Blessed with Baskets of Books for Easter

by | Mar 22, 2013 | Baskets of Books for Easter, Books, Easter, Picture Books, Reviews, Thank You | 28 comments

Every Easter our children usually receive two or three new books in their Easter Baskets.  Usually at least one of those books has an Easter or Religious (i.e. Saint, Catholic, etc.) theme.  This year I ended up choosing quite a few books (6 each!) to fill the children’s baskets thanks to all of the donations from the Papal Lap Book!  I am so excited!  Thank you all so very much!!!  I can’t even begin to tell you how much your kindness and generosity has meant to me – not only those who left donations for the Lap Book, but to all those who have offered prayers for our family too!  May God reward you all, and  I hope you enjoyed the Lap Book!   We are actually still working on ours, but hopefully as soon as everyone is healthy again we will be able to finish them up…

I’ve had many of you ask for additional book suggestions and if I’d be willing to share the lists of books I’ve purchased for this year…  I haven’t had a chance until now and Easter is just over a week away, and then this post ended up taking much longer than I thought it would, but here is the list anyways.  Some of the books were purchased directly from the publishers, some from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts, and the rest from Amazon (with credit/gift cards) or local book stores.  Most were purchased new, though there are a few “like new” copies mixed in, as well as some that had been stashed in my closet throughout the past year.

In addition to the books the older children will each receive a Hand-Painted Bookmark of their Patron Saint, a Rosary Case (purchased with credit from Apron sales at Catholic Cuisine!), and a new beautifully embroidered Scapular.  The girls will also each receive a new chapel veil. I’ve also picked out a new mini finger puppet – one for each child purchased locally including the: Cardinal, Fawn, Jack Rabbit, Lop Ear Bunny, Black Sheep, Turtle, and Robin – and some small toys to slip in the baskets too, along with their candy eggs and crosses and some seeds for our Garden from St. Clare’s Seeds!   That should overflow fill them up!

I’ve also been working on coming up with some items for this year’s Easter Symbols Basket for the Whole Family:

  • Cross – A Cross Shaped Puzzle that I purchased sometime last year. 
  • Lamb – I choose the In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb picture book – since Easter does fall on the last day of March this year!  
  • Bread of Life – Still undecided – perhaps new Holy Cards with the “Anima Christi” prayer for the children’s collections… I need to visit our local Catholic bookstore again.  
  • Lily –    I’ll probably just use our Easter Lily, though I did order a copy of The Lily Cupboard for history, which I might add.  
  • Egg – Last summer I purchased the Spring Angel Egg to complete our collection.
  • Butterfly – A box of Godiva Butterfly Truffles, purchased for much less at Target. 
  • Peacock – A beautiful Peacock shaped Tea Pot that I found at a department store last summer or some cute peacock stacking blocks…  
  • Bells – Since “the Bells fly to Rome until Easter” the St. Peter’s Basilica Puzzle seemed extra fitting this year!  This will be so much fun to assemble as a family as we wrap up our Papal Unit Study!
You can find other Easter Basket Gift Ideas in the Archives. 
Note: Before I share the book list, I do want to remind you all that I haven’t read most of these books yet.  I made my decisions based on recommendations, reviews, publishers, and the past work of some of the authors/illustrators.  

For Captain (age 12):

Ablaze : Stories of Daring Teen Saints
This year Captain read the Golden Legend of Young Saints as part of his school work assignments. I’ve decided to have him read this book next, and then possibly the sequel, Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints. “Following Christ is not always easy, but takes courage, patience, and love. In Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints, Colleen Swaim examines the lives of eight young men and women who were set fire with the Spirit and set free to live lives of extraordinary virtue. All became saints for the outgoing, against-the-current heroism of their teen years. Read how Chiara Luce, an Italian high school student, faced cancer joyfully, inspiring thousands to throng her funeral in song. Follow Kizito, a brand-new Christian, as his faith is challenged by a king and he is marched to his death for standing firm. From martyrdom to missionary life and from sickness to the silence of religious life, these teens show that we are all called to follow Christ in our own unique ways. These stories come alive with vivid storytelling and saintly challenges designed to inspire reflection and enflame your heart. Through prayers, images, and maps, catch a glimpse of a saint’s world that carries lessons for our own–and discover how you can set our world ablaze with love for the Lord!”

The War of the Vendee (DVD)
I have been hearing great things about this movie since it was released in 2011. I am so excited to finally add it to our collection! “This inspiring new film from Navis Pictures, producers of St. Bernadette of Lourdes, tells the moving story of France’s little known religious civil war in the years following the French Revolution. Featuring an exuberant and gifted cast of over 250 young Catholics, it is a powerful story of sacrifice and martyrdom, but told here with a careful sense of reserve, and is an outstanding movie for the whole family. In 1793, after enduring three and a half years of persecution of the Church by the architects of the French Revolution, a small band of faithful peasants and nobles from the Vendee region of France began a Catholic “counter-revolution”. This is the unknown, heroic story of the valiant, six year struggle of the people of that small section of western France to restore their Holy Religion and their King. Steeped in the spiritual influence of St. Louis de Montfort, and wearing their rosaries and emblems of the Sacred Heart, their sacrifices resulted in countless martyrdoms, and ultimately won the restoration of religious freedom for all of France. This beautiful film is a love-letter to the Vendean people, and was produced to honor the memory of these brave men and women who willingly sacrificed their lives, “for God and King”. This wonderful film features stunning performances by the large, talented cast of young people, gorgeous cinematography, and a glorious original music score that will inspire audiences of all ages with its timeless themes of courage, faith, and love.”

