What's New

Gregor Mendel

Author(s): 
Simon Mawer

Regarding the scientific life of Gregor Mendel, there’s not much to tell. He grew up desperately poor and sought the priesthood to escape the robata system of farming. After carrying out his now famous experiments, the significance of which not even the best scientific minds of the day could grasp, he became abbot of the St. Thomas friary, a position whose demands prevented further scientific endeavors.

Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment

Author(s): 
Wendy Macdonald
Illustrator(s): 
Paolo Rui

Science readers are to be found if you look around enough as this book demonstrates. It is the fictional story of Massimo, a boy who regularly throws his uncle's lunch off a bridge to his boat as his uncle rows by below. Galileo happens to see that the bread and the cheese land at the same time. The story ends atop the leaning Tower of Pisa, as legend suggests Galileo did.

Charles and Emma

Author(s): 
Deborah Heiligman

I learned a few things from this young adult book about the life of Charles Darwin after his adventures on the H.M.S. Beagle. The book is based on his and his wife’s diary entries and because Charles was the more prolific writer we have more of his insights than Emma’s. The quoted material is more of a sprinkling than a basis for the book so it is mostly the author’s interpretation rather than their actual words.

A Shepherd in Combat Boots

Author(s): 
William L. Maher

What makes a hero? In our modern society, we often associate heroes with professional sports. Some "famous" player leaps into the air making an unbelievable catch in the final moments of a game resulting in national attention. But there is another kind of hero, the quiet, unsung hero, someone who selflessly places himself in harms way to save the life of another. Fr. Emil Kapaun is one such hero.

A Story of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Author(s): 
Brother Ernest, C. S. C.
Illustrator(s): 
Carolyn Lee Jagodits

In this charming, simple story, we are introduced to St. Elizabeth, beginning with her birth and covering her complete life. Clearly, the style is written for younger children. "She was born in a big castle in Hungary way back in 1207--a long, long time ago!" Although the story is written for younger children, the language and storyline are not watered down, touching on the important events in her life as well as addressing the problems she encountered.

The Queen's Thief Series (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings)

Author(s): 
Megan Whalen Turner

If you, like us, have voracious readers always eager for, sometimes demanding, new reading material, Margaret Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series is definitely worth a try. Set in a fictionalized version of Greece in something like the sixteenth century, the series continually reveals Mrs. Turner’s love for Greece, its landscape, mythology, learning and even politics.

Pippo the Fool

Author(s): 
Tracey E. Fern
Illustrator(s): 
Pau Estrada

I heard this story long ago... most certainly from my story-telling aunt, who had the power to do exactly what this phenomenal books does: to turn real life stories into a delightful tale for children! But while my good auntie illustrated her stories with words in a way only she could do, this new publication is illustrated by lines and color in a way that will captivate young and old alike. One would be reminded of Tomie De Paola, but a Tomie de Paola turned-to-life with much more realistic, rich-in-detail full page spreads.

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau

Author(s): 
Dan Yaccarino

Like many parents my age, I grew up with Jacques Cousteau, the Frenchman who brought the life below the water level to everyone's homes via TV and films. Here is a colorful, friendly picture book about his life and accomplishments. Curious episodes of his life and his conservation efforts are explained in simple language. Also, beautiful, direct quotes from him are found throughout the colorful book, such as:

If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we faith, and we have hope.

Building on Nature

Author(s): 
Rachel Rodriguez
Illustrator(s): 
Julie Paschkis

Like most art students and lovers, I have had mixed feelings about the architecture of Gaudi all my life. When our oldest son visited Barcelona and sent pictures of Gaudi buildings, I planned on learning more about him. Now I find this new and remarkable picture book telling children about a man who was perhaps little understood during his lifetime.

Follow the Line Around the World

Author(s): 
Ljungkvist, Laura

We love geography in our house! And I love it when I find books that bring geography to little ones! This picture book invites the young child to follow an imaginary line around the world, highlighting interesting facts about different places in every continent.
[This review is still under construction.]