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: Catholic Bibles

Beginner Bibles

Great Adventure Kids Bible Series
By Emily Cavins and Sarah Christmyer
Publisher: Ascension Press

This dynamic learning system is designed to teach children the story of the Bible in an interactive manner by focusing on the narrative periods and stories of the Bible.

I especially love the coloring book and include it in my lesson plans for Kindergarten. Your child can color along as you read aloud the corresponding stories of the Bible. This system is based on the very successful Great Adventure line of adult Bible study materials, which have helped hundreds of thousands of people all over the world grow in love for Sacred Scripture and make reading it a part of their daily lives.

Through play, memorization, prayer, and interaction, these learning tools bring familiar Bible stories into a system where children can relate them to their own life while learning the story of Salvation History. (Gr. K-6)

Kit includes:
Bible Timeline – Chart color-coded accordion-style folding chart detailing the 12 periods of Bible history. with vibrant colors and kid-friendly illustrations. Great to use with your history curriculum.
Bible Card Game Set – Instructions for five games are included designed to teach players as young as three the “big picture” of salvation history.
10” x 13” Bible Story Coloring Book – 49 pages of illustrated Bible stories. with four coloring pages from each of the 12 periods of Bible history, ideal for younger children, but helpful for all readers to capture the overall story of the Bible in the context of the 12 periods of Bible history. Best used when reading the Bible to little ones.
• Color-coded bookmark – scaled-down version of The Great Adventure Bible Timeline Chart for easy reference.
Prayer Beads – Used in conjunction with the Bible Timeline Prayer (printed on the back panel of the Great Adventure Kids Bible Timeline Chart) Designed to emphasize the important lessons God wants us to learn from each period of Bible history and helps children learn God’s plan for their lives.

cover_bibleforchildrenThe Catholic Bible for Children
Publisher: Magnificat

This is an excellent choice to use with Kindergarten or 1st graders to help them become familiar with Scripture. This is the Bible I recommend in my Kindergarten Religion Lesson Plans. From the creation of the world to the infancy of the Church, the important stories from both the Old and New Testament are vividly retold and illustrated for young people. Also included are chapters on the prophets and the psalms. A Scripture verse is offered for most stories and can be used as memory work. In the back is a glossary of important people, places and objects, providing added information. (Pre-K, 238 pages, 6½” x 8½”, Softcover, $$)

 

New Catholic Picture Bible   New Catholic Picture Bible
By Rev. Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D. 
Publisher: Catholic Book Publishing

This is a natural second Bible to follow a beginner Bible. The stories are longer and more detailed, providing ample depth for Bible retellings. Fr. Lovasik is faithful to the original Scripture in his prose of these important Bible stories. This is the preferred book for my First Grade Religion Lesson Plans. Here are Catholic stories taken from the Holy Bible, intended for the whole family and easy to understand. The first part treats the Old Testament from Adam to Christ and contains the most important and memorable events in God’s dealings with man during that time. The second part contains sixty stories from the New Testament that narrate beautifully the life, teachings, and work of Our Lord and Savior. These simply written stories, praised by leading Catholic educators for their style, will delight your children time after time. (Gr. 1-3, 240 pages, 5¾” x 8¾”, HC, $)


The Golden Children’s Bible The Golden Children's Bible by Golden Books

Publisher: Penguin/Random House

Perfect for your next step after the New Catholic Picture Bible. This is a great keepsake Bible for your 3rd to 5th graders. Use it for Bible retellings (as I lay out in my 4th grade Lesson plans), or for reading alone, the language is sophisticated and provides much depth for a closer resemblance to Sacred Scripture. Main events of the Old Testament are retold chronologically. New Testament combines all four Gospels into one detailed account and gives accounts from Acts, the Epistles and even Revelation. Written in a clear, simple, yet beautiful style for children. Approved by an editorial board of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish scholars. Original copyright 1965. Realistic full-color illustrations on every page! (Gr. K-6, 510 pages, HC, $$)

