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The Favorite Children’s Book About Notre Dame

The Year’s Favorite Children’s Book about Notre Dame

If you enter the Notre Dame bookstore this Christmas, what book will you find there? None other than Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame! This favorite children’s book about Notre Dame is delighted to be in the same company as Ted Hesburgh, Monk Malloy and other fine authors from Our Lady’s University.

Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame is a children's book at the Notre Dame bookstore.
Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame ,children’s book at the Notre Dame bookstore

Even before Sorin Starts a School arrived in bookstores, the Notre Dame bookstore expressed exuberant interest in the book. Now, for Christmas, students and families can find the beautiful hardcover at the entrance of the bookstore.

In 2021, the Notre Dame family reacted with excitement. The book was shared through Notre Dame alumni clubs all over the country. They reported that both adults and kids love the book!

The NDAA welcomed the book’s author, Paul Mitchell, and illustrator, Katie Broussard, on their Everyday Holiness podcast in November 2021. On the episode, Katie and Paul describe the creation of the beloved children’s book, as well as their previous book, Audacious Ignatius. (Check out the episode here!).

Also in November, FaithND invited Paul to write a Gospel reflection at FaithND to discuss the book. In the reflection, he addresses the question that many have asked: Why a children’s book about Fr. Edward Sorin and the foundation of Notre Dame? (Check out the reflection here!).

Earlier in the year, the NDAA profiled Katie’s work of weaving faith and art in the creation of this and other books for children. (Check out the story here.).

We are honored and humbled to have such reception from the Notre Dame family!

Want to purchase Sorin Starts a School or Audacious Ignatius for your school or parish?  Click here to inquire about bulk discount rates.

Interested in the author and illustrator of Sorin Starts a School to visit your school or parish? Drop us a line!

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Sorin Starts a School on the Notre Dame Alumni Podcast

The Notre Dame Alumni Association recently welcomed the author, Paul Mitchell, and illustrator, Katie Broussard, of Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame on their podcast to talk about the favorite children’s book. Check out the episode on the FaithND site or on Soundcloud!

Notre Dame Alumni Association Podcast Everyday Holiness

Dan Allen, the Associate Director for Spirituality and Service at the Notre Dame Alumni Association, interviewed Katie and Paul about their early lives of faith and how this shaped the children’s books that they now create together. (Katie and Paul are siblings, a first for the podcast!) Both Katie and Paul recalled fondly their education in Catholic schools as well as at Notre Dame. It was, in fact, in these schools that Katie (two years older) was Paul’s first writing tutor and that the they first encountered the charism of different religious orders that are now the central themes of the children’s books they create together.

Katie and Paul’s first children’s book, Audacious Ignatius, won a Moonbeam award in 2019, and foregrounds the charism of the Society of Jesus just as Sorin Starts a School does for the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Katie Broussard and Paul Mitchell also discuss how the touchstones of the spirituality of the Congregation of Holy Cross have guided and enlivened their faith. The Congregation’s motto is “Ave Crux, Spes Unica” (“The Cross, Our Only Hope) which is beautifully articulated in the final section of their Constitutions. Katie and Paul spent a good deal of time on the page in the book that resonates these themes, seen below.

Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame Pages 20 and 21
Pages 20 and 21 of Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame

We are deeply grateful and honored to have Sorin Starts a School on the Notre Dame Alumni Podcast.

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Alumni Association of Notre Dame profiled Sorin Starts a School illustrator

Sorin Starts a School on the NDAA blog

The Alumni Association of Notre Dame profiled Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame last week, focusing on the work of Katie Broussard, the book’s illustrator. This children’s book about the founding of the University of Notre Dame is forthcoming later this summer.

Notre Dame Alumni Association blog article about Katie Broussard, illustrator of Sorin Starts a School
Notre Dame Alumni Association article on Katie Broussard, children’s book illustrator

Broussard, the illustrator of other children’s books including Audacious Ignatius, is a two-time graduate of Notre Dame, as a member of the class of 2004 and a graduate from the Alliance of Catholic Education in 2006.

Spiritual Roots at Notre Dame

The article notes that Notre Dame played a crucial part in Katie’s spiritual formation.

