“This is a most unusual book. Fr. Juan Vélez presents the examined life, the life of the mind, as an adventure — full of thrills and daring and good humor. And that’s what it is! Unfortunately, books for young people rarely convey this excitement. Brave Leader, Big Heart does it. Every Catholic young person should read this, but especially boys.”
~ Scott Hahn, author,professor of theology at Franciscan University, Steubenville
"I was excited to hear about this new biography of St. John Henry Newman, written for younger readers. Fr. Velez is an acclaimed Newman scholar, and I was curious how his scholarly familiarity with the saint would translate for an audience unacquainted with Newman’s times and challenges. My younger children, ages 6 and 10, were hesitant when I told them we’d be reading a book about an English priest from the 1800s. We agreed to read the first chapter, and then decide whether to continue. After reading, there were no arguments, they wanted more! They listened attentively to subsequent chapters. I was also fascinated to learn unfamiliar details about Newman’s life, such as his work with impoverished Irish immigrants in Birmingham, his attempt to start a medical school, and the moving story of his last Mass. This book is outstanding as storytime reading for younger kids, independent reading for middle school and high school students, and even as an introduction to Newman for adults."
~ Brendan Hickey
“A fun and inspiring book about a fun and inspiring new saint. Fr. Juan's admiration for St. John Henry Newman shines through these pages. He brings the whole life of this hero of the faith to children in a relatable and accessible way, from Newman's creative, bookish childhood, through his courageous conversion, impressive scholarly achievement, and stalwart faithfulness.”
~ Kendra Tierney,author of Catholic All Year , speaker, blogger, designer, and mother
"Bravery, Courage, and Perseverance – all qualities of St. John Henry Newman artfully depicted in Brave Leader, Brave Heart. This timely novel provides young readers inspiration and a roadmap to battle many of the same issues today which Newman faced centuries ago.
~ John Meyer,Executive Director, Napa Institute, which strives to help leaders evangelize through their work
“I love the illustrations! The cover really captures the tone of the book and St. John Henry Newman's contemplative spirit. The letters and history tie the story together and make it very real, but also understandable for the young reader and invites him into an encounter with St. John Henry Newman where 'heart speaks to heart."
~ Katie Bogner, Catholic School Teacher, Director of Religious Education, blogger
“Brave Leader, Big Heart is an excellent introduction of St. John Henry Newman to junior high aged readers. The warmth of Fr. Juan Vélez's story-telling and the charming illustrations will draw students in and they will be sure to find a friend in St. John Henry. This book is a must for every middle school classroom.”
~ Bonnie Engstrom,author of 61 Minutes to a Miracle: Fulton Sheen and a True Story of the Impossible, blogger, and mother