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Why These Books?

Historical Fiction—Modern Times

From the Old Testament era to ancient Rome to the Dark Ages--from crusader castles to frontier settlements to Federal era ships, these books run the gamut of history. Tale after tale of adventure brings these various historical epochs to life again with inspiring and unforgettable characters.

Ages 12 and up

by Michael T. Cibenko

"A must-read for anyone who appreciates Japanese culture, lovers of history and philosophy, or those who simply enjoy an exceptionally well-told story."
—Jeffrey Bond, PhD

Shiro Nakagawa comes from a family of recent converts on the island of Kyushu. A young man of the samurai class, Shiro studies to be a healer, but has also heard the call to become a Catholic priest. His plans for the future, however, are disrupted when the Shogun in Kyoto orders all churches closed throughout Japan. This order leads to widespread persecution, abuse and even slaughter of Christians throughout the islands. When the small church of Saint Michael in Hitoyoshi is closed, its priest Fr. Olivera arrested, and his friend Kumiko brutally attacked, Shiro knows he must take action. Along with his boyhood friend, Tomi, Shiro embarks on a mission to rescue Fr. Olivera and defend the helpless Kirishitans of southern Kyushu. But even as the spark of justified resistance begins to burn, Shiro and his comrades realize that it's only a matter of time before the Shogun’s army descends upon Yatsushiro in full force.

Paperback ~ 272 pp. ~ $16.95 with 10% discount, $15.25

Ages 12 and up

Three Years Behind the Guns
The True Chronicles of a "Diddy-Box"
by John B. Tisdale

"I can vouch for many of the facts; and the description of the Battle of Manila Bay is one of the best I have ever seen published."
—Admiral George Dewey, Commander at the Battle of Manila Bay, 1898

When Commodore George Dewey's Asiatic Squadron sailed into Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 to defeat the Spanish fleet, it marked a major turning point in American history. Aboard Dewey's flagship, Olympia, one very young sailor with a keen eye and agile pen was writing it all down. Having run away from home to join the navy in 1895, Jack Tisdale hoped that he would be lucky enough to land a berth aboard the Olympia—a modern steel protected cruiser and flagship of the US Asiatic Squadron. He ended up getting his wish, and a lot more than he bargained for.
     Originally published in 1908—a decade after the events described—Three Years Behind the Guns is an amusing, gritty look at life aboard an American  man-o'-war at a time when the United States was on the cusp of becoming a great power.

Paperback ~ 244 pp. ~ $16.95 with 10% discount, $15.25
Three Years Behind the Guns

Ages 12 and up

Leave If You Can
by Luise Rinser

"Provided an excellent example of someone answering God's call to pursue the vocation He has laid before them."
—Day By Day in Our World: One Catholic Homeschool Family's
Journey Through Life blog

Two idealistic girls, Angelina and Guilia, run off to join the partisans in Italy during World War II to fight the occupying Nazis. An ardent communist, Angelina deplores the Catholic Church and imagines a world where all people achieve material salvation through social policy. The two girls join a partisan group led by the dashing Antonio and are soon in the fight against the Germans. After a particularly sharp battle, Angelina is missing and Giulia returns to the scene to find her. To her amazement, Angelina is living in the ruins of the abandoned abbey of Santa Maria del Monte.
     Originally written in German in 1959, Leave If You Can is a beatiful novella of wartime Italy that explores the challenge of God's mystical call versus the overpowering allure of the world.

Paperback ~ 156 pp. ~ $13.95 with 10% discount, $12.56

Ages 10 and up

Simon Bruté and the Western Adventure
by Elizabeth Bartelme

This is a reprint of a well-told story about holy Father Simon Brute and his influence on Catholic America. Raised in the time of the French Revolution, Simon studied to be a doctor. But he found his true vocation in the priesthood. He desperately wanted to be a missionary but was given the job of teaching at the seminary. He finally was assigned to go to America and helped to establish Mount St. Mary in Maryland where he befriended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. He was then sent to be the first bishop in Vincennes, Indiana on the American frontier. His dream of being a missionary finally realized. An exciting and inspiring story!

Paperback ~ 124 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30

Ages 12 and up

God and the General's Daughter
by Anne Heagney

This is based on the true story of Ethan Allen’s daughter, Fanny! I don’t want to give away too much in this blurb because reading the story is so delightful. You can sort of figure out from the title, though, that God works in wonderful ways in Fanny’s life, and through her grows the Church in New England. Francis Margaret Allen, daughter of legendary Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen, leads a charmed life. She is beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, and loves the vitality of freedom in pristine Vermont. Devoted to the “rock-bound hills” of the Green Mountains and finding God in every blade of grass, she doesn’t see the need for organized religion and its needless rituals. But God has other plans for Fanny Allen. She has but to open her mind to the longings of her heart!

