It’s the end of August and school is just about in session – or maybe it already is! – you know what that means. Accelerated Reading Time! I’ve got just the list of books for you. Not just good books. Not just Catholic books. But real, good, Catholic books! They’re guaranteed to circulate in your Catholic School Library, and if you are trying to fill your own bookshelves with good Catholic books, you can’t go wrong with this list. As a bonus, most of them are on the Accelerated Reading List.
Whenever I suggest to people – especially librarians – they order from this series, I feel like I am cheating. I’ve had more than one librarian not know about this series, though, so I’m going to recommend two to get you started. They are the Vision Books series by Ignatius Press. It is a series of books on the life of the saints. These books are written for strong readers in the upper elementary years, but don’t let that dissuade you from sneaking a peak before you put them on your shelves. Seriously, if you haven’t read one before, you don’t know what you are missing out on! You might even have to spend extra time in Purgatory for such a sin of omission! Listen, don’t tell anyone I told you, when I am interested in a new-to-me Saint, I often search for the Vision book first. Yep. They’re great primer’s for adults, and really interesting reads for kids. Win win! AND…many of them are on the Accelerated Reader list. How great is that? Here’s a few to get you started.
Saint Dominic and the Rosary. I have a soft spot in my heart for Saint Dominic. And the rosary. So this book was a perfect fit for our family. It’s a great book for young readers to use for saint reports and could also be used for reports on the rosary. Extra plus plus bonus points for being interesting, too.
A book on Saint Therese for the girls, especially. I think this is one of the first books I read in the Vision series. The story starts begins when little Therese is just a few years old and while her mother is still alive and follows Therese to her death. The side story here, of course, is Therese’s parents – Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin. The book is a tad sentimental, but girls seem to love it.
How about a few picture books?
Of course, there is always The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane. The illustrations are beautiful,, and the writing is good enough. As a bonus, its a great jumping off point for the topic of illuminations in religious text. Fascinating, really. You can read my full review here.
Catholic Churches Big and Small is not on the Accelerated Reading list, but that shouldn’t stop you from adding it to your Catholic School library (and why would it stop you from adding it to your home library?). I gushed all over this book when I first reviewed it and my opinion hasn’t changed one iota. It’s a great book.
For the elementary aged kids: fiction that is thoroughly Catholic without being pedantic, Melissa Wiley’s Prairie Thief. It’s a fabulous fairy-tale like story that both boys and girls will enjoy. My only caution is that soon all the kids at school will band together in an effort to change the mascot to a pronghorm. You’ve been warned. You can read my review here.
Finally, for the upper elementary and middle grades, there’s Glitter Girl by Stephan Webb. I reviewed this book in February of 2014. I doubt it will appeal to the boys, but it should appeal to the girls. Its all about cliques without being cliquish.
I know! I said 6 books and here I am recommending another. That’s because I just couldn’t leave off on Glitter Girl. Middle school boys might want some realistic fiction, too, right? For them, I have a.k.a Genius by Marilee Haynes and reviewed here. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it on the Accelerated Book list, but that doesn’t make it a bad read. There is a sequel, too, but I haven’t read that.
So there you have it. Six – make it seven – books that are decidedly Catholic, not pedantic, and (mostly) fit accelerated reader requirements. Good, readable books that will keep your young readers interested in reading.
What do you think? What are the books you’d like to see added to your Catholic school library bookshelves?