Tag Archives: saints

The Little Friar Who Flew

When I learned of this book’s existence a few years ago, I was frustrated at the lack of information on the book, the expense of out-of-print copies and maddening lack of interior images! I think might be able to find a couple pictures now with a google search, but I thought I’d post my own for curious people.

The Little Friar Who Flew by Patricia Lee Gauch is one of the lesser known saint picture books on the market and not nearly as talked about as illustrator de Paola’s other works are.  I was finally able to buy a reasonably priced copy to add to our bookshelf recently and am quite happy with the purchase. We had seen The Reluctant Saint as a family and enjoyed it very much (the kids laughing hysterically at the flying scenes) so the children were happy to have even more context to learn about St. Joseph of Cupertino.  The book is simple and a perfect introduction to this humble, “little donkey” of a saint. He, along with St. John Vianney, always reassure me with my not-so-academically advanced children… God measures our love, not our IQs.

Please enjoy these inside shots of a lovely, little book:

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Saint John Bosco: The Friend of Children and Young People

Our “saint of the month” for January is St. John Bosco (feast day: January 31). I’ve grown to have quite an affection for this man who was such an amazing inspiration for youth in his time.  In reading more and more about him, I’ve started to look to him for a lot of our homeschooling philosophy too.   I love quotes like these:

“Without confidence and love, there can be no true education.”

“The teacher who is seen only in the classroom and nowhere else, is a teacher and nothing more; but let him go with his boys to recreation and he becomes a brother.”

“Frequent Communion and daily Mass are the two pillars of education.”

“[I have] always tried to enlighten the mind while ennobling the heart.”

“Do you want to do a good deed? Teach the young!
Do you want to perform a holy act? Teach the young!
Do you want to do a holy thing? Teach the young!
Truly, now and for the future, among holy things, this is the holiest.”

But I digress.  This is my blog; I’m allowed to digress.  Anyway, we picked up a small book at our parish library to read about Don Bosco this month and I was happily surprised at its digestibility.  See, I’m due any day now with my 6th baby (pray for me!!!) and this is currently one or our “low tide” seasons in homeschooling.  Latin lessons are on hold. Formal science is out.  It’s very basic morning basket time, and then individual math work and copywork.  Maybe a cool Loch Ness Monster documentary in the afternoon…  but frankly this is all I have energy for right now.  Real life will hopefully fill in the gaps but for now, we are busy tidying the home, running errands, readying the nest and resting aching joints to get ready for this babe.  You can expect a winter slowdown on this blog too.

So, like I said, I was happy to not have to devote hours and hours to a biography on Don Bosco.  He isn’t exactly the St. Francis of Assisi to the picture book world either so I was happy to find a little, colorful 65 page story about him from Paulist Media.

Saint John Bosco : The friend of children and young people tells the story from his childhood on up to his death and is both enjoyable and thorough in the process.  You could read it in one sitting, but we have chosen to make it a two-day read, stopping halfway about when he enters adulthood.  The pictures are engaging enough and so far it is holding the attention of my 4-11 year olds… quite a span!

Here are some pictures of the inside of the book to give you an idea of what to expect.

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Saint Felix and the Spider

Another new book by Dessi Jackson came out a few weeks ago!  This one is Saint Felix and the Spider and tells the story of how this saint befriended a little spider who went on to save him from soldiers hunting him down. It’s a fun little legend and would be excellent if you have a child named Felix and want to find SOMETHING… ANYTHING on his namesake! Or even if you just like to keep saint books on hand for feast days (January 14th in this case).  The illustrations are pretty good all around, fairly simple but bright and vibrant. It is so difficult to find good saint books on lesser-known saints and I’m very willing to seek these out!  This is the same author who brought us the very fun Saint and his Bees story recently too.  I hope there is more coming from her!

It’s really too bad that these aren’t offered in hardcovers (not sure if these small-time publishers can even offer that?) because they are great additions to a Catholic child’s bookshelf!

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The Saint and His Bees

November 1st is All Saints Day.  I like to introduce one new saint book into our collection on that day as a gift to my children.  This usually means finding a used copy of a saint book throughout the year at some point and hiding and saving it for that day.  Occasionally, in mid October, I do an online hunt for a particular book I’ve had my eye on and buy it used.  Rarely, is there a new, worthy saint book published that gets bought right away. This year, however, there was!  I took a gamble on The Saint and his Bees because I didn’t know anything about it. All I knew was that I absolutely loved illustrator Claire Brandenburg’s other book The Monk Who Grew Prayer.  I have been reluctant to purchase other titles of hers simply because she writes not explicitly Catholic books… but Orthodox.  Without going into history details, there is a fine distinction between the two faiths and while I respect Orthodox believers very much, I don’t make a point of venerating their saints specifically (pre-schism: the Catholic and Orthodox churches share the same saints… so I always double check to make sure the book being written by an Orthdodox author is about a saint who lived prior to the 11th century or so. There are exceptions: I did buy the book The Wonderful Life of Saint Sergius of Radonezh after researching that St. Sergius was indeed also recognized by the Roman Catholic Church…)

