Monday, March 5, 2018

Baskets of Books for Easter {and a Giveaway!}

Easter Sunday is coming up fast - it's less than four weeks away and falls on April 1st this year... No joke! ;) - and I've been trying to round up gifts to fill our children's Easter Baskets.

We always love giving our children books on Easter and Christmas. In addition to new books, we usually include something that represents each child's patron saint (or something representing one of their personal favorite saints), art and/or writing supplies, a small toy or two (I love using LEGO sets as filler instead of Easter grass!), and some symbolic Easter candy (I've made my own in the past, including these Easter Symbol Chocolate Coins, or purchased it at the store) in the Easter Baskets. We also usually put together a "Family Easter Basket", incorporating the various Easter symbols (you can find tons of gift ideas based on Easter Symbols here).

Below you will find the list of books we've picked out this year for each of our children. As I have shared before, I'm always collecting books to give our children on their birthdays, Easter, and Christmas. Some of the books I have purchased from AmazonSacred Heart Books and Gifts, or St. Augustine Academy Press, some have been purchased on sale at local bookstores, and some have been given to me as review copies from the authors or publishers.

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. Many of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to click any of the links, then add an item (any item!) to your cart and complete the purchase, I will receive a commission. We are so grateful for this additional source of income. Thank you!

.: Captain - Age 17 :.

Liturgy of the Hours

The complete set of the official English edition of the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) from Catholic Book Publishing contains all four volumes of the translation approved by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. Includes the current St. Joseph Guide for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Liturgy of the Hours Supplement, and Inserts for the Liturgy of the Hours. Printed in two colors and bound in bonded leather, this complete four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours includes handy ribbon markers and features a gold-stamped spine and elegant gilded page edging.

Following his last discernment retreat, our oldest son came home and asked if, the next time I am looking for new books for him, I would consider the Liturgy of the Hours. When I asked our vocations director for suggestions, he recommended the leather bound set over the imitation leather set which will last longer, along with the Saint Joseph Guide for the Liturgy of the Hours. It's an expensive set, but I was able to order it from Barnes and Noble and use a 20% off coupon to bring the price down. I'm not sure if I will give him the whole set at Easter, or save a couple of the books for later in the year to give him for his birthday and/or Christmas.  

Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know
Ten Battles Every Catholic Should Know offers readers richly detailed accounts of pivotal engagements many little known in the West in the centuries-long defense of Christendom against militant Islam. Join military historian Michael D. Greaney as, in gripping prose, he describes the struggle, primarily on Christendom s eastern borders, against the dreaded Ottoman Turks in places such as: Manzikert, which marked the beginning of the fight, Wallachia, where Vlad II, the real Dracula, carried out a personal crusade against the Turks to such good effect that his name strikes terror down to the present day, Mohács, the Tomb of Hungary, Vienna (the siege of 1529), the first setback experienced by Süleymân the Magnificent, perhaps the greatest ruler the Ottoman Turks ever knew,Szigetvár (known as the Hungarian Alamo ), ...and five others. The accounts of battles are enlivened and expanded with historical footnotes and introductions. Though less well known than the struggle to retake Spain and Southern France, the battlefields of Armenia and Eastern and Central Europe were just as crucial to preserve Christendom. 

This brand new release from TAN Books looks like one that my guys will love. My husband was already eying it when he saw it sitting on our bedroom dresser. 

.: Ranger - Age 16 :.

Augustine Day by Day
Minute meditations for every day of the year, taken from the writings of Saint Augustine. Each day concludes with a prayer from the Saints. Illustrated and printed in two colors. Includes ribbon marker.

**Update - looking for an alternative to my original pick and am leaning towards Augustine Day by Day but if anyone has one to recommend please let me know! 

Ranger choose Augustine as his Confirmation name last year. I think this prayer book will be a nice addition to his collection.

Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God
There is no better time to change your life than to change it right now, says Father Roger J. Landry, and Plan of Life is the guide you'll need. Landry discusses how people form habits, and how in particular you can form holy habits, habits that will bring you closer to Jesus. It represents a "treasure chest" of practices to help you grow happier, holier, and closer to God every day.

Using passages and descriptions from the Bible, Landry first introduces you to the Holy Spirit, who will be your guide and companion throughout the book. He then introduces ways that this book will jumpstart your life through the six pillars of holiness training advocated by Saint John Paul II: grace, prayer, Sunday Mass, Confession, listening to the Word of God, and proclaiming that Word.

