Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Books to nourish the mind and the spirit

An interesting and sometimes maddening article by Josephine Nobisso, author and publisher of children's books, can be found here. (Thanks to Lisa Mladinich, on the Catholic Writers Online group, for directing me to it.) My favorite (it's a "you've gotta laugh or you'll cry" instance) case of ignorance cited was the editor who asked for the biblical references to St. Francis. I laughed at that one. The other examples, though, of changing actual quotes and revising history, do make me cry.

I feel compelled to add that not all public schools are as awful as it one might think after reading this article (and Josephine Nobisso does refer to "most" public schools -- she is accurate in not saying "all" but obviously I would not deny her firsthand experience. And she's had some outrageous experiences.) Being in the sometimes strange position of "homeschooling family in which the father makes his living teaching in public schools" I have the opportunity to live in a couple of different worlds. The word "God" is not forbidden in Atticus's school. If the literature he is teaching refers to God, Atticus refers to God. Many of his students know that he is Catholic. (Sometimes he sees them at Mass.) All of this is dealt with in a straightforward way, though he does not proselytize (though a Christian must always hope to live St. Francis's exhortation: "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words") because that's not what he's there for. He's there to teach about gerunds, dangling modifiers and how not to brazenly split an infinitive, and about Chaucer and how to express one's thoughts on paper. But then, maybe we're insulated, living in a small town as we do.

Back to the matter at hand. We love Josephine's book, The Weight of a Mass, A Tale of Faith, around here. Check out her publishing company, Gingerbread House. The world needs quality and excellence in children's books, and publishers like Gingerbread House are out to provide it.

And I'm looking so forward to Take it to the Queen, A Tale of Hope. It promises to be as lovely and as inspiring as The Weight of a Mass.


Josephine Nobisso said...

Hello, Karen!

Thanks for blogging about my article in Voices. (The post felt like a visit and chat with a new, unmet friend!)

Didn't mean give the impression that I find schools to be awful! Those 100 visits per year, over the past 19 years, are all within an hour of my home, so you can imagine how dear the faculties and students of some buildings have become to me! That very "dearness" was the impetus for my bewailing the cultural correctness that disallows authentic discussion on the Faith--that most important of subjects.
(Well, Our Lord will certainly have His day!)

So glad Lisa's post put us in touch. Send me a shipping address, and I'll be sure you get a copy of Take It to the Queen as soon as it's out.

Keep up the wonderful work! Let's pray for one another!

Karen E. said...


How delightful to hear from you! Thank you for writing, and thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words.

I'm afraid I didn't express myself very well, and didn't mean to imply that you think schools are awful. Clearly you have affection for the students and faculty you visit, and I thought you quite accurately used the disclaimer "most." The truth is, some schools *are* awful. Your examples are stark and disheartening, but altogether true, and that's something that must be talked about. There are vital reasons to bewail "the cultural correctness that disallows authentic discussion on the Faith" and I agree with you about that.

I hope I didn't get defensive -- I sometimes do, as the wife of a good Catholic man trying to make whatever difference he can within the limitations of a purely secular environment. :-) I often find myself in the position of explaining what it's like to be a faithful Catholic teaching in a public school. Do forgive me if I misrepresented your words.

Sometimes, as a blogger, I cringe at how blithely I hit "Publish Post" when I have not yet revised, revised, revised. I'd never dream of sending off an article at first-draft stage, and yet I let first-drafts blather on daily here on the blog. :-)

At any rate, thanks so much for writing, and I eagerly await the publication of your next book! The Weight of a Mass has become a standard and wonderful First Communion gift around here.