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)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Have you ever wondered what happened to the Cross of Christ, after his crucifixion? Well, the answer involves a queen named Helena, who was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great.  In the twentieth year of his reign (326), the Emperor sent his mother to Jerusalem to find the site of the Holy Sepulchre and of the True Cross (a story in itself). After finding the Cross in Jerusalem, Queen Helena travelled to Cyprus to gift a small piece of the Cross to the church there. Too much for kids to comprehend?  Not in this new children's book, THE QUEEN AND THE CATS: A Story of Saint Helena, by Calee Lee.  It debuts today, September 14, which for Orthodox and Catholic Christians is a special "feast day" commemorating the finding of the Cross of Christ...

Told through the eyes of a young girl, the story begins as Queen Helena arrives to bring the greatest of gifts to the people of Cyprus. But when she tries to present the treasure, the Queen discovers that the local churches have been infested with a deadly problem: snakes! It’s up to Queen Helena and the little village girl to come up with a solution that will make the churches safe once more.

As Calee describes it, “this story brings Saint Helena to life in a way that is both accessible and enjoyable for little ones. The lives of the saints provide so many rich stories for our children. I’m thrilled to have partnered with illustrator Turbo Qualls to bring this story to Catholic and Orthodox families around the world.”

While this captivating picture book is geared towards kids ages 4-8, older siblings will be quick to take over the read-aloud duties and littler ones won't be able to resist Turbo's 24 full-color graphics. This is the first story of its kind to be available in ebook format (the Kindle version is less than $5 and works on phones, tablets, laptops and more).  But not to worry, all you "traditional book" people (like me) can preview and purchase a print copy from Amazon by clicking HERE.

Calee M. Lee visited the island of Cyprus for Holy Week in 2009 and fell in love with the country’s beautiful scenery and friendly cats. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Calee has worked extensively as a freelance writer, editor and video producer. She attends Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, California with her husband and two children. You can read more about Calee on her BLOG.

Turbo Qualls is an accomplished artist and illustrator in the Southern California area. Along with his wife and four children, Turbo attends St. Barnabas Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa, California.

And just in case you were wondering...Saint Helena really did send cats to the island of Cyprus. There’s even a breed of cat called the "St. Helen" that is traced back to her gift. Click here to read more...

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