Elementary

Viking Adventure

Book cover: 'Viking Adventure'
Author(s): 
Clyde Robert Bulla
Illustrator(s): 
Douglas Gorsline

This book tells the story of Sigurd, a young Viking boy who hears his father tell tales of adventures sailing to far lands and longs for adventures of his own. It looks like his dreams may come true when his father's friend Gorm comes to his home and tells of his plan to sail for the legendary land of Wineland, west of Greenland.

Brendan the Navigator

Author(s): 
Jean Fritz

The story of Brendan the Navigator, a monk from the middle ages who is believed to have discovered America even before Lief Ericson and well-before Columbus, is fascinating - particularly in light of a recent re-enactment of the recorded trip which seems to confirm the traditions. This book covers all of these details in a manner suitable for children, but includes a few details (about the way monks are described) which are somewhat irritating). The illustrations are rather weak.

Augustine Came to Kent

Book cover: 'Augustine Came to Kent'
Author(s): 
Barbara Willard

Historical fiction account of the mission of St. Augustine of Canterbury to bring Christianity to England in 597, as seen through the eyes of a young boy accompanying the monks on the journey. While not as fast-paced as other Bethlehem Books titles, the story really brings the era to life and is a very good tale besides - full of little insights into human nature, Christian ideas and heroism.

The Young Life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Book cover: 'The Young Life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta'
Author(s): 
Claire Jordan Mohan

This is an interesting and unique short chapter book telling the story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta - a great lady who changed the world by following God's will and being a true messenger of peace and love. Similar to Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa's childhood was filled with both joy and tragedy. Her early inclinations to be a missionary led her to teach at a wealthy girls school in India. One day she realized that she was called, not to teach the wealthy children, but go out and help and teach the poor, sick and homeless out on the streets of Calcutta.

Katie: The Young Life of Mother Katherine Drexel

Book cover: 'Katie: The Young Life of Mother Katherine Drexel'
Author(s): 
Claire Jordan Mohan

In this, her latest book in the "Young Life" series, Mrs. Mohan introduces young readers to Mother Katherine Drexel (canonized in October 2000), the first American born, Catholic born saint.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Author(s): 
Raissa Maritain

Despite its humble appearance, this biography of Saint Thomas Aquinas is a real gem. The story is told as a real story should be told, full of miracles and detail without becoming preachy, yet it is simple enough for the children it was written to instruct. The rich vocabulary hints at an original copyright in the early 1900s and may be challenging to a young independent reader. You may wish to read this book aloud to the under-8s or beside an 8-9-year-old to be sure of comprehension.

Little Therese

Book cover: 'Little Therese'
Author(s): 
Adapted from Pere J. Carbonel, S.J.

This biography of St. Therese of Lisieux for children emphasizes the story of her childhood, her simple spirituality as taught to her by her family with an emphasis on the little acts of sacrifice she made and how that helped her to develop control of her will. The story includes many details of Therese's childhood and family life that Catholic homeschool families will relate to. It is told in a way that encourages young children to offer little sacrifices to God in imitation of this saint. I was particularly amused to hear that St.

God's Little Flower, the Story of St. Therese of Lisieux

Author(s): 
Chris Driscoll
Illustrator(s): 
Patrick Kelley

St. Therese of Lisieux is a very popular saint whose life story is easily understood by children. While not full of action and adventure, her life story's simplicity and sweetness are appealing to even the most worldly of children. This lovely picture book, with its carefully chosen vocabulary and sentence structures, is written on a level that will allow a 3rd-grade and up child to read it for himself or herself. The full-page illustrations are attractive, colorful, simple, and modern in style, adding to the story rather than overwhelming it.

If All the Swords in England

Book cover: 'If All the Swords in England'
Author(s): 
Barbara Willard

The story of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket (and the last six years of his life) is presented in an intelligent and interesting format by viewing these events through the eyes of twin boys, Simon and Edmund, who are (respectively) in the service of Thomas Becket and King Henry II ( Saint Thomas' friend-turned-enemy).

Heroes of Virtue

Book cover: 'Heroes of Virtue: A Timeline-manual of New World Saints and Blessed'
Author(s): 
Sister Elizabeth Ann

We have enjoyed using this manual in our home for almost a year now and have found that it has added a dimension that was lacking from our homeschool before. The author, a member of the congregation Sisters of Saint Joseph the Worker, has done an outstanding job organizing the saints of the Americas by chronology and geographical area. This manual includes saints from both North and South America. Sister Elizabeth Ann begins her book with reasons for studying these saints along with many ideas for incorporating them into ones ongoing historical or geographical studies.

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