St Monica: Model of Christian Mothers

F.A. Forbes

This book tells of the life of St. Monica (332-387 A.D.), mother of St Augustine of Hippo. As a young girl in a Christian family, she heard the stories of the early martyrs and asked God to let her suffer for Him. Her prayer was granted in an unexpected way as she became the wife of a pagan and the mother of a son who, though brilliant and talented, soon fell into sinful ways and in time adopted the heretical beliefs of the Manichees.

Saint Athanasius

Book cover: 'Saint Athanasius'
F.A. Forbes

This short, and fairly easy to read biography chronicles the life of Saint Athanasius (early 300s) - Patriarch/bishop of Alexandria and Doctor of the Church (and model of perserverance). Athanasius was a defender of the faith in a very critical time in the early Church's history. Even before the Edict of Milan which allowed Christians to practice their faith freely (at least for a time), the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, was beginning its attack on the Church.

In This Sign Your Shall Conquer

The story of Constantine, the first Christian emperor and his mother, Saint Helen, who found the true cross, is presented in an audio drama in the fashion of old-time radio dramas. It includes a full cast and narrator, appropriate music and sound effects. Our family really enjoyed this story, even down to my 3 and 1/2 year old son, who now asks for Constantine by name. The story contains a nice balance of historical information, action and spiritual lessons.

The First Christians, The Acts of the Apostles

Book cover: 'The First Christians, The Acts of the Apostles'
Marigold Hunt
Ted Schluenderfritz

The sequel to A Life of Our Lord for Children, this title by Marigold Hunt tells the story of the infant Church. After a few introductory remarks, the story begins with the Pentecost (Acts 1) and ends with Paul's visit to the Jews of Rome (Acts 28). The beauty of this book is the wonderful storytelling style of Hunt. It is a great book to read aloud because then it really sounds as if she is speaking to us. One day I was reading out loud to my nine year-old and all the other children had gathered around.

Abraham Lincoln

Book cover: 'Abraham Lincoln'
Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire

Our family has almost worn out our copy of this well-loved book. Abraham Lincoln the boy comes alive in the story and illustrations. We see him grow to a young man and take several adventurous trips "down river" and learn that a fortune-teller from New Orleans predicted that he would be president some day. The authors indicate his empathy for the slaves during this trip and show how his honesty and integrity eventually win the respect of many, although they don't make for an easy life.

The Swamp Fox of the Revolution

Stewart Holbrook

Back in print! This interesting and entertaining story is a biography of Revolutionary War General Francis Marion and his significant but oft-forgotten role in winning our independence. Marion is a very interesting character I should have learned about in my history classes in grade school! He fought the British against what seemed like impossible odds (in the Southern Colonies) and ended up playing a very significant role in winning the British surrender. His courage and mercy (he allows his prisoners go free if they promise not to rejoin the other side) are admirable.

George Washington

Book cover: 'George Washington'
Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire

It is just like the D'Aulaire's to create a story (complete with beautiful full-color illustrations) that would be interesting and appealing to small children and yet teach more about the character and upbringing of "the Father of Our Country" than most textbooks. The story covers our First President's early childhood - growing up in Colonial America - his adventures (and character) as a young officer during the French and Indian War and, of course, his role in the American Revolution and as president.

Young Faces of Holiness, Modern Saints in Photos and Words

Book cover: 'Young Faces of Holiness, Modern Saints in Photos and Words'
Ann Ball

If you want to go to sleep, don't read Young Faces of Holiness by Ann Ball. The stories are absolutely fascinating. The thirty-five stories include young people from all walks of life and countries of the world who are either Blessed, Venerable, or candidates for canonization.

Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt

Book cover: 'Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt'
Jean Fritz

This is an interesting biography of one of our nation's most colorful presidents. It was interesting to discover that Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919) was a rather sickly youth who suffered from asthma. His determination in overcoming his illness and living a full life despite his rather frail body help to make him a man who loved life and tried to live his life to the fullest - especially enjoying the world around him.

The Wolfling, A Documentary Novel of the Eighteen-Seventies

Book cover: 'The Wolfling, A Documentary Novel of the Eighteen-Seventies'
Sterling North

Wolfling is the follow up to Sterling North's Newbery Honor book Rascal. The two are loosely related in that they both take place in the wilderness of Wisconsin. Rascal is largely an autobiography of North's unusual childhood in Wisconsin in the early part of the 20th century while Wolfling takes place in the time that North's father was a boy soon after the Civil War. It is based on the letters that he sent North about his childhood.


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