Anyway,  onto this year’s gift to my children: a story about St. Modomnoc (aka: St. Dominic), an Irish monk and student of St. David of Wales in the 6th century. It tells of his bond with the monastery’s bees and the legend of how bees were introduced into Ireland because the swarm  didn’t want to let their dear monk go when he had to return to the island… so they followed him!  Illustrated in Brandenburg’s classic, rough, quirky style, the story is sweet and fun and a great addition to our collection.  I’ll have to do some updating to my listmania lists in this category. I only wish it (and The Monk Who Grew Prayer) was available in hardback!  Such a pity to have lovely stories vulnerable to my ravishing, rowdy-handed children!  I just have to be extra careful…  🙂

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Bargain Book Roundup!

Skimming through the current Bargain Books on Amazon can be daunting because there is so much chaff and very little wheat. But here are some notable hardcover books that are currently on sale for a good price! Get ’em while they’re hot!

The Donkey of Gallipoli: A True Story of Courage in World War I I just talked about how much I love Frane Lessac a couple weeks ago! I was so excited to see this book on sale, it’s my favorite WW1 picture book to date.

The Legend of Saint Nicholas Demi’s version of the story, criticized for having a Catholic bias. I hate to break it you everyone, but Nicholas of Myra was in fact, a Catholic bishop.

Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert This is a pretty new book on St. Martin. I bought it full price last year when it came out… so great was my curiosity. Some folks were a bit offended that the monks in here were portrayed as meanish or critical. I don’t know St. Martin’s story really well, but I do know that the Church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints… and that sometimes, holy people have faced more persecution from INSIDE the church than outside of it! So I was not too bothered by any biases that some saw in this book. It had lovely art and was a good primer on a wonderful man.

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott I just learned a little about this famous author and was surprised to find out that she never WANTED or INTENDED to write a book for girls! She had other material that her first publisher didn’t love and she was asked to write a story for girls… so she did, and did the sequels just to keep the bills paid. Despite the fact that those stories weren’t what was initially on her heart, she sure made a success of herself for generations to come!

The Trouble with Wishes This is a light, fun retelling of the famous myth about Pygmalion.

Pandora I love Robert Burleigh’s Hercules book and he writes a bunch of other excellent non-fiction titles as well.

Adèle & Simon in America I absolutely love Barbara McClintock; her illustrations are so old-world evocative… and this is a fun little look and find book for little eyes.

Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman One of my favorite Johnny Appleseed picture books.

Snow Superb picture/text symetry here. This would be a great addition to anyone’s winter basket (the general part of this season sometimes gets overlooked in deference to the millions of Christmas season books…)

Close to the Wind: The Beaufort Scale I have not seen this in person yet, but it looks absolutely delightful and original and perfect for explaining not only the scale on which wind is measured but so many other nautical things too, lovely art!

Angela and the Baby Jesus A beautiful picture book embodying the “real meaning” of Christmas from the author of the famous Angela’s Ashes.

Merry Christmas, Curious George! I don’t generally advocate for commercial characters in picture books, but Curious George was cool before he became… well… cool. So if you have any young fans in your house who’d love a George Christmas book, this is your ticket…

Corn. Gail Gibbons may not author the most beautiful books on the planet, but they sure are excellent contributions to non-fiction topics. Corn would be a great addition to anyone’s harvest or autumn basket of books. I recently found Spiders at the thrift store for our Fall basket and think Corn would accompany that nicely!

Panorama: A Foldout Book I don’t know much about this book, but it looks intriguing and like it might make for a beautiful, unique gift. Here is a blog post I found describing it a bit more in depth.

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The Motherload List of Excellent Catholic Picture Books

***last updated February 2016***

catholic-picture-booksHere is my personal, comprehensive list of excellent picture books that help nurture a love for the Catholic faith and Christianity in general. This is just my opinion, mind you.  There are certainly other Catholic books out there but I have been pretty selective in highlighting only ones that I either have or would buy myself. You won’t see ugly or inane books on this list; I don’t think we should buy/read “twaddle” even if it comes packaged as a “saint story.”No sense in dumbing down the beautiful!  However, there are a couple compromises on this point… only because either the pictures or the text are in and of themselves absolutely worth your time. This used to be a post linking you to my Listmania lists on amazon.com but they limit you to 40 titles.  🙂 I also left out the entire St. Joseph Picture Books series (which admittedly do have their place, especially being thin, cheap and Mass-friendly), as well as most Christmas books since that genre is too big for my purposes here, another time maybe…  I’m interested only in STORY picture books here, that happen to reinforce specifically Catholic/Christian values.  I starred *books that are my own very special favorites. Either way, enjoy the list!

