“All darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of one single candle.” – St. Francis of Assisi
“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” – Mrs. Whatsit from A Wrinkle in Time
Review and Comments
A Wrinkle in Time is an absolutely captivating and complex adventure. The peculiar and diverse characters and their incredible experiences will prompt quite a range of emotions for the reader: empathy, anger, sadness, wonder, confusion, fear, and finally joy.
The story centers on a young girl named Meg Murry. Her background story is difficult and at times even harsh. The emptiness and yearning for her mysteriously missing father is compounded by conflicts at school and her self-esteem. It has been a very long year wondering where her father is and if he will ever return. Her mother, also a scientist like her husband, is trying to hold the family together while researching her husband’s disappearance and continuing the tesseract research they started. Meg has three brothers, but her relationship with her younger brother, Charles, is very special. He is a unique boy with exceptional gifts that are revealed as the story progresses. Charles and Meg become friends with a lonely boy named Calvin O’Keefe. Calvin finally feels he belongs somewhere after he meets them and becomes their constant and faithful companion. Charles also introduces Meg to three curious characters named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who. These three know it is time to help “a very good man who needs help.” And so the partnership to save Meg’s father begins. Continue reading Nothing is Hopeless: A Review of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’
Dads, I know what you’re thinking…I’m super busy. I don’t have time to read. Believe me, my husband has said it time and again. But what if I told you that these books were filled with great prayers, lessons, opportunities, and hope to aid you in your tremendous vocation?! They don’t have to be read in one sitting, they can be aids to your prayer life. Chapters at a time with periods of reflection are often better than taking it all in at once.
Check out this list. There are some books here that could change your outlook, give you a boost, and bring you closer to your own heavenly Father. Father Lawrence Lovasik reminds all dads that “Fatherhood is a vocation in God’s service, to not be held lightly or frivolously, but with the serious determination of serious men.” (Click on the pictures for affiliate link.)
The Original Fathers’ Manual is the first Father’s Day gift I gave to my husband. I had received The Original Mother’s Manual as a gift from my mother and loved it. The Father’s Manual is much the same. There are prayers for every possible need for one’s children, marriage, and vocation. The end lists the responsibilities of fathers for reflection. It’s a powerful book and my husband uses it often.
In Be DADitudes: 8 Ways to be an Awesome Dad, Greg Popcak takes each beatitude and explains how fathers can use these points to become amazing fathers and husbands. Greg Popcak is a counselor and presents the information in a simple way. This is one of those books that would be great for short periods of reading.
Continue reading 10 Books for Dads This Father’s Day
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139:13-16
Review and Comments
Miraculous Me is a story told from the perspective of an unborn child who knows it is cherished even in its mother’s womb. The child describes itself as “a hidden miracle, a gift from above, and a treasure.” The child listens to its parents’ musings about their baby’s future. What will their child be like? What will their child like to do? The message the parents want their child to know is that he or she is precious, and God will guide the way throughout his or her life. They know for sure their child will have a beautiful life. Now they wait patiently for the joyous day of their child’s birth when they will see the infinite love of God in the gift of their child. Continue reading So Wonderfully You Made Me: A Review of ‘Miraculous Me’
“The joy of children makes their parents’ hearts throb and reopens the future.” – Pope Francis
Interest Level: PreK – K
Grade 2 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]
2.8 [AR reading level]
Review and Comments:
The joyful anticipation of the birth of a new baby is always exciting for a family. For Little Cub, the soon-to-be big sister, there are also a lot of questions about her new brother or sister. Mama and Papa lovingly answer all her questions and teach her about God’s plan for families. When they say, “God gave us two,” it expresses to Little Cub that she and the new baby are beautiful and individual creations of God. They are precious gifts to Mama and Papa. They also explain all the wonderful things she will experience as a big sister. The reader sees time pass when Little Cub finds it harder and harder to sit on her mother’s lap because there is less room. Finally, the day of the birth arrives and Little Cub is very excited to learn she has a brother and a sister. She proclaims, “God actually ‘gave us three!’” Continue reading A Gift From the Creator: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Two’
“Continue, dear young men, to give the best of yourselves in sports competitions, always remembering that the competitive spirit of the sportsman, though so noble in itself, must not be an end in itself, but must be subordinated to the far more noble requirements of the spirit. Therefore, while I repeat to you: be good sportsmen, I also say to you: be good citizens in family and social life, and, even more, be good Christians, who are able to give a superior meaning to life, in such a way as to be able to put into practice what the Apostle Paul said about athletes to Christians of his time: ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it … They (athletes) do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable’” (l Cor 9:24-25).—Saint Pope John Paul II from his address to the Bologna Soccer Team, December 9, 1978
Grade Level Equivalent:
Review and Thoughts
Kwame Alexander’s book The Crossover would’ve made my basketball-lovin’ heart oh so happy back when I was in middle school. Alexander uses poetry to write so passionately about the sport and brings in a close family to add to the drama of the novel. Continue reading The Games In Which We Compete: A Review of ‘The Crossover’ and ‘Booked’
“The family is the first essential cell of all humanity.”–Pope Francis
“In my little way there are only very ordinary things.”–Saint Terese of Lisieux
Review and Comments
The Corporal Works of Mommy and Daddy was a blessing for this young stay-at-home mother of two (soon to be three). With such young kids so close together, and with days when I often feel I do the same thing over and over again, it was relieving to read that I, too, can work for the glory of God in this Year of Mercy.
