Creative Works

Author: Notre Dame Magazine

Forever Wild, Forever Home: The Story of The Wild Animal Sanctuary of Colorado, Melanie Shellenbarger and Mark Shellenbarger ’74 (Pyree Square Publishing). The authors were retired — Melanie as an architecture professor and Mark as an engineering executive — when they first visited The Wild Animal Sanctuary northeast of Denver. The experience sent them back to work, chronicling the haven for lions, jaguars, leopards, grizzlies, black bears and tigers — including 39 that once belonged to Joe Exotic of Tiger King fame. Forever Wild, Forever Home recounts the sanctuary’s growth, from the 1980 rescue of Freckles the baby jaguar to a home for more than 600 animals, many saved from horrifying circumstances.


The History of the Congregation of Holy Cross, James T. Connelly, CSC, ’59, ’68M.A. (Notre Dame Press). In a tale spanning nearly two centuries, Father Connelly, a historian and archivist, tells the story of the religious order, born in the aftermath of the French Revolution, that expanded into a global ministry, with members today serving in 16 countries across five continents. Connelly focuses on that ministry through the stories of people like Notre Dame founder Father Edward Sorin, CSC. Other animating spirits, such as Blessed Basil Moreau and Saint André Bessette, further illustrate the congregation’s international impact. 

Open House, Katie Sise ’01 (Little A). A decade-old, unsolved disappearance, thought to be a suicide, resurfaces in an upstate New York university town when a bracelet belonging to the missing woman appears. An attack on another woman reveals connections between the two cases that revive hope of finding answers. Kirkus Reviews says Sise’s novel, told from multiple perspectives, will make literary sleuths “delight in piecing together clues and untangling lies alongside the protagonists.”

Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo, Teasel Muir-Harmony ’09M.A. (Basic Books). When U.S. astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, the momentous event did not represent a mere scientific achievement — just “one giant leap for mankind,” as Neil Armstrong called his small step onto the lunar surface. Muir-Harmony illuminates the earthbound geopolitics that were the driving force behind America’s pursuit of victory in the space race. Drawing on untapped archives and interviews with astronauts, the curator of the Project Apollo collection at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum documents the political imperative behind the mission and the diplomatic triumph the moon landing represented.

Theodore Hesburgh, Bridge Builder, Edward P. Hahnenberg ’95, ’97M.A., ’02Ph.D. (Liturgical Press). Above all his contributions to Notre Dame, the nation and the Church, Notre Dame’s legendary president Father Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, always cited the priesthood as his preeminent calling. Everything Hesburgh achieved would follow from that vocation, Hahnenberg writes. This new biography highlights the spirituality at the heart of Hesburgh’s ability to reach across stark divides and create sometimes unlikely coalitions rooted in personal relationships.

The Nightlighters, John Houlihan ’66, Tom Meyer ’66, Earl Catron ’67, Robert Melka ’66. An origin story and official history of Notre Dame’s first student rock group, The Nightlighters the book recounts the tale of The Nightlighters the band, which became a popular attraction at student and alumni gatherings, nearby women’s colleges, and gigs in Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis. Their memories involve more than the music, including the ’53 Ford christened Lotus Fred that ferried them on road trips and the ingenious conversion of an empty guitar case into a portable bar for refreshments.

Get Up and Ride: A Humorous True Story of Two Friends Cycling the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal, Jim Shea ’85. Shea and his brother-in-law Marty embarked on a five-day, 335-mile bike trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., a laugh-filled journey that featured encounters with local characters and explorations of American history. The book also chronicles Shea’s decades-long friendship with Marty, a sculptor and inner-city high school art teacher, who has taught his tech-exec brother-in-law to slow down, welcome new experiences and appreciate small moments.  

Kindness is a Kite String: The Uplifting Power of Empathy, Michelle Schaub ’93 (Cardinal Rule Press). For young readers age 5 to 7, award-winning children’s author and language arts teacher Schaub offers simple ways to brighten other peoples’ lives. Schaub’s poetry and inspirational messages cultivate kindness, and a reader’s guide offers lessons and discussion questions to help parents, teachers and caregivers apply the book’s message.

A Runner’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Tom Bulger ’74 (The Troy Book Makers). Distance running provides a metaphor for life, a belief Bulger has developed over 40 years of writing about the sport. Also a runner and coach, here Bulger reflects on local, national and international races, profiles runners, and offers training insights from his decades of experience.

Quiet Lives: Stories from Beyond the Stethoscope, Bill Toms ’67 (Book Baby). In addition to heartbeats through a stethoscope from newborns to those in their last moments, family doctors hear stories of courage and anxiety, pain and joy that make up the lives of their patients. Toms, a practicing family physician for more than four decades, tells stories of the quiet lives he has had the privilege to hear about from those he has treated.

Deadly Defiance, J.T. Kelly ’71. With action ranging from the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in northern Indiana to the French Riviera, Kelly’s second novel resolves the unfinished business of the first, Fair Ways and Foul Plays, but not without involving Interpol, a neo-Nazi revenge plot and blackmail in a quest for pharmaceutical riches.

The Good Priest, Thomas Bishop ’63 ( Father Pat Keefe has heart and humanity, but cultural crosscurrents buffet him from every direction as he struggles to maintain his spiritual center and determine how he can best serve the Church and, especially, the people he has come to care for through his ministry.