Paola’s Book Bites: Encounter the Saints Series

ENCOUNTER THE SAINTS SERIES

St John Paul II: Be Not Afraid
By Sr. Susan Helen Wallace, FSP

John Paul II, who served as Pope during the last 25 years of the 20th century and who led the Church with hope into the third Christian millennium, was beatified six short years after his death on May 1, 2011. Born in 1920 to a devout Catholic family, ordained a priest in 1946, ordained a bishop in 1958, and elected Pope on October 16, 1978; the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. From that moment he took the Church and the world by storm. He traveled the world to proclaim Jesus Christ to all people, making a tremendous impact on hearts and minds and drawing large crowds everywhere he went. John Paul II never let oppression and tyranny spoil his dreams or dampen his faith. It is a message every child needs to hear as they try to be a true follower of Jesus. (Grade 4+, 111 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Gianna Beretta Molla: The Gift of Life
By Susan Helen Wallace, FSP

This title in the series for younger readers tells the inspiring story of Saint Gianna from her awaited birth to her touching death. This book reveals the friendly and loving Gianna while we see her coping with the death of her siblings and later her parents, moving to different places throughout her childhood years, struggling with schoolwork, falling in love with her future husband, fulfilling her duties as a doctor and raising children. Gianna was impressed with the idea that we can prepare ourselves for heaven by the way we live on earth. Gianna studied medicine and became a doctor in 1949 specializing in pediatrics. Practicing medicine was not just her job, but the way she obeyed Jesus’ command to love one another and nurture both body and soul. It was not until she met Pietro, the brother of one of her dying patients, that Gianna realized that God was calling her to marry and be a good Christian wife, mother and doctor. (Grade 4+, 112 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. John Vianney: A Priest for All People
By Elizabeth Marie DeDomenico, FSP

Discover the life story of St. John Vianney—beloved patron saint of parish priests. From his youth during the tumultuous French Revolution, to his difficult years of study and amazing work to rebuild the parish of Ars, John Vianney is a model of love for God that spilled over into tireless care for others. Historical and cultural details make the story of this remarkable saint come alive for young readers. Also includes a glossary, features black and white illustrations by Ben Hake and a concluding prayer. (Grade 4+, 128 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Damien of Molokai: Hero of Hawaii
By Virginia H. Richards

Canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11th of 2009, Joseph De Veuster was an ordinary boy growing up in Belgium in the mid 1800’s, planning to take over the family farm as he grew older, until he was called to a new vocation-the life of a priest. Joseph became Father Damien and was sent as a missionary to Hawaii and, eventually, to volunteer to go to Molokai to become the priest for those suffering from leprosy. He ministered to those who were quarantined on this remote and desolate island. He brought dignity and more important, Jesus in the Eucharist to his new family, the lepers of Molokai. This truly is an amazing and inspiring life of service in the name of God. (Grade 4+, 102 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St Bakhita of Sudan: Forever Free
By Susan Helen Wallace, FSP

Kidnapped into slavery at the age of seven and brought to Italy as a teenager, the indomitable Bakhita eventually became a Catholic nun and spent over fifty years joyously serving her Lord as a Canossian Sister. In 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized her. This African saint’s engrossing life story, heroic choices, and forgiving heart make her a wonderful role model! (Grade 4+, 102 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Edith Stein: Blessed by the Cross
By Patricia Jablonski, FSP

Learn about a saint of our times…a brilliant Jewish philosopher born in Germany before WWI. After reading the biography of St. Teresa of Avila, she converted in 1922 and became a Carmelite nun! She was also martyred in Auschwitz during WWII and was canonized by John Paul II in 1998. (Grade 4+, 115 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

 

 

St. Maximilian Kolbe: Mary’s Knight
By Patricia Jablonski, FSP

Learn about another great saint of our times… born in Poland in 1894 to poor, but devout Catholic parents. At a young age, he asked Mary what would become of him…and when she appeared to him, she asked would he accept the crown of purity or of martyrdom. He accepted both! After becoming a Franciscan priest, he began Militia Immaculatae as well as a publication Knight of the Immaculate. In Nazi occupied Poland, he was sent to Auschwitz, where he asked to take the place of another prisoner (who was a father and husband) selected for starvation in reprisal for the escape of three prisoners! He was canonized by John Paul II in 1982. (Grade 4+, 115 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