Paperback ~ 192 pp. ~ $14.95 with 5% discount, $14.20
God and the
                      General's Daughter

Ages 12 and up

Downright Dencey
by Caroline Dale Snedeker

This treasure of a novel is set on the island of Nantucket just before the War of 1812. Much more than a tale of whaling ships and gentle Quaker eccentricities, it is a tale of friendship-the kind most truly espoused by these 'plain' folk, with all the struggle and complexity one should expect. Dionis (Dencey) Coffyn is a mystery to her mother, Lydia, whose stern exterior hides a heart that breaks every time her husband Captain Tom goes to sea. Within a context of outward simplicity of living and inward intricacy of relationship, Dencey matures from the little girl who, in unquakerly violence of temper, throws a rock that wounds the town outcast. She becomes a young woman ready to bear her part in life with grace and courage. A probing portrayal of the power of love to overcome social barriers and religious strictures.

Paperback ~ 268 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30

Ages 14 and up

Flight into Spring
by Bianca Bradbury

Opposites: Sally Day Hammond is vivacious, tiny, coddled and Southern; Charles Horne is silent, tall, unbending and Northern. The American Civil War has just ended. And a marriage is to be made between these two? When Charles brings Sally Day back to live with his strict New England family, little wonder that tensions rise to the breaking point. But Sally Day has mettle; in the desperate honesty of this young couple’s conflict, both young hearts may yet stretch and truly meld. In a setting of historical depth, skilled novelist Bianca Bradbury brings all the resources of a heartsearching realism to the predicaments of young married love.

Paperback ~ 184 pp. ~ $11.95 with 5% discount, $11.35
Flight Into

Ages 8 and up

Betsy's Up-and-Down Year
by Anne Pellowski

This is the fifth and final book in the Latsch Valley Farm series, recounting the lives of four generations of a Polish-American extended family, living in neighboring homesteads in Wisconsin. A sequel to Willow Wind Farm, we follow Betsy Korb, now aged eight going on nine, as she learns the lessons of sharing, making up after quarrels, running errands and broadening her experiences within her large and loving family, under the firm and wise direction of Mom and Dad and underpinned by their Catholic faith. Told in a highly readable style, the author, Betsy’s aunt, has carefully observed the triumphs and disasters in the life of the inquisitive and independent-minded Betsy as she grapples with the ups and downs of growing up.

Paperback ~ 162 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30
Betsys Up-and-Down Year

Ages 8 and up

Willow Wind Farm
Betsy's Story
by Anne Pellowski

This is the fourth book in the popular Latsch Valley Farm series that has so far spanned 100 years and four generations of a Polish-American extended family in rural Wisconsin. The story is based on the lively experiences of Betsy Korb, 7th daughter in a family of 10 children and niece of author Anne Pellowski. Along with Linda, Kathy, Danny, Carol, Mona, Dorothy, Julie, Sara and Kristine, Betsy enjoys the fun—and disasters—that occur at “medium-sized” Willow Wind Farm, with its cows, cattle, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs. She partakes in all the pleasures of a large family as well as learning to cooperate with the necessary chores: preparing meals, washing-up and being an alert member of a busy, working farm. Set in the year 1967, the book describes a close and flourishing community still connected to its European and Catholic roots.

Paperback ~ 182 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30
Willow Wind Farm

Ages 8 and up

Stairstep Farm
Anna Rose's Story
by Anne Pellowski

Wisconsin farm life in the Latsch Valley of the 1930’s comes alive through the eyes of imaginative Anna Rose—a five-year-old girl who can’t wait to catch up with her four older siblings. While Anna Rose impatiently waits for the longed-for start of school, her days are filled with family work—minding geese, picking nettles, chopping thistles, helping with the haying, minding her three little sisters—and with family celebrations—good food, singing, sledding, and games of Star Light, Moonlight and Uncle Wiggily. Based on the author’s own experiences, this story is the third of five books which vividly describe memorable people and events of the Pellowski family and its Latsch Valley descendants.

Paperback ~ 185 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30
Stairstep Farm

Ages 8 and up

Winding Valley Farm
Annie's Story
by Anne Pellowski

Life for six-year-old Annie Dorawa on Winding Valley Farm—just down the road from the Pellowskis’ “first farm in the valley”—is busy and happy. Then one day, Annie hears her father speak about not planting that year, but instead moving into town. Is it really possible that they might leave their beautiful farm? What could her father be thinking about? This new anxiety, along with that inner imp of mischief always threatening to get her into trouble (and which finally does when brother John is killing chickens at the chopping block), hover over Annie as she works and plays with her sister and five brothers immersed in the vigorous life of their American-Polish community. Despite the discovery that life is not always easy or as she’d like it to be, Annie begins to realize what warm security is to be found in a hardworking family rooted in faith and love.