This book is meant for teens to older adults of all educational levels who aspire to spiritual growth; it's also a great aid for parents and grandparents who need help in teaching children and young people how to grow in God. There are many Catholics who are not familiar with having a plan of life that includes these basic elements. Many Catholics would like to grow spiritually, but don't know where to start and welcome this kind of practical, doable approach: this is what they've been looking for!

This brand new release was sent to me from Pauline Books & Media and I'm looking forward to passing it on to one of our teens. 

John of the Cross (Saints by Our Side) 
Saint John of the Cross was a Carmelite priest, poet, theologian, spiritual director, and a religious leader. He became one of the world's foremost experts on making progress in faith, prayer, and love. Immersing himself in the writings of spiritual masters, John discovered how images can speak of the Christians efforts to follow Christ and seek union with God. Four images stand out: night and its darkness, a log tossed into a flame, a romantic relationship, and a mountain climb.

This book, and the one below, are also new releases from Pauline Books & Media. You might be able to find better prices directly from them.

Thomas Aquinas (Saints by Our Side) 

Get to know the complex St. Thomas Aquinas in this approachable biography. Written by an author who admires and relates to him as a friend, readers will engage with the saint and his works through the warmly told stories of his life. The book also includes guidance on how to read an article of the Summa, reflection questions, and a prayer to the famous saint. This narrative illuminates St. Thomas’ spiritual legacy and why he is such an important figure in our Church.

.: Twinkle Toes - Age 14 :.

Blessed Be God
This unique book of powerful prayers and devotions, compiled by Joan Carroll Cruz, includes wonderful promises made by Our Lord or Our Lady, most of which were revealed to famous Saints, including: St. Faustina, St. Gertrude, and St. Catherine Laboure. Author Joan Carroll Cruz has carefully selected and compiled devotions to Our Lady, the Infant Jesus, Precious Blood, Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy, St. Michael, and more in one place so that your daily prayer can be more powerful and more fruitful than ever before. The promises set forth in this book show that God is eager to grant us many favors--if we will just pray!

This is one of my favorite prayer books. I know our oldest daughter will love it.  It is also available from Fraternity Publications

Presenting Miss Jane Austen

This outstanding biography of a well-beloved novelist catches the spirit of Jane Austen herself. May Lamberton Becker enjoyably introduces us to the 18th and early 19th century world Miss Austen lived in—her family, her friends, her varied settings and her many keen interests—as we are given insight to the personal background of all the Austen novels. 

Enlivening her narrative with many quotations from Jane Austen’s own correspondence, Miss Becker puts her own enthusiastic appreciation of one of the world’s most delightful writers at our disposal.

For my birthday Sean gave me three tickets to opening night of Sense and Sensibility at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this month! The girls and I had such a wonderful time

The Hedge School
It is perilous to be a Catholic in the Ireland of 1735, and almost more than can be borne for fifteen-year-old Padraic Fitzbrian. Nearly 100 years before, Lord Protector Cromwell of England had put down the Irish rebellion confiscating lands, killing priests, outlawing the Mass and prohibiting education of any kind for Irish Catholics. 

Padraic and his two friends, Liam and Rose, are in their last year as scholars in the forbidden and risky all-weathers classroom under the hedgerow. Fiery Padraic, whose family lands had been seized so long before, chafes under the injustice as though it were yesterday, making trouble for himself and those around him. Liam, as determined a patriot, holds the hope of being able to fight for his people s freedom in an entirely different way. And warm-hearted Rose, gifted with pluck, is also thankfully rich in good sense. Behind the scenes, a mysterious figure called the Kestrel stirs the fires of Irish identity, and Padraic longs to do as much. 

Harmless adventures mount into dangerous trouble as the three young people strive, in each new difficulty, to take hold of the faith and patience that brings freedom amidst the worst tyranny.

Jane of Lantern Hill
Jane and her mother live in a gloomy old mansion, where their lives are ruled by her ovebearing grandmother. For most of her life Jane has believed that her father is dead. Then, one dull April morning, a letter comes. Not only is her father alive and well, but he wants Jane to spend the summer with him on Prince Edward Island. For a blissful summer she lives at her father's cottage on Lantern Hill, making friends, having adventures and discovering that life can be wonderful after all. And she dares to dream that there could be such a house where she, Mother and Father could live together without Grandmother's disapproval - a house that could be called home.

