nancy Drew” and “Little House on the Prairie” series.
“Right now, since I’m just majoring in elementary education, I’ve been focusing more on those, but I’m totally open to having ones that are better suited for sixth grade and beyond eventually,” Ruedi said.