Keeping Kids Catholic to the Core
Lent’s here and, with it, all manner of outward reminders of our inner Catholicity. Ashes, the Stations of the Cross, extra efforts made in prayer, almsgiving and sacrifice — all come together to remind us that we are, in the words of St. Peter, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own” (1 Peter 2:9). Here are some books to help children explore what it means to be authentically Catholic — not only in this specially sanctified time of the year, but all year round.
DOMINGA’S WONDERFUL YEAR/EL AÑO MARAVILLOSO DE DOMINGA
written by Sandi Yonikus
illustrated by Annika Marie Nelson
Liturgical Press, 2003
32 pages, $16.95
To order: (800) 858-5450 or litpress.org
Dominga and her tabby cat walk young readers through the liturgical calendar in this vibrant, bilingual picture book. Each season of the church year, Dominga explains, has its own color. For example, take the season at hand. Dominga invites boys and girls to “step quietly into the solemn purple of Lent, a season when we turn old life into new life.” This can be done, she says, by “helping, praying, giving, forgiving, loving and sharing.” Excitement builds as readers move from one season to another and learn not only about its color and customs but about the love Jesus has for them. Outstanding illustrations. Ages 6 and older.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE INSIDE A CATHOLIC CHURCH
written by Michael Keane
photographs by Aaron Pepis
Skylight Paths Publishing, 2002
32 pages, $17.95
To order: (800) 962-4544 or skylightpaths.com
“Come in!” Father Keane invites readers at the start of this guided tour. From the beginning (Welcome to the Altar) to the end (Behind the Scenes), the author brings God’s home to life. He points out the sacred and non-sacred objects found inside a Catholic church, tells who uses them and explains how they draw us closer to God. The book also describes what visitors should expect to see and experience during the Mass, other sacramental occasions such as baptism and confirmation, and during Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Full-page color photos. Ages 6 to 10.
CHILD’S GUIDE TO THE MASS
written by Sue Stanton
illustrated by H.M. Alan
32 pages, $9.95
To order: (800) 218-1903 or paulist.com
What is Mass and what should we expect when we go there? Sarah knows — and she’ll be glad to guide readers through it all. Presented from a kid’s-eye-view, the guide leads readers through a Catholic Church and tells them what to expect when attending Mass. Although the author introduces many important terms and complex concepts, the bright pictures and friendly, accessible language make this book appealing to a wide range of readers. Ages 4 to 10.
DEAR PAPA: CHILDREN CELEBRATE JOHN PAUL II WITH LETTERS OF AFFECTION AND WARMTH
compiled by Richard A. Klein and Virginia D. Klein
128 pages, $14.95
To order: (800) 325-9521 or liguori.org
If you could write a letter to the Holy Father, what would you say? Thousands of children had just such an opportunity for a special Jubilee project in honor of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate. Dear Papa is a collection of notes, letters and artwork culled from these responses. In these jottings, children share concerns (“It is hard to be good forever”), express thanks (“Thank you for being who you are”), ask questions (“Were you made fun of because you wanted to be a priest?”) and request blessings (“Please bless everyone”). With tones ranging from whimsical to poignant, the book shows that the clear affinity between John Paul and children is a dynamic that runs in both directions. Great for exploration, this collection might even inspire some young writers to send off a loving note of their own to him. Ages 8 and up.
FOR THE CHILDREN: WORDS OF LOVE AND INSPIRATION FROM HIS HOLINESS POPE JOHN PAUL II
32 pages, $16.95
Available in bookstores
This book opens with a special greeting from the Holy Father: “The Pope wishes well to everyone, but he has a preference for the youngest, because they had a special place in the heart of Christ, who wished to remain with the children and talk to the young.” Each piece in this collection affirms the obvious: The Holy Father has always had a special relationship with youth and held children close to his heart. Inspiring words and vibrant photos will help young readers to know John Paul in a more intimate way. Ages 8 and up.
written by Victoria Parker
32 pages, $17.95
To order: (888) 677-7357or raintreelibrary.com
By exploring why the Vatican is special to Catholics, this book explains our faith — its history, sacred places, traditions, customs and heroes. Fact-loving kids will also enjoy uncovering Vatican City trivia. Who knew, for example, that the shelves of the Vatican Archives stacked end to end would stretch more than 15 miles? Or that the pope’s palace has more than 1,400 rooms and nearly 1,000 flights of stairs? With its generous use of large type, color photographs and an age-appropriate glossary, this informative book is a pleasure to read. Ages 7 to 10.
THE WEIGHT OF A MASS: A TALE OF FAITH
written by Josephine Nobisso
illustrated by Katalin Szegedi
Gingerbread House, 2002
32 pages, $9.95
To order: (631) 288-5119 or gingerbreadbooks.com
On the day of the royal wedding in a kingdom in which the people’s faith had grown cold, a poor widow begs for a crust of bread from the baker. She promises to offer for him the wedding Mass she plans to attend. Mocking the destitute woman, the baker scribbles “One Mass” on a scrap of paper and drops it on the first tray of the balance scale and a slice of bread on the second tray. “One Mass” outweighs the heavier bread. It outweighs the cookies, pies and even the royal wedding cake. This miracle in the bakery helps townspeople recognize the true value of the Mass. Ages 6 and older.
Patricia A. Crawford writes from
Winter Park, Florida.
Kerry A. Crawford writes from
- March 6-12, 2005