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Who(m) Do You Love?

The Cover Image: I think Bear came first. He might be about a year older than Hearts. I think Hearts was a Valentine’s Day gift to our little “Molly” when she was 3. They are well-loved.

The Title: As a homeschooling mom, I’m a little bit ridiculously proud of how I’ve managed to produce two mini grammar police.

But, what’s more important than a misplaced modifier or a surplus of exclamation points? How about a lesson in LOVE?

A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (who may or may not be the inspiration behind a certain wolfpet-named-Francis) said you don’t have to know how to spell love, you just have to feel it.

pooh.jpg

The point is, kiddos aren’t just born knowing how to perform acts of charity; they must be taught. Ideally, we are molding them into selfless adults through our own example. But when the day is long and the night is short, we may find that we have neither the energy to shuttle everyone off to help ladle noodles at the soup kitchen, nor the funds to adopt a highway. In these cases, we may have to resort to some direct, didactic teaching, or, even better, read stories!

May I suggest the latest in the Molly McBride series? It’s called Molly McBride and the Party Invitation and it’s available both at Amazon and direct from the publisher at Gracewatch Media.

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

Party Invitation is a tale of true love, charity. I’m talking about “love” as in the word Paul used in writing to the Corinthians, using the Greek work agape, (also used by John to equal “God,”) that was later translated into the Latin caritas, the root of the English word “charity.”

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity. A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: "loving thy enemy" via the Gospel of Matthew.

And in this love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity in a surprising way: the story examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Illustration of the pharisees, from Molly McBride and the Party Invitation
“Ever wonder why it is so much easier to love our friends than our enemies?” asks Father Matt of Molly and Dominic.

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As in the first 2 Molly McBride books, lessons abound whenever the fiery-haired 5-year-old encounters her faithful friends, the Children of Mary sisters and, in Book 2, Father Matt. It is my dream that every child will learn a little something, in a fun and entertaining way, from the relatable characters in these books. And, hopefully, the books will fulfill the daily goal of every teacher and homeschooling parent, that is, to help children learn to enjoy reading and to continue to grow in their faith.

Blessings!

Jeanie

What are you reading? You can share your favorite books by tagging your social media posts with #OpenBook and linking up with us at Carolyn Astfalk’s “My Scribbler’s Heart” blog as well as CatholicMom.

 

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
art, Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, On Being a Good Friend, Promoting Vocations, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

I Promised You a Party

As well as a Trifecta in February as we unveil the long-awaited sequel to Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper, and so, at last! here it is:

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
Cover image of Book #3 in the Molly McBride Series, “Party Invitation” is a tale of true love, charity.

 

From the back cover:

Molly McBride is turning 6, and her Momma is planning a BIG party. Everyone in Molly’s class is supposed to get an invitation. But should a certain class bully be invited, too? Or would it be better if his were “lost”?

Join Molly and friends as they learn that doing actor of charity, while always a good thing, isn’t always a party.

A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: Bullies need love, too!
A true love story, Molly McBride and friends, with the help of Father Matt, learn the real meaning of charity. The story also subtly examines school bullying through a unique lens: “loving thy enemy” via the Gospel of Matthew.

As always, in my effort to expose Catholic kids to the religious life, there are special guests in this book: along with Father Matt, the Children of Mary sisters play a big part in Party Invitation.

"Party Invitation" is a tale of true love, charity.
From the award-winning Catholic author/illustrator of the Molly McBride series comes book #3 : Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity. Addresses the meaning of charity as well as school bullying, as seen through the unique lens of Gospel stories.

Friends, it’s ready to order NOW via Amazon here: Party Invitation! It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthday, or First Communion gift for the Catholic kids in your life. Miss Molly is turning 6 in this story, but the Molly books are enjoyed by kids of all ages, especially the 3-9 year-old crowd.

Momma here wishes to thank all Molly’s faithful fans, especially my family: may charity and love prevail.

Blessings,

Jeanie

Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Uncategorized

Be a Groupie!