St. Pio of Pietrelcina: Rich in Love
By Eileen Bertanzetti

Known to us first as Padre Pio, he was born of poor farmers in southern Italy in 1887. He had poor health, but through grace became a priest in 1910. Many were attracted to his confessional and saintly counsel, including an elderly, saintly Italian neighbor of ours. He became the first priest to bear the wounds of Christ stigmata in 1918. His life was one of austerity and suffering till he died in 1968. (Grade 4+, 112 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

 

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: Missionary of Charity
By Mary Glavich, SND

The name Mother Teresa of Calcutta is known to all of us… get to know her life story! She followed her first calling to become a nun and her second calling to serve “the poorest of the poor”. Since 1950, when she began the Missionaries of Charity, her work knew no boundaries… the poor are “… Christ in distressing disguise.” She died in 1997 and was beatified in 2003. (Grade 4+, 132 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: Journey to the Summit
By Ana Maria Vazquez and Jennings Dean
Pier Giorgio Frassati, beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1990, lived only twenty-four years. But in that short time, he lived his life to the fullest. His student escapades, his athletic achievements, and his dedication to helping the poor all combined to make this amazing young man an “avalanche of life.” (Grade 4+, 142 pages, 4 ½” x 7”, PB, $)

Paola’s Book Bites: Heroes and Saints

Book of Heroes
By Amy Welborn
Publisher: Loyola University Press

What a breath of fresh air to read a book written for children about real HEROES.

Amy Welborn has an incredible gift of relating deep truths to children in an easy manner. Her description of “What a hero is” alone is worth getting this treasure of a book. By using the spiritual and moral virtues as a guide towards introducing REAL Heroes (Saints and Blesseds) she incorporates opportunities for the child to really think about their own relationship with God.

Meet well known, lesser known, modern, and ancient saints in stories that describe the saints lives and how they loved God above all, how God was the center of their lives and in ways that our children can find true heroes to imitate!!! This is a real find and one you will go to over and over again. This book would also work well with the PACE program in bringing home virtue to a child’s life. Great to read aloud. (Ages 8+, 175 pages, HC, $$)

Book of Saints
By Amy Welborn
Publisher: Loyola University Press

Perhaps you have read her Prove-it series, which is amazing see my review here! Well, she has done it again—this time for a younger set.

This gifted author has written a great compilation of the saints accessible for our children and it is truly inspiring. Who are the saints, why are they important, and what can today’s children learn from them? In Book of Saints, author Amy Welborn answers these questions with exciting and inspiring stories, real-life applications, and important information about these heroes of the Church.

This delightful collection of saints’ lives, written in a storybook style for children eight to twelve, explains how saints become saints, why we honor them, and how they help us even today. Divided thematically, the book features more than sixty saints from all over the world and from all across time, including our newest saints, such as Katharine Drexel; popular saints, such as St. Anthony of Padua; and Blesseds, such as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Each story tells about a saint and encourages readers to consider how they might apply what they learn from the story to their everyday lives. (Ages 8+, 304 pages, HC, $$)

Paola’s Book Bites: Purity

Here are my go to list of books for passing onto family and friends, on the virtue of purity.  Each book or video offers something practical and more importantly spiritual for fostering purity in our own lives and those most near and dear to us!

Choosing Beauty: A 30-Day Spiritual Makeover for Women
By Gina Loehr
Publisher: Franciscan Media

Gina Loehr does it again, I really enjoyed her insight into the lives of women saints in her book Real Women, Real Saints and learned much from their virtues….now Gina takes us on a real and practical retreat towards inner beauty…the kind that reflects the joy of our Faith. Mascara will help and eyeliner too, but the surest way to a beautiful you doesn’t require hours at the cosmetics counter. The best beauty routine starts within. Choosing Beauty guides you through a day-by-day inner makeover that will give you a glow that can only come through a life infused with the virtues. Learn how to step away from gossip, grow in courage, practice mercy and enter more fully into the qualities that will allow your inner light to shine. A great addition to Choosing Beauty is the inclusion of lively reflections on the virtues presented and questions for discussion. This is a good book to share with your teenage daughters, too! (High School+, 128 pages, PB, $$)

 

All Things Girl: Friends, Fashion, and Faith
By Cheryl Dickow
Publisher: Bezalel Books

In this exciting book, girls will explore John Paul II’s Letter to Women and will learn how to manage their time and money. They will see themselves in the light of Christ and will learn how to develop a rich and rewarding prayer life. All Things Girl is written for tween and teen-aged girls covering such topics as living a soulful life (what does it really mean to have a soul?), discerning a vocation (consecrated, married or single?), developing a prayer life (getting past boredom and into the good stuff!), living responsibly (financially and spiritually) with dignity and modesty, and finding the right role models (like St. Gianna Beretta Molla). This is the book all women wish they had when they were young girls…and now can’t wait to give! (Ages 12+, 84 pages, 7” x 10”, PB, $$)