The corporal works of mercy were concepts I was taught in the third grade. (My mother was my teacher and I remember learning them well.) As an adult, I often think about how I should be doing more…how these corporal works should be the forefront of my life. Then, Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak wrote this wonderful book reminding us all that we can all live these works every day in our own families. And what better way to teach our children the love and mercy of Christ? When they see us live this way every day, they are learning as well. Continue reading Ordinary Things: A Review of ‘The Corporal Works of Mommy and Daddy’
“Music is the universal language of mankind.”—Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
Review and Thoughts
Pam Munoz Ryan begins her story with a legend. A little boy lost in the woods begins to read the story of three princesses cursed to wander the woods. He is eventually found, disoriented and confused. His memories of what took place are soon dismissed and forgotten. Continue reading The Universal Language: A Review of ‘Echo’
“Our leader had taken advantage of our trust and loyalty to manipulate the whole country. This is the most frightening lesson of the Cultural Revolution: Without a sound legal system, a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country.”—Ji Li Jiang
Suggested Grade Levels:
Review and Thoughts
Ji-Li Jiang is a young girl growing up in China when the Cultural Revolution began. She is a star pupil, popular and a dutiful daughter. She is impressed and excited by the new leadership of Chairman Mao. She worships him as so many others do. This is what begins her struggle. She feels so strongly that Chairman Mao is the leader that China has been waiting for, but then she sees the tragedy that happens to her family. Continue reading The Most Frightening Lesson: A Review of ‘Red Scarf Girl’
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.” –Colossians 3:20
Review and Comments:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter, is a classic tale that is ready for a new generation. Peter, that scamp of a bunny, does not heed his mother’s warning about Mr. McGregor’s garden or her instructions to stay close to home. He immediately goes to the garden and enjoys quite a feast on all the wonderful vegetables bunnies love to eat. Mr. McGregor spots Peter eating his produce and immediately a pursuit begins. Mr. McGregor runs all over the garden trying to catch him, but Peter is able to escape each close encounter. Peter is completely lost because of the chase and frantically tries to find a way out of the garden. Finally, after much searching, he locates the gate and is free once again. He does not stop running until he reaches the safety of his home and family. By the time he gets home his ordeal has taken its toll. Peter is put to bed and misses out on the delicious dinner that his sisters are able to enjoy. Continue reading Taking Risks as Far as Possible: A Review of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”
“Prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven. It is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.”–St. Therese of Lisieux
The prayer books we have listed below are a meager few of some of our favorites. They are short and simple, enough for the busy lives we tend to lead. (Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.com for more information on each book.)
Word By Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary by Sarah A. Reinhard is a beautiful way to slow yourself down when reciting the Hail Mary. After years of reciting the prayer, I, unfortunately, find myself rushing through the words. This book is a compilation of reflections and questions based on the short phrases of the prayer. They are short enough for you to read one each day and spend a few minutes meditating on the questions asked at the end of each reflection. It’s a wonderful way to look at the Hail Mary for those of us who have become “familiar” with the prayer. Continue reading Aspirations of the Heart: A Beautiful List of Prayer Books to Give Someone for Christmas