Middle Grades – High School Bibles


The Ignatius Catholic Bible Ignatius Bible (RSV) 2nd Edition

Publisher: Ignatius Press

This is our go-to Bible for our 6th grade and up children. Our kids have all received a copy as their Confirmation gift and have taken these copies to college—as it was the preferred version at Christendom , Thomas Aquinas College, and Benedictine College where our children attended. The only contemporary Catholic Bible translation in standard English is even more beautiful in word and design! There are nine color reference maps of such historical places and events as The Exodus from Egypt, Jerusalem – From David to Christ, Palestine in Christ’s Time, and The Holy Land in Modern Times. Also, the Revised Standard Version, second Catholic edition is the only Bible translation that uses standard (non-feminist) English and is in conformity with the Church’s translation guidelines found in the Vatican document, Liturgiam Authenticam. Comes in a variety of formats, Paperback, Hardcover, Compact Leather, and Large Print and eBook. ($$)

Ignatius Study Bible Series          The Gospel According to John, Catholic Study Bible (2nd Ed.) eBook - 25% off

By Scott Hahn/Curtis Mitch
Publisher: Ignatius Press

This is a great help to you and your child’s lessons on particular books of the Bible for its rich annotations, references to other texts in the Bible and Catechism.  We also use the study questions for discussion prompts.  I often found that the material was rich in its content and touched their hearts in such a way that opened up discussions towards their relationship with God. Time is best spent once a week discussing the chapters.  How do you begin discussions of such weighty stuff?  We will use the Study Questions and Questions for Application that go with each chapter. We use the Catechism questions in the Study Guides written by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch to help the parent lead the discussion by providing detailed notes on passages and verses as well as study questions. Very accessible. I detail how to use these in my 6th and 7th grade Religion Lesson Plans. (Grade 6+, PB, or eBook, $$)

Here is a listing of the titles available: †Gospel of Matthew††Gospel of Mark††Gospel of Luke††Gospel of John††Acts of the Apostles††Letters of St. Paul††Genesis††Exodus††Job††… and many more!

The Bible Compass      

By Dr. Edward Sri
Publisher: Ascension Press

Excellent companion to Bible study in high school. The Bible is central to our faith as Catholics, but approaching such a large and complex collection of writings that span thousands of years is intimidating for most of us. The Bible Compass provides readers with the tools to study the Word of God with confidence and purpose within the living Tradition of the Catholic Church. As Catholics we are called to have an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Church as revealed in the Scriptures. Reading the Bible with the proper tools and in the appropriate context will help you grow in your love for the Faith and in your relationship with Jesus Christ himself, who is “the Word made Flesh,” (John 1:1) (Gr 8+, 149 pages, PB, $$)

Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament  
Produced by Raymond Arroyo
Publisher: FutureSoft, Inc

This awesome audio bible is “…not just reading,” explains producer Raymond Arroyo, “these actors are performing, sharing these stories in the same way they were originally communicated—passed from person to person as part of an oral tradition. The stories come alive. propelling us right into history, the way it might have happened.” “… Performed like this,” he says, “you are thrown into the middle of the action. The Bible is suddenly not only understandable, but arresting and compelling.”

Listening is important!!! When reading, we tend to skim and miss important points. Not only will this enhance your child’s Bible studies, it will improve listening skills and ultimately instill a more active participation at Mass. It is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Voiced by internationally-renowned actors. Go to their website truthandlifeapp.com to listen to clips from  The Gospel of Mark. (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition translation. The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours, on 18 CD’s, or now as a new app with the Ignatius Bible too, $$)

Please let me know what are your favorite Bibles too!

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

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Holy Card

We’d like to offer you this St. Andrew Christmas Novena holy card, at no charge, as a token of our appreciation for you to help get ready for our Lord’s birth as we enter the season of St. Andrew novenaAdvent! This two-sided holy card features classical artwork on the front side and the Christmas Anticipation Prayer on the reverse.  Just save,  print and pray!