Paperback ~ 204 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30
Winding Valley

Ages 8 and up

First Farm Farm in the Valley
Anna's Story
by Anne Pellowski

Six-year-old Anna Pellowski’s older siblings, Jacob, Franciszek, Barney, Mary and Pauline are exposed to English at school, but only Polish is spoken at home. The younger children—Anna, Julian, Anton barely know a word of their new country’s language, but then neither do many of their neighbors. When the family goes to town to celebrate the 100th birthday of the United States, the speaker gives his speech in a mix of German, Polish, Bohemian and Norwegian! Some years before, in the mid 1800’s, Anna’s mother, father and brother Baby Jacob had come from Poland to live in a tiny sod house in Western Wisconsin and establish the very first farm in the entire Latsch Valley. Now the growing family lives in a real house, with neighbors on every side, and the world for quietly curious Anna is filled with fascinating possibilities—as well as lots of hard work.

Paperback ~ 194 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30
First Farm in the Valley

Ages 12 and up

John Treegate's Musket
by Leonard Wibberly

It is 1769, ten years since America’s colonial militia had joined with the British regular army and defeated the French for dominion of Canada. The current of feeling about what it means to be loyal to the King has changed. While many colonists are angry about England’s unjust taxation, wealthy merchant John Treegate remains fiercely loyal and certain that an agreement can be reached between the colonies and their mother country. Deciding to travel to England to appeal to the government there means leaving his motherless, eleven-year-old son Peter on his own, apprenticed to one of Treegate’s friends, a manufacturer of barrel staves. Peter’s new master is not severe, but the senior apprentice is a vicious bully and worse. A chain of events leads to trouble for Peter—involving murder, shipwreck, loss of memory, adoption by a strange and bitter Scotsman, until finally he is reunited with his father on the eve of America’s battle for independence.

Paperback ~ 173 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30

Ages 10 and up

Old Sam, Dakota Trotter
by Don Alonzo Taylor

Homesteading in the Dakota Territory of the 1880's would not have been the same for 10-year-old Johnny Scott and his younger brother, Lee, if they'd had to do it without Old Sam. Years before, a sudden, crippling accident had left Sam, a thoroughbred trotter on his way to championship, in the Scott family pasture--to die or to recover. By default, the Scott family inherits the lamed horse that no one else wants. But Mr. Scott soon discovers old Sam's uncanny and invaluable ability to do any task a larger, stronger farm horse can do. His awkward appearance and hidden talents proceed to cause both hilarity and ongoing excitement for these two boys caught up in the fast-changing world of the American Midwest.

Paperback ~ 153 pp. ~ $14.95 with 5% discount, $14.20
Old Sam

Ages 10 and up

Old Sam and the Horse Thieves
by Don Alonzo Taylor

Lee and Johnny Scott are back—and so is Old Sam—in this sequel to Old Sam, Dakota Trotter. Despite the disfiguring injury that ended Old Sam’s career as a champion thoroughbred trotter, he is still as fast—and as canny— as ever, an indispensible help for the Scott family in their new home. Then, Old Sam mysteriously goes missing. Johnny figures that any thief who dares to steal that horse will soon be sorry. With the help of Lee and their gang of friends, Johnny soon has things well in hand, finding Old Sam’s track, setting up a communication system that works with mirrors and well-placed minions—and generally running circles around his elders. And, of course, Old Sam does not let his boys down. That Johnny also encounters some sobering moments in his headlong pursuit of justice is a sad, perhaps unavoidable, consequence in a way of life still on the fringes of civilized society.

Paperback ~ 134 pp. ~ $14.95 with 5% discount, $14.20
Old Sam and the Horse

Ages 10 and up

Year of the Black Pony
by Walt Morey

The Fellows family has joined numerous others striving to make a go of homesteading in the Oregon high desert. But the venture has been disastrous from the start. Mr. Fellows, who is not a farmer, resents any advice from his wife, who grew up on a farm. Ma is not only troubled about the farming, but 7-year-old Ellie’s chronic illness has become a source of constant worry and expense. 12-year-old Chris, who cannot seem to please his father no matter what he does, eases his own misery by stealing time away from work to watch a neighbor’s scarcely broken black pony, only to get into more trouble. When it seems circumstances could not get worse for the struggling family, Mr. Fellows gets drunk and dies. Not willing to give up, Ma stubbornly—and creatively—seeks a way for the family to stay in Oregon.
     Walt Morey’s careful research and vivid storytelling talent warmly bring to life the struggles and triumphs of homesteading in the Oregon high desert country in the early 1900’s.

