Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, January 7, 2011


As promised, here is my post about Mother Melania and her wonderful books for children...

Chapel at Holy Assumption Monastery
Mother Melania, who I am blessed to call my friend, is the acting superior of the Orthodox community of Holy Assumption Monastery in Calistoga, California.  She has authored two series of children’s books:  her first series, "Halo Stories", includes the collections The Twelve Great Feasts for Children; The Three-Day Pascha Set; and Old Testament Stories for Children. These books all feature beautiful watercolor paintings done by artist and iconographer Bonnie Gillis.

On fire-preparedness day, the Duck Pond 
neighbors are all cleaning up – all except Greedy,
 a bit of a hoarder. His loot causes his home to 
burn, and he learns a difficult lesson.
"Good Neighbors", the newest series of books written by Mother Melania, teaches children about being good neighbors through the comical adventures of the animals who live around Duck Pond - who must often be saved from the consequences of their foolish choices by Fearless the Fire Duck. The illustrator for this whimsical series is Cayce Kruse Halsell.

The idea for these stories came when members of Mother Melania's former community - Saint Barbara Monastery in Santa Paula, CA - were evacuated from their monastery due to a fire that swept through the nearby mountains. On their way back home, some of the sisters stopped to buy small gifts for some children and brought home a rubber ducky sporting a fire hat. Immediately, he became Fearless the Fire Duck and soon he had a whole community of friends.

Mother Melania with some of her books...

A vain and self-centered cat learns humility. In attempting to match the antics of a squirrel, Capers strands himself in a tree. Harry, his bloodhound pal, and Fearless the Fire Duck come to the rescue.

The only words Mimi seems to know are ‘me’ and ‘mine’ – until she is saved by others, during a neighborhood disaster. Through this she begins to think of others.

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