… And have a blessed Advent this year!

Christmas Anticipation Prayer, also known as the St. Andrew Christmas prayer starts November 30, the feast of St. Andrew and continues through Christmas Eve, December 24th!

This meditative prayer is traditionally said 15 times each day to help us reflect on the TRUE meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!

 Click on the picture….to get your free download!


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

Featured Author: Hilda Van Stockum

Want the perfect read aloud books for the family?  One that will be enjoyable to a range of ages?

Our family has fallen in love with all of Hilda van Stockum’s stories!

Every time we finish reading aloud one of her books, we feel as if the characters have become old friends and a part of our family. They have so much charm and warmth that they seem to literally spring Hilda_van_Stockum_(circa_1957)to life!  Mrs. van Stockum’s books  seem to invite themselves into our home and our hearts. In fact, the author frequently used her six children as models for the characters in her stories, she even put direct quotes from her family into her stories! Her vivid imagery and flair for dialect encourage the reader to become an active participant in the stories where they will travel to rural Ireland, post World War II Canada and Holland to name a few.

Drawing on her extensive travel experiences as a child (her father was in the Dutch Navy), Hilda van Stockum introduces us to some amazing characters including the Mitchell family, living in Washington, D.C. during World War II and the O’Sullivan family from County Cork, Ireland. These families are just like yours! They are very close-knit, deeply rooted in their faith and at times, more than a little mischievous! You are bound to recognize your children and some of their escapades in these delightful stories. Sadly, a few of these treasures are no longer in print but we are happy to carry The Mitchell Series, The Bantry Bay Series, The Borrowed House and The Winged Watchman. These are all excellent read-aloud stories.

The Mitchell ’s Series

The Mitchells: Five for Victory
By Hilda van Stockum

The Mitchells: Five for Victory eVersionThis first volume introduces us to the Mitchell family, whom you will immediately love. With Daddy off to war and summer vacation looming before them, the five Mitchell children form a victory club to occupy their time. The club finds many adventures, including the discovery of a war refugee orphan. Your little ones are bound to see themselves reflected in faithful Joan, gentle Patsy, steadfast Peter, impish Angela, or brazen baby Timmy. This tale is absolutely delightful. Adults and children alike will enjoy reading all about the Mitchell family in Five for Victory. Excellent for read-alouds too! (Ages 10+, 236 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Canadian Summer
By Hilda van Stockum

Canadian Summer eBookThe Mitchell family is back again and this time they have taken their adventures to a whole new country! Daddy’s new job has brought them to Montreal and the only house they can find is miles from the nearest town with no running water nor electricity. Will they ever survive the summer? Follow the Mitchells through the beautiful Canadian countryside as they encounter new friends and new escapades. (Ages 10+, 180 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Friendly Gables
By Hilda van Stockum

Friendly Gables eBookHere come the lively Mitchells again and this time with new additions to the family. This beloved family is now two years older and living at Friendly Gables in Lachine, Quebec. There is never a dull moment in the Mitchell house! Discover how the children cleverly escape the clutches of Miss Thorpe, the nurse who has
come to help Mother. You will be delighted as the Mitchells make new acquaintances and when old friends, the Jolicoeurs,
resurface. (Ages 10+, 165 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

The Bantry Bay Series

Having lived and studied in Ireland herself, Hilda van Stockum brilliantly captures the lilt and melody of the Irish language. You will be amazed at how quickly you’ll master an Irish brogue! Your family will be instantly enchanted with both the O’Sullivan family and the rich Irish history woven throughout these stories. So, gather the whole family together and take a trip across the pond to the Emerald Isle.