Paperback ~ 171 pp. ~ $11.95 with 5% discount, $11.35
Year of the
                      Black Pony

Ages 10 and up

The Mitchells
Five for Victory
by Hilda van Stockum

The five Mitchell children are based on the author's own family. In the first of three books about their adventures, Daddy has just gone off to fight in World War II. One of his final orders to his daughter Joan is, "No dogs!" She would dearly love such a pet, but life is full and so many new friends--pets as well as people--join the Mitchells, she hardly has time to think about dogs. The children form a club to do their part for the war-effort--first and foremost helping Mother, of course. Humorous and tender incidents combine with delightful illustrations to make the Mitchells' story truly unforgettable.

Paperback ~ 236 pp. ~ $15.95 with 5% discount, $15.15
The Mitchells

Ages 10 and up

Canadian Summer
by Hilda van Stockum

The large and growing Mitchell family, transferring their location to Montreal, can’t find a house to buy or rent. They settle, over Mother’s protests, for a remote, rickety summer house deep in the woods near a lake. The dangers, antics, quarrels, and fun which now unroll bring each member of the family into vivid characterization. Meanwhile we meet some delightful French Canadians and taste the special qualities of rural Quebec in the late 1940’s. Spiced up with van Stockum's charming illustrations and a raft of memorable characters, Canadian Summer rollicking good fun and enjoyable reading for the whole family.

Paperback ~ 181 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25

Ages 10 and up

Friendly Gables
by Hilda van Stockum

It is two years after the events in Canadian Summer. The Mitchells are settled in their new home, Friendly Gables—and twins have just been added to the family. With Mother recovering from the births and with other changes in the household, the children must come to terms with themselves in new ways. Joan’s first dance; Patsy loses her glasses; Peter’s disastrous fight; Angela’s misadventure in the woods; Timmy’s “good news”; and Catherine’s brush with fire--are only a few of the incidents in the life of this busy, growing family. With her usual humor, compassion, and lovely illustrations, the author brings the Mitchell “trilogy” to a satisfying close.

Paperback ~ 165 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25

Ages 10 and up

The Cottage at Bantry Bay
by Hilda van Stockum

This book, written in 1938, offers a vivid picture of an Ireland that has all but disappeared. The O'Sullivan family invite the reader to share their many homely adventures. Michael and Brigid brave the wilds and gypsies on an errand for their injured father and come home with a new friend; twins Liam and Francie keep everyone hopping; Mother and Father draw the family together with story-telling, warmth and humor. Then Michael and Brigid find a treasure which changes the course of things for all.

Paperback ~ 239 pp. ~ $15.95 with 5% discount, $15.15
The Cottage at Bantry Bay

Ages 10 and up

Francie on the Run
by Hilda van Stockum

In this sequel to The Cottage at Bantry Bay, six year-old Francie O'Sullivan, has had a successful operation in a Dublin hospital to repair his club foot, but longs to return to his beloved family in County Cork. He heads out the hospital door, no permission asked, and boards a train--won't any train do? Francie finds himself making a speedy tour (in the opposite direction from home) around the Emerald Isle, a journey full of adventure, laughter, endearing friendships and unforgettable characters, for Francie and the reader. Enhanced with charming illustrations by the author, Francie on the Run is perfect for family read-aloud and will be enjoyed by all ages.

Paperback ~ 293 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25

Ages 10 and up

by Hilda van Stockum

Young Pegeen, one of the good friends Francie made on his trip around the Emerald Isle in Francie on the Run, has just lost her Grannie and is now alone in the world. When she is told that she can't stay on alone in the small mountain cottage, Pegeen remembers Francie's promise to come for her someday. With Fr. Kelly's help she writes to the O'Sullivans, to be welcomed temporarily into their household while she waits for word from her uncle in America. No one, except perhaps Francie, is quite prepared for carefree Pegeen's knack of turning the world up on end. Her spirit is a perfect match for his, but two such personalities in one small cottage on Bantry Bay have startling consequences. As with the previous books in the series, Pegeen is enhanced with numerous illustrations by the author and is perfect for family read-aloud.

