“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”– Mother Teresa
Grades 4-5 [common core]
Grades 3-5, 6-8 [according to Scholastic which reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]
Grade 5 [AR]
Grades 4-8 [AR]
Review and Comments
Bud, Not Buddy is a story about a ten year boy who is virtually alone in the very harsh world of the Great Depression. Bud is living somewhere between the memories of his deceased mother and a yearning for the father he never knew. During his search for his father, the reader is exposed to lessons about this period in history through the people Bud meets and his deepest thoughts and feelings as only a ten year old can express them. Continue reading Another Door Opens: A Review of ‘Bud, Not Buddy!’
Being a mother is hard. The list of things that need to be taken care of is endless. The concern for our children is constantly on our minds and our love for them consumes every bit of us. So, I know what you are thinking when you see this list. WHO HAS TIME TO READ?!
The books I’ve collected for this list are practical for moms, short daily readings, resource books, small reflections, and calls to action in our homes. Even the busiest moms can take a few minutes each day with some of these books. We have been entrusted with such an important vocation. Let these books bring you closer to Jesus, his mother, and help lead our children to Him as we grow.
God Bless You, Mothers!
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Prayer Books and Devotionals
The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections is a wonderful prayer book for daily reflection. Each day provides a short reflection and prayer. It ends with something to reflect on or provides one simple act for moms to try to complete during the day. The lovely thing about this book is that each reflection speaks to the vocation of motherhood and I often find much comfort in similar feelings and situations shared in the book.
The Original Mother’s Manual was a gift to me from my mother and she received it from her mother-in-law. It is by far my favorite prayer book. There is a prayer for everything in here. Prayers for marriage, childbirth, nursing, child’s companions, child’s studies, and sick children just to name a few. Each prayer is beautiful and offers me comfort each time I open it. It is my constant companion. Continue reading 15 Books for Moms this Mother’s Day
“God wrote “I love you”—He wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in the world to reflect Him like a mirror—to show us what He is like, to help us to know Him, to make our hearts sing.”— Sally Lloyd-Jones, from The Jesus Storybook Bible
This month we celebrate Easter and new life seems to be all around. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing trees blossom and birds build nests. What is dormant is now vibrant and full of life! It’s such a lovely time for us all to look around at nature since it is neither too hot nor too cold to be outside. Children love this time of year and they are so observant, aren’t they?! It is for this reason I’ve put together this list of books in which we can praise our Lord who has given us such beautiful gifts in the world around us, encourage our children to look carefully at the intricacies of what He has made, learn about people who have aided in His creative powers, and become inspired by what could happen when we make the tiniest effort to take care of His gifts for us. Loving our planet and all that it holds means nothing if we forget who gave it to us.
I’ve divided the list into sub-sections to help break it up a bit. Click on the picture of the book for our affiliate link!
In Praise of Nature and God’s Wonderful Creations
St. Francis sings of God’s love and all of the surrounding nature join him. Beautifully illustrated and poetic, Tomie de Paola never disappoints.
Using text from the Old Testament, Tomie dePaola praises all of God’s creations from the sky to the earth to under the water. It’s a celebration of nature. Continue reading 25 Picture Books to Encourage a Love of Nature
”And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus. We have discovered what we have to do. Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that they cannot overcome us unless we so choose to let them. So we must fight courageously and mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross.”–Saint Catherine of Sienna
Review and Comments
If there was ever a story of courage, faith, and commitment, it is the story of Father Gereon Goldmann. His story begins with him being drafted into the loathsome SS during WWII. As a strong German Catholic who had been in the seminary, this is a great struggle. Father Goldmann is strong, however, and remains committed to our Lord through it all and because of this, he is able to minister to so many. Continue reading Fight Courageously: A Review of ‘The Shadow of His Wings: A Graphic Biography of Fr. Gereon Goldmann’
“Death by Eve, life by Mary” — Saint Jerome (Epistle 22)
Interest Level: Ages 3+
Review and Comments:
Maura McKeegan illustrates how events of the Old Testament foreshadow the New Testament in this straightforward story of Adam and Eve and Jesus and Mary. She begins in Genesis with Eve’s disobedience and explains how the Blessed Mother is the new Eve with her obedience and “yes” to God. Then, the story continues with Adam’s temptation and betrayal prefiguring Jesus’ temptation and fulfillment of His Father’s will. The angel’s fiery sword guarding the tree of life foretells the angel sent to comfort Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Where Adam and Eve’s sin closed the gates of Heaven, Jesus opened the gates and fulfilled God’s plan of redemption. Continue reading Unity of Scripture: A Review of ‘The End of the Fiery Sword, Adam & Eve and Jesus & Mary
“Never trust a stranger-friend; no one knows how it will end. As you’re pretty, so be wise; wolves may lurk in every guise.” – Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood
2.6 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]
K – 1 [according to common core]
Interest Level: K-2 [Ages 6-8]
A little house…. a basket…. a grandmother….. and a wolf. These are all familiar elements in the fairy tale Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China. The reader will be intrigued with this version of the story while mentally checking off differences and similarities to the more familiar traditional tale.
