National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

Good Reads for These 40 Days

Children’s Book Picks for Lent

BY Kerry Crawford & Patricia A. Crawford

Feb. 23-March 8, 2014 Issue | Posted 3/1/14 at 7:22 AM


Lent is upon us, with the promise of Easter just ahead. The shift in liturgical seasons offers an open invitation for young ones to prepare their hearts to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, the greatest event of all time.

Spiritual reading is a perfect avenue for this. The following book picks will lead young readers through the Lenten season and help them to better understand and cherish the great story of Easter.


Totally Lent: A Child’s Journey to Easter 2014

written by Jean Larkin

Pflaum Publishing Group, 2013

64 pages, $7.95

To order: or (800) 543-4383

Kids in the primary grades are invited to journey with Jesus through Lent. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, this Lenten guidebook, with each new page, posts a road sign counting down the days to Easter. A short verse or two from the daily Gospel and related reflection encourage "travelers" to better know and imitate Jesus as they pray, do good works and fast. Activities and puzzles reinforce the spirit of the Lenten season. (Separate editions for kids in grades 4-6 and teens are also available.) Ages 7-9.


Little Purple Book

written by Sister Nancy Ayotte, IHM

Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw, Inc., 2013

112 pages, $4 (plus $1.50 shipping)

To order: or (989) 797-6653

The late Bishop Ken Untener introduced the Little Black Book and the Little Purple Book to the adults and children of the Diocese of Saginaw, Mich., in 2000. Word quickly spread beyond diocesan and national boundaries about these inspiring Lenten reflections. With this year’s theme of "Walking with God," the Little Purple Book once again guides children through daily two-page reflections and activities from the Sunday before Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Following in the footsteps of Jesus, children will find a good companion for the journey in the Little Purple Book. Ages 6-12.


I Pray the Stations of the Cross

written by Maria Grace Dateno, FSP

illustrated by Virginia Helen Richards, FSP, and Regina Frances Dick, FSP

Pauline, 2006

36 pages, $4.95

To order: or (800) 876-4463

Children walk along with Jesus as he moves toward his death. At each station, they learn what happened to Our Lord and offer a prayer. The Fourth Station, for example, recalls Jesus meeting Mary, who is sad to see her Son suffer. Children then pray, "Please help me to comfort those in my family who are suffering." The simple text, the prayer that shortens the distance between Christ’s passion and children’s own world and the full-page illustrations make this a good choice for personal or group praying of the Way of the Cross. Ages 5-8.


The Story of Easter

written by Juliet David

illustrated by Steve Whitlow

Candle Books, 2011

24 pages, $7.99

To order: Available through online and local bookstores

This little book provides a just-right introduction to the Easter story. With clear, straightforward words, the author tells of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, as well as his death, resurrection and ascension. The soft illustrations are inviting and add a gentle tone to the powerful, age-old story of our faith. Ages 3-8.


Totally Catholic! A Catechism for Kids and Their Parents and Teachers

written by Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND

Pauline, 2013

256 pages, $14.95

To order: or (800) 876-4463

The author brings the Catechism of the Catholic Church to life for young readers. Key tenets of our faith — what we believe (the Creed), how we worship (the sacraments), how we live (the Ten Commandments) and how we pray (the Our Father) — are addressed through Scripture, stories, fun-to-know facts and "Catholic VIP" saint profiles. "Why Did Jesus Die?" and "What Does Jesus’ Resurrection Mean?" are timely chapters as children, parents and teachers advance toward Easter. Ages 9-12.


Madame Blue’s Easter Hullabaloo

written by Karen Pot

illustrated & designed by SpringSprang Studios

CandyCane Press, 2011

14 pages, $12.99

To order: Available through online and local bookstores

The Veggie Tales crew is back! In this adventure, Madame Blueberry is determined to make Easter perfect. She makes plans to ensure that everything will be just right with the flowers, food and decorations. When her plans go awry, she rethinks her holiday busyness. The poetic verses invite readers to savor the real meaning of Easter: "This is the reason/ for Easter, she thought,/ not flowers or trumpets/ or the hat that I bought!/ But to worship Our Savior/ who was raised on this day/ to give us all hope/ and show us the way." The book adds an interactive element with a "sing along" button. When pushed, an Easter hymn plays. Ages 3-8.


An Easter Gift for Me

written by Crystal Bowman

illustrated by Claudine Gévry

Zonderkidz, 2007

12 pages, $6.99

To order: Available through online and local bookstores

In this child-friendly, oversized board book, a mom tells her daughter about the amazing story of Easter. Beginning with a whirlwind tour of Jesus’ birth and early life, the book then goes on to explain his sacrifice on the cross and his death, resurrection and ascension. The joyful, lyrical text proclaims the good news of our faith: "But Jesus is God so he didn’t stay dead. ‘He’s alive! He’s alive!’ the glad angel said." Ages 3-8.

The Crawford sisters write from Pittsburgh.