A Soldier Surrenders: The Conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis
“This is the story of the dramatic conversion and inspiring goodness of the soldier Camillus de Lellis who lived in the late 1500’s, and became the founder of the religious order known then as “Ministers of the Sick”, and today now called the “Hospitallers”. The story of St. Camillus is one that is filled with an intriguing combination of drama, military battles, sickness and disease, conversion to God, and great charity for countless suffering people, be they dying soldiers, prisoners or patients in the hospitals that he founded.” Michael O’Brien says: “This novel for young adult readers will introduce them to a great saint, a physical giant who had to contend with many personal struggles, much weakness and repeated failures, before becoming a moral giant. The story of Camillus De Lellis’s conversion will leave no reader unmoved.”

Giant of the Western Trail
“This is the story of the missionary experiences of Fr. de Smet among the American Indians from 1838 to 1875. Includes all the exciting and history making stories of Indian conversions, Indian wars, natural dangers, hunger, torture, gold discoveries, peace-making, the Civil War, etc., including Custer’s last stand.” 

Personally I really don’t think you can go wrong with the gorgeous books reprinted by Neumann Press. This one probably should have been included in their History lists, and since we are still working on finishing the Civil War time period I thought I’d order it now.

Crusader King: Novel of Baldwin IV & the Crusades
Published by Tan book, Crusader King sounded like a book that  I  my boys would enjoy, even though it is a “novel” and not based completely on fact.

“A new historical novel about the unusual life of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the leper crusader king who – despite ascending to the throne at only 13, his early death at 24 and his debilitating disease – performed great and heroic deeds in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Teenagers and avid readers of all ages will be amazed at this story and be inspired by a faith that accomplished the impossible!”

The Outcasts: Brotherband Cronicles, Book 1 
The boys have been reading (and listening) to the Rangers Apprentice series, so when I was at the bookstore recently this newer series titled The Brotherband Chronicles by the same author immediately caught Captain’s eye.  I ended up ordering the first in the series to add to his Easter Basket.   They are outcasts. Hal, Stig, and the others – they are the boys the others want no part of. Skandians, as any reader of Ranger’s Apprentice could tell you, are known for their size and strength. Not these boys. Yet that doesn’t mean they don’t have skills. And courage – which they will need every ounce of to do battle at sea against the other bands, the Wolves and the Sharks, in the ultimate race. The icy waters make for a treacherous playing field . . . especially when not everyone thinks of it as playing. John Flanagan, author of the international phenomenon Ranger’s Apprentice, creates a new cast of characters to populate his world of Skandians and Araluens, a world millions of young readers around the world have come to know and admire. Full of seafaring adventures and epic battles, Book 1 of The Brotherband Chronicles is sure to thrill readers of Ranger’s Apprentice while enticing a whole new generation just now discovering the books.”

For Rascal (age 11):

Letters to an Altar Boy
“This is a book of letters for all altar boys who, from the smallest one up, are the most important people in their parishes. God’s Minutemen is what the author affectionately calls them, for he knows that they are always ready for duty as altar boys, no matter what the personal cost. The author writes this book with the hope that in these letters all acolytes may find encouragement to continue being loyal and faithful in their service of our Lord. Father Rosage shows them that while serving Mass is the greatest honor and the biggest job in the parish, it does demand sacrifice. He knows that being on call for duty isn’t always easy, and he aims at convincing the boys who have to get up on cold winter mornings to serve early Mass of the great privilege that is theirs.” 

Painted Saints 
Originally published in 1938, this book has been republished by Angelus Press. “Painted Saints is a delightfully charming tale of a young orphan boy, Marcel, who is taken in by the kindly older priest, Father Serrano. In addition to teaching Marcel how to be a young Catholic gentleman, Fr. Serrano has a special skill, which he shares with Marcel: He makes small clay statues of the saints, which he paints with delicate care afterwards.  The story takes you through the formative years of Marcel’s life, all set against the backdrop of the bustling city of Marseilles. This charming tale makes life in that city come alive, painting clear pictures of the people, places, and sites of a time gone by, all the while encouraging virtue, duty, and a healthy desire for adventure in the hearts of the young!”

A Book of Angels: Stories of Angels in the Bible
Written by Marigold Hunt, author of St. Patrick’s Summer and other great Catholic Books for children, this book is filled with “Angel stories from the Bible for kids. Modern believers may be tempted to look upon angels as one of the more fanciful elements of Scripture, but this illuminating and entertaining collection of angel stories from the Bible shows that there are just too many angels for them to be metaphorical, allegorical, or unimportant. So that children will come to know and learn to revere angels, Marigold Hunt explains what angels are (and are not!) and gathers here in one volume most of the stories of angels in the Bible.”

Bank Robbery!
This book is a the first in a “Catholic action-mystery series for children and adults… The Spencer Family Mystery series combines the action and mystery of the Hardy Boys with the deductive psychology of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown. Something suspicious happens every time Tom and Rick go to Creekwater National Bank to investigate the recent robbery. Tom’s uncle, the Reverend Father Paul Spencer, helps the boys unravel the mystery. But they still don’t know who really robbed the bank. And why are shady characters inside the bank when it’s supposed to be closed? Tom, Rick, and Father Spencer use their wits – and prayer – to help the police demolish a criminal conspiracy. They plunge into an exciting adventure that catapults them to a conclusion they never expected.”