 

All Things Guy: A Guide to Becoming a Man that Matters
By Teresa Tomeo, Molly Miller, Monica Cops and Cheryl Dickow
Publisher: Bezalel Books

This much needed and asked for book is filled with information that every young Catholic boy should have at his fingertips. The sections include: Dignity; Virtues and More; Media and Men that Matter; Vocations; Family and Friends; Body; Know Your History; Boys in the Kitchen; Strong Catholic Men Today; and Building a Prayer Life or bettter known as Basic Combat Training. (Ages 9-15, 200 pages, PB, $$)

“This book talks to kids straight on, no soft peddling, no sidestepping. It speaks to them where they live too much of the time – in the pop culture and media world. It says what good, faithful parents want to say, but may not always be able to find the words.” – Dr. Ray Guarendi, Best-Selling Catholic Author and Speaker

Theology of His/Her Body
By Jason Evert

From Genesis we know that God created men and women in His image and likeness, and from the first letter of John that “God is love”. Therefore men and women are made in the image and likeness of Love. This isn’t hard to see. Look at the design of the male and female bodies. They are made for each other. In fact, neither makes complete sense apart from the other. In this book — which utilizes a dynamic, “flip” book design to be “two books in one” well-known chastity speaker and author Jason Evert unpacks the mystery of what is means to be male and female in light of the Theology of the Body in a language teenagers understand. Your young adults will learn about the profound realities to which their bodies point – and how to live chastely and lovingly towards those of the opposite sex in the way we are created and not in the way the “world” is trying to lead them. This book is so well grounded and solid and never talks down to the reader but lifts them towards the divine plan God has placed in their hearts. (HS+, 102 pages, PB, $$)

Love is a Choice
Publisher: Ignatius Press

This sweet video documents the heroic life of St. Gianna Molla through interviews with her husband, children, friends, letters, and family mementos. You actually watch home movies of this amazing saint! Wow!

St. Gianna, who sacrificed her life to save her unborn baby, was a mother, a medical doctor, a lover of opera, art, and culture; one who can speak much to our present day especially when family life is threatened on so many fronts. This DVD contains the following language options: English, Spanish, or Italian. (DVD, 52 minutes)

St. Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother and Doctor
By Pietro Molla & Elio Guerriero
Publisher: Ignatius Press

Another great role model for our time!! Dr. Gianna Molla (1923-1962) was a dynamic and devoted wife, mother and physician. She loved skiing, playing piano and attending concerts in her native Italy. During her fourth pregnancy she was diagnosed with uterine tumors. She refused treatment that would have aborted her child, opting for a surgery that posed greater risk to herself. After delivering the baby she succumbed to an infection from the surgery. Newly canonized, this multi-faceted woman shows us the ultimate maternal sacrifice as a worthy and even joyful martyrdom. A fitting intercessor in this age of endless attacks on unborn children. (High school+, 125 pages, Illustrated, PB $, .epub $$)

“A woman of exceptional love, an outstanding wife and mother, Gianna Molla gave witness in her daily life to the demanding values of the Gospel.”
– Pope John Paul II

Paola’s Book Bites: Apologetics Catholic Style

THE PROVE-IT SERIES Prove it S

By Amy Welborn
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor

Finally! Finally! Finally!

These books are excellent, well grounded in truth, but also fun, funny, and simply marvelous! So many apologetic books are simply too dense for those of us who are not experts. This series speaks to teenagers in a way that inspires, and gives dialogue that is personal and real. It defends basic truths in a way that everyone can understand. These books are full of charming illustrations and quips such as “An atheist is a man who believes himself an accident.” It also contains more serious arguments, such as Isaac Newton’s statement that, “the existence of a Being endowed with intelligence and wisdom is a necessary inference from a study of celestial mechanics.” Each chapter dissects a separate argument against the Faith. Now teenagers and others can defend themselves with confidence – and a little humor, too! Five different volumes available; God, Jesus, Church, Prayer, and You. (Gr. 7+, approx. 115 pages, PB, $)

