Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Catholic Stories for Boys and Girls (Neumann Press)

Catholic Stories for Boys and Girls is a four volume set of children's books that were written by Catholic nuns in the 1930s. They are similar in style to the set Angel Food for Boys and Girls, but I would say for a slightly older age as the Catholic Stories are longer and contain chapters. Each book contains between four and six chapters and is approximately 150 pages long. The Catholic Stories books are also similar to Angel Food in the color scheme. Volume I is blue. Volume II is red. Volume III is green. And Volume IV is white. The illustration style for Catholic Stories can best be described as silhouette, which allows the reader to focus mainly on the story and not let the images overpower the message. Each chapter of the story closes with a two-line rhyming verse that provides both a chapter summary and pithy message. I would now like to share some summaries of some of my favorite stories from this series.

Volume I begins with a story called "The Best Deed." In this story, there is a class of Confirmation students. Their teacher has a beautiful statue of Mary that is admired by all the children, so the teacher issues the children a challenge. Within the next week, find a remarkable deed to perform. One little girl decides to give up candy, which I'm sure was a challenge for her. However, the deed she performed was more amazing than that. Since her dad was a doctor, she often went to the hospital to visit him. During this week before her Confirmation, she met a dying man in the hospital. He was not a good man, but she visited him daily, bringing him little gifts and pleading with him to see a priest for Confession and Communion. Her persistence finally paid off, and he did what she requested. So instead of just giving up candy, she saved a man's soul, and that was indeed the best deed of all!

Volume III has a story called "The Tower of London," which tells the true story of Edmund Campion. He was a Jesuit priest during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. During her reign there was great persecution towards Catholics. Priests and laypeople were pressured into converting to Protestantism. Those that did not convert were imprisoned and/or murdered. Fr. Campion did not back down from his convictions and beliefs. He still said the Mass and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. While there, he was put on the torture rack many times. He eventually was martyred by hanging. At the time the book was written, he had been beatified but it would take until 1970 for him to be canonized.

The above two stories were just a couple of the great stories found in this wonderful series. It is truly a blessing that Neumann Press cares enough about classic Catholic books like this to continue to print them. I cannot recommend this series enough, but that is true of all Neumann Press books. If you are looking for a great selection for the Catholic classroom or the homeschooling environment, you will want these in your collection. I will be reading these aloud to my son, until he is old enough to read them himself, and the books are so well-made that I know they will stand the test of time, just like the stories within them.

These books were provided to me for free by Neumann Press in exchange for an honest review.