Father Damien and the Bells
We’ve been slowly working on collecting all of the Vision Saint books.  Originally I thought I would include this book in this year’s Easter Symbols Family Basket (representing bells, but decided on another gift for that symbol!) so Rascal will be receiving it instead.   I think he’ll love it!  “This 25th volume in the acclaimed Vision Books series of saints’ lives for youth 9-15 years old is the story of the saintly Fr. Damien, who in 1872 went to the island of Molokai, where lepers had been exiled to live in miserable surroundings. Damien earned the trust of the lepers, and his appeals for help resonated throughout the world. He spent his life caring for all the needs of the outcast lepers, and even after Damien himself contracted leprosy he carried on working for his “fellow lepers” to the end.”

The New Kid (Tales of the RAF) 
I had such a hard time choosing a final book for Rascal.  I almost purchased the first in the Little Britches series: Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers but decided to get the final book in the Tales of the RAF series instead.  He received the first for Christmas (thanks to your recommendations!) and the following 4 on his birthday.  He will be very excited to have the complete series. “These are the stories of young Harry Winslow and his friendships with the pilots of the Royal Air Force in World War II England. Written for boys but appealing to all, the tales are based on history and depict values such as courage, heroism, and responsibility.”

For Twinkle Toes (age 9):

Saint Helena and the True Cross
Written by Louis de Wohl, one of my own favorite authors, this book was just published last year! “Set against the colorful background of power struggles in imperial Rome and battling Roman legions, this is the exciting story of St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, who found the Cross of Christ in Jerusalem. This book for young people paints a vivid portrait of a remarkable woman who overcame every obstacle with faith, hope, perseverance… and a healthy dose of ambition. In this 29th book in the acclaimed Vision Books series for youth, Louis de Wohl, known for his masterful storytelling, describes the amazing events that led to the conversion of Helena and the rise to power of her son. He also recounts the vision Constantine experienced on the eve of a pivotal battle and his subsequent legalization of Christianity in the fourth century. The story dramatically concludes with St. Helena’s final accomplishment-her dangerous and miraculous expedition to the Holy Land.”

Saint Clothilde: The First Christian Queen of France Tells her Story
“Thanks to the prayers and good example of his young wife, Clothilde, the fierce barbarian Clovis experienced a miraculous conversion on the field of battle and became a Christian in 496, forever changing the destiny of France. In this book for young people, Queen Clothilde tells the exciting story of her life from her point of view. Though it reads like a diary, all of the historical facts have been thoroughly researched and verified by reliable sources. Honored by the Catholic Church as a saint, Clothilde was the daughter of the King of Burgundy. Raised as a Christian by her mother, the princess was wed at the age of eighteen to Clovis, King of the Franks, who the legends say fell in love with her beauty. King Clovis and Queen Clothilde unified the various peoples under Frankish rule by spreading the Catholic faith. The royal couple made Paris their capital, and from Belgium to the Mediterranean they founded churches and monasteries. For centuries to come, the people who would become the nation of France were the leaders of Christian civilization in Western Europe. “

The Mitchells: Five for Victory
Years ago I purchased a boxful of Bethlehem Books during an amazing sale!  This is one of the books that is still tucked away for the perfect occasion.  Since we will be studying WWII before too much longer I’ve decided to slip it into Twinkle Toes’s Easter basket.

Written by Hilda Van Stockum, this book “follows the adventures of the five Mitchell children living with their mother and grandmother in Washington D.C. while their father is away fighting in World War II.”

Easter Crack Ups: Knock-Knock Jokes Funny-Side Up
This is a silly little book, but I do think my children will enjoy it. I also found a  copy of Easter Eggstravaganza Mad Libs on sale that I might slip in the basket as well.   “Get ready to crack up with more than two dozen egg-citing Easter knock-knock jokes in this egg-straordinary lift-the-flap book. Hop along with a bunch of funny bunnies and enjoy an egg hunt, a parade, and more.  You’ll just dye laughing!”

The Prairie Thief
Written by Catholic author Melissa Wiley this is another book that I’ve been wanting to give to my children since it was released last fall!  “Louisa Brody’s life on the Colorado prairie is not at all what she expected. Her dear Pa, accused of thievery, is locked thirty miles away in jail. She’s living with the awful Smirches, her closest neighbors and the very family that accused her Pa of the horrendous crime. And now she’s discovered one very cantankerous—and magical—secret beneath the hazel grove. With her life flipped upside-down, it’s up to Louisa, her sassy friend Jessamine, and that cranky secret to save Pa from a guilty verdict.”

Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery 
Having received the Caroline series last year and reading quickly through them, and then receiving Caroline for Christmas I think Twinkle Toes will be delighted to discover this newly released book in her Easter Basket!

“When Caroline learns that British spies may be lurking in Sackets Harbor, she is worried. Then, a long lost friend of Papa’s shows up in town. Papa is delighted to give him a job at Abbott’s Shipyard, but soon, strange things start going wrong. Caroline is sure a spy is making trouble at the yard–but is it one of Abbott’s trusted workers, whom she has known all her life, or could it be Papa’s dear friend? An illustrated “Looking Back” section discusses the role of spies in the War of 1812.”

For Chiquita (age 7):

Lily’s Easter Party: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs 
Having been so disappointed with the wording in Benjamin’s Box (You can read the discussion in this post and the comments of this post), I had such high hopes for this book and placed an order since I wasn’t able to find a copy locally to pre-view.  Unfortunately it has the same wording as Benjamin’s Box when it is explaining the Last Supper.  This book is better than Benjamin’s Box, but it does still say that “He told them the wine was like his blood, and that it would help them to remember what Jesus was about to do…”  I really wish they would have left the word “like” out of that sentence!  Could a Catholic author please publish a version of this story?!  I would buy it!  In the meantime I may just take a black marker and delete that word from our copy.  Or I might just see if I can return it and choose a different book for Chiquita.

