Author: Lisa M. Hendey
Illustrator: Jenn Bower
Age Range: 6 – 10
Publisher: Servant (an imprint of Franciscan Media)
What a fun and engaging way to learn all about Saint Patrick. The Chime Travelers is a series of five books in which the two main characters travel back in time to meet our most beloved Saints. Lisa Hendey has done a great job of producing these books for school aged children which introduce the Saints in a way that children will love and understand.
In the first book, The Secret of the Shamrock, we meet the main characters Patrick and Katie Brady and learn a little about their family and parish community. Then something truly amazing happens in the confessional (where Patrick is catching a quick snooze!). The bells of St Anne’s chime and send Patrick way back in time where he meets a young Saint Patrick in Ireland.
Children will love Patrick and Katie. Patrick isn’t perfect and by book’s end he’s had to face up to some mean things he’s said and done. Lisa Hendey has cleverly nuanced her characters to make them more believable and easier for children to relate to. The illustrations are simple and will help children to understand what is happening.
Without being obvious, Lisa Hendey is teaching children about various parts of the church: the baptismal font, the pews, the confessional are all weaved seamlessly into the story. Saint Patrick is portrayed as a devout and humble young man who gives thanks for his blessings – while Patrick (our boy) struggles with being cold, wet, frightened and hungry. By book’s end, our main character Patrick returns home full of renewed appreciation for family, the Church and God.
I highly recommend these books, particularly this first one. It is an easy read aloud book, or a relatively easy read for children. I would love to see this series of books on the library shelves of every Catholic school in Australia. Why not? They’re simply a brilliant and entertaining way for Catholic children to learn about our favourite Saints.
And now you can watch Lisa Hendey reading The Secret of the Shamrock. Thank you so much, Lisa. Here is part one; just follow the links for the whole story!
For homeschoolers and teachers:
Lisa Hendey has included several chapters at the end of the book: All about the real Saint Patrick, Saint Patrick’s traditional prayer, and a list of discussion questions for parents or teachers to use with young readers. Thank you, Lisa!
Activities I would do as a homeschool mom/mum would include:
- Dress up like Saint Patrick (which would involve a little research to see what he might have worn). Don’t forget his shepherd’s crook.
- Making or drawing a shamrock and reciting the meaning of the Blessed Trinity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7IJda-4kY8 You might try reading page 94 of the book again if you have trouble simplifying the meaning of the Holy Trinity.
- If you have a group of children who like imaginative play, you could encourage them to act out the story – maybe they could film themselves.
- For other children, rewriting this story with themselves meeting Saint Patrick would be fun. It all depends on your child or children.
Check out the wonderful resources that Lisa Hendey has provided on https://chimetravelerkids.com/