Seven Quick Takes Favorite Authors and Titles

For this weeks Quick Take 7, I polled a variety of our Catholic Sistas to come up with a quick choice of seven new authors/books you might want to take a peek at – given that the new school year is breathing down our necks just around the corner.

Quick Take One is The Hundred Dresses and I can’t describe it better than Misty did when she suggested this lovely book that I recall from my first years of parenting and I think I might even have vague memories of reading it myself as a child.

In Misty’s own words The Hundred Dresses is “a beautiful story about a poor girl who claims to have “a hundred dresses” at home, despite wearing one bedraggled dress to school each day. She’s teased and finally leaves the school, but wins the school drawing contest in which she submits “100 dresses,” all expertly drawn. The book is about bullying and remorse for not standing up to protect others from it. Ages–8-12.”


Quick Take Two is another contribution from Misty and she describes this book just as beautifully as she did the first. “The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is about a tree who loved a boy, and who gave everything to him for his happiness at various stages of life until she was nothing but a stump.” According to Misty this book “explores both generosity and selfishness, and can prime children for a deeper understanding of self-giving and protecting their own dignity from selfish exploitation. Ages 3-7.”


For Quick Take Three (and a slightly older reading crowd than quick take one represented) we have another contribution by Misty and this time its for the 10 – 14 yr old readers in our family. Quick take three is titled Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus.  Misty shared that this book is about “a teenage Japanese fisherman who is rescued in the mid-1800s by a passing American whaling ship. Japan’s borders were then closed to all Western nations, so the crew takes him to America, where he learns English and is adopted by the whaling captain who takes him to his farm in New England. He eventually goes back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider, but his experience soon helps the shogun open the borders to the country when Admiral Matthew Perry shows up asking for port. Explores issues of racism (from both Japanese and Westerners), family ties, and good stewardship for the environment, all within a greater adventure story of Manjiro’s travels. Ages 10-14.”


Quick Take Four is a suggestion from Kerri and is an author as opposed to a specific book title. She and her little ones have shared many a giggle over the books by Sandra Boynton. One of the delightful things about writing this post has been googling some of these authors and realizing some of their suggestions have actually been cheerfully grasped by many chubby, sticky fingers in this household and have even found residence in our basket of favorite books. Boynton’s Blue Hat Green Hat is a perfect example.


Quick Take Five is a series of books called the Happy Holister books and there are thirty three titles in this series.  Apparently the author Jerry West is a pseudonym for Andrew E. Svenson who was a member of  the Stratemeyer Syndicate; a book packager of well-known children’s series such as Tom Swift, The Bobbsey Twins, The Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. It looks like a fun series of books to explore and I’m hoping to land a few on my shelves in the coming school months. Until then I can’t really tell you what age range the books are aimed at but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that we are looking at ages similar to those who would enjoy the other series by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Thank you to Catholic Sistas’s friend Lisa S for this suggestion.


Quick Take Six already?! I’m getting a tad stressed now because I have more books than I have quick takes so I think I’m going to cheat and group a few together here. You see, I have an awesome secret I’m going to unveil  in quick take seven – something that I believe is a little known secret.

So the group of books I’m going to share here from a variety of Catholic Sistas suggestions are the Red Wall Series, (An awesome series that my now 19 year old devoured during his very early adolescence.) the Children’s Illustrated Classics (This being our third decade of parenting our shelves are sporting second runs of some of these titles because, yes, we wore out the first ones.) Then there is our beloved author Robert Munsch.  He wrote the beautiful & very moving story “Love You Forever” which you absolutely need to hear him narrate. Way back when (I’m not saying when either!) I heard him being interviewed by Peter Gzowski on Morningside (Canadian National Radio show) about this particular book. Apparently the writing of Love you Forever was part of his healing process following the loss of his unborn child. (Tipping my hat to Michelle for this reminder of a great author.)

I’m going to finish quick take 6 with  The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon which was just one of the great titles suggested by Ann Marie O. I found this book myself this year while preparing to teach art to preschoolers. They.Loved.It. Need I say more?


Drum rrrroll please – we have reached Quick Take Seven! And… the unveiling of Anne of Green Gables. Wait, you exclaim! What big secret is that!? I’ve seen the tv series on PBS, I read the book as a child… my kids have read it countless times?

Wait, wait… Anne of Green Gables is actually only one of EIGHT books in the Chronicles of Anne! I bet you didn’t know that! Or that Montgomery has three other heroines she wrote about who are Emily of New Moon, Story Girl (The character upon which Sarah Polly of Road to Avonlea is based.) and Pat of Silver Bush?

With this incredible list of books suggested for our reading leisure by our Ink Slayers: Misty, Kerri, Anne Marie O, Alison S, Michelle, and myself, along with our good friend Lisa S, I think I have left you with some happy hunting ahead of you and, hopefully, not too large a shopping tab as you realize many, if not all, of these books are musts for your personal library shelves.

See you next month! Until then, be sure to check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.


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