St. Bernadette of Lourdes (DVD)
This movie is from the same producers as The War of the Vendee: Navis Pictures.  “The beautiful story of a poor, humble, 14 year old girl from a small village in the south of France. Her visions in 1858 of a “Beautiful Lady” would forever change the lives of countless people, and establish Lourdes as the most visited Catholic shrine in the world. Our Lady’s timeless message of “penance, conversion, and love” is as much needed now as it was then. Inspired by the many accounts of the famous story, but drawing especially from the beautiful book, St. Bernadette Soubirous by Abbe Francis Trochu (TAN Books) and the first-hand account, The Appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Lourdes by Jean Baptiste Estrade, this film is perfectly suited for the entire family. Featuring stunning locations, a rich musical score, and a cast of over 160 Catholic children, St. Bernadette of Lourdes is an inspiration for young and old alike.”

Clare’s Costly Cookies
Written by Catholic author and home-educating mother of six in Arkansas, Julie Kelly firmly believes Jesus is the answer to the questions and stirrings within the hearts of children and young people. In Clare’s Costly Cookie, her first book, Julie joyfully invites children to discover God’s faithful and transforming love. “Nine-year-old Clare, a thunderbolt in pigtails, joyfully invites children to experience her transformation from a strong-willed, self-absorbed child to a faithful follower of Jesus. With grace and courage she offers to Him the most meaningful gift she possibly can: her self-will. Clare, in her inimitable way, models for children that following Jesus Christ and striving for true holiness are worth any cost. With spirit and spunk she demonstrates for young readers that living the holy Catholic faith is not only exciting, but better than gooey, warm chocolate chip cookies!” *I ordered this book from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts.

The Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale
I ran across this book at a local bookstore and fell in love with the illustrations.  We already own a couple different versions of this story, but I decided to add this one to our collection as well. “Three forest trees dream of what they will one day become. One dreams of becoming a royal throne; one of being a ship that can withstand any storm; and one longs to stay in the forest and grow as tall as tall can be. When they are felled, it seems their dreams are over. But as each tree is crafted into a new item-a manger, a fishing boat, and a rugged cross-it becomes clear that through the role they play in one important life their hopes are more than fulfilled. This traditional folktale is accompanied by stylish artwork from a highly sought after children’s book illustrator, and will help set the Christmas and Easter stories into the overall context of the Christian faith.”

Kitchen Madonna
Published by Bethlehem Books.  “Marta is unhappy. For quietly aloof Gregory and his sister Janet, Marta, with her thick Ukrainian accent, her good cooking, and her stories, is the anchor of the house. Mother and Father, both busy architects, are gone all day and sometimes at night. Marta is always there; and the children, sensing her unhappiness, do not want her to go away. When they find out that Marta desires a good place in the kitchen, nine-year-old Gregory, with precocious young Janet in tow, sets out to find her a Ukrainian icon in busy, modern London. Master storyteller Rumer Godden deftly brings to life a portrait of a lonely boy discovering the creative power of love.”

Secrets in the Hills: A Josefina Mystery
If I get an “American Girl” themed book for Twinkle Toes, I need to get one for Chiquita too!  😉   Since she is thinking about having a “Josefina” themed birthday party this year I thought this would be a good choice for her. “Josefina has heard tales and legends all her life: rumors of gold and silver buried in the hills, tales of a ghostly Weeping Woman who haunts the countryside. But she never imagined that such tales might be true–until one day a mysterious stranger arrives at her rancho. Set in New Mexico in 1826.”

NOTE: A frequent question I receive is whether or not American Girl is still on the Boycott list.  Here is a great article from LifeSite News to answer that question. 

For Snuggles (age 5):

The Christian Alphabet Book
I love alphabet books!  You can find quite a few suggestions in this post of our plans for the Alphabet Path.   I have found that, as I have so many more children to teach each year, and the older children have so much more required of them, it has gotten especially difficult to find time for the Alphabet Path.  Still I do plan to return to it with Snuggles, even if it ends up taking up 2-3 years to complete.  If I had to choose my favorite, God’s Alphabet is it!  I recently ran across this book by a Catholic Author and am looking forward to adding it to our collection.   “The Christian Alphabet is a unique, visual, and enjoyable way to learn the basics of Christianity. ‘Love’, the dove from above, guides you from A to Z with special Biblical lessons of love for all ages.”

Whales and Snails and Heavenly Tails
Published by Neumann Press. “A Catholic children’s phonetic reader with 20 short stories and beautiful full color illustrations on each page. These stories taken together stress, through gentle repetition, the sounds of consonants, long and short vowels, digraphs, dipthongs, soft G, soft C, OO, and the third sounds of A, O and U. This book is intended as a supplement to teaching children to read with phonics. It should be of interest to all children, regardless of the method used in teaching them to read.”

Tin Cups and Tinder: A Catholic Boys Little Book of Fire Food & Fun
This book is written by Alice Cantrall a Catholic wife and homeschooling mother of six. “The purpose of this little book is to casually introduce a few domestic survival skills to our boys using useful recipes and projects all lightly seasoned with the rich flavors of our Faith. It is not meant to be a home economics text, but a first taste of what fun adventures cooking and (very) basic stitching can be. It is my hope that this book will spark an interest in these things, and as they get older, our boys might be more inclined to further develop these skills.

