Easter Children’s Book Picks: Raymond Arroyo Writes About Thomas Edison; Other Stories Highlight Angels and Jesus Going to Space (in the Eucharist)

7 Good Reads for Kids

Looking for a new good read?
Looking for a new good read? (photo: Courtesy of publishers)

Register reviewers compile their latest book picks for children.

The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison

Written by Raymond Arroyo

Illustrated by Kristina Gehrmann

Zonderkidz, 2023

32 pages, $17.99

To order: ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com or (800) 854-6316

He fidgeted. He fussed. He wore people down with his constant asking how and why things worked. The boy’s schoolmaster threw him out of class, declaring the 7-year-old unteachable. No, not unteachable, but unstoppable, his mother and champion, challenged. From that day forward, Nancy Edison took charge of his education and blessed the unquenchable curiosity of her son. Thomas Alva Edison later said that without his mother’s faith and nurturing, he might never have become an inventor. The backstory of his life is the first in a new series called Turnabout Tales written by EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo. The entertaining series celebrates those moments of historic lives where challenges were faced, paths changed, and history turned. Ages 4 to 8.

How Our Family Prays Each Day

Written by Gregory K. Popcak

Illustrated by Jacob Flores-Popcak

Ave Maria Press, 2022

32 pages, $16.95

To order: avemariapress.com

Developing comfortable rhythms of family prayer can seem like a daunting task: How do we start? What do we do? What does it look like? For anyone who has asked these questions, this vibrant, engaging picture book provides a story full of answers and inspiration.

Follow Marty and his family as they begin talking with God at Mass and continue the conversation all week long: When Mass time ends we all make sure/ we don’t leave God behind./ We pray, “Lord please come home with us/ and help us to be kind.”

The family sprinkles prayer throughout their week, mingling Rosaries, Bible stories and blessings with their everyday lives full of loving, laughing and navigating life’s challenges. The rhyming text is joyful in tone, and the amazing, brightly colored illustrations drive home the point that the family of God is loving and diverse. Kids can enjoy a bit of visual play as they hunt for Pascha, the family’s pet pelican on each double-page spread. Ages 4-8.

The Illustrated Bible for Children

Written by Christine Ponsard

Illustrated by Jean-François Kieffer and Geert De Sutter

Ignatius, 2022

256 pages, $22.99

To order: ignatius.com

Retelling stories is an art, and this Bible for kids has mastered it. Vibrant graphic panels and simple text bring to life more than one hundred Old and New Testament episodes. There is beauty in its simplicity and richness in its content. Each story — typically, two pages in length — communicates God’s love through engaging dialogue and illustrations. Ages 7 and up.

A Miracle for Micah

Written by Claudia Cangilla McAdam

Illustrated by Gina Capaldi

Ascension, 2023

32 pages, $14.95

To order: ascensionpress.com/pages/kids

Micah, a young boy living in Capernaum, climbs atop his neighbor’s roof to steal fish that are drying. Digging a hole into the thatch, Micah peers down and sees Jesus healing the mother-in-law of Peter. Returning later to carry off the fish, he’s amazed to witness another of Jesus’ miracles. While the boy has been observing Jesus, so has Jesus been watching Micah with the stolen fish in hand.

“What kind of person are you becoming, Micah?” Jesus asks. A contrite Micah begs for and receives the loving forgiveness of the Lord as well as his embrace. Young readers will be in awe of the miracle yet to come. This is an ideal book for kids preparing for their first reconciliation or those needing a bit of encouragement as they continue on their journey. Ages 6 and up.

Jesus in Space: A True Story That’s Out of This World

Written by Cecilia Cicone

Illustrated by Gabhor Utomo

Pauline, 2023

48 pages, $24.95

To order: paulinestore.com or (617) 676-4458

Blast off! When the space shuttle Endeavor rocketed into space, astronaut Tom Jones, a Catholic, and crew members did not travel alone. This outstanding adventure story chronicles the 11-day mission of Jones and fellow astronauts who orbited the Earth recording radar images of it. Onboard was Jesus in the Eucharist, brought in a golden pyx, by an astronaut who was an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Beautiful illustrations, NASA photos and space-mission timeline enhance this inspiring story of faith in flight. Ages 8 and up.

Joy: Three Stories about Sharing Joy (How to Handle My Emotions Series)

Written by Ségolène de Noüel, Gaëlle Tetrais, Violaine Moulière

Illustrated by Caroline Modeste

Ignatius, 2021

56 pages, $11.99

To order: ignatius.com

Three engaging short stories are key for learning how to recognize, own and manage the emotion of joy. As young readers follow two friends, Elliott and Charlotte, they discover that joy can open their hearts to others or cause them to focus only on themselves. When Charlotte receives a box of chocolates, for example, she’s excited and thrilled — and ever so determined to keep them all for herself. A tummy ache later, Charlotte rethinks this outlook. Influenced by an elderly neighbor who freely gives away jars of homemade jam, Charlotte learns that by sharing her chocolates, her own joy increased as did her generosity.

Special sections at the end coach kids, parents and educators about joy and its companion virtues identified in the stories. Ages 7 and up.

Praying to Holy Angels: Angel of God and St. Michael the Archangel Prayers in Sacred Art for Young Children

Written by Kerri Davison

Holy Heroes Books, 2022

48 pages, $15.95

To order: holyheroes.com

Classical paintings pair with the words of two beloved prayers — the Angel of God and St. Michael the Archangel — in this picture book. It initially introduces small ones to the story of angels. Then each prayer unfolds phrase by phrase with a brief explanation at the bottom; and, across from it, a companion piece of sacred art by one of the great masters, including Raphael, Murillo and others. This book will draw children closer to God’s holy protectors and guardians. Ages 4 and up.

The Crawford sisters write from Pittsburgh.