This past Christmas she received the three Emily Books and now we are adding Jane of Lantern Hill to her L.M. Montgomery collection. I just love the covers on these editions. 

.: Chiquita - Age 12 :.

The Children of La Salette
Over 50 years before three shepherd children in Fatima saw a beautiful, mysterious Lady, two similarly innocent children beheld the same Lady heartbroken, crying with her face in her hands. Maximin and Melanie might not be as well-known as Lucia, Jacinta, or Francisco, but their message is no less powerful or relevant now. This vividly detailed, engrossing account from Mary Fabyan Windeatt reveals the depth of Mary’s pain over the sins of ungrateful men, as well as the perfect mother’s love that drove her to appear in tears to these faith-filled children. Mary’s message here, and the story of La Salette, will be familiar to anyone who knows the story of Fatima, reminding us that prayer, hope, and penance will always be the answer to the emptiness of sin and violence.

Last summer Chiquita read through all of our Mary Fabyan Windeatt books... along with the whole collection of Vision books too!... she will be excited to see this new addition which was recently republished. 

Beginning Birdwatchers' Book: With 48 Stickers
Birdwatchers, or "birders," keep life lists in which they note their first sighting of a species — indicating the date, place, habitat, etc. This easy-to-read, fact-filled workbook will help young birdwatchers begin keeping their own life lists as they learn about 48 common North American birds — among them the blue jay, American crow, ruby-throated hummingbird, yellow-billed cuckoo, mourning dove, barn owl, red-tailed hawk, northern oriole, red-winged blackbird, and red-headed woodpecker. 

Written and illustrated by nature artist Sy Barlowe, the book includes space on each page for a numbered sticker illustration of the bird described, along with information on bird size, habitat, nesting and eating habits, number and color of eggs, and range. There's also a place for recording the date, time, and locality of the sighting and for adding personal remarks. 

A great way to combine sticker fun with an educational experience, this hands-on record-keeping book will motivate young naturalists and perhaps stimulate a lifelong interest in the rewarding hobby of birdwatching.

Science quickly rose to the top of her "favorite subjects" list this year thanks to the excellent recorded classes given by MacBeth Derham over at Homeschool Connections. First Semester she LOVED her astronomy class (The Planets) and this semester she is really enjoying learning all about birds (Introduction to Ornithology)! I often see her and her younger sister hiking the hill behind our home, carrying binoculars and their nature notebooks. 

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian

In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation. Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed. She watched carefully as caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. Maria studied the whole life cycle of the summer birds, and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings.

This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece.

I had picked this book for our 8 year old, but my husband suggested it for our (almost) 13 year old, since that is how old Maria is in this story.  She has loved sharing everything she is learning in science this year with her younger siblings and I know she will love reading this to them too. 

Ember Rising (The Green Ember Series: Book 3)
A harrowing adventure inside enemy territory. Heather and Picket are plunged into the darkness of Morbin's shadow, fighting to bear the flame of the cause and light the way for rabbitkind's upright insurrection.

Chiquita has really enjoyed reading the first two books in The Green Ember Series after getting her Kindle for Christmas. She is going to be so excited that a third book was just released! 

I haven't decided which version to get her yet... She would be so excited to see the physical book in her basket, but then she is loving her Kindle too and the Kindle version is much cheaper. Decisions, decisions... 

I also found these beautiful journals when Sean and I were out on a little date this weekend... It's nearly impossible for me to eat out so we were browsing bookstores instead! I plan to tuck them in the girls' baskets: Always Be Kind Journal and Whatever Is Lovely Gratitude Journal.  Or I might just keep them for myself! ;)

.: Snuggles - Age 10 :.

The King of the Golden City: Special Edition for Boys (also available from Amazon here)

The King of the Golden City is an allegorical tale which has stood the test of time because of the beauty of its symbolism and the richness of its spiritual advice. Written for children yet beloved by all, the only complaint lodged against it has been that its main character is female, leaving many boys to feel that this tale is better suited for girls.

Encouraged by the original French translators of this book, who created parallel editions for boys and girls, we have now remedied this single fault! In this brand new edition adapted especially for boys, readers will find the tale of Dilectus and his friends every bit as charming and instructive as before--and now boys as well as girls will find it easy to become the hero of the story and make it their own!

We have collected multiple editions - both in print and audio - of this book over the years, but I was intrigued to see this special edition for boys. 

