Friday 1 July 2022

Vision Books for Young Readers

Vision Books for Young Readers

I picked up my fist vision book because it was on Saint Damien the Leper, but it took me a while to get around to reading it. The first I read was Saint Jose, Boy Cristero Martyr. I became fascinated with the volumes and decided to do some research. That research has led to this article. If the information I have gathered is correct the original Vision books were published between 1955 and 1967. The originals were published by Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, Inc. some had Catholic Book Club Editions. On the site Race for Heaven Site I found the publishers description and a list of the volumes:

Publisher's Description: “. . . rich collection of biographies for Catholic youngsters from 9-15. Written by well-known authors in sparkling, lively language, Vision Books are based upon careful research and historical fact.” Note that many of the Vision books were also published in a Catholic Youth Book Club edition. The original editions—not book club—can be identified by the Vision Book logos on the front and back end pages—the pages attached to the covers.”

You can often find certain volumes used, some for reasonable prices. Others for absolutely ridiculous prices. And some are available on Open Library. Currently Ignatius Press has licensed some volumes. They have 33 available currently including 4 new volumes tagged as “New Vision Books”. The original prints were:

Original Volumes:
1. St. John Bosco and the Children's Saint, Dominic Savio by Catherine Beebe (1955)
2. St. Therese and the Roses by Helen Walker Homan (1955)
3. Father Marquette and the Great Rivers by August Derleth (1955)
4. St. Francis of the Seven Seas by Albert J. Nevins (1955)
5. Bernadette and the Lady by Hertha Pauli (1956)
6. St. Isaac and the Indians by Milton Lomask (1956)
7. Fighting Father Duffy by Jim and Virginia Lee Bishop (1956)
8. St. Pius X, the Farm Boy Who Became Pope by Walter Diethelm (1956)
9. St. Ignatius and the Company of Jesus by August Derleth (1956)
10. John Carroll: Bishop and Patriot by Milton Lomask (1956)
11. St. Dominic and the Rosary by Catherine Beebe (1956)
12. The Cross in the West by Mark Boesch (1956)
13. My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic by Roger P. Buliard (1956)
14. Champions in Sports and Spirit by Ed Fitzgerald (1956)
15. Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi by Helen Walker Homan (1956)
16. Christmas and the Saints by Hertha Pauli (1956)
17. Edmund Campion, Hero of God's Underground by Harold C. Gardiner (1957)
18. Modern Crusaders by John Travers Moore and Rosemarian Staudacher (1957)
19. Our Lady Came to Fatima by Ruth Fox Hume (1957)
20. The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming by Catherine Beebe (1957)
21. St. Augustine and His Search for Faith by Milton Lomask (1957)
22. St. Joan the Girl Soldier  by Louis de Wohl (1957)
23. St. Thomas More of London by Elizabeth M. Ince (1957)
24. Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity by Alma Power-Waters (1957)
25. St. Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars by Brendan Larnen and Milton Lomask (1957)
26. Father Damien and the Bells by Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan (1957)
27. Columbus and the New World by August Derleth (1957)
28. St. Philip of the Joyous Heart by Francis X. Connolly (1957)
29. Lydia Longley, the First American Nun by Helen A. McCarthy (1958)
30. St. Anthony and the Christ Child by Helen Walker Homan (1958)
31. St. Elizabeth's Three Crowns by Blanche Jennings Thompson (1958)
32. Katharine Drexel, Friend of the Neglected by Ellen Tarry (1958)
33. St. Louis and the Last Crusade by Margaret Ann Hubbard (1958)
34. Kateri Tekakwitha, Mohawk Maid by Evelyn M. Brown (1958)
35. St. Benedict, Hero of the Hills by Mary Fabyan Windeatt (1958)
36. The Cure of Ars, The Priest Who Outtalked the Devil by Milton Lomask (1958)
37. Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges by Rosemarian Staudacher (1958)
38. St. Helena and the True Cross by Louis de Wohl (1959)
39. Governor Al Smith by James Farley and James Conniff (1959)
40. Kit Carson of the Old West by Mark Boesch (1959)
41. Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgrimage of Nathaniel's Daughter by Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan (1959)
42. The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure by Harnett T. Kane (1959)
43. Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World by Frances Parkinson Keyes (1959)
44. More Champions in Sports and Spirit by Ed Fitzgerald (1959)
45. St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart by Ruth Fox Hume (1960)
46. When Saints Were Young by Blanche Jennings Thompson (1960)
47. Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy by Sr. Marie Christopher (1960)
48. Vincent de Paul, Saint of Charity by Margaret Ann Hubbard (1960)
49. Florence Nightingale's Nuns by Emmeline Garnett (1961)
50. Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd by Louis de Wohl (1961)
51. St. Jerome and the Bible by George Sanderlin (1961)
52. Saints of the Byzantine World by Blanche Jennings Thompson (1961)
54. St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal by Alma Power-Waters (1962)
55. Mother Barat's Vineyard by Margaret Ann Hubbard (1962)
57. Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World by Ellen Tarry (1963)
58. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher by Sister Mary Genevieve (1963)
59. Father Kino, Priest to the Pimas by Ann Nolan Clark (1963)
60. Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls by Rosemarian Staudacher (1963)
61. St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God by George Sanderlin (1964)
62. Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword by Blanche Jennings Thompson (1964)
63. Irish Saints by Robert T. Reilly (1964)
64. Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne by Margaret Ann Hubbard (1964)
65. Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves by Ann Roos (1965)
66. John Neumann, The Children's Bishop by Elizabeth Odell Sheehan (1965)
67. St. Francis de Sales by Blanche Jennings Thompson (1965)
68. Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest by Alma Power-Waters (1965)
69. Good Pope John by Elizabeth Odell Sheehan (1966)
70. In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States by Rosemarian Staudacher (1966)
71. Brother Andre of Montreal by Ann Nolan Clark (1967)
72. Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross by Evelyn Brown (1967)

The new volumes are:

Saint Jose, Boy Cristero Martyr - Fr. Kevin McKenzie (2019)

Current Volumes from Ignatius Press:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity
Saints of the Church A Teacher's Guide to the Vision Books

I have tracked down a few of the older copies, both the book club edition and public release, I also have 2 physical ones from Ignatius, and picked up a few of the eBook edition. One of the earliest volumes book 12 had this as the last page in the volume:


Stories of Great Catholics To Inspire Young Hearts

Vision Books are an exciting new series especially designed to acquaint boys and girls from nine to fifteen with the fives of great Catholic lay figures, martyrs, and saints.

Vision Books will inspire and instruct. Their lively telling, their readability, and their historical accuracy make them unique. These colorful action-filled fife stories combine scrupulous fidelity to facts with high entertainment value. Besides giving youngsters a broader understanding of their Faith, this series also brings them a world of information about history and geography, at home and in foreign lands. Through Vision Books young people will better comprehend and visualize the courage and piety that inspired these famous followers of Christ.

Vision Books are written by outstanding authors, who tell about their own special heroes and heroines.

Vision Books will captivate young readers. These rewarding and inspiring fife stories of great Catholics unlock a lavish treasure house of thrilling reading and spiritual adventure.” 

From the ones I have read I completely agree. They are written for readers 9 and up, I can easily state based on the four I have read that they are excellent for teens and adults as well. I really started into this series after I had finished the 38 books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. I have been able to track down 49 of the volumes across all three version. And plan to read them slowly over the next few years. 

This is an excellent series. I hope that Ignatius can expand their offering with either new volumes or increasing the number they reprint. They are great reads, and I can easily recommend them for readers of all ages. 

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