Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Quest for Catholic Novels

Although I've taught at a Catholic school for four years, never did we use an official Catholic author for the novels we selected in the Middle School.  Now that I get to choose novels for my son, as well as the ones we will read in the Co-Op, I've been searching for good books.  I've seen lists here and there but not until now did I find something that I think the kids would like.  Of course, I am basing my decision entirely on my prior knowledge of what kids this age usually like in secular teen/pre-teen literature.  So here is my list of recommendations so far:

  • Tom Playfair Or Making a Start By: Fr. Francis J. Finn S.J. (The story opens with 10-year-old Tom Playfair being quite a handful for his well-meaning but soft-hearted aunt. (Tom's mother has died.) Mr. Playfair decides to ship his son off to St. Maure's boarding school--an all-boys academy run by Jesuits--to shape him up, as well as to help him make a good preparation for his upcoming First Communion. Tom is less than enthusiastic, but his adventures are just about to begin. Life at St. Maure's will not be dull!)

  • Percy Wynn By: Fr. Francis J. Finn S.J. (Percy Wynn. In this volume, Tom Playfair meets a new boy just arriving at St. Maure's. Percy Wynn has grown up in a family of 10 girls and only 1 boy--himself! His manners are formal, he talks like a book, and he has never played baseball or gone skating, boating, fishing, or even swimming! Yet he has brains, courage and high Catholic ideals. Tom and his buddies at St. Maure's befriend Percy and have a great time as they all work at turning Percy into an all-American Catholic boy.

  • Harry Dee Or Working it Out By: Fr. Francis J. Finn (Harry Dee. Young Harry Dee arrives at St. Maure's thin and pale from his painful experiences involving the murder of his rich uncle. In this last book of the three, Tom and Percy help Harry recover from his early trauma--which involves solving "the mystery of Tower Hill Mansion." After many wild experiences, the three boys graduate from St. Maure's and head toward the life work to which God is calling each of them as young men.)

  • Claude Lightfoot Or How the Problem Was Solved By: Fr. Francis J. Finn S.J. (Claude Lightfoot. The story opens upon Claude Lightfoot, a reckless 12 year old boy who constantly acts first and thinks later. After being in clash with some bullies, Claude is obliged to miss his First Communion. In the course of the story, Fr. Finn manages to cover a host of topics, including smoking, drinking, the devil, Confession, Holy Communion, retaining one s Baptismal innocence, the 9 First Fridays, the priesthood, mothers and sisters, truthfulness, lying, courage, effeminacy, atheism, sacrilege, baseball, Americanism (true and false), Latin, virtue, honor, leadership, etc.)

  •  That Football Game And What Came of It By: Fr. Francis J. Finn S.J. (That Football Game. This book features Claude and many other characters from Claude Lightfoot. Again, Fr. Finn covers a host of Catholic topics, giving a ringing defense of the game of football and presenting a great picture of the All-American boy. See the Catholic Faith woven into everyday life, the way it should be. Puts the right kind of role models before the eyes of our boys! Interesting to read, enthralling, hard to put down -- not only for young people, but for adults as well! )

  • Crusader King A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades By: Susan Peek (Crusader King. 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!)

  • Ethelred Preston Or the Adventures of a Newcomer By: Fr. Francis J. Finn S.J. (Ethelred Preston. In this book, the new kid certainly livens things up at Henryton boarding academy! Again, Fr. Finn covers a host of Catholic topics and presents a great picture of the All-American boy!)


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