Francis “Frank” Armstrong Cleary (The Thorn Birds) Frank Armstrong is the favorite older brother of the protagonist, Meggie Cleary, in Colleen McCullough’s 1971 blockbuster, The Thorn Birds. Frank is a rebellious, quick-tempered young man, adored by his mother and scorned by his father – with good reason – it’s not his father. It seems that Mama had a serious love affair with a married man, had Frank out of wedlock, and was married off to Paddy Cleary in disgrace. Now that’s a stacked deck to come up against, and poor Frank makes the most of it. When he discovers his heritage, he runs away, much to the sorrow of his mother and sister, and they later learn that he is in prison for killing a man in a fight. We wish we could come up with a happier ending for him.
Frank Churchill (Emma) Frank Churchill is the utterly charming, handsome, well-bred sometimes suitor of Emma Wedgewood in Jane Austen’s 1815 novel, Emma. He is an accomplished horseman and a perfect gentleman. Well, perhaps he’s also just a teeny bit shallow (he travels all the way to London for his haircuts), but he is so difficult to dislike. When we take a closer look at Frank, we see that he is perhaps something of a cad. He is living off his wealthy aunt and is unwilling to declare his intentions for his true love, Jane, whose social standing is lesser than his. In that vein, he pretends to pay suit to the rich girl, Emma, in order to safeguard his potential inheritance. Now, that’s not nice! However, as in all lovely novels of manners, all comes right in the end and true love prevails. And to be completely fair, he does suffer for his sins, and he does seem to grow as a person over the course of the novel. It just seems to us that he’s so much like Emma that he ought to have been paired with her, but we wouldn’t dare presume on Ms. Austen….
Frank Hardy (The Hardy Boys) Frank Hardy is the older of “The Hardy Boys” in the popular series begun in 1927 by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and written under the collective pseudonym of Franklin W. Dixon. Several television adaptations followed over the years. A classic All-American boy, Frank is described as the “serious one” of the duo. Living in the fictional town of Bayport, Some State, the boys have constant thrilling adventures while chasing criminals, decoding mysteries, assisting their detective father on cases, outsmarting the police, and, in general, leading charmed lives. Money is apparently no object, as their passports will attest, as they travel to such foreign climes as Scotland and Egypt when crime takes a breather in Bayport. There is actually little to differentiate Frank from his brother Joe except that he is a year older, he is darker and he has a different platonic girlfriend. Think Tim Considine or Parker Stevenson, and you get the picture.
Francis - a song by Terre Roche
Prayer of Saint Francis - a song by Sarah McLachlan
Francis Scott Key and "The Star Spangled Banner" (Lynea Bowdish) - This large-format book tells the story of Francis Scott Key and how he came to write "The Star Spangled Banner." In 1814, Key boarded a British ship near Baltimore to request the release of his friend and fellow American, Dr. William Beanes. From the ship's deck, they watched as the British fleet attacked Fort McHenry. As the sun rose, the sight of the American flag still flying above the fort inspired Key to write the song that, in 1931, would become the national anthem. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Francis Woke Up Early (Josephine Nobisso) - While other children’s religious titles focus on Saint Francis of Assisi as an adult, few, if any, have concentrated on the early life of the patron saint of animals and the environment. Stunning illustrations punctuate this beautifully told story of Saint Francis as a boy as he communes with nature and treats even the fiercest of animals—a hungry wolf—with the same compassion he would show his grandmother. In a fearless display of courage, tolerance, and understanding, the young Francis makes peace with the wolf, foreshadowing his teachings of harmony with the world around us and man’s duty to protect nature. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi (Tomie DePaola) - A biography of the wealthy young Italian who gave away all his possessions to become a wandering preacher and protector of animals. Recommended for ages 7-10.