The Cottage at Bantry Bay
By Hilda van Stockum

The Cottage at Bantry Bay eBook - 65% OFFFrom the thatch-roofed cottages to Paddy, the traveling piper to the generous hospitality of neighbors, The Cottage at Bantry Bay paints a stunning portrait of the Ireland of yesteryear. It is here that we are introduced to the remarkable O’Sullivan family of County Cork, Ireland. Though they lack monetary wealth, they are rich in faith and love. Like all of Hilda van Stockum’s books, your whole family will enjoy this story. Everyone is bound to relate to one of the four O’Sullivan children. There is sweet, quiet Brigid who is always willing to help Mother, steadfast and studious Michael and the twins, Francie and Liam, both with hearts of gold that are all too often overshadowed by their many “adventures.” Mother O’Sullivan certainly has her hands full with the lot of them! Go along with Brigid and Michael as they travel the weary roads through the Kerry mountains or with Francie and Liam as they bravely face Clementine, Mrs. Flaherty’s mean-spirited cow or with Bran, the dog, to find hidden treasure! (Ages 10+, 239 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Francie on the Run
By Hilda van Stockum

Francie on the Run eBook -65% OffFrancie is sent to the Orthopedic Hospital in Dublin far away from his family and friends, but in typical Francie style, the young boy quickly meets new friends everywhere he goes. Sick of being in the hospital and being treated like a “babby” by the nurses, the young adventurer sets out for home all on his own. Along the way, Francie meets some extraordinary characters including Mrs. McDermot in the castle, Ireland’s famed little people (fairies), kind Father Kelly and Pegeen. Francie journeys all over the country learning the different customs and legends of each region. Will Francie ever reach home or will he be taken back to the lonely hospital ward? (Ages 10+, 293 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

Pegeen
By Hilda van Stockum

Pegeen eBook - 65% OffAfter her Grannie dies, Pegeen stays with Francie’s family while Father Kelly tries to locate her American uncle. With Michael away at school, Mother O’Sullivan couldn’t be happier having another child around, but she soon finds out Pegeen is not a very quiet addition. Poor Pegeen, no matter what she does, it always
comes out wrong, but it’s never her fault! The young orphan manages to upset everyone in the O’Sullivan family, each time
concocting another tale to place the blame anywhere but on her! As the weeks go by, however, Pegeen slowly becomes a part of the family when a letter arrives from New York. Will Pegeen have to leave her new family or will Uncle Dan let her stay in Ireland? (Ages 10+, 266 pages, PB $$, .epub $)

The Borrowed House
By Hilda von Stockum

The Borrowed House eBook - 62% Off!Janna Oster is a proud, young German girl living near the Black Forest during World War II. With her famous parents entertaining in Holland, Janna is all alone and turns to the Hitler Youth group where she was taught to never question the authority of Hitler, the supremacy of the Aryan race and to view the Jewish race as inferior. Janna’s life is turned upside down when her parents summon her to Holland. It is there that the young girl begins to question the validity of Hitler’s teachings and begins to realize that no one deserves the cruel treatment being shown. (221 pages, Ages 14+ File Type: EPUB)

The Winged Watchman
By Hilda von Stockum

The Winged Watchman eBookThis is a great historical fiction of WWII—rich in suspense, characterization, plot and spiritual truth. A story of courage and hope in occupied Holland: a hidden Jewish child, an “underdiver”, a downed RAF pilot, an imaginative, daring underground hero, and the small thing of family life which surprisingly carry on in the midst of oppression. An inspiring story of those who suffer, but do not lose faith! (.epub, 191 pages, Gr 5+ $)

We carry copies of these books in ebook format as they are inexpensive and easy for mom or dad to use as a read aloud but to build our family library we suggest purchasing the paperback books from Bethlehem Books, who is continually looking for these kinds of treasures and holds a high standard when choosing books that inspire and edify a child’s imagination.

