Mission Tales is a seven-volume collection of wonderfully illustrated children’s stories. Each volume contains three interesting, informative, and delightful stories, enjoyed by readers of all ages, but primarily intended for adolescents aged 7-12 years old. Each story is based on historical accounts relating to one of California’s twenty-one missions. A brief historical overview, along with a calendar of historical events, is included for each Mission.
These books are perfect for schools, libraries, and for every child’s bookshelf.
Mission Tales was written by Helen M. Roberts and first published in 1948, to honor the California Missions in celebration of California’s statehood centennial. She became interested in the Missions, photographed many details, and in the process almost “relived” the Mission days. In 1948, Mission Tales were published in 21 small books, one for each mission. While the books were still in galley form, a series of 13 radio programs were broadcast into California schools through the Fresno Bee, Sacramento Bee and Bakersfield Bee stations. Later the books were re-published in 7 volumes, with 3 missions included in each volume. Contained within the set were more than 300 illustrations, all drawn by her daughter who majored in Art at Stanford University.
Helen Roberts was a prolific author and photographer. Besides the Mission Tales series, she authored children’s plays, several novels, and many religious works. She lived in Africa for 17 years, battling illiteracy; At first, she assisted with English language classes for African adults who were literate in their own language. Then she learned the native Swahili and helped teach classes of adult illiterates. Helen continued her writing of books on language, health, family finance, and a variety of other subjects in the Swahili language. She also prepared the first Shona Language primer, and trained many teachers in the Laubach method of attacking adult illiteracy.
An inspiring account of her major achievements is contained within each volume of Mission Tales.
The Miracle Ship (Mission San Diego) - A tale of the beginning of the famous California Missions and the first critical year at San Diego.
Father Peyri’s Shadows (Mission San Luis Rey) - Father Peyri’s surprising reward to two Indian students.
The Two-Tailed Comet (Mission San Juan Capistrano) - The struggle of a young Indian against the terrifying superstitions of his People.
The Artist of San Gabriel (Mission San Gabriel) - A charming tale of Gabriel, a young Indian who yearned to be a painter, and of the fulfillment of his dream.
A Gift for the Padre (Mission San Fernando Rey) - A touching story of the Christmas gift to Father Ibarra.
The Gardener of San Buenaventura (Mission San Buenaventura) - An Indian boy’s rise from kitchen helper to chief gardener.
The Lone Woman of San Nicolas (Mission Santa Barbara) - The rescue of an Indian woman after eighteen years of exile on a lonely island.
Pasquala of Santa Ines (Mission Santa Inés) - The true story of a courageous native girl who saved the Mission.
The Anger of Chupu (Mission Purísima) - The effect of a disastrous earthquake upon an Indian youth, his grandfather, and his palomino horse.
The Tilemaker (Mission San Luis Obispo) - A story about a young Indian’s part in the perfecting of tiles.
The Wishing Chair (Mission San Miguel) - The legend of the Wishing Chair and what happened to a Tulare Indian girl who sat in it.
The Bear Hunter (Mission San Antonio) - An exciting account of the bear hunt that saved the Mission from starvation.
Clemente’s Christmas (Mission Soledad) - A tale of Christmas, showing how a lonely sheepherder found friends through the Nativity play.
Juan of Carmel (Mission San Carlos) - An Indian boy’s adventure in early days of Carmel Mission.
The Magic Barrel Organ (Mission San Juan Bautista) - The young Indian singer who lost his voice, but found it in time to stop the enemy.
Miguel and the Pirates (Mission Santa Cruz) - A Mission Indian boy’s experience with pirates.
Little Lost Girl (Mission Santa Clara) - The story of a captive Indian girl who found happiness in her new Mission home.
The Music-Maker (Mission San José) - The story of an Indian boy who loved music.
Chamis and Lilote (Mission San Francisco de Asís) - The romantic story of the first Indians at Mission Dolores.
The Warrior of San Rafael (Mission San Rafael) - The lame Indian boy’s victory over a dreaded kidnapper.
Big Chief Solana (Mission San Francisco Solano) - The story of a powerful Indian chief and his decision for peace with the white man.