God is Wonderful Catholic Coloring Book
We have all the other books in this beautiful and inspirational series of coloring books published by Neumann Press.  When I noticed this new addition, published in 2011, I had to add it to our wish list.  It hasn’t arrived yet but I think we will love it just as much as all the others including: It’s A Joy to Go To Church, The Rose Queen, How Jesus Lived, I Believe in God, Meet Your Angel, The Saints are My Friends, Mother’s Day, Talking to God, and The Story of Our Lady.

A Knight’s City: With Amazing Pop-Ups and an Interactive Tour of Life in a Medieval City!
We love pop-up books! “Children and adults alike will be awestruck as a stunning three-dimensional medieval world unfolds before their eyes! The sliding castle gate on the front cover serves as an entrance into a world from long ago. Inside, vibrant art and amazingly intricate pops guide readers through life as it really was for Sir Hugo, a brave and noble knight! From pages and ladies, to castles and cathedrals, this book is certain to educate and entertain readers both young and old!”

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great
Following Charlotte’s recommendation I ordered the first book in this series for Snuggles.  It sounds like one that he would really enjoy with his big brothers.
“Many years ago, the storytellers say, the great King Arthur brought justice to England with the help of his gallant Knights of the Round Table.Of these worthy knights, there was never one so fearless, so chivalrous, so honorable, so . . . shiny, as the dashing Sir Lancelot, who was quite good at defending the helpless and protecting the weak, just as long as he’d had his afternoon nap.
Behold the very exciting and very funny adventures of Lancelot the Great, as only the acclaimed Arthurian author Gerald Morris can tell them.”

I also have copies of Melissa Wiley’s new Fox and Crow are Not FriendsInch and Roly Make a Wish
and brand new Inch and Roly and the Very Small Hiding Place which I may slip in his basket too!

For Rose (age 3):

A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays
Such a beautiful book! “There were homemade valentines and Easter eggs, Fourth of July picnics and family birthdays. Thanksgiving brought visits from relatives — so many, the children had to sleep in the barn! And finally there was Christmas, the best of all “times to keep,” with handmade presents, an Advent calendar, and a “beautiful tree in a shine of candles.” Month by month, Tasha Tudor’s delicate illustrations bring to life the holidays of an earlier time. A warm-hearted celebration of family and tradition, this treasury of “times to keep” will be cherished and enjoyed all year long.”

The Sparrows Easter Song
“This is a delightful Easter story of Christ’s death and Resurrection as told by an eyewitness who happens to be a small sparrow. Sparrow tells all his friends how Jesus was crucified, was buried, and rose to live again. Children of all ages will love the bright illustrations of this unique Easter story.”

K is for Kite: God’s Springtime Alphabet
Another sweet Alphabet Book!  “As soft April showers make our hearts sing, let’s find the sweetness of God’s gentle spring. Discover both God’s world and the alphabet through the refreshing newness of springtime experiences. Beautiful illustrations and playful poetry fill this book with everything spring from A to Z. From the first April shower to flying kites and playing in puddles, young readers will delight in the uplifting seasonal message and will grow in their appreciation of the spring season and the miracle of new beginnings.”

The Miraculous Tale of the Two Maries
Browsing through reviews by Ana Braga-Henebry I ran across this gem of a book! Ana shares that “The power of God, the generosity of friends, the gratitude of the afflicted: it’s all here, plus local color too! This book delighted us all and it brought a bit of the Catholic culture of France into our home. Two young friends, both “Maries”, help friends in need from heaven. The story is creatively told in their point of view and the illustrations are so cute.” I’m can’t wait to read this story to my little Rose!

Tell Me about the Catholic Faith: From the Bible to the Sacraments 
I haven’t been able to look at this book yet, since it isn’t released until March 29th.  I did pre-order a copy though, since it is currently 45% off.  UPDATE: This book arrived and we didn’t care for it… Sending it back and choosing something different for Rose.
“How do you answer your children’s many questions about God, the Christian faith, and the Catholic Church? What if these topics could come to life in inspiring, easy-to-tell stories? To tell the story of the Bible to children, to help them discover Jesus, to introduce them to the great history of Christianity, to explain the Catholic faith-all through beautiful illustrations and simple words-that is the goal of Tell Me about the Catholic Faith. The whole Catholic world is presented in various parts: the Bible, the history of the Church, and the beliefs and sacraments of Catholics. This is a book of exceptional educational and inspirational quality. It includes the best Bible stories from both the Old and New Testaments; the great moments in Christianity, including the lives of important saints; and a joyous discovery of faith, exploring the richness of the Christian heritage for children.”

The Lamb and the Butterfly
This new book illustrated by Eric Carle was just released in February!  I discovered it last week at a local book store and loved flipping through the beautiful pages.  Since the “Lamb” and “Butterfly” are both Easter Symbols I thought this would be a perfect addition to someone’s Easter basket.   I haven’t read the story yet, and their aren’t any reviews on Amazon, so I’m not sure how great it is, but it sure is pretty!

For Bud (age 1):

The First Easter Day (A Touch-and-Feel Book)
“What would it have been like to be present on Easter Day? This sweet board book with textures helps children imagine just that. From a little bee buzzing with excitement that Jesus is alive to a bunny hopping in delight and the sun shining down on the risen Lord, children will be able to feel as well as see the events of the first Easter morning. The narrator considers various perspectives on the Resurrection and the joy felt by all who loved Jesus. Charmingly illustrated, this book is a great way to introduce children to the good news of Easter. Ages 2-5.”