Cor Unum! One Heart & The Sacred Heart

The von Trapp family, of the Sound of Music fame, called their home in Vermont “Cor Unum” – Latin for: One Heart. They dedicated it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in so doing, called their family to be of one heart for our Lord.
image from: www.stowetoday.com
image from: www.stowetoday.com
Theirs was a touching and beautiful gesture that we repeated when we purchased our building to run our family business Emmanuel Books in 2001.  We dedicated the building and had it blessed on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and even made a heart shaped cake to celebrate.
We continue to consecrate our works to the Sacred Heart.  It is with much gratitude and love that we offer to you our latest in the “Reclaim the Saints” series for Living the Liturgical Year, Sacred Heart of Jesus! In it you will make your very own Sacred Heart Shrines, Holy Cards, a 10-page Prayer book, learn the history of this devotion and so much more!
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Join us for the month of June and the devotion to the Sacred Heart!

Beauty surrounds the Feast of the Annunciation

Paolo_de_Matteis_-_The_AnnunciationThe Feast of the Annunciation is a beloved feast day for it is the day we rejoice in Mary’s YES!  It only stands to reason that we and the Church rejoice as it is the day that the “Word was made Flesh!”  There was a very dear priest in our diocese, one of those rare individuals who inspired countless people with his unwavering trust in Divine Providence…even in the most difficult and trying situations he reminded us to trust. He loved the Blessed Mother and like her was transformed by his YES to a life in service to God and in turn transformed all of us!  Everyone prayed that he would live to celebrate his 100th birthday, but he actually died just a few short hours of the day. However, nine months earlier he would cheerfully and enthusiastically remind all of us that indeed he was already 100 years old since he counted his age from the time of his conception in his mother’s womb. What a testimony to all of us as to the sanctity of life in the womb, the unborn! Today is no ordinary day but a great day to pause from our day to day routines and take time to celebrate this momentous event in all our lives!

“In families with young children, this feast would be a good time to begin teaching youngsters important lessons about the inestimable value God places on human life. 

Mary with baby JesusFirst, that He loved us so much that He chose to become one of us — to take on our humanity so completely that he “became flesh”, as utterly weak and dependent as any human infant is.   Second, God became “like us in all things except sin” at the moment of His conception in Mary’s womb, not at some later time.  The Feast of the Annunciation is a celebration of the actual Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Children may, quite naturally, think that the birth of Jesus is the time when Our Savior first ‘became Man,’ especially since Christmas has become the Christian holiday in our culture.  We understand best what we can see, what is visible.  The invisible, the hidden is, no less real for our lack of seeing it.  (We think of the baby in its mother’s womb, known and felt, though unseen, only to her.)

Even very young children can know the truth about the growth of a baby inside its mother’s body, especially If the mother of the family (or an aunt, perhaps) happens to be pregnant on the holiday.  The exactly nine months’ wait from March 25th to December 25th for the Baby to be born would be interesting to most children.  (God made no special rules for His own bodily development!) What better way than reading the first chapter of Luke to gently begin teaching children about the beginning of each new human life?

Children should be told how important it is to every person that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1), and parents can find this feast a valuable teaching moment. 

teaching-youth-religious-values.jpg.crop_displayThe Catechism of the Catholic Church on Article 3 of the Creed, “He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the Virgin Mary” (#436-511), should be read by parents.  This will not only give adults a timely review of Catholic doctrine, but it can be a great help to us in transmitting important truths of the faith to our children.  The summary at the end can help formulate points we want to emphasize. Excerpts from the Catechism  could be read aloud to older children.” (http://www.ewtn.com/library/FAMILY/MARCH25.TXT)

In hope of inspiring you to pause from your regular curriculum may I suggest the following:

You can begin with the prayers associated with Mary and her Fiat, the Angelus, the Magnificat  and an Annunciation prayer too! (http://www.marypages.com/Annunciation.htm).  Over the centuries these same prayers inspired lovely Classical  pieces of music.  As I started to research them, I had no idea of the veritable wealth of music giving Glory to unborn Christ Child. Do plan on spending your quiet time today listening to this beautiful music and hear the joy!

