Reviews of Heidi's Books, Writing and Photography
A selection from Danielle Bean's forward to Homegrown Faith: Weekly Devotions for Catholic Families
"There is no cure-all for the unique challenges of faithful family living, and books and programs that set up grand expectations of living "happily ever after" are bound to disappoint.
That is why I sincerely appreciate Homegrown Faith for Catholic Families. It is simple and organized. It is chock-full of a year's worth of good ideas and encouraging words, but it is humble, too. The book doesn't pretend to be a cure-all. It doesn't set up unrealistic expectations. It only gently offers support, inspiration, and encouragement to Catholic women as they seek to build the kingdom of God, beginning with their own domestic churches."
More endorsements of Homegrown Faith
“Heidi Bratton’s Homegrown Faith captures the beauty of spiritual life within the family through the lens of ordinary life. Her reflections provide a backdrop for individual or group study that could be especially helpful to young mothers. Highly recommended.”
Author and speaker, Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker’s Heart, Life-Giving Love: Embracing God’s Beautiful Design for Marriage, Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage, Rome Sweet Rome
"In the midst of a society that values individual rights and entitlements over and above self-giving and sacrifice, it can be very challenging to chart a course for authentic family life. Through this wonderful book, Homegrown Faith, Heidi Bratton’s reflections provide a resource that will help to bring strengthened faith and genuine happiness to all families.
Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, during the course of his visit to the United States in 2008, noted that through family life we experience “the fundamental elements of peace: justice and love”. In addition, the Pope noted our responsibility to promote the values which enable the human person to flourish and reminded us that it is the unique responsibility of parents to firmly plant and nurture those moral values in their homes. By way of Homegrown Faith, Heidi Bratton makes an important contribution to this mission, providing the opportunity for families to come together in prayer and to recognize the many blessings they share, even in the midst of the inevitable challenges.
In addition to making Homegrown Faith part of your personal spiritual reading, I encourage you to consider this book as a gift for your relative and friends who are raising families or spend time with their extended families. We are all called to be disciples of the Lord and that work includes sharing spiritual encouragement with others. The reflections contained in Homegrown Faith are an excellent means of building up the Church one family at a time; this book would surely be well received in any home where people seek to grow closer to one another by developing a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley
Archbishop of Boston
Member of the Presidential Council of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Please accept my thanks for sending me a copy of Homegrown Faith for Catholic Families. In this book you relate the real experiences of an outstanding Catholic wife and mother of six. You give good insights, offer practical wisdom, and provide an "inside look" into the working of what has been called "the domestic Church." You humorously interpret the ordinary events of a contemporary household with the eyes of faith. The collection of 52 or your articles from the Anchor is augmented by the inclusion of discussion questions, which will help your readers to see Christ in the context of family life and encourage the formation of the deeper, more personal faith in our Lord. Its arrangement according to the Church's liturgical year gives it further catechetical dimension. I believe that Catholic parents would enjoy and could make very good use of this book. Reading and working on Homegrown Faith together, family members could find it a means for growing closer not only to God but to each other. I do not hesitate to recommend highly this enjoyable and helpful book to others!"
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
George W. Coleman, Bishop of Fall River
“God speaks to us in so many ways each day, but many of us have not yet learned to listen to what he says through these daily events. Heidi Bratton does us all a favor in this excellent book by helping us tune into God’s frequency, and derive life-changing lessons, from the ordinary event of day-to-day life. This will be an inspirational read for parents seeking to make their home a domestic Church through the often-chaotic liturgy of family life. It will also be an accessible, inspiring and transformative read for younger Catholics raised in a post-Christian culture, who will discover how to look at life through the sacramental mindset that flows from our faith. Homegrown Faith will help every reader’s faith grow.”
Fr. Roger J. Landry
Executive Editor of The Anchor, the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River.”
"To grow through the Church year with Heidi Bratton is to see Truth revealed by the most ordinary things and events of day-to-day home life -- a ringing alarm clock, a missed cup of coffee, a pot of boiling water, and it is especially to see how grace is revealed by the most extraordinary things -- those eternal beings we sleep, play, eat, and argue with, that collection of souls that God has assembled into a family. Best of all, Homegrown Faith does not stay home; it moves out in mission -- to foreign countries, to engage our separated brethren, to change the world. A year spent with Heidi will grow faith in your home -- and beyond."