“Who will help Mossy return home to Lilypad Pond? Mossy, an amazing turtle with a gorgeous garden growing on her shell, loses her freedom when Dr. Carolina, a biologist, takes her to live in her Edwardian museum. Visitors flock to see Mossy, but it is Dr. Carolina’s niece, Tory, who notices how sad Mossy is living in a viewing pavilion. She misses the outdoors and her friend, Scoot. Dr. Carolina finds a way to keep the spirit of Mossy alive at the museum. She invites Flora and Fauna to paint Mossy’s portrait. Then she and Tory take Mossy home, where Scoot is waiting for her. Jan Brett fans will pore over the colorful paintings of Lilypad Pond and lush borders displaying wildflowers, ferns, butterflies and birds in contrast to elegant spreads of the museum filled with visitors in stylish Edwardian dress and exquisite borders of shells, rocks, crystals and birds’ eggs. MOSSY gives readers a fascinating look at nature in the wild and on display in a natural history museum. “

Sunny Bunny
“This sunny little book has charming full color illustrations and is full of action and humor. It leaves out mischief and cruelty and represents the best in books for children. Sunny Bunny was a father rabbit with great responsibilities ten of them. But he took things in good humor until one day a farmer ploughed right through his house, and there they were, the whole family, without any place to sleep, and poor Mother Bunny all upset. There was nothing to do but look for another house, and that they did, meeting a thunderstorm and a Big Red Fox on the way, but coming at last to a boy and girl who wanted a house full of fluffy rabbits.”

I am a Bunny
“I am a bunny. My name is Nicholas. I live in a hollow tree. This classic Golden Book, illustrated by Richard Scarry, celebrates its 50th anniversary with the story of Nicholas, a bunny clad in red overalls. In the spring, he picks flowers, and in the summer, watches the frogs in the pond. In the fall, he sees the animals getting ready for winter. And when winter comes, he watches the snow falling from the sky…then curls up in his hollow tree to dream about Spring. No child’s library is complete without this gentle story of the seasons.”

The Tale of Peter Rabbit: A Pop-Up Adventure
Yes, I bought the story of that mischievous bunny!  Have I mentioned that I have a weakness for pop-up books?  This one is so fun too!  I love all the pull-tabs! “The classic adventure of Peter Rabbit comes to life in a new pop-up/pulltab format. Follow that mischievous bunny, Peter Rabbit, as he tries to stay one step ahead of Mr. McGregor and make it through the garden and back to his home. This hardcover features 8 spreads, bursting with 3-D images and fun pull-tabs on every page, sure to provide hours of entertainment.”

An Easter Prayer
This is such a cute little board book I purchased at a local book store! “Preschoolers can’t help but notice all the new wonders of springtime, and An Easter Prayer emphasizes that God is the One to thank! Sweet rhymes and adorable art are perfect for young listeners, who will ask to read this colorful, die-cut board book even when spring is long past.”

Books for Mom: 

My husband has stacks of books waiting to be read and has told me not to purchase any more for him for awhile, so I’m going to have to come up with something different for his basket, but I did order a few new books for me!!!

10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity
I originally requested for our library to purchase this book and have checked it out a few times already. It’s one I have wanted my own copy of and am so excited to add it to my collection!  “Mothers are expected to do it all: raise superstar kids, look great, make good salaries, keep an immaculate house, be the perfect wife. In this rallying cry for change, Meg Meeker, M.D., uses her twenty-five years’ experience as a practicing pediatrician and counselor to show why mothers suffer from the rising pressure to excel and the toll it takes on their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health. Complete with an all-new tool kit of wellness tips and exercises, Dr. Meeker’s book reveals the 10 most positive and impactful habits of healthy, happy mothers, including making friends with those who know the meaning of friendship, finding out what money can buy (and what it cannot), lightening the overload—and doing less more often, discovering faith and learning how to trust it, and taking some alone time and reviving yourself. By implementing Dr. Meeker’s key strategies, you can be happy, hopeful, and can teach your children to be the best they can be—and isn’t that the most precious reward of motherhood?”

The Gift of Faith
A friend of mine recommended this book, written by Reverend Tadeusz Dajczer.  It sounds perfect for this “Year of Faith!” “Reverend Tadeusz Dajczer was a Polish priest and the author of The Gift of Faith, which has been translated into twenty-eight languages, with more than 170,000 copies sold in Poland and more than 140,000 (80 printings) in other countries throughout the world. Fr. Dajczer graduated from the theological faculty in Warsaw, and later studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. For many years he worked as a professor at the Academy of Catholic Theology and the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszy ski in Warsaw. He was a much sought after and highly valued spiritual director. He established groups of interior life, one of which initiated the Families of Nazareth Movement. In 1994, he was awarded the professor s title of theological sciences from the President of Poland. He died on September 8, 2009, after a life dedicated to spreading spiritual life devoted to increased adoration and love toward the Eucharistic Christ.”

Shadows and Images: A Novel
Another recommendation from that same friend of mine (thank you to Twinkle Toes’ godmother!) this also sounds like something I will enjoy reading!
“This is the story of a Protestant young woman and her journey to the Roman Catholic Church. The fascinating novel is set in nineteenth-century England-a time when Catholicism was regarded with suspicion and prejudice against Catholics was commonplace. Leaving her sheltered life in the countryside, young Clem becomes acquainted with the fascinating ideas and people of Oxford-including a brilliant young clergyman, John Henry Newman. But when her relationship to a Roman Catholic man with a colorful reputation leads to an Italian elopement that is more innocent than it appears, the scandal drives a wedge between Clem and the upright Anglican circle of friends and family she left behind. Woven into the story of Clem and Augustine, their courtship and marriage, and Clem’s conversion, is the vital, influential, and holy Newman, as seen through the eyes of friends.”

