"The small hopes and plans and pleasures of children should be tenderly respected by grown-up people, and never rudely thwarted or ridiculed.”
Little Men endearing book is a lighthearted look at the lives of the children of Little Women’s favorite characters. The story follows a 6-month span in the lives of students and teachers at Plumfield, a school run by Little Women’s Jo March and her husband.
When the book’s narrator—Nat Blake, a new student—arrives at Plumfield school, he finds out that the school is rather unconventional. Instead of solely sitting in a classroom doing recitation or lessons, the students in this school are allowed to take the time to do things they enjoy: farming, tending to animals, pillow fighting, etc. This is a school where individuality is sacred and students are treated as unique.
Little Men was Louisa May Alcott’s way of continuing the story of the March family and also espousing her views on education and the value of individualized learning. The book was influential to educators of the time period who found inspiration in Alcott’s description of an alternative form of schooling children to be their best selves.