Saints Alive!

Children’s Book Picks About the Church’s ‘Superheroes’

Saints are part of the family — our Catholic family! They inspire us and model how we should live our lives. They might stumble, but they show us how to get up again. They intercede for us. And, always, they point us to Jesus. 

Can there be any better company for our children than these “superheroes” of the Church? Learning about their lives and becoming their friends can begin by opening a book. 

Help your children to celebrate the saints throughout the year. Pick up a book and read about our holy brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Just for Today

Words by St. John XXIII

Illustrated by Bimba Landmann

Eerdmans, 2015

34 pages, $16

This timely book provides a great introduction to the words of Pope St. John XXIII, beloved 20th-century pontiff and recently canonized saint. The text consists of the saint’s “Decalogue for Daily Living” — a series of 10 resolutions, filled with piety, humility, kindness and common sense. With each turn of the page, the Pope shows us how to grow throughout our lives by committing to do better “just for today.” The beautiful illustrations are full of details and visual play that kids will enjoy. Meanwhile, the inspiring words of wisdom shared here can be treasured by children and adults alike. All ages.

 

Peter: Apostle of Jesus

Written by Boris Grébille

Illustrated by Hervé Florès

Translated by Janet Chevrier

Ignatius Press, 2014

36 pages, $14.99

How does a little boy grow up to be the first pope of the Catholic Church? By loving Jesus and following God’s call. This book follows a young Simon as he goes from being the son of a fisherman to an apostle of Jesus and, finally, to being Peter, the Rock and head of the Church. It chronicles Peter’s successes and struggles on the spiritual path — and shows that this saint was a very human person who was changed by his friendship with Christ. Part of The Life of a Saint series, this book teaches and inspires. Ages 4-10.

 

Roses in the Snow: A Tale of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Written by Dessi Jackson

Illustrated by Lydia Grace Kadar-Kallen

Quis Ut Deus Press, 2014

32 pages, $9.99

Little Elizabeth loves roses of every kind — not just for their beauty, but also for the special connection they have to her grandmother and to her namesake, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. On the day Elizabeth was born, her grandmother planted pots of roses to commemorate her birth and St. Elizabeth’s miracle of roses that appeared on a snowy 13th-century day. Each year, Elizabeth and her grandmother remember this favorite story and take their own winter roses to Mass to honor their favorite saint. The exquisite illustrations have an Eastern-European flavor that brings this story to life. Ages 6-12.

 

The Life of Saint Benedict

Written by John McKenzie, OSB

Illustrated by Mark Brown

Ignatius, 2014

48 pages, $16.99

St. Benedict was a monk who changed the life of the Church and the lives of everyone he met. Based on the writings of Pope St. Gregory, this book is full of fascinating stories from Benedict’s life — his love for God, the many miracles attributed to him and the special relationship he had with his twin sister, St. Scholastica. While the detailed storyline is just right for older readers, younger children will enjoy hearing the basics of Benedict’s life and the engaging illustrations. Ages 7 and up.

 

Damien of Molokai: Builder of Community

Written by Barbara Yoffie

Illustrated by Katherine A. Borgatti

Ligouri, 2013

32 pages, $4.99

Born in Belgium, Damien grew up loving God and wanting to become a missionary so he could share that love with others. He was eventually ordained a priest and sent to work on Molokai, a Hawaiian island, where the people were suffering from contagious leprosy. This story tells of Father Damien’s tremendous love for God — and how he lived and died making life better for the others in his care. Ages 4-9.

 

Saint Joan of Arc: Quest for Peace

Written by Brunor 

Illustrated by Dominique Bar

Pauline, 2010

56 pages, $8.95

Meet a 17-year-old girl on a mission to save France and return the rightful ruler to the French throne. Joan of Arc, the girl-soldier who heard the voices of saints and took her marching orders from God alone, inspired her followers and threatened the enemies of the French king. After chalking up victories, Joan was wounded, captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, imprisoned, betrayed and burned at the stake at age 20 because some people falsely believed she was a sorceress. The last word on her lips was “Jesus.” This graphic novel brings to light the “rest of the story,” including St. Joan’s canonization in 1920. Ages 10 and older.

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Retold by Carmen T. Bernice-Grand

Illustrated by Tonya Engel

Marshall Cavendish, 2012

32 pages, $17.99

No collection of saint books would be complete without one about Mary, Queen of Saints. This exquisitely illustrated book introduces readers to the life of St. Juan Diego, a poor and humble man who encountered Mary in a very special way. In three separate apparitions, Mary asks Juan to implore the bishop to build a shrine. Though Juan considers himself to be an unworthy messenger, he does each thing that is asked of him. Our Lady sways the bishop’s heart by providing a sign of fresh roses in winter and revealing herself in a supernaturally created tapestry. Ages 4-10.

The