Alicia Van Hecke

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II - Jon Voight
Karol Wojtyla up to his election as Pope John Paul II - Cary Elwes
Cardinal Adam Sapieha - James Cromwell
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski - Christopher Lee
Stanislaw Dziwisz - Wenanty Nosul

Connecting with History Vol. I

Author(s): 
Andrea Chen
Sonya Romens

A guide for implementing a very comprehensive history program for all ages from preschoolers through adults (yes, even mom!), Connecting with History also incorporates religion, literature, discussion, composition, scripture and poetry memorization, hands-on activities, and more. The stated goal of this program is to help families better understand the Catholic Faith through the study of history, and to better understand true history through the study of the Catholic Faith.

Latin Proverbs

This nifty, pocket-sized paperback is, quite simply, loaded with Latin proverbs (along with their English translations and whatever information is available about the source). There are over 1,100 proverbs in all and the appendices contain topical and author indices.

A few samples (note: the book does include macrons to indicate long vowel sounds, which are not easy to duplicate here):

Malum vas non frangitur.
The bad vase does not get broken.
(Anonymous)

Saints of the American Wilderness

Author(s): 
John A. O'Brien

This is a detailed (and rather intense) history of the eight French Jesuit martyrs who worked among the Huron Indians in North America in the 1600s: St. Isaac Jogues (1607-1646), St. René Goupil (1608-1642), St. Jean de Lalande (died. 1646), St. Jean de Brébeuf (1593-1649), St. Gabriel Lalemant (1610-1650), St. Antoine Daniel (1601-1648), St. Charles Garnier (1605-1649), and St. Noël Chabanel (1613-1649).

Christmas Turtles

Author(s): 
Sara Ann Denson

This is a simple, charming and true story, from the author's own childhood, of a grandmother and her four grandchildren, for whom she makes Christmas Turtles each year with the pecans from her own yard.

The children discover the real "magic" that goes into making these favorite treats and how very much their grandmother really loves them. A recipe for the turtles is included in the back!

The Strange Intruder

Author(s): 
Arthur Catherall

The Faroe Islands are located almost midway between Scotland and Iceland. Locals sustain themselves through fishing and bird-hunting. The meeting of the Gulf Stream with an icy Polar current makes for unpredictable weather that can lead to great dangers on the island of Mykines; a place whose rough landings and wild weather make accessibility nearly impossible for all but the locals who are accustomed to its tides and rocky beaches.

William Shakespeare and the Globe

Book cover
Author(s): 
Aliki

This is a simply told and heavily illustrated biography of the great William Shakespeare and the theatre in which his plays were first performed. The details of the illustrations and the story are quite nice and even the story of the Globe is more interesting than one might expect. At one point it was disassembled and secretly moved to a new location under cover of darkness.

Shakespeare for Kids

Book cover
Author(s): 
Colleen Aagesen
Margie Blumberg

Have you grown up thinking that Shakespeare is dry literature forced upon high schoolers by antiquated professors? Think again! Even young children can capture an interest in Shakespeare through attractive materials such as this multi-dimensional biography of the bard.

The heart and soul of the book is the story of Shakespeare's life - charmingly enhanced by Shakespearean phrases (followed by modern translations in parenthesis). Numerous photos, sketches and maps give us a peek at Elizabethan life and architecture and a few scenes from renditions of his plays.

Journey into Amazing Caves

This weekend we rented Journey into Amazing Caves (an IMAX film). It's a beautifully filmed documentary that traces a group of scientists' explorations into caves in the Grand Canyon, ice caves in Greenland and underwater caves on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The scientists are searching for "extremophiles" - bacteria and other small creatures that survive extreme conditions and may be useful for medicines.

Caves and Caverns

Author(s): 
Gail Gibbons

This is a terrific children's picture books, with lots of details about different parts and features of caves, how caves form and plants and creatures that can live inside of caves. Gail Gibbons has a nice balance of real information that is presented in an easy-to-understand format.

Here's a little sample of the style and content:

"Next, the cavers carefully enter the variable temperature zone. The temperature doesn't change as much here as it does in the twilight zone. Mushrooms, molds, and other fungi grow here. It is dark!"

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