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMollyMcBrideandthePurpleHabit%2Fposts%2F1997130777165098&width=500

Weird stuff is rumored to be going down in FB-land in 2018, so Molly is getting a bit nervous: she wants to keep all the good friends she’s made these last few years! Therefore, she asked “Momma” (that’s me) to make her Page into a Group. Please share all her posts, especially her book updates, with all your other Molly-mates! Invite them to the party, too.  To enter, just kindly click here.  You’ll see something like this:

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 9.22.20 PM

Then “Join.” Momma’ll do her best to keep you all in the loop, ’cause good things are happening in 2018! There will be giveaways, blog tours, the new addition to the family of Molly McBride books, and even a Plaid Party Goods line!

hat
Plaid-Clad Mollies™ party hat Plaid-Clad Mollies™ party hat available at https://www.zazzle.com/collections/plaid_clad_mollies-119955450627835007

 

art, Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Molly Comics, Promoting Vocations, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Happy New Year!

2018 is a PARTY year for MM fans young and old. Stay tuned to your favorite Molly McBride social media channels so you don’t miss her latest book release information and trailer!

MM New Year 2018

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Dear Santa

comicsantaletter

Molly writes Santa...
Molly writes Santa….but on behalf of her wolf-pet-named-Francis.
art, Book Updates!, Promoting Vocations, Uncategorized

Trifecta in February

The header image above is an actual message I received, in a rather round-about way, from a reader. Fear not, faithful followers of the fiery-haired five-year-old! The “folks” over here in Mollyland have set a goal: in 2018, the month of Valentines and Mardi Gras will feature BOOK THREE! Rumor has it, it’ll be something to party about. Little teaser:

sprucing upFEBStay tuned for updates!

art, It's sharing time!, Molly Comics, Mothers of Mollies, Uncategorized

Turkey Surprise

Thought about what to make with all your leftovers yet?

Tgivingcomic

Promoting Vocations, Uncategorized

Religious Vocations Awareness 2017

National Vocations Awareness Week 2017 begins Sunday, November 5, and it’s been a really exciting time here at the “McBride” residence. I had the pleasure of writing a piece again this year for Peanut Butter and Grace, and that article is here. Additionally, I had the privilege of appearing live on Catholic TV’s This Is the Day show with Bonnie Rogers and Kevin Nelson. We discussed my favorite topic: fostering religious vocations through children’s literature!

Looking back, I was lucky. I treasure so many beautiful childhood memories, especially visits from my 2 nun-aunts, Sister Carla and Sister Mary Elizabeth. My mom used to say, back then, every Catholic family strived to raise at least one child to hear the calling to the religions life.

Born Family, Portsmouth, OH c. 1938
Back then, every Catholic family strived to raise at least one child to become a religious.

 

My grade school principal was a religious sister, as were several of the teachers and staff. These days a Catholic school kid can go a whole 12 years of school (or more, if you count pre-school and kindergarten) without ever meeting a religious other than his/her parish priest.

This makes me so sad. How will we continue to have religious sisters and brothers, as well as ordained priests and deacons, in the future of the Church when this generation of children never sees any?  And so I write the Molly McBride series with the hopes that my colorful little character will influence other spunky little kids to consider the calling.

Besides reading books about religious to your kids, you can head over to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ page for a long list of suggestions for families. The following prayer is from the same site:

“O Holy Family of Nazareth, community of love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, model and ideal of every Christian family, to you we entrust our families. Open the heart of every family to the faith, to welcoming the word of God, to Christian witness, so that it become a source of new and holy vocations. Touch the hearts of parents, so that with prompt charity, wise care, and loving devotion they be for their sons and daughters sure guides towards spiritual and eternal values. Stir up in the hearts of young people a right conscience and a free will, so that growing in wisdom, age and grace, they might welcome generously the gift of a divine vocation. Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that all of us, contemplating and imitating the assiduous prayer, generous obedience, dignified poverty and virginal purity lived out in your midst, might set about fulfilling the will of God and accompanying with far-sighted sensitivity those among us who are called to follow more closely the Lord Jesus, who has given himself for us (cf. Gal 2:20).”

Amen.