The Last Crusader: A Novel about Don Juan of Austria
It’s only taken me a few years to notice, but there is a somewhat recently re-published Louis de Wohl’s book that I don’t have in my collection! Yay!!! I love all his books and have been collecting them since before I was married.   “Don Juan of Austria, one of history’s most triumphant and inspiring heroes, is reborn in this opulent novel by Louis de Wohl.  Because of the circumstances of his birth, this last son of Emperor Charles the Fifth spent his childhood in a Spanish peasant’s hut. Acknowledged by King Philip as his half-brother, the attractive youth quickly became a central figure in a Court where intrigues and romances abounded. Don Juan’s intelligence, kindness and devout attachment to the Church enabled him to live unscathed in an environment of luxury, violence and treachery. De Wohl paints in brilliant color the vivid scenes and characters at the Court of King Philip, Juan’s campaign against rebel Moriscos in Andalusia, and the amazing climactic victory at Lepanto where he saved the Christian world from Islamic dominance. Here is a novel of high adventure which brings to life the turbulence of the sixteenth century with its conflicts of wickedness and piety, its sins of pride and conquest, its seething heresies and its great faith.”

My Sisters the Saints
This is another book that has been recommended a number of times!  I’m looking forward to reading it as well.   “A poignant and powerful spiritual memoir about how the lives of the saints changed the life of a modern woman. In My Sisters the Saints, author Colleen Carroll Campbell blends her personal narrative of spiritual seeking, trials, stumbles, and breakthroughs with the stories of six women saints who profoundly changed her life: Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Faustina of Poland, Edith Stein of Germany, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Mary of Nazareth. Drawing upon the rich writings and examples of these extraordinary women, the author reveals Christianity’s liberating power for women and the relevance of the saints to the lives of contemporary Christians.”

Catholic Philosopher Chick Makes her Debut
I already own all of Regina Doman’s Fairy Tales Retold and enjoyed every one.  This book, co-authored by Regina Doman sounds like fun and I’m looking forward to reading it! “In a massive change of lifestyle, former NYC fashion writer Catelyn Frank travels to Texas to start a doctorate in Catholic Thomistic philosophy and search for Truth, Beauty, and the Perfect Guy.”

Note:  If you are looking for a new prayer book I highly recommend Mother Love!  Originally published in 1888, it was recently republished by Angelus Press. Another one of my all time favorites is

Thank you all again!  I am so excited to add all these books to our shelves! 

You can find links to other Book Lists here and our Past Easter Posts here. 


  1. Anonymous

    Looks like a great collection of books!!!! So many I've never seen before! Thank you for the review of Lily's Easter Party — I almost purchased that book as an alternative to Benjamin's Box and wasn't sure if it would have the same issue. Bummer! And thanks for the link to the article on American Girl, I've always heard rumors about them but never sure what to think. I do love their historical dolls since it is so hard to find appropriate and quality dolls and your girls seem to love them too.

  2. Karen

    My 11 year old got Ablaze for Christmas and she found the book to be too intense. She had been reading it before she went to sleep and some of the stories upset her. She told me she thinks she needs to either wait until she is older to read it or she needs to read it during the day and not at night. I haven't actually read through it. She likes A Book of Angels, and so do I!

    Clare's Costly Cookies is on my list of books to buy. I know my middle daughter will enjoy it. I also ordered Tell Me About the Catholic Faith. I forgot I had ordered it! I pre-ordered it when Amazon dropped it to 50% off. That almost never happens with the books from that publisher!

    On that Lilly's Easter Party book you could take that white out tape to the word like. I've done that in a few books where they say that Jesus took the "grape juice" and replaced it with wine. Why aren't there more Catholic children's books that tell the story of the Last Supper? As a convert, I really dislike using books intended for Protestants with them.

  3. Kimberlee

    What a wonderful collection of books! Your children will be very blessed! We really think you guys will love War of the Vendee. 🙂 And I didn't know about those Louis de Wohl reprints! He's a favorite of mine too. I am currently reading The Glorious Folly (St. Paul) aloud for teatime (having borrowed it through inter library loan) and Lay Siege to Heaven just before it. (and hope you like the bookmarks!) God bless!

  4. Jennifer Sheppard

    We love the Gerald Morris Books! I read them to my boys, 14 and 8, and they think they are wonderful, and they are funny! I hope you enjoy them too. 🙂 Thank you for the recommendations, and also for writing about Sacred Heart Books, I had not heard of them before and they have CHC items, which is WONDERFUL! Have a blessed Easter!

  5. Marie

    LOVE that Peter Rabbit Pop Up, thanks for sharing!!! I am so glad you also included some picks for you. I'm going to check out those De Wohl books, they look great. Also so excited to see the new Carle and Brett books, LOVE the others we have and didn't know there were new ones out.

  6. Anonymous

    Thank you for this! And for the recommendation of Mother Love! Would you be willing so share the toys you are including this year?

  7. Unknown

    Thank you! You always find so many wonderful books for your children; I appreciate you sharing your ideas. Thanks to Amazon Prime I will be ordering several of these books to come by Easter. And I have used Mother Love for years; it is a treasure!

  8. Chris

    Thanks for all the amazing titles…what a job you had compiling them all! I just ordered a few through your site and I am hoping they get here within the week so I can put them in Easter baskets as well…thanks so much:)

  9. Jennifer Elia

    Thank you. I am saving some of these ideas for Christmas. But, you always have just great book ideas, I'm sure you will have so many more before then. Maybe I will just order one each for the kids…I'm a book-lover, too!