Saints
An Alphabet of Saints*
Saints for Girls: A First Book for Little Catholic Girls
Saints for Boys: A First Book for Little Catholic Boys
Lives and Legends of the Saints
Saints: Lives and Illuminations
More Saints: Lives and Illuminations

Mary

Mary
The Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe*
Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Life of Mary
Mary: The Mother of Jesus
The Lady in the Blue Cloak: Legends from the Texas Missions

St. Francis
Clare and Francis*
Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy*
Francis Woke Up Early
St. Francis and the Proud Crow
Wolf of Gubbio
Saint Francis of Assisi
Canticle of the Sun: Saint Francis of Assisi
Brother Sun, Sister Moon*
The Good Man of Assisi
Brother Juniper*
Saint Francis

Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc*
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc

St. Nicholas
The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas*
The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
A Special Place for Santa: A Legend for Our Time*
The Legend of Saint Nicholas*
Saint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins

St. Wenceslaus
Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas
Stephen’s Feast

St. Valentine

Saint Valentine*
Saint Valentine

St. Hildegard
Hildegard’s Gift
The Secret World Of Hildegard

St. Christopher
Legend of Saint Christopher*
Christopher: The Holy Giant

St. George
Saint George and the Dragon (more legend than fact, but still fun to read…)
Saint George and the Dragon

St. Benedict
The Life of Saint Benedict
The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica*

St. Martin de Porres
The Pied Piper of Peru
Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
Martin’s Mice

St. Patrick

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland
Patrick: Saint of Ireland*
The Life of St. Patrick: Enlightener of the Irish

St. Columba
Across a Dark and Wild Sea
Man Who Loved Books

Other Irish Saints
The Blackbird’s Nest: Saint Kevin of Ireland*
The Ravens of Farne: A Tale of Saint Cuthbert
The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare
The Saint and his Bees (St. Modomnoc)
Saint Ciaran: The Tale of a Saint of Ireland

Misc. Saints
A Saint and His Lion: The Story of Tekla of Ethiopia
St. Jerome and the Lion
Pascual and the Kitchen Angels*
The Wonderful Life of Saint Sergius of Radonezh*
Saint Brendan And The Voyage Before Columbus*
Peter Claver, Patron Saint of Slaves/Pedro Claver, Santo Patrono de los Esclavos
John Mary Vianney: The Holy Cure of Ars
Bernadette: The Little Girl from Lourdes
Lucia, Saint of Light
The Little Friar Who Flew (St. Joseph of Cupertino)
Saint Jude: A Friend in Hard Times
Saint Felix and the Spider
Mother Teresa
Yes! The Life of Blessed Josemaria for Young Readers*
Lolek – The Boy Who Became Pope John Paul II
Roses in the Snow: A Tale of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree

Bible Stories
Old Testament
Creation
Paradise
Noah’s Ark*
Noah’s Ark
The Tower of Babel*
Exodus*
Sarah Laughs
Moses: The Long Road to Freedom
Moses
The Angel and the Donkey*
Jonah and the Whale*
The Book of Jonah
The Story Of Ruth
The Story of the Call of Samuel
Jacob and Esau
Joseph
Benjamin and the Silver Goblet*
The Coat of Many Colors
David and Goliath
The Wisest Man in the World
Kings and Queens of the Bible
Old Testament Rhymes
Queen Esther Saves Her People*
The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale
Daniel and the Lord of Lions
The Lord is My Shepherd
To Every Thing There Is A Season*

New Testament
The Nativity: Six Glorious Pop-Up Scenes*
Jesus
The Miracles of Jesus
The Parables of Jesus
Loaves & Fishes
Parable of the Good Samaritan
The Parable of the Vineyard
The Parable of the Sower
Parable of the Bridesmaids
The Twelve Apostles
The Easter Story*
Easter
The Thornbush
St. Peter’s Story
St. Joseph’s Story
Love Is . . .
The Way of the Cross: Holy Week, the Stations of the Cross, and the Resurrection

Prayers/Faith
The Saving Name of God the Son *
The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith*
Twice Yours
I Believe: The Nicene Creed
The Lord’s Prayer
This Little Prayer of Mine
This Is What I Pray Today: Divine Hours Prayers For Children
Prayer for a Child
If Jesus Came to My House*
If Jesus Came to My House (newer edition)
A Child’s Rule of Life
Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion
A Is for Altar, B Is for Bible
Our Holy Father, the Pope: The Papacy from Saint Peter to the Present
Manners in God’s House: First Prayers and First Missal
I Believe: The Creed, Confession and the Ten Commandments for Little Catholics
Just For Today*

Misc.
Jacinta’s Story
Brother Hugo and the Bear*
The Miracle of St. Nicholas*
Brother Bartholomew and the Apple Grove
The Clown of God*
The Little Juggler*
The Acrobat and the Angel
The Monk Who Grew Prayer*
The Little Rose of Sharon*
The Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity
The Squire and the Scroll
Brother William’s Year: A Monk at Westminster Abbey*
Joseph’s Hands*
Sister Anne’s Hands
The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale
Song of the Swallows
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane
Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward: How the Pretzel Was Born*
Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict XVI as Told by a Cat
Max and Benedict: A Bird’s Eye View of the Pope’s Daily Life

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