Hi, I’m Therese, one of your Holy Heroes Adventure Guides! Reading is one of my favorite things to do.

I read before breakfast…during breakfast…between school subjects…while I’m waiting for lunch…before swim practice…in the car home from swim practice…and sometimes I even get in trouble for reading when I’m supposed to be doing something else.  

We even had to make a rule in my family that you can’t bring a book to the table while waiting for everyone to come down for meals (and my siblings say that I’m to blame)!

Ah–well: after all that reading (and re-reading–because I like to read some books over and over and over), I have come up with a list of books that I think every Catholic Middle Schooler should read.

To make my list the books needed to be:

  • INTERESTING!!!  I learned something from these books–they were not just entertainment.
  • Worth reading over and over.  Well-written!
  • Books that made me think about our Catholic Faith–and strengthened it!

So–here’s my list!  Enjoy!

  1. Winged WatchmanWinged Watchman (by Hilda Van Stockum)
    Let me start right away with a book your children need to read!  I learned so much about what it was like living in Europe during the time of the Nazis.  Growing up in the Netherlands during World War II is hard for Joris Verhagen, then when an aviator from the allies fighting the Nazis lands in his town, everything suddenly changes. This is a great historical novel about a Catholic family who are trying to live their faith during World War II.  So exciting, thought-provoking (and I read it over and over!).
  2. The Bronze Bow (by Elizabeth George)
    Placed during Jesus’ time, it is an interesting look at the lifestyle during the Roman empire and what Jesus meant for many Jews living during this time period.  This has helped me think more about the Bible stories I read and what people of the time understood and were thinking about Jesus.
  3. The Bantry Bay Series (by Hilda Van Stockum)Bantry Bay
    A three-book series about children growing up in Ireland. Not do they show what it was like to live in Ireland, but they are also very funny!  The kids act like kids, and they have some hilarious adventures.  And their Catholicism is presented as a very natural part of their everyday life–makes them feel like personal friends!
  4. The Yearling (by Majorie Kinnan Rawlings)
    This book shows a how a boy grows into a man and learns responsibility while caring for his young fawn.
  5. The Hobbit (by J.R.R Tolkien)
    Originally written for children, this is a wonderful fairy tale style story and though almost 100 years old, it is still enjoyed by many today.
  6. The Picture BiblePicture Bible
    The Bible told completely through pictures! Written comic book style, this Bible comes recommended by Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen as “the best introduction to the Bible”!  Its 795 pages long, plus a Scripture index, so you don’t just learn a few selected Bible stories–you learn the ENTIRE STORYLINE in the Bible (yes–there is one, and it makes sense!) so when you hear readings in Mass–even the PSALM!–it makes you recall the whole story of Salvation.  Recently, Dr Brant Pitre (a Catholic Seminary professor) did a short video recommending this Bible as the one he uses for his children, for the same reasons our family reads it!  Everyone reads this over and over.
  7. The Reb and The Redcoats (by Constance Savery)
    Placed in England during the Revolutionary War, it tells the story of hope, friendship, and forgiveness as four English children become friends with a captured American soldier.
  8. The Children’s Homer (by Padraic Colum)
    This is a great introduction to Greek Mythology. It retells classic stories including The Iliad and The Odyssey in age appropriate words.  I understand all sorts of allusions to these stories which I come across in other books.
  9. Little Men (by Louisa M. Alcott)
    The Little Women daughters are all grown up and Joe has started a school for young boys. Mischief is bound to happen!  (OK: middle school BOYS might not find this interesting, but all my sisters have so far!)
  10. The Cure of Ares (by Milton Lomask)
    The Cure of Ares is an incredible story about how no saint is born perfect and each one has to struggle to overcome the obstacles to achieve sainthood.  I hope we make a Glory Story about him someday.
  11. Blessed Miguel Pro (by Ann Ball)
    This book is all about Blessed Miguel Pro, which means it is full of surprises! It was also one of the books that we used to write our Holy Heroes Glory Story about Blessed Miguel Pro!  Inspiring: Blessed Miguel Pro found joy in the midst of terrible persecution and personal hardship.

I hope you enjoyed my book list! I enjoyed reading every one of these books and hope that other Catholic Middle Schoolers enjoy them, too!

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Along with her younger sister, Lillian, in the first "Inside the Sacraments" DVD, Therese was the most-commented upon "Adventure Guide," (and she is a big part of the second DVD which will be released this spring)! Therese appeared in Glory Stories volume 12, "Codename: Cocol -- Undercover for God.," and she writes a bunch of the Holy Heroes quizzes, too.

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