The story begins with the customary visit to Grandmother, but this time it is the mother who visits Grandmother while her three children stay home. As any concerned mother, she warns them to keep the door locked because she will be gone overnight. This of course is a clue to the discerning reader that they may not follow her instructions and that disobedience will put them in great danger. Continue reading Knock. Knock. Who’s There?: A Review of ‘Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China’
Lent is almost here and since it is such an important time of year for Catholics, we wanted to make sure you had some of these amazing books in your collection! Each book shares a wonderful story meant to help kids understand Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
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In The Legend of the Sand Dollar Kerry visits her cousin Jack and she learns that God’s creations hold extraordinary lessons. Jack shows her a simple sand dollar and uses its unique designs to tell her Jesus’ story from his birth to Pentecost. Kerry is enthralled with what she has learned and knows that God is constantly reminding us all that He is close. (Ages 3-7)
God Gave Us Easter is a great story for sharing the reason for Easter in simple terms. It shows ‘new life’ found where things are seemingly dead and it reiterates the story of Jesus and the promise that he would come to take care of our sins. (Ages 3-7)
Easter is a time to celebrate and Bella and Pablo are excited to experience every aspect of the day in God’s Easter Gifts. After Mass they go on an very special and memorable Easter egg hunt. Each egg they find holds a story about a gift from God. The children learn that Easter is definitely about celebrating God’s gifts, especially Jesus. (Ages 4-7)
Humphrey’s First Palm Sunday is a sequel to Humphrey’s story as a young camel when he first met Jesus when he was just a baby. Now he is much older and wiser and is present during Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The pictures are beautiful and the camel’s goofy nature brings fun to the story. This story stays true to the story of Palm Sunday and is great for kids. (Ages 4-8)
Three trees each discuss their hopes and dreams for the future in The Three Trees. Each one hopes for something different and grand but is met with a much more humble fate. As they find out, their destiny is much more important to the mission of Jesus. This is a beautiful story that reminds us of the power of the cross. (Ages 5-9)
The Donkey That No One Could Ride is a simple story about a young, scared donkey. He meets a man who asks him to carry him on an important ride. The little donkey does not feel he is worthy, but the man gives him courage. He agrees to the job and as he carries the man through Jerusalem and people call him a prophet, the donkey feels special. (Ages 3-7) For a full review of this book and other Anthony DeStefano books, read our blog post here.
The Parable of the Lily tells the story of a farmer’s young daughter who receives a bulb as a gift. She is disappointed and the gift is forgotten and eventually thrown into the garden. She is surprised when she wakes up on Easter morning to find a Lily blooming in its place. Part of a series of parables for little children, this story shares the message of forgiveness and new life. (Ages 3-8)
The First Easter Bunny is simple story that shares the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection told through the eyes of a rabbit. Perfect for an Easter gift! (Ages 4-8)
Perfect for early readers, The Easter Cave goes through many of the details of the Easter story while using rhyme and rhythm. Beautiful illustrations and repetition make it a wonderful book to keep in your home. (Ages 4-8)
Continue reading 9 Books for Kids to Love During Lent
“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” –from Wonder
Review and Thoughts
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, is one of those great middle elementary books that teaches everyone the struggles and beauties of life and how sometimes they become entwined and we can’t have one without the other.
The story begins with our introduction to August Pullman who has been born with a terrible facial deformity. In fact, when he is first born, he tells us that the nurses took him away so that his mother couldn’t see him. He goes on to explain how everyone is so shocked and flustered in the hospital, but when his mother sees him, she notices how beautiful his eyes are and loves him the way any mother would. And so the book begins with that combination of struggle and beauty and continues throughout. Continue reading Finding Greatness: A Review of ‘Wonder’
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:13
Reading Level: 3.7; grade 7 [There are two very different suggestions for the reading level.]
Interest Level: Ages 8-12; Ages 10+
Review and Comments:
The Relic of Perilous Falls is a powerful story of good and evil, truth and deceit, belief and skepticism. The confrontation between these forces centers on the relic of St. Thomas the Apostle. The more recent history of the relic begins during WWII when a brave young man named Jacob Wilder undertakes a daring mission to rescue the bones of St. Thomas. He is not the only one who desires the relic however. It is evident from the very beginning of the story that evil has manifested itself and will do anything to possess the precious bones. Jacob takes intricate measures to protect the relic and its power. He builds Peniel as a sanctuary to safeguard relics in the town of Perilous Falls, “the last stronghold against the dark madness of the world.” Continue reading Sacred Touchstones: A Review of ‘Will Rider, The Relic of Perilous Falls’
“We must stand up for the rights of our neighbor who is suffering from injustice; we must defend them all the more vigorously because we see Jesus present in them. Surely this is our duty because of our love for others for his sake. We have no right to be ‘sleeping watchmen’ or dumb watch-dogs. Whenever we see evil we must sound the alarm.” — Blessed Charles de Foucauld
Reading Level: 5.2 [according to Scholastic which reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]
4.5 [AR level]
Interest Level: Grades 3 – 6
Review and Comments:
Number the Stars is a historical fiction that takes place during WWII in Denmark. The danger and turmoil in Copenhagen at the time are seen through the eyes of a ten year old girl named Annemarie. She witnesses cruelty and personally experiences fear amidst the bravery and heroic sacrifices of many who “honor the humanity of others.” Continue reading Bearing the Burden of Another: A Review of ‘Number the Stars’