Saint Francis & the Wolf (Jane Langton) - This book retells the legend of how Saint Francis of Assisi used kindness to negotiate peace between the people of Gubbio and the wolf that was terrorizing their village. Though many tales of Francis's good deeds and selfless service are well known, children especially will gravitate to this story and its elements of suspense. . . As a complement to the dramatic tension, the young friar's Dr. Doolittle like communication with animals also holds much appeal. The book's design goes far in capturing the flavor of Saint Francis's Italy. The font suggests, in a more humble style, the sturdy forms of calligraphy and illuminated letters of the day. On each spread, Plume (The Bremen-Town Musicians) alternates spot illustrations of flowers and plants with slightly larger scenes of Gubbio framed in Renaissance-inspired shapes. Her delicate lines and sunny watercolor palette depict the flourishing flora, fauna and stone dwellings of the Italian countryside. Recommended for ages 4-8.
St. Francis in San Francisco (Jack Wintz) - What if everyone's favorite saint were to step out of the world of history and legend, break free from his statue-like pose at the edge of the birdbath, and visit modern-day San Francisco? Why, he'd have an adventure, of course! When St. Francis comes to visit, there to greet him are Johnny and his dog, Sunpatch, who become the saint's personal tour guides through the city named after him. St. Francis blesses the animals of Golden Gate Park, visits landmarks, and even rides the famous cable cars. Along the way, he embraces everyone in that vibrant multicultural city as brothers and sisters with the same loving Father. This contemporary approach to Francis makes him fresh and meaningful to today's readers. The book celebrates all of creation's diversity as part of the same family and shows how Francis approached creation with a deep spirit of joy. Imbued with Franciscan spirituality throughout, the book also gently introduces the idea that Jesus' incarnation gives value to all humans, animals, and the entire created world. Recommended for ages 3-7.
The Song of Francis and the Animals (Pat Mora) - Mora's narrative about the Saint and his tender relationships with wild creatures is more poetry than story. The lyrical text describes how Francis speaks with birds, tames a wolf that threatens the people of Gubbio, and re-creates the manger scene with the help of villagers, lambs, an ox, and a donkey. Throughout, the animals sing and call back to him. Some Italian phrases are included, with a translation at the front of the book. The variety of species that populate Frampton's vibrant, detailed two-page woodcuts will delight youngsters. The animals are full of character and personality and emphasize Francis's belief in their gentleness. The fierce wolf turns into a fawning supplicant and a falcon shelters the sleeping man with spread wings. While this book may be more relevant to parochial than secular schools, its message of treating all living things with kindness is universal. Francis's compassion for a worm shows children an example of having respect for even the lowliest of creatures. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Famous People Named Francis - Saint Francis of Assisi (famous saint); Saint Francis Xavier (16th century saint); Francis Bacon (scientist/philosopher); Sir Francis Drake (explorer); Francis Scott Fitzgerald (novelist); Francis Ford Coppola (director); Francis Albert Sinatra (singer); Francis Scott Key (author of "The Star-Spangled Banner"); Francis Bird (sculptor); Francis Regan Harrington (my beloved uncle RIP)
Famous People Who Named Their Child Francis - Charles Dickens (writer); Frank Sinatra (singer); Grover Cleveland (U.S. President); Jane Kaczmarek (actress)
St. Francis of Assisi (ca 1181 - 1226) - St. Francis of Assisi was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (nicknamed “Francesco”) to a wealthy Italian family. In his youth he indulged in the usual antics common to a 12th century carefree young man, but a serious illness apparently gave him time to ponder the nature of his soul. He soon began the ministry that would last his lifetime, that of preaching, renouncing material possessions, embracing chastity and endeavoring to love all God’s creatures, human and non. Pretty big order! So an order he founded – the Franciscans, along with a cloistered order for women, the Poor Clares. Legend is rather difficult to separate from fact, but St. Francis is credited with introducing the Nativity Scene as a fixture at Christmas time, as well as having received the stigmata – the wounds of Christ’s crucifixion. (Well, perhaps that’s a bad example of legend versus fact.) In his day, Francis apparently also traveled to Egypt in an unsuccessful effort to convert the sultan non-violently (as opposed to the methods of the “Holy” Crusades). Francis was declared a saint within a couple of years of his death; today he is one of the most beloved figures in this sanctified pantheon, and is closely associated with an abiding love for animals. The current Catholic pope, Jorge Bergoglio, honored him by taking his name upon his election as Pope Francis. We hope it proves to be as popular as Leo and Pius!