Lucky Bob 
(also available from Amazon here)

Bob Ryan has a way with animals. For that matter, he has a way with everyone! It’s hard to believe that his own father could have cruelly abandoned this boy to shift for himself. But Bob has no trouble making friends with everyone he meets, and with their help, he is able to make his way in the world quite well. Is he lucky, or have all his sufferings simply perfected love through adversity?
His Luckiest Year
(also available from Amazon here)

In this sequel to Lucky Bob, Bob Ryan’s fortunes have changed this year and he is now one of the top students at St. Xavier’s School in Cincinnati. But his personality is as magnetic as it ever was, and he wisely uses his influence over others to quell petty rivalries and help those in need. But the mystery of his abandonment by his father is still unsolved, and when jealous tongues begin to wag, Bob feels it deeply. Have all his efforts been in vain? With no family and no money, what will the future hold for our friendly hero?
Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby thought they were normal children with normal lives and a normal past. But now they know they’re really the Lost Jewels of Anniera, heirs to a legendary kingdom across the sea, and suddenly everyone wants to kill them. 

In order to survive, the Igibys must flee to the safety of the Ice Prairies, where the lizardlike Fangs of Dang cannot follow. First, however, they have to escape the monsters of Glipwood Forest, the thieving Stranders of the East Bend, and the dreaded Fork Factory. But even more dangerous are the jealousies and bitterness that threaten to tear them apart, and Janner and his siblings must learn the hard way that the love of a family is more important than anything else..

Book 2 in the Wingfeather Saga... He received the first book in the series for Christmas and can't wait to continue! 

.: Rose - Age 8 :.

In the Candles Glow

The bees do their work. The beekeeper does hers. And little Felicia, with the honesty and faith of a child, takes the fruit of the bee and the beekeeper's efforts and lights her candle and prays. She prays once, she prays twice, she prays three prayers, then watches the breeze from the window carry her prayers from the candle heavenward.

This book is published by Ancient Faith Publishing - an Orthodox publishing company.  The Orthodox publish some beautiful books for children and this is another welcome addition to our collection. 

We also own and love The Miracle of the Red Egg (another great book for Easter) which is also written by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson

St. Joan of Arc Paper Dolls
(I purchased these from Sacred Heart Books and Gifts awhile back)

Colorful dolls and authentic period costumes recreate the battles, suffering and triumph of this warrior saint. See St. Joan of Arc spinning, praying, carrying her banner into battle, imprisoned, crowned in glory. Dolls include Joan's family, the Dauphin, soldiers, and Joan's three heavenly helpers: St. Catherine, St. Margaret, and St. Michael the Archangel. Captions and 2-page story in English and French.

Joyful Colours of the Year

A look at nature throughout the changing seasons in an English countryside. Simple rhyming text alongside beautiful watercolors to delight young readers.

We love all the books that have been illustrated by Lydia Grace Kadar-Kallen and I'm looking forward to seeing this one too! Her other books include: Saint Felix and the Spider, Roses in the Snow: A Tale of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, and Nikola and the Monk

First published in Sweden in 1924 and now available in English, this picture book features a simple but exciting story. A girl named Rosalind sleeps under a linden tree near her friend, a little deer. Frightened by a hunter, it runs away and encounters the king, who decides to keep it in a golden cage. The sorrowful deer refuses to eat until Rosalind comes, and once she arrives, she refuses to leave without her friend. The king locks them both up in the cage, but the hunter frees them. In the happy ending, Rosalind and her deer dance around the linden tree to the music of his horn...

.: Bud - Age 6 :.

Children's Missal 
Help your child connect with the mystery of the Mass and feel like an “official” Mass-goer with this smart-looking, insightful missal. With its sharp black cover, gilt lettering, and white satin bookmark, this Children’s Missal looks great in any young Catholic’s hands, and its sturdy hardcover and pocket-size ensure that it will also withstand stand long, devoted usage. Its 137 full-color illustrations and engaging text are sure to keep your child’s attention focused on following the Mass through each of its steps.

It includes a detailed, fully-illustrated walk-through of each step of the Latin Mass, but is also applicable to the Novus Ordo, especially with recent revisions to the English translation. Pictures and descriptions of the vessels and vestments used in the Mass, as well as a diagram of the “Plan of the Mass,” help little Catholics understand the function and meaning of everything in the Mass.

The Life of Little Saint Placid
(also available from Amazon here)

Mother Genevieve Gallois began life as a violently anti-clerical artist in turn-of-the-century Paris, but after a spritual crisis, she entered a Benedictine convent and dedicated her life to prayer and religious art. In her latter years, she began to write, and her most well-known book remains The Life of Little Saint Placid. 

