In the Very Mary Month of May

“I'm here,” Mary reassures Jesus as he makes his way, under the weight of the cross, to Calvary in The Passion of the Christ.

Chances are, if you saw the movie, those words are now written on your heart — even though they're nowhere recorded in Scripture. For this is Mary as we know her: always present to her Son, always present to us.

Did you know that Mary's place in the life of the Church, always one of unique prominence, is amplified in a special way each May? And it's not just for Mother's Day.

“This is her month,” Pope John Paul II said in 1979, during the first May of his pontificate. “This time of the liturgical year [Easter] and this month are a call, inviting us to open our hearts in a special way to Mary.”

Of course, this invitation extends to children.

Why not take time this month to introduce a child to the rosary, then lead the creation of a May altar in your home or the planting of a Mary garden in your yard? Then, after working on all those labors of love, you and your young ones can curl up with a good book or two before bedtime.

Here are some great new titles that will hold their attention — and yours — as you learn together about our Blessed Mother, queen of May and everything after.


by Patricia A. Pingry

Illustrated by Stacy Venturi-Pickett

CandyCane Press, 2000

24 pages, $6.95

To order: (800) 586-2572

“You will be the mother of a very special baby,” the Angel Gabriel tells Mary. “The baby will be God's son.” Toddlers will delight in holding this board book and hearing more about the Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity. Simple words, colorful pictures and sturdy pages make this an excellent choice for introducing Mary, a very special mother, to the very special children in your life. Ages 2 to 5.


by Mary Joslin

Illustrated by Alison Wisenfeld

Loyola, 1999

32 pages, $15.95

To order: (800) 621-1008 or

Many books present the story of Mary, but this one is told from her own perspective. In the opening pages, children gather around Our Lady and ask to hear the stories they love. Now an older woman, she uses simple language to tell stories of her life and that of her Son. Both adults and children will savor this tender look into Mary's heart as a daughter, wife, special friend of the apostles and, of course, Mother of Our Lord. Ages 4 to 10.


by Christine Virginia, FSP

Illustrated by Julia Mary Darrenkamp, FSP

Pauline, 1995

78 pages, $9.95

To order: (800) 836-9723 or

Who is the Blessed Mother and why is she so special to us? Children who read this book will be able to joyfully answer these questions. More than an introduction, this book invites readers to look at many different aspects of Mary's life, Assumption and Coronation. A special section, “Mary Comes to Visit,” carefully introduces children to apparitions. Directions for praying the rosary are included. Thorough content, simple language and large, bright illustrations make this a great choice for parents and children to enjoy together. Ages 6 to 12.


by Tomie de Paola

Illustrated by Tomie de Paola

Holiday House, 1980

48 pages, $8.95

To order:

Roses in winter, a mysterious image, a beautiful woman: The story of Guadalupe is one of intrigue, devotion and love. This faithful rendering of St. Juan Diego's most unusual encounter with Our Lady is told with warmth and charm. Folk-art illustrations bring the story to life. A Spanish version, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, is also available. Ages 5 to 10.


by Zerlina DeSantis

Illustrated by Edwin Lebel

Pauline, 2001

123 pages, $5.95

To order: (800) 836-9723 or

“Who is she?” St. Juan Diego wonders. “Can this really be the Blessed Mother?” Sister Catherine Labouré gasps. Ordinary people encounter Mary in extraordinary ways in the nine separate apparition stories told here. Common to all is Mary's deep wish that we draw closer to her Son. Our Lady's visitations to the children and teens in LaSalette, Lourdes, Fatima, Beauraing and Banneux will especially encourage young readers. Includes glossary. Ages 9 to 14.


by Mark Lowry

Illustrated by Phil Boatwright

WaterBrook Press, 1998

32 pages, $9.99

To order:

The lyrics of this popular contemporary song combine with outstanding full-page illustrations in this picture book that parents, teachers and children will treasure. The title is also the beginning of each verse. Mary is asked what she knew as she cradled the baby in her arms. Did she know that he would one day cure the sick? Calm the storm? Save our sons and daughters? In the asking of these and other questions, God's loving plan for redemption unfolds. Ages 4 to 8.


by Gene Yang

Illustrated by Gene Yang

Colored by Lark Pien

Pauline, 2003

56 pages, $5.95

To order: (800) 836-9723 or

Recommending a comic book? You betcha! This soft-cover book with glossy pages tells the stories of the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries. Young Catholics can read it as they would any comic book or — and here's the clever part —pray with it! For each decade, a rectangular comic panel (in place of a bead) represents an Our Father; a square panel, a Hail Mary; and a small rose, a Glory Be. Terrific illustrations and rich dialogue within the panels bring each of the mysteries to life. Scriptural references included. Ages 9 to 12.

Patricia A. Crawford writes from Winter Park, Florida.

Kerry A. Crawford writes from Pittsburgh.