“Notre Dame was where I really took ownership of my faith. I found my own spirituality there, and that really informs my desire to illustrate stories that can create conversations between parents and kids about their faith,” she says. “Kids have a ton of questions about God and religion, and I think it is fun to have a book with interesting illustrations as a jumping off point to get the conversation started.”

Article from NDAA on Katie Broussard, children’s book illustrator

At Notre Dame, Katie got to know the Congregation of Holy Cross, the founding religious order of Notre Dame, whose history and spirituality foreground the telling of the foundation of the university. Her art illuminates the pillars of this spirituality, rooted in the motto of the Congregation: “Ave Crux, Spes Unica,” The Cross, Our Only Hope.

Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame Pages 20 and 21
Pages 20 and 21 of Sorin Starts a School: The Foundation of Notre Dame Pages 20 and 21

Additionally, the art as well as the text bring out the devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows, the special patroness of the order. The narrative and art of Sorin Starts a School weave the accompaniment of Our Lady with the many set backs Edward Sorin and companions faced as they build the University of Notre Dame.

We at Corde Press are overjoyed that the Alumni Association at Notre Dame profiled Sorin Starts a School on their blog this week.

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Audacious Leadership

Have you heard about Mother Teresa Middle School? They are an audacious middle school located in the inner city of Regina, Saskatchewan. Serving a community of predominantly Indigenous families, MTMS forms graduates who are loving, religious, intellectually competent, open to growth and committed to doing justice. Read more about their mission here on their website!

Terri Cote, MTMS principal, recently shared with me how their school used Audacious Ignatius as part of their school’s Summer Leadership Retreat and Summer Leadership Academy. The retreat is for 7th and 8th grade students and takes place in Calgary, Alberta. The leadership academy takes place at the University of Regina and includes 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. 

From the cover of the MTMS Audacious Ignatius Journal

The students are given Audacious Ignatius Journals on the retreat that focused on being audacious: brave, courageous, and willing to take risks. They used their journals for prayer, and to record decisions they made to be audacious like Ignatius. They also have a connection to the Cree language, as “brave”, “bold” and “willing to take risks” are written in both English and Cree. (Terri notes that the words were vetted by Elder Harry Francis so as to be certain that they convey the correct meaning in Cree.)

A page from the Audacious Ignatius Journal

As a physical reminder of this challenge to be audacious, Terri made each student an “Audacious Ignatius necklace” that incorporated symbols of their school, and how their school loves and supports each of them. Terri explains, “The symbolism included in the necklace was intentional in the following ways.  Of course, “A” for audacious. The rings that are red because of the symbolic meaning of the color; confidence, courage and strength to name a few.  The three blue beads on each side of the A symbolize the color of our MTMS logo and three at MTMS means “We Love You”. So in this case “We Love You” times 2.”

After reflecting in their journals about their courageous plans, they receive a red ring for their necklace to symbolize their desire to be audacious like St. Ignatius.

Eagle, a student at MTMS, shows off his Audacious Ignatius necklace


I was fortunate to meet Terri at the Jesuit Schools Network conference this summer when I presented about how the life story of St. Ignatius is used to teach the fundamentals of Ignatian spirituality. It was so inspiring to talk with Terri and see the energy and love she brings to her work. 

Katie, Terri, and Audacious Ignatius at the Jesuit School Network Conference

This inspired us to make a coupon code especially for Jesuit institutions in Canada. Shipping internationally is quite expensive, but we’ve made the coupon code “SJCanada” to try to offset some of the shipping costs.

Paul and I are Ignatian educators at heart, and we are delighted to know how Audacious Ignatius is being used in schools. Are you using Audacious Ignatius at your school? We’d love to hear about it. Best wishes to Terri and the MTMS community for a bodacious school year!

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Audacious Ignatius featured on Lisa Hendey and Friends Podcast

It was so fun to talk to Lisa Hendey about the process of creating Audacious Ignatius. My kids love Lisa’s Chime Travelers books, and I was so excited to be a guest on her show.

You can find Episode 61 of the Lisa Hendey and Friends podcast in your favorite podcast app, or here on Lisa’s blog.

Fun fact: my five year old son has a cameo on the podcast (at 24:30)… he had painted a picture of a star for me, and couldn’t wait to give it to me to hang up in my art studio!