7 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

These excellent books will help lead young hearts and minds to Christ

A collection of books perfect for children for Christmas.
A collection of books perfect for children for Christmas. (photo: Kathy Schiffer / EWTN/NCRegister)

Each year during Advent, I’ve tried to assemble a list of great Catholic books for children: silly stories to make kids laugh, picture books that will fill them with wide-eyed wonder, fact books to help them learn, all kinds of titles to tuck under the Christmas tree. This year my mailbox has filled with colorful new story books that are sure to become favorites. I thought I’d share some of them with you — and busy parents can click on the links and have them delivered direct to your mailbox.

God Is Calling: Seeing His Signs in Your Life by Brother Francis Fontanié (Ignatius Press). The saints, creation, the Bible, prayer — there are so many ways that God can signal you. Brother Francis reveals ways that God has signaled him through his vocation, through the example of the brothers and sisters around him. By showing small children how God has touched him in his own life, Brother Francis helps children to understand that they, too, can expect signals in their lives, helping them to better understand God’s plan for each of them. This book is intended for children aged 7 and older.

Light of the Saints by Cory Heimann, with pictures by Tricia Dugat (Word on Fire). Well, this is so much fun! Young readers can learn about the saints — Juan Diego, Pope St. John Paul, Martin de Porres and more. The secret of this book, though, is the “light”! Young readers can hold a flashlight behind certain pages, or hold the book up to a lamp or a smartphone or even a sunny window, and the light will stream through part of the picture. See the miracles come to life!

The Little Friar Who Flew by Patricia Lee Gauch with illustrations by Tomie dePaola (Magnificat/Ignatius Press). Saint Joseph of Cupertino was humble — so humble that he called himself “Little Donkey.” But the most unusual thing about him was that when he was overjoyed, he did not merely smile or squeeze his sides or rub his hands together. He flew! Over the heads of his fellow friars, then up, up to the rafters in the church, Joseph soared. This hardcover book is imaginatively illustrated, and is best suited to ages 5 and up.

The Little Way: A Journey to the Summit of Love by Judith Bouilloc and Sara Ugolotti (Magnificat/Ignatius Press). Young Henry embarks on a walk to find the mountain of God, and he encounters a woman with a sunny smile. Her name is Thérèse, and she shows him the way. This delightful picture book is based on the “Little Way” of love of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus. It’s best appreciated by children 7 and older.

Classic Bible Comics adapted by Stanley Silverstein, published by Sophia Institute Press. For some children, the idea of a graphic comic book captures the imagination in a way that other books can’t. Classic Bible Comics brings to life 23 Old and New Testament stories, ranging from Adam and Eve to Jacob and Esau, from Jonah and the Whale to the Three Wise Men. The excitement includes the story of the First Christmas — so it’s a perfect book to tuck under the Christmas tree! There are over 200 full-color illustrations, and the book is printed on durable paper with an easy-to-read typeface.

The Illustrated Bible for Children Comic Style (Magnificat, Ignatius Press). Wow! This children’s Bible features 253 pages of colorful comic-style panels, masterfully retelling the exciting episodes of the Old and New Testaments. From the Creation to the early days of the Church, these stories of God’s power, love and mercy will inspire children of all ages. (It’s recommended for ages 7 and up.)

A Short Guide to Praying as a Family: Growing Together in Faith and Love Each Day by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation in Nashville (Saint Benedict Press). This beautiful hardcover book is intended not only for children, but for the whole family, who can gather together to pray. Included are basic vocal prayers like the Sign of the Cross and the Our Father. There’s more, though: helpful tips to encourage parents to make the home a place of prayer; preparing for the sacraments; using holy water and other sacramentals. The chapter on “Eucharistic Adoration as a Family” might be especially helpful for parents who worry that that’s a bridge too far — that little Johnny won’t be able to concentrate for that long. Add to that the beautiful photography of elaborate stained glass windows by Dominican Father Lawrence Lew, and the foreword by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who recalls the wisdom of Archimedes to remind us that “family prayer can move the world.”