All ages

The Song of Bernadette

Book cover: 'The Song of Bernadette'

This is a beautiful, Academy Award winning movie depicting the apparitions of Our Lady to Saint Bernadette in Lourdes, France, in the mid-1800s. The depiction is accurate - based on the book of the same title by Franz Werfel - but also beautifully and powerfully produced. Jennifer Jones is the simple and unpretentious Bernadette, Vincent Price is a town magistrate who is skeptical of the apparitions and rather hostile to Bernadette. An excellent family film and one of the finest Hollywood films of a religious nature.

Truth Was Their Star

Book cover: 'Truth Was Their Star'
Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy, O.P.

Recently republished by New Hope Publications, the lay Dominican community in New Hope KY, Truth Was Their Star by Sr. Mary Jean Dorcy, OP offers a gentle introduction to various Dominican saints. Naturally, since she is a Dominican, she would be interested in sharing the lives of several Dominican saints. While not talking down to the child, the text is written as though speaking to a younger child. Each chapter is really an introduction to a particular saint offering a vignette about his or her life, or encapsulating a series of popular stories about the saint.

Saints for Young Readers for Every Day

Book cover: 'Saints for Young Readers for Every Day'

Rather than take a morning vitamin, our family reads Saints for Young Readers for Every Day every morning! It is a two volume set, with a saint story for every day (sometimes two). The first volume contains saints for January to June, the second volume covers the rest of the year. This hardcover set is a little expensive, but worth the money. We leave it on the kitchen counter, and do a daily reading with breakfast each day. The stories are well-written, engaging, and always one or two pages in length. There are black and white line drawings that accompany some stories.

Heroes of God's Church

Father P. Henry Matimiore, S.T.D.

"In writing this volume, the purpose has been to acquaint our children with biographies that will have some particular influence on the development of their characters. Each story has been planned as a real character-training project, not merely as a reading lesson to inspire admiration for faith and religious heroism." (From the Foreword)

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction

David Macaulay

Artist, author and scientist David Macaulay presents a fascinating account of the founding, building and development of a fictional Ancient Roman city. Don't be thrown off by the "fictional" part. We don't know this many details of any particular Roman city, so the author has gathered facts and details from various cities and formed them into one complete story. They are carefully researched and accurately portrayed in detailed black and white drawings.

The Fourth Magi

The Fourth Magi is the story of Artaban, a Persian magi, whose family has recently died tragically. Artaban, while studying the stars, discovers a new star, the one foretold in the Old Testament. He resolves to follow the star and find Jesus, despite the ridicule of his friends. Taking his ever-complaining slave, Orantes, he embarks on his perilous journey of faith.

History Links - General Studies and Ancient Egypt

Book cover: 'History Links - General Studies and Ancient Egypt'
Jennifer Alles
Barbara Little

We've only used the General Studies and just begun Ancient Egypt, so I know little. However, I do think they are very creative and very Catholic in their presentation. They recommend a certain kids Protestant Bible for ages 2-8 because of the "high picture-to-text ratio with twelve pictures per double plate spread. The characters are dressed in authentic garb, making it a wonderful companion to the unit studies.

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.

Jane's Historic Military Aircraft: Recognition Guide

Book cover: 'Jane's Historic Military Aircraft: Recognition Guide'
Tony Holmes

There are a wealth of good and interesting books about the two World Wars: The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum, Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery, Flying Aces of World War I by Gene Gurney and many others. After reading a number of these, I began to wish for a book with pictures of the various types of airplanes in order to understand and appreciate the stories better.

Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World

Book cover: 'Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World'

This is a full-color, reasonably priced booklet of historical maps from every major age and civilization. It would be a worthwhile to every library - public or private. Here is a complete list of the larger two-page maps contained in this book (there are numerous smaller maps as well):


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