Mrs. Mary Kochan, Senior Editor
“’Take Small Bites and Keep On Chewing.’ This homespun wisdom summarizes very well this little book of meditations to guide you through the Church year. From the winter of Advent and Christmas to the springtime of Lent and Easter and the verdant growth of Ordinary Time, each of the 52 chapters offers encouragement to the Catholic mother’s heart, helping her to grow in godliness and peace. Weekly meditations combined with daily ponderings makes this perfect for individual or group meditations.”
Heidi Hess Saxton
Founder, Extraordinary Moms Network
Author of “Raising Up Mommy”
"As an involved mother of 7, my days are jammed packed. If I do find a precious moment to read for my own edification, I am looking for a spiritual pick me up, a tonic for my soul that will shore up my drooping shoulders and set my feet back on solid ground. Heidi Bratton's funny, poignant anecdotes from her own life, help me to see my family, my circumstances and yes even my own foibles in a way that encourages me to see ordinary events as priceless opportunities to love. Heidi's words will ring true to any woman whose heart is in need of refreshment."
Co-founder of the Little Daughters of the Sacred Heart
I am a young Catholic mother - just starting out our family, and I absolutely loved your book! I loved the way the book is set up to facilitate prayer life, personal or by group, throughout the year. I guess finding time for prayer and connecting everyday life to God is something that I think every parent, upon entering parenthood, struggles with. Your book is very helpful in this way.
As a fairly new mother, at times, I am overwhelmed by the idea of passing on the Catholic Faith which I have really grown to love. Your book helps to relax some of those anxieties, seeing that you can take it one day, one moment at a time with faith that God will take care of your family. I have to admit you made me laugh and cry as well as taught me to look at things from a different perspective. I could really relate to your chapter "Directions for Life and Death" where you talked about your son's appendix bursting. Our first child, Luke, was rushed off by helicopter at 2 weeks old when we discovered he had a couple of heart conditions. He did end up passing to heaven after about 15 months - we learned very quickly that God's plans are not always ours!
Another thing I found very helpful with your book is that you reported both ups and downs with parenting, showing us that even the best of people with the best intentions are going to have those days where we feel like nothing is going right. This is a normal part of parenting, and when we make mistakes, we can seek forgiveness and pick up and move on. This is so comforting to know!
You are a wonderful role model to people like me who really want to be good Catholic parents - with our society that can be so distracting; your message is so encouraging!
Pro-Life Across America, the billboard people, volunteer
Reviews of the Celebrate series by Shanna Gonzalez founder of Eye Level Books,
Literature for a Christian Imagination
Celebrate Feelings Heidi Bratton. Circle Press 2009, Board book, 16 pages, $7.95
Heidi Bratton is a homeschooling mother of six children ranging in age from 2 to 20. She is a prolific writer of inspirational articles in Catholic Exchange, Touchstone Magazine, and elsewhere. She is also an award-winning photographer and the author of multiple children’s books. Her new Celebrate series is her third series of board books.
It takes a gifted author to communicate complex concepts for both adults and children, and Bratton’s rich experience as a mother and writer shines. Her text is comfortingly repetitive, developing simple concepts from Scripture so they are crystal clear. The photos which illustrate the text are remarkable. They are black and white, perfect for babies and toddlers whose color-perception is still developing. Rather than using extraordinary, airbrushed subjects for her photos, she focuses on ordinary individuals, captured in extraordinary moments. The result is an inviting, appealing experience both for read-aloud and toddler “read”-alone play.
Celebrate Feelings is based on Jesus’ invitation in Mark 10:13-16 for children to come to Him. In it, Bratton presents photographs of young children experiencing various moods: silly, sad, scared, prayerful, playful,mad, merry, grumpy, and greedy. The gentle accompanying text reiterates with each image that Jesus wants to be with the child no matter how they feel.
Celebrate Me & You Heidi Bratton. Circle Press 2009, Board book, 16 pages, $7.95
Celebrate Me & You, part of Heidi Bratton’s Celebrate series, illustrates Paul’s comparison in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 of the Christian church to a human body. The parts of the body are named, their functions are described, and they are wonderfully illustrated with candid black-and-white pictures of young children. Then comes a transition from body parts which work together, to individuals helping each other and working together like one body. This analogy is particularly appropriate for young children, who think in very concrete terms.
The photographs are joyfully evocative, and I especially appreciated the moment captured on the page which says “I will use my strength to help you.” This photo features a young boy, who appears to have Down Syndrome, playing with a hose while being assisted by another child. The choice of this image is an expressive statement of Christian love and respect for human life which goes against our culture’s hostility toward those who are considered genetically imperfect.
This book, like the rest of the series, is an excellent choice for early biblical instruction. It is appealing to toddlers and a joy to read aloud.
Celebrate Family Heidi Bratton. Circle Press 2009, Board book, 16 pages, $7.95
Celebrate Family is a joyful presentation of the many blessings God gives through our families. Each page, illustrated with an evocative picture, presents part of a two-word acrostic for the book title: C is for Celebrate, E is for Enjoy each other, and so on. For the child reader, the book focuses on remembering the blessings of family and cultivating joyful gratitude. For the Christian parent, the scripture on the back cover (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) is a reminder that God has called us to train children within our families to obey and worship Him. A joy-filled read, which complements the rest of the Celebrate series.
Celebrate Animals Heidi Bratton. Circle Press 2009, Board book, 16 pages, $7.95
Celebrate Animals rounds out Heidi Bratton’s Celebrate series by helping children rejoice in God’s creation of animals by recounting how Noah and his family cared for animals of different kinds (Genesis 6-8). Among the pictures are families interacting with deer, a boy holding a giant frog, and a parent and child’s hands petting a hedgehog together. The book concludes with a prayer placing young children in a context of a secure family: “Thank you God, for a family to take care of ME when I am wild or tame… bold or shy… soft or pokey… and thank you for animals to share our lives!”
The black-and-white candid photographs invite the reader into the scene, and young children will enjoy vicariously interacting with these most interesting animals. An excellent choice.
Posted by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, A Catholic wife and mother of five, author, EWTN TV host of "Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms," journalist, speaker, reviewer, catechist, Lay Missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa's Order) and lover of nature.
Award-winning photographer and author Heidi Bratton has given families something to celebrate! Heidi’s Celebrate series (Circle Press, 2009), comprised of four board books for the very young is bright, cheery, and inspirational for the whole family. These sturdy and practically indestructible books: Celebrate: Me & You, Celebrate: Feelings, Celebrate: Animals, and Celebrate: Family bring the Gospel to life and are just perfect for little hands. They can be tossed into the car, diaper bag, purse, or playpen to be picked up and enjoyed on scores of occasion. The author has captured and highlighted some essential aspects of family life in her enchanting photos illustrating the simple and understandable text which is based on Genesis, 6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Mark 10:13-16. Your children, grandchildren, godchildren and friends will love these delightfully charming books while learning a number of timeless truths at the same time!These books are available at Circle Press.org
School Library Journal by Patricia Pearl Dole: Preschool board books; Walking with God series by Heidi Bratton, Paulist Press.
"Extremely simple texts are illustrated with charming black-and-white photographs of multiethnic children engaged in activities indoors and outside. The youngsters are happy, loving, thoughtful, and reverent, showing their closeness to family and friends. Although they come from a Roman Catholic publisher, all four books could be used in any Christian setting as excellent introductory material to religious concepts. Imagine is a minimalist version of the seven days of Creation; Spirit is sweet and exuberant celebration of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Where is God? gives some basic concepts of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, with Scripture citations for each. Yes, I Can! shows how the child can love God and transfer that love into everyday living. The sturdy, eye-appealing board-book format is perfect for preschoolers."
Christian Parenting Today by Susan Woods Fisher: Books for Babies and Toddlers; Walking with God series by Heidi Bratton, Paulist Press.
"A striking use of black-and-white photography coupled with simple yet profound text assure many years of use for these books. Infants are drawn to black-and-white shapes, and the crystal clear photography of both familiar and symbolic objects in this series is compelling. The succinct and reassuring text offer excellent point-and-name opportunities for beginning talkers and also unveil toddler-sized truths about God, Creation, faith, and the Holy Spirit. I never would have thought to use "classy" to describe board books, but that's the best adjective for this well-done series." -
Christian Parenting Today by Annette: Walking with God series by Heidi Bratton, Paulist Press
"This set of board books is a brave endeavor, both in content and it illustrations. Author Heidi Bratton successfully presents hard-to-explain and hard-to-illustrate concepts such as the fruit of the Spirit, God's omnipresence and loving your neighbor. And, instead of standard cartoon illustrations, Bratton employees her own striking black-and-white photos to illustrate these abstract concepts as well as the familiar Creation story." A+
“-More reviews will be posted soon. -