New Catholic History Text DebutsKAREN WALKER
For the past nearly 40 years, Catholic schools have had to choose between buying secular history textbooks or reproducing old, out-of-date history textbooks previously written for Catholic schools. But now that has changed.
A lot has happened in the last 40 years: The ending of the Vietnam War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the explosion of the Internet, two Gulf Wars, the worldwide travels of Pope John Paul II, his apostolic letters and encyclicals, the launching of World Youth Days that have drawn up to four million young people at a time, the effects of 30 years of legalized abortion in the U.S., the saintly example of Mother Teresa, and the canonization of more than 200 new saints worldwide.
These new events, and others, contribute to new challenges for today’s Catholic student. Many of the newly canonized saints also provide strong new role models for children of our modern world. Such contemporary saints include St. Maximilian Kolbe, who resisted the Nazis and who also fully embraced the most advanced technology of his age; St. Edith Stein, a Jewish convert to the Faith; and St. Faustina, the great saint of Divine Mercy.
Endorsed by seven bishops, the new History textbook series now has two Volumes 5 and 6 of its projected nine-book series completed. Volume 5 is entitled From Sea to Shining Sea: The Story of America and recounts the story of North America the Indian nations, European colonization, the founding and history of the United States up to the beginnings of the twentieth century. Told as a series of engaging and historically accurate stories for young people, this volume includes thumbnail biographies, lives of the saints, maps, illustrations and other supplemental material. Volume 5 is suitable for students in the middle school grades.
Volume 6, All Ye Lands: World Cultures and Geography, has been in schools for a year and is receiving rave reviews. This textbook presents the origins and stories of world peoples and cultures European, African and Asian with geography of the world and lives of great men and women from the dawn of civilization to modern times. It includes timelines, maps, charts and illustrations to give depth and context to the stories presented. It is suitable for grades 6-8. Teacher's Manuals for both volumes will be available late summer and will include quizzes, tests, games, tips, descriptions and more.
“I think one of the important aspects of this book is the fact that it can be used for more than the teaching of social studies,” continues Mrs. Kenney. “It is so well written that it can provide examples of good construction of sentences, paragraphs and short essays which will be useful to language arts programs at the upper elementary and middle school levels. The "Let's Remember" and "Let's Consider" sections in the chapter review provide many possibilities for written language arts assignments.”
“Personally, I would have to say that Chapter
8 was my favorite chapter,” explained Jim, a seventh grader at St. Augustine Academy.
“Why? Because it was filled with stories of men seeking truth. Men such as St.
Thomas Aquinas, Emperor Charlemagne and Robin Hood.”
Karen Walker. "New Catholic History Text Debuts." Catholic Exchange (July, 2003).
This article reprinted with permission from Catholic Exchange.
Karen Walker is a prolific writer and Catholic publicist, and owner of California-based Walker & Associates Strategic Communications.
© 2003 Catholic Exchange
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