 

 

It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Faith and Kung Fu Series Packs Positive Punch

As “Molly’s” big sis approaches the teen years, Momma’s learning to look in all the right places for great teen/YA series.  I’m so happy to give 2 thumbs waaaaaay up for T. M. Gaouette (pronounced “gow ETT”) and her Faith and Kung Fu series which appeals to guys and gals alike.

The series kicks off with Freeing Tanner Rose. Tanner Rose is a 14-year-old starlet already well on her way to a life choked with the typical Hollywood vices. She’s put into a sort of rehab situation (staying with a college friend of her mom’s) when she meets the very wholesome 16-year-old Gabriel, martial arts lover and actively practicing Catholic.

Aaaaand they pretty much can’t stand one another. Gabriel keeps finding himself in situations where Tanner’s superficial personality embarrasses him to death in front of his friends. It’s such a antithesis to the typical teeny-bopper story where the geek gets made over by a cool kid and geek thus becomes popular.

I wish there had been books like this when I was a teen! I happened to grow up in a really, REALLY less-than-wholesome peer group situation, and I had no reason to believe there were any “good” kids my age ANYWHERE. It seemed everyone around me was a Tanner Rose. Now, I’m not going to go into any gory details here, but it wasn’t until years and years later that I discovered there actually were some kids out there who didn’t smoke, drink, do drugs, etc. It would be so nice if every teen experiencing this feeling could read this book and realize that there really are kids out there like Gabriel and his friends. Check out this conversation between Tanner and Gabriel’s friends Faith and Nina, talking about Gabriel:

“He should totally think about modeling,” Tanner said. 

Faith snorted. “Don’t hold your breath. He’s not like that.” She noted the look of confusion on Tanner’s face. “It’s not that complicated, Rose. Gabriel’s not into looks. I don’t even think that he realizes he’s handsome. And he’s definitely not interested in dating. None of us are.” She turned and grabbed a large bag of chips from her backpack and pulled it open.

“Sometimes you have to exploit your talents before they disappear,” Tanner said.

“Yeah, but Gabriel would say that looks aren’t a talent.” Faith popped a large chip into her mouth. “And besides plastic surgery, people shouldn’t be credited for their looks. That’s all God.” She tipped the bag toward Tanner who took a chip and ate it.

“But it takes an effort to maintain yourself,” Tanner said.

“Yeah, but that’s different,” Faith said, looking at Tanner. “Personality is what really defines a person, and even a beautiful person can be ugly if they’re horrible inside, and vice versa.” She shoved another chip into her mouth and raised her eyebrows, as if waiting for a response. But Tanner didn’t have one ready to go. So they looked at each other, the sound of crunching filling the conversation void.

“Well, the people I hang out with don’t really pay attention to personality. They just care about looks and money,” Tanner said eventually.

“That’s too bad.”

“Why?”

Faith shrugged and wiped her hand on her towel. Her mouth was still full, so Tanner waited. Finally, she said, “Because those things just can’t compete against a good character.”

T. M. does such a wonderful job of making the characters so real and likable that, even wholesome as they are, I’d like to believe my teen-self would have wanted to emulate them. I love it that there is so much detail about the girls’ clothes. Teen girls love to read about what other teen girls are wearing, and the way T. M. contrasts the flashy, slinky outfits Tanner sports against the cute, modest way Faith and Nina dress will surely send the right message to today’s YA readers. Positive peer pressure!

Talk about getting inside a young girl’s head! Imagine you are a 14 year-old girl with a lot of insecurities and problems, away from your family and friends, in the home of a really good-looking 16-year old boy. You’re flirting, trying to act extra mature and worldly to impress him.

“So you’ve never…?” Tanner asked, looking up at him. He shook his head, his eyebrows raised in amusement. “Someone as hot as you?”

He laughed softly. “It’s dependent on looks? he asked. “Besides, you’re fourteen. You shouldn’t be thinking about sex, let alone calling boys ‘hot’ to their faces.” He shook his head and glanced out at the house. She was suddenly embarrassed and she didn’t know why. Shouldn’t he be embarrassed that he’s a virgin at 16? she wondered. But Gabriel showed no embarrassment or shame. In fact, she was certain that he seemed proud of it.

