Lent and Easter Children’s Book Picks 2024

Looking for seasonal reads for young readers?

Kids will enjoy these and other reads.
Kids will enjoy these and other reads. (photo: Courtesy book covers)

Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server Plans the Perfect Lent

Written by Theresa Kiser

Illustrated by Mike Schwalm

OSV Kids, 2024

36 pages, $17.95

Arthur, an altar server, aims high. He dreams of being perfect, just like Jesus. While others kids might offer up candy and video games for Lent, not Arthur. He plans to give up making mistakes. And that is when things go awry both at home and at church. When Arthur trips on his shoelace at Mass, the lectionary goes flying. It’s just the start of one disaster after another. His mom reassures Arthur that Jesus loves him all the time, even when he is not perfect. Facts about Lent round out the story, the third installment in this series. Ages 4-8.

The Story of the First Easter Bunny

Written by Anthony DeStefano

Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

Sophia Institute, 2024

32 pages, $17.95

Once there lived a bunny with large ears and an even larger heart. Worried about his sick mother, Bunny sets out to search for a man known for healing. “How strange,” thought the bunny. “How wondrous and odd! A Man who could heal? He must be from God!” Bunny’s quest leads to the Upper Room. With his large ears, Bunny hears Christ predict his death and promise that he will rise. After the Crucifixion, Bunny remembers those words. In faith, he carries his mom to the tomb and is amazed to see that “out walked the Man who had died on the tree!” The Resurrection is the first miracle of that Easter morning, with a special surprise in store for Bunny and his mother. Ages 4-10.

The Little Donkey and God’s Big Plan

Written and illustrated by Izabela Ciesinska

Ascension, 2023

32 pages, $16.99

Tied to a post, poor little donkey can only dream of going places. When a young girl visits, she reassures him, “God has a very special purpose for you.” Determined to be ready, the little donkey exercises, eats well and prays. One day, two men arrive. They tell his owner that little donkey is needed. Needed? Yes, on his back, little donkey will carry a kind man — whom many call King or Jesus — through the streets of Jerusalem. “You kept faith and prepared well,” Jesus tells little donkey, “your service to me will be remembered for all time.” The author dedicates her book to “young readers who are eager to discover their purpose.” Ages 4-8.

Journey With Jesus: An Easter Story

Written by Ann Ingalls

Illustrated by Steliyana Doneva

Paraclete, 2024

24 pages, $12.99

The story of Holy Week comes to life in rhyme. Readers travel with Jesus as he celebrates Passover (“Our Lord and apostles met / To share a meal they’d not forget.”). They then accompany him to the Garden of Gethsemane where he is betrayed and taken to Pilate. The sad journey continues to Calvary, but joy is not far behind. On Easter morning, an angel greets Jesus’ followers with wondrous news, “Behold the Lord, whom you revere / Has risen now. He is not here.” The final image of the Risen Christ surrounded by happy children and their families brings the story to a sweet end for young readers. Ages 4-8.

’Twas the Morning of Easter

Written by Glenys Nellist

Illustrated by Elena Selivanova

Zonderkidz, 2021

32 pages, $17.99

“’Twas the morning of Easter, before the sun rose, / Two guards on a hillside were just trying to doze” begins the story of the Resurrection. “You see, Jesus had died, only three days before / A huge stone had been placed to seal the cave door.” In its telling, the poem weaves together the events of that blessed morning and the awe experienced by Jesus’ friend, Mary, and the disciples. An ideal read-aloud with large illustrations. Kids will enjoy hearing the familiar cadence of the Christmas classic by Clement C. Moore while learning about the joyous Easter feast. Ages 4-8.

The Gospel of Mark for Little Ones

Written by Sara Beth Myer

Illustrated by Allison Hsu

Marian Press, 2023

36 pages, $19.95

From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Resurrection, the Gospel of Mark unfolds in rhyme with companion watercolor illustrations. “For the special meal, our Lord took bread and blessing cup / Praying in thanksgiving as He lifted them both up,” the author writes, describing the Last Supper. “The bread became His Body and the cup, His Blood soon shed. / He said it was His last meal ’til He’d risen from the dead.” Great book for grown-ups to proclaim the Gospel to the smaller ones they love. Ages 4-12.

We Have a Pope

Written by Katherine Bogner

Illustrated by Kortnee Senn

Emmaus Road, 2024

40 pages, $17.95

Excitement is in the air. From all parts of the world, cardinals have arrived at the Vatican with one purpose: to elect a pope. The pope, the successor to Peter, will carry on the mission of Jesus. Taking readers behind the scenes, this picture book simplifies what, from a distance, can be a mystery for both young and old. The text and stunning illustrations work beautifully together. Readers learn about and see the cardinal-electors, dressed in red and seated in the Sistine Chapel, praying “to find a pontiff holy and humble, brave and bold.” Above them, rich colors give a glimpse of Michelangelo’s paintings. After each vote, the ballots are burned. When white smoke billows from a special chimney, the world rejoices. Habemus Papam! Ages 6-15.

Princesses of Heaven: The Flowers

Written and illustrated by Fabiola Garza

Word on Fire, 2024

72 pages, $24.95

For little girls who long to be princesses, the stories of six daughters of the King of Kings will inspire. “There is no princess more beautiful,” they learn, “than one who lives for God.” In this picture book, readers meet St. Joan of Arc, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Narcisa de Jesus, St. Lucy Yi Zhenmei and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Each has special virtues and wears a crown decorated with a flower chosen just for her. Young princess-saints-in-the-making will want to decorate their own heavenly crowns with faith, hope and charity. Readers will feel at home with the illustrations by the Disney artist and author. Ages 3-8.

The Crawford sisters write from Pittsburgh.