 Referred to affectionately as a comic book for contemplatives and a profound picture treatise on prayer, there is a depth of wisdom imparted amidst the bold linework of her art. One comes away from the pages of this book with less a feeling that one has learned of the life of this saint, and more with the feeling that one has gained true and lasting insight into the spriritual life.

Little Blue Truck's Springtime

Celebrate the beauty of springtime with Little Blue Truck! Young fans will love finding all sorts of baby animals beneath the flaps in this delightful novelty board book. Beep! Beep! Peep!
Just the other morning I read through all of our other Little Blue Truck books with this little guy. They are some of his favorites and I know he will be excited when he discovers this springtime version in his basket after Mass on Easter Sunday! 

Pelle's New Suit
Pelle has a lamb whose coat grows longer and longer, while Pelle’s Sunday suit grows shorter! Pelle shears the lamb, and the wool is carded, spun, dyed, and woven. Finally, the tailor makes a new suit for Pelle. A mini gift edition of Elsa Beskow's classic story.

I bought a couple Ostheimer toys to tuck in his basket along with this little book. 

.: Grace - Age 0 :.

Bunny's First Spring

When a bunny is born in spring, he sees the world as green and new and full of hope. But as the seasons change, the bunny worries that the earth may be dying. In bestselling author’s Sally Lloyd-Jones’ latest picture book celebrating the Easter season and rebirth, nature speaks to the bunny, assuring him of something more. 

Award-winning artist David McPhail’s whimsical illustrations reflect the beauty of the world around us as Lloyd-Jones’ inspirational text prompts readers to celebrate the changing seasons and the miracle of nature’s rebirth.

I am a Mouse

I’m quite small, and I’m a mouse. I live in a big field near the woods.

A friendly wood mouse visits his many friends and neighbors. He talks to trout, ducks, a woodpecker, and even coaxes a shy newt out from his hiding place to say hello. The only animal he is not so friendly with is the owl, from whom he runs and hides. This beautifully illustrated, gentle story is now back in print for a new generation.

I am a Bunny is already in our basket of board books and this one will make a lovely addition as well. The illustrations are beautiful! 

Found: Psalm 23

From the bestselling The Jesus Storybook Bible, with over two million products sold, comes Found based on Psalm 23. Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, little ones will fall in love with this padded cover board book that reminds them of God’s Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

I loved the sweet illustrations in this simple board book based on Psalm 23. 

*It is also currently 44% off over at Amazon. 

God Bless Our Easter
Preschoolers can’t help but notice all the new wonders of springtime, and God Bless Our Easter emphasizes that each blessing comes from God! Lambs, bunnies, ducklings, piglets, chicks—lots of snuggly farm animals will take your little ones through the sweet rhyming story and have them asking to read the book long after Easter is past.

The second book in the new God Bless 
series,God Bless Our Easter from the same illustrator of God Bless You and Good Night.

This is the second time I've purchased this book.  Our first copy was loved to pieces... 

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I'm also planning to include these in our Family Easter Basket: 


The Wonder Gifts, which tells of the Sacraments that bring us the gift of God’s Grace, and The Wonder Offering, which describes the Mass with exquisite watercolor illustrations, are both from The Wonder Series

I got the set last year just before Christmas and included the first two books in the series with last year's O Antiphon Gifts. LOVE! 

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
This gorgeously illustrated volume of poetry — sprinkled with facts and fun things to do — sows an early love for nature in all its beauty and wonder. The buzz of bees in summertime. The tracks of a bird in the winter snow. This beautiful book captures all the sights and sounds of a child’s interactions with nature, from planting acorns or biting into crisp apples to studying tide pools or lying back and watching the birds overhead. No matter what’s outside their windows — city streets or country meadows — kids will be inspired to explore the world around them. Written by award-winning author Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld, a breathtaking new talent in children’s books, Outside Your Window is a stunning reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered.

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For One Lucky Visitor:

I just don't have the energy to coordinate a whole bunch of giveaways this lent, plus I've had a little trouble with the winners receiving their prizes from the sponsors in a couple cases, so this time I have ONE package of books - a mix of books that have been given to me by Peanut Butter & Grace and Pauline Books & Media - to pass on to one of you!

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:
(Winner will be announced on St. Patrick's Day!) 

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