“Have you ever kissed a girl?” she asked.

“Nope,” he said with that same un abashed tone.

“Must make for some pretty awkward dates, ” she said with a smile. “You’ve probably broken a ton of hearts.”

“I don’t date,” he said, looking at her. Tanner was reminded of her conversation with Faith and Nina during their camping trip.

“What?” she said and this time she laughed. “Are you kidding me?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?” And then a thought crossed her mind and she added, “Oh, your mom won’t let you?”

Gabriel shrugged. “I don’t know if she would. I’ve never asked her.”

“Never met a girl you wanted to date? What about Faith or Nina?”

“I don’t date, Tanner.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s a waste of time and emotions..” He held her gaze and shrugged before adding, “I don’t want to get involved with anyone I wouldn’t consider for a future wife, and getting married is just not an option right now. So, until God opens that door for me, I’m not interested.”

Tanner let his words replay in her mind, and it surprised her how affected she was by them, and she didn’t know why. She didn’t know if it was because he had the courage to make such a statement or if she wished she had the resolve to make that same vow.

Burn! Poor Tanner.

Well, I won’t spoil it for you. Buy Freeing Tanner Rose to see what Tanner ends up doing, then get book number 2 Saving Faith.

Oh! and Book 3 is coming very soon! We can’t wait.

My daughter has also read and enjoyed T. M. Gaouette’s The Destiny Of Sunshine Ranch. Maybe she can be a guest blogger and fill you in on it!

I’m just thanking God for T. M. Gaouette and all these amazing Catholic authors of teen/YA lit. I do believe they will change the world!

Book Updates!, It's sharing time!, Recommended Reads, Uncategorized

Librarians, Teachers, Parents Take Note

Quite often my inbox hosts a message from a Catholic mama that goes something like this:
On Aug 10, 2017, at 8:42 AM, mfree@email.com wrote:
Hello Jean,

Would you please forward to me a list of your recommended books by Catholic authors? I would like it for my own reference, as well as to offer it to the librarian at St. (pick one!) School.  Also, do you have a resource (list, website, etc.) for comparisons, like instead of reading that, read this book.  I would love to encourage my Catholic school librarian to promote worthwhile books to the students (not that Dork Diaries and the like are not worthwhile. HaHa!).

HA!!!!!

Well, my friends, there is not one place (yet) that can list all of the amazing page-turners out there written by faithful Catholics. But I have the following really useful list to get you started.

First off, as far as an “instead of this read that” kind of thing, keep your eyes on Cathy Gilmore’s Virtue Works Media, because Cathy’s big dream is to provide exactly that type of service. For example, instead of The Hunger Games, check out Corinna Turner’s I Am Margaret from Chesterton Press, or instead of the Twilight books, look into Jennifer the Damned by Karen Ullo (Wiseblood Books.)

Now, an absolute MUST-TELL-MY-SCHOOL-LIBRARIAN! is what’s going on down in Florida with Lizette Lantigua’s  Good News Book Fair, a new and rapidly-growing traveling book fair for schools and parishes. Take a look at some of the photographs on her site, because Liz’s displays of books, posters, toys, etc. are beautiful and can even be customized for your organization. (IMHO, Good News Book Fairs should completely replace Scholastic in our Catholic schools.*)

And not to be outdone by Florida, five Texans have come up with Catholic Reads, an online service that offers a free subscription to newsletters with book reviews and hefty discounts on the reviewed titles. Similarly, author-run Catholic Teen Books offers reviews, teaching tools, author info, links, and more if you’re in the market for YA books.

Worldwide, one of the things we are doing in the Catholic Writers’ Guild is revamping our website to make it easier for readers to evaluate our titles and authors by age group and genre. Fresh from the CWG’s blog is this very helpful article which highlights some of my family’s favorite books: this article that would be VERY helpful to pass on to librarians and teachers:  CWG Blog Post: List of books .

Whew! I’m glad I finally stole a few minutes to put all this in one place. And, friends, I really appreciate your sharing this post. So, so many people will benefit from the information I’ve listed here.

Blessings!

Jeanie

*For more on that *cough* humble opinion, I have an article pending publication.