Books about Books

Reading the Saints

Janet McKenzie

This is an interesting and helpful book of lists designed for parents and teachers interested in collecting Catholic stories (particularly saint stories) for their children and incorporating them into their school studies.

The first part of the book consists of listings of Catholic book series (both in and out of print), including titles with Catholic content that have been awarded the Caldecott Award and the Newbery Award, Catholic Readers, the Clarion Series, the Vision Series, American Background Books, Catholic Treasury Books and much more.

A Picture Perfect Childhood

A Picture Perfect Childhood
Cay Gibson

There are only a few books that I know I'll love even before I see them - and this was definitely one. Picture book afficionado Cay Gibson serves up a delicious array of picture books of all sorts to discover and savor for yourself from your local library (and hopefully start a collection of your own as well).

The Mystery of Harry Potter

Nancy Carpentier Brown

Nancy C. Brown's The Mystery of Harry Potter, a Catholic Family Guide is a book I've been waiting for. Weary of defending the fact that I've allowed Harry into our home, I longed for some good Catholic mom to write down all the reasons why Harry can be perfectly compatible with a faithful, orthodox Catholic family.

For the Love of Literature

Maureen Wittmann

I'm so excited about my friend Maureen's new book from Ecce Homo Press. Maureen is a kindred spirit in the "living books" department and I know that this book will be a favorite on my shelf and have recommended it to friends who are interested in the way our family homeschools.

Let the Authors Speak

Book cover: 'Let the Authors Speak: A Guide to Worthy Books Based on Historical Setting'
Carolyn Hatcher

This book offers approximately 1300 "living books" (books that make history come alive such as biographies, historical accounts, historical fiction and related literature) organized into several lists - chronologically, by author and by title. These books were chosen from a number of guides to worthwhile books, including Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt and the Masterplots series. They include many fine Catholic books and lives of the Saints. I must admit to being a little disappointed that the author hasn't read all the books herself.

Related Links:

C.S. Lewis on the importance of reading old books (from his introduction to On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius)

The Mysteries of Life in Children's Literature

Mitchell Kalpakgian

This book is not too "scholarly" to enjoy, and I have truly enjoyed it. Each of the chapters discusses a different element of children's literature in the context of actual books. There is a complete synopsis of the book at this address:

Be forewarned: you will be running to your bookshelves to start reading some of these books to your children and to re-read them yourself.

Literature Alive

Book cover: 'Literature Alive'
Cay A. Gibson

Although this is a hefty tome, the relaxed, informal tone begs you to snuggle up with it on the sofa with a cozy afghan, a crackling fire, and a hot cup of tea. Of course, it's winter here in Wisconsin: overcast, chilly and white outside. Whatever the weather or circumstances, this book is guaranteed to soothe the soul and inspire the book lover within. You feel like you are having a conversation with a best friend and will often find yourself saying, "Yes" and nodding in agreement, or pausing to reflect and say, "Hmm, interesting, I will have to think about that."

A Landscape with Dragons

Book cover: 'A Landscape with Dragons'
Michael O'Brien

This book has helped me to understand the importance of stories in a child's spiritual and intellectual formation. Mr. O'Brien explains how mythology, fiction, fantasy and fairy tales help children understand the real world - both what we can see and what we can't see. Stories help teach children the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Unfortunately, many fiction stories give the wrong messages about good and bad. Mr. O'Brien gives parents the tools to tell good from bad and includes his own analysis of some popular stories and several Disney movies.

Catholic Authors - 4 Sight Edition

Book cover: 'Catholic Authors - 4 Sight Edition'
Brother George N. Schuster, S.M.

This book was designed for grades 7 through 9 to give "a vital, illustrated presentation of Catholic literature to help students 'see' and love Christ four ways always: in Himself, in Others, in His Creation, in His Mother." [from the back cover]

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