Friendly Defenders: Catholic Flash Cards   

by Matthew Pinto, Katherine Andes

Publisher: Ascension Press

Fifty full color flashcards that can help you build a sturdy foundation for the faith in yourself as well as your kids. The five lovable characters make learning about the faith entertaining as well as beneficial. You’ll quickly be able to answer questions like “Why pray to Mary when you can go directly to Jesus”, and “How can you believe a piece of bread is really Jesus?” with simple short answers! Comes in two volumes, 1 & 2. (Ages 8+, 50 full color flashcards, $)

A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’s CourtPhilly Catholic

By Martin de Porres Kennedy

Publisher: Lilyfield Press

An extremely fun way to learn Apologetics! We recommend assigning this book before your high-school student begins their Apologetics Religion course. This novel will engage you as you learn to explain the Faith alongside our story’s hero. Set on a horse-powered farm in Kentucky, 17 year-old Michael visits evangelical relations. Over the summer, Michael joins the Bible studies at his uncle’s non-denominational church and is challenged by many, to defend his faith, using only the Bible. This book covers commonly discussed doctrines such as the Papacy, Mary’s role in salvation, and the Eucharist. The book is charitable, and entertains while it informs. Perfect for teens and adults. Used by hundreds of parishes and groups for RCIA, religious education, book discussion groups, and Bible studies. Don’t miss the dramatic and surprising conclusion.

Philly Catholic Study Guide*Study guide is also available!!
††A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’ Court (Ages 14+, 323 pages, PB, $)
††Study Guide: A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’ Court (53 pages, PB, $)

 

Surprised by Truth Surprised by truth

By Patrick Madrid
Publisher: Basilica Press

When I received this book as a gift from my husband, little did I know that soon we would both be fighting to read it! It is absolutely an amazing,  hopeful, and inspiring collection of 11 conversion stories. You will be touched, moved and motivated to evangelize, while furthering your own knowledge of our glorious faith. Many of the stories have numerous Scripture references, and therefore making it perfect to be used by homeschoolers for the study of Apologetics. Simply amazing!  (High School to Adult, 269 pages, PB, $$)

Surprised by Truth 2 Surprised by Truth 2

By Patrick Madrid
Publisher: Sophia Press

Two Cardinals, five bishops, and scores of Catholic leaders love Surprised by Truth 2—you will, too!
This collection of testimonies by people who’ve found new life in the Catholic Church is one of the most potent weapons for the Faith ever crafted! These authors don’t just tell their stories — they also give you an insider’s view of the fatal weaknesses in the creeds and belief systems that beckon unwary Catholics every day: Fundamentalism, New Age paganism, Mormonism, materialistic hedonism, and many others.
You’ll discover why these converts forsook beliefs cherished by their families and friends in order to enter the Catholic Church. Their reasons are so compelling that you can use them to draw your own non-Catholic friends and relatives to the Faith. These converts will also convince your wavering Catholic friends to stay Catholic, and they’ll even bolster your own faith when anti-Catholic arguments start to make you doubt. You’ll come away with new gratitude that God has given you the Faith, and with a strong new tool you can use to stand proudly for that Faith. (High School to Adult, 320 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

SAN JUAN CATHOLIC SEMINARS—BEGINNING APOLOGETICS SERIES Beginning Apologetics set

By Fr. Frank Chacon, Jim Burnham and Steve Wood

Publisher: San Juan Catholic Seminars

Keep your family and friends Catholic! We keep a set close by our front door and have used them for those door-to-door evangelists, especially Books 2 and 3 on how to answer Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons.  Each booklet in this fabulous series is so well distilled into clear language on each important truth of our faith. We turn to them time and time again for reference in high school religion, especially in our semester of Apologetics. The topics presented in each booklet can be used to form essay topics or debate topics too! I usually require the first in the series to give a general overview of the most essential truths of our faith and a practical way to articulate these truths to others.  Then we devote time on the booklet for Eucharist, the Bible and Mary.  (High School to Adult, approx. 40 pages each, PB, $)

Concordance – One double-sided laminated sheet with Bible references

Beginning Apologetics 1: How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith
Study Guide for Beginning Apologetics 1

Beginning Apologetics 2: How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons

Beginning Apologetics 2.5: Yes! You Should Believe in the Trinity:How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses

Beginning Apologetics 3: Discovering the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

Beginning Apologetics 4: How to Answer Atheists and New Agers

Beginning Apologetics 5: How to Answer the Tough Moral Questions

Beginning Apologetics 6: How to Explain and Defend Mary

Beginning Apologetics 7: How to Read the Bible

Beginning Apologetics 8: The End Times

Beginning Apologetics 9: How to Answer Muslims