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Song_of_the_Angels_(1881)_edit

The Magnificat, Canticle of Mary, Song of Mary, Latin Hymn, Daughters of Mary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9QtEb8XNr4

Bach – Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 : Harnoncourthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oL_qsKPeik

Antonio Vivaldi – Magnificat in G Minor RV  610:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDQREd7Ahys

MOZART Vesperae de Dominica, KV 321 – [6] Magnificat KOOPMAN:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuOT1LMFIQA

Franz Schubert – Magnificat in C major, D486:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itQNbtXXhzE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can also see that this momentous event also inspired much artwork. Three years ago Larry and I found a gorgeous rendition of the Annunciation by the artist Jan Van Eyck on our 25th Wedding Anniversary, or should I say it found us, as a reminder of our YES to each other and to God. It is currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, a trip we will have to make soon to see the original! Today you can explore the work here where you can take a closer look and explore its symbolism: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.46.html?opensection=overview

And that is not the only image of the Annunciation, visit these sites to gaze at all the beauty. The following sites have a multitude of beautiful Classical artwork to share with your family:

http://www.abcgallery.com/L/leonardo/leonardo36.html (Leonardo Da Vinci The Annunciation.  Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)

http://www.abcgallery.com/B/botticelli/botticelli34.html (Sandro Boticelli Cestello Annunciation Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy)

http://www.abcgallery.com/virgin.html#Annunciation (many other masterpieces)

For your younger set I found several coloring pages that you can print whereby they grant copyright permission  to print and use any original material or ideas for individual or classroom use.

Crayones de cera

Coloring pages:

This site has about 10 different images to choose from different sources: http://printablecolouringpages.co.uk/?s=the+annunciation

This one comes to us compliments from the parish church in Front Royal Virginia St. John the Baptist Catholic Church where we just went last weekend! http://www.sjtb.org/images/Annunciation.pdf

Here is a simple outline coloring page for the littlest ones:http://www.sermons4kids.com/mary_angel_colorpg.htm

For a bit of fun here are pictures that the kids can color on-line, changing the colors and printing off the version they like best! : http://www.supercoloring.com/pages/annunciation

http://www.thecolor.com/Coloring/simone-martini-the-annunciation.aspx

Be certain to end the day with a delicious meal or special dessert.  My favorite cookbook, A Continual Feast has a Swedish Waffles recipe where the author explains that in Europe beginning around the twelfth century waffles were generally eaten on feast days and most certainly on the Feast of the Annunciation. You can use your own special recipe or this one:

Swedish Waffles (A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz)

swedish waffles

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, well-chilled
1 1/3 cups flour
1-2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold water
3 tablespoons melted sweet butter

Whip the cream until stiff.  Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir in the water to make a smooth batter. Fold the whipped cream into the batter. Stir in the melted butter.

Heat the waffle iron. (If it is well seasoned, it will not need to be greased.) Fill the grid surface about two-thirds full of batter. Bake until golden brown.

Place on a rack to keep crisp while you make the rest of the waffles.

Yield: about 8 waffles

Emmanuel Books Holy Week & Easter Activity Kit

As the local stores fill up with Easter Bunnies and jelly beans, now is the perfect time to restore the sacredness of Holy Week and Easter.  We have researched and designed this easy to use and beautiful curriculum that will become a family favorite each year!

This kit contains faith-filled  hands-on projects that make a lasting impact on the true meaning of Holy Week and Easter. Your family will lean about:

  • Holy Week Kit email 3Resurrection Eggs, (to learn the Passion though the Resurrection Bible story),
  • A Jonah project (make Jonah, the whale and his ship and have the children decorate them and move the figures through Holy Week),
  • A sticker sheet with faithful, Catholic symbolism that truly represent the Holy Season of Easter
  • Instructions and template to make a Family Pascal Candle
  • Beautiful Easter Holy Cards to share with family and friends and practice handwriting skills
  • Notebooking pages with beautiful reverent holy images
  • Mini books of the colors of Easter and mini books for the flowers, fruit and trees associated with Easter along with pictures and descriptions of each
  • Several options for making a variety of Easter cards (4 unique designs with text and blank versions too!)