    By the way, what is the title of the book with the pop-up cathedral? Maybe I missed it, but I don't remember seeing it. Thanks.

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Oh, great! And thank you for using my links! 🙂 I hope you enjoy them!

  11. My beautiful ordinary life

    Love Louis de Wohl books and didn't realize there was a new one! Thanks for the information! Saw Dr. Meeker speak out here and she was funny and real. Haven't read this book, however. The Gift of Faith, I have that! I have to pull it back out! It is a good read for this year 😉

    Finally, I am so happy to say that I bought my Easter books before Lent. I read your old posts on books and picked from the past selections…which is just fine, because I didn't have them yet. Now I know what to get for NEXT YEAR based on this post. First time I am really ready for the baskets. Now I just need to go buy my food! 🙂

  12. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks! Looking through Ablaze, I don't think that will bother my boys, but maybe my girls… And good idea with the white tape – it'd be less noticeable that way than the black line on both pages…

  13. Jessica Gordon

    Ooh! How great that you have access to The Glorious Folly! I have not read it yet… Hopefully they will continue to re-publish his books!

    The bookmarks are gorgeous!! I love them and can't wait to give them to the children! Thank you! And please thank that talented daughter of yours! 🙂

  14. Jessica Gordon

    Sacred Heart Books and Gifts is great! I've been purchasing from Linda for years! You can also "like" them on Facebook or subscribe to email notifications for special sales, etc.

  15. Jessica Gordon

    Hmmm… The boys will each receive a small lego set and series 9 mini-figures. I saved the "accessories" that came with the girls Christmas Dolls to put in their Easter Baskets. Snuggles and Bud will each be getting one of the Rag dolls I blogged about last week – Brother Hubert and Father Martin. And Rose will be getting a new Calico Critter set.

  16. Erin

    How funny, I just bought that Peter Rabbit pop-up last week at our Sam's Club store to put in my 1 year old's basket (and hope she doesn't tear it up!!!). And, just today, my parents gave my Caroline that very same Caroline mystery for her birthday!

    We have Benjamin's Box too, and I have blacked out that part also! I think I also had to cut out an entire page directed to parents at the end; I can't remember why, but I think it suggested some "once saved always saved" ideas. If they'd just use Jesus's actual words instead of adding "like," then the books would be accurate! 😉

    We have the St. Bernadette DVD and my kids really like it. They haven't watched it in awhile; I need to reorganize the DVD collection and maybe we'll use it again sometime soon!

  17. Anonymous

    You should check your Amazon Associates account too, I truly appreciate all your suggestions and clicked over to 'fill' our Easter baskets using a lot of your ideas.
    One of our orders already arrived – I got some of the finger puppets in an earlier post about your school room and they are so well made and adorable. I can't wait for my little ones to see them! Thank you Jessica!

  18. Bartley's

    wow. you're amazing. have you ever thought about writing a book/planner with all your ideas for the liturgical year? I would buy it!

  19. noreen

    Hi Jessica, I wish I could afford to buy quite a few of the books you've recommended. Unfortunately, not many can be found at my local library. I'm bummed. The Last Crusaders by De Wohl seems to have an older version which I found and place a hold. Thank you for all of your amazing hard work and resources! May your Holy Week be filled with God's graces and blessings!

  20. Anonymous

    Hello Jessica~~I would like to mention that Hilda Van Stockum is a most wonderful children's author and illustrator. I discovered her in the 1990's and my twin daughters enjoyed reading many of her stories. The most enchanting book in her collection is "Kersti and Saint Nicholas". Even though my daughters are grown women now I continue to read this darling book every early December before the Feast of Saint Nicholas Day. I was delighted to find last year that this 1940 book is now in print once again and I was so happy to purchase this book for my three grown children (for their children to read someday) and for my Goddaughter. I highly recommend this author for your children and I know that your daughter will really enjoy The Mitchells story (Hilda wrote a series on The Mitchells and these adorable children are fashioned after her own dear children and the adventures they had). There is a website dedicated to Hilda and many of her children's books are listed there. Her books are wonderful for both girls and boys. I have read many of her books myself and so enjoyed them. I wish you a most Blessed Easter. Sincerely, Debbie

  21. Unknown

    This post puts me in mind about a trilogy by Michael Geisler. Junia, Marcus and Grain of Wheat are about the early Christians mixing fictional characters and events with real ones. They are very moving stories for adults as well as children. I really enjoyed the first two and am currently reading Grain of Wheat.

    It's worth checking them over for age appropriateness for children as they do deal with some powerful themes and also chastity.

  22. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, most of these aren't available at our library either, which is why they are finding a place on our bookshelves. I'm glad you were able to get your hands on an older version of the De Wohl book!! All his books were out of print and they are slowly being republished!

    You might want to look into your libraries request policies! I often request books for our library system to order with great luck, it just takes a little while.

  23. Jessica Gordon

    I'm so glad you like them! We love the Folkmanis Mini Puppets in our home! 🙂

  24. Jessica Gordon

    Kersti and Saint Nicholas is actually already stashed in my closet for St. Nicholas Day this year! We absolutely love Holda Van Stockum in our home and The Winged Watchman is one of my boys all time favorite books! I'll have to look and see which other books have been republished. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Happy Easter!

  25. Jessica Gordon

    That would be fun, though I can barely keep up with blogging, let alone compiling a book! Perhaps some day. 🙂 Thank you for the complement!

  26. movie girl

    Thank you – so much – for all of your research on these books. This blog is just what I needed to pick some meaningful books for my 5 little guys & their Easter baskets. God bless you & yours!


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Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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