Paperback ~ 266 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25

Ages 14 and up

The Borrowed House
by Hilda van Stockum

When Janna is suddenly summoned from Germany to join her actor parents in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, she is shocked by the Dutch hatred for the Germans. Her favorite Nordic tales and Hitler Youth indoctrination have not prepared her for the complexities of living in a house requisitioned by a military friend of her parents, or for the violence she sees on the streets. With her parents preoccupied by their perplexing adult world of careers and relationships, Janna is lonely and full of unwelcome questions. It is the house itself which begins to provide real, if painful, answers to Janna's bewilderment-but not before it adds its own set of mysteries to solve. A well-developed, true-to-life tale for teenagers.

Paperback ~ 221 pp. ~ $12.95 with 5% discount, $12.30
Borrowed House

Out of Print

Ages 10 and up

The Winged Watchman
by Hilda van Stockum

This acclaimed story of World War II is rich in suspense, characterization, plot and spiritual truth. Every element of Nazi-occupied Holland is united in a story of courage and hope: a hidden Jewish child, an underdiver, a downed RAF pilot, an imaginative, daring underground hero, and the small things of family life which surprisingly carry on in the midst of oppression. The Verhagen family, who live in the old windmill called the Winged Watchman, are a memorable set of individuals whose lives powerfully demonstrate the resilience of those who suffer but do not lose faith. Includes Illustrations by the author.

Paperback ~ 191 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25
Winged Watchman

Ages 10 and up

Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal
by Robert T. Reilly

Ireland is oppressed by the forces of Elizabeth, the English queen. A few strongholds in the far northwest remain free of English domination, but Elizabeth has her eyes on these as well. In order to subdue Donegal, the English kidnap prince Hugh O'Donnell, heir to his ailing father's castle and lands, and lock him in prison in Dublin. Red Hugh: Prince of Donegal tells the tale of Hugh's imprisonment, attempts to escape, and his heroic fight against the English. Hugh was a true champion of Irish liberty during the harsh reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1580s. It is engagingly written and is a quick and satisfying read. The characters are very well drawn--from the brave and long-suffering Hugh, to the indomitable Queen Ineen Duive, Hugh's mother; from the brawny and charming MacSweeney to the cruel English captain Leeds. A rollicking adventure, Red Hugh is also a great teaching tool for Irish geography and culture. 

Paperback ~ 208 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25

Ages 8 and up

The Kitchen Madonna
by Rumer Godden

Master storyteller Rumer Godden deftly brings to life a portrait of a lonely boy discovering the creative power of love. For quiet 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. But Marta is always there. But Marta is unhappy and the children 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. Overwhelmed, frustrated and even humiliated in the search, Gregory does not give up nor retreat into his silence. Rather, with each difficulty Gregory begins to draw from his own unexpected and untapped well of faith and resourcefulness. 

Paperback ~ 208 pp. ~ $14.95 with 5% discount, $14.20
The Kitchen Madonna

Ages 9 and up

Nacar the White Deer
A Story of Old Mexico
by Elizabeth Borton de Trevińo

A deep friendship springs up between a boy, who had lost his voice and his mother at the same tragic moment, and an ailing albino deer sent from China as a gift to the King of Spain. It is Lalo's task to nurture the sick deer back to health in the mountains of Mexico so that he will be well enough for the sea voyage to Spain. This gentle story of Mexico in 1630 follows young Lalo on his journey back to the Mountain of the Sleeping Lady. The journey and months the deer and the boy spend with Lalo's goats are full both of dangers found in a wild landscape and of charming incidents found in a people brimming with life and faith.

Paperback ~ 130 pp. ~ $10.95 with 5% discount, $10.40

Ages 10 and up

Ship's Boy with Magellan
by Milton Lomask

Young Pedro, the son of a Spanish nobleman, must flee Seville to escape his uncle who seeks to rob him of his inheritance. On board the Trinidad, Magellan's flagship, Pedro finds sanctuary...and adventure. Any childhood dreams Pedro had of life on the high seas pale in comparison to the real perils and victories he experiences on the first voyage to circumnavigate the globe. To return to Spain and claim his inheritance, Pedro must survive hostile natives and mutinous crews in this tale of wooden ships and iron men.

Paperback ~ 176 pp. ~ $14.95 with 5% discount, $14.20

Ages 10 and up

Madeleine Takes Command
by Ethel C. Brill

Based on a true account of colonial New France, this book tells the tale of 14 year old Madeleine Verchčre. Madeleine is left alone with two younger brothers and a few others to guard the family fort when the Iroquois unexpectedly attack. Using determined strategems, Madeleine and her small band attempt to stave off the assault in this harrowing tale of frontier life in colonial Canada.

Paperback ~ 224 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25

Ages 12 and up

Presenting Miss Jane Austen
by May Lamberton Becker

     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.

Paperback ~ 180 pp. ~ $13.95 with 5% discount, $13.25
Presenting Miss Jane

Out of Print

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