Living Books for Catholic Schoolhouse – Year 2

We’ve been listening to Catholic Schoolhouse’s Year 2, Quarter 1 memory work and I love it.

Here is my two-weeks-in review: I love that it’s authentically Catholic. I love that the tunes are catchy. I love that it’s all laid out for me by the week and quarter. I love that my almost 3 year old has been walking around singing about Mesopotamia and recognized “South America” as one of the continents when he overheard a discussion about llamas living in South America. I love that my 5 year old who doesn’t normally enjoy memory work can already rattle off, “Plants pick up nutrients and water through their roots. They move up the stem through xylem and phloem. Then transpiration releases water through the leaves’ stomata.” (Edited to add that he remembered this while working in the yard with my husband, and explained how his new Pecan sapling was growing.) I love that my 7 year old is excited about the 1st conjugation of the Latin verb “to love” because the song is so catchy. This might sound silly and overly dramatic, but my children’s dignity as human beings requires that I expose them to a feast of subjects and ideas, even those which I might not prefer to teach or give as much attention to.This program is like a safety net to help with the gaps in the areas which my husband and I are not inclined to teach as well or as thoroughly.

I have both Living Memory by Andrew Campbell, an awesome resource which I recommend for poetry, hymns, and prose memory work AND I have the history rhyme line cards & timeline cards with RC History Volume 1. I really did TRY to use to contextualize memory work within our curriculum last school year. But the reality for me being that I live in a zoo in this season of life is that it just was. not. happening! In fact, after the first half of the school year, I threw the towel in on “classical memory work” because it was becoming too stressful. However, I think that memory work has its place, even if it’s not “in context,” and so, here we are, trying this again. I am hopeful that Catholic Schoolhouse is just what we need.

Here are the books I recommend for Year 2. Some of the books are applicable for the entire Year 2. In other cases, I will start with Week 1 and add to this post as I go along.


History & Saints Quarter 1:

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories from Sophia Institute Press

I love the “living story” style of this book and the elegant black and white illustrations.

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories 

I like the colorful and realistic illustrations as well as the way this stories stay true to the NRSV Catholic text. Prayers, quotes from the Saints, references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and activity suggestions make this one of my very favorite resources.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times – These are so much fun. For each person, there are two pages. First, there is a plain black and white one to color and then there is a beautifully pre-colored one.

History Week 1:

The Gilgamesh Trilogy by Ludmila Zeman is the perfect introduction to the Epic of Gilgamesh for children. There are three books in the series, which are linked below. The vibrant illustrations and accessible text make this the perfect introduction to ancient Mesopotamia and the Sumerians. Reading this sparked a discussion about we can recognize grains of truth within ancient religion but also how they were missing much of divine revelation. It is also helpful to show children that the desires of the hearts of these ancient peoples for eternal life point to the person and work of Jesus Christ, His defeat of sin and death, and the gift of eternal life.

Gilgamesh the King

The Revenge of Ishtar

The Last Quest of Gilgamesh 

History Week 2:

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Ruth Heller

Tut’s Mummy: Lost and Found

Hands-On History! Ancient Egypt


First Encyclopedia of Science by Usborne

This encyclopedia is colorful and has excellent photographs. The page on plants corresponds nicely with the Botany section in CSH year 2, quarter 1.

Picture of First Encyclopedia of Science - IL

Lift the Flap First Questions and Answers: How do Flowers Grow?

Picture of Lift-the-flap First Questions and Answers How Do Flowers Grow?

Eyewitness Plant (DK Eyewitness Books)

Linnea’s Almanac

Linnea’s Windowsill Garden


The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith 

The Mass for Children

Picture Book of the Mass – Illustrated by the Masters


Sticker Picture Atlas of the World by Usborne

Picture of Sticker Picture Atlas of the World

Children’s Picture Atlas by Usborne

Picture of Children's Picture Atlas

Lift the Flap Picture Atlas by Usborne

This Atlas is so much fun. It includes a huge wall map with pictures of each nation’s flag. The flap for Argentina even has the cave painting of the hands which is featured in Catholic Schoolhouse Year 2, Quarter 1! My 7 year old daughter gasped when she pulled the flap up and recognized the image.

Picture of Lift-the-Flap Picture Atlas

Language Arts

The creative Ruth Heller books about various parts of speech (some of which are pictured below) have enticing illustrations and bring the study of grammar, a potentially boring subject, to life.


The Usborne Classical Music Reference Book has a display section on the Orchestra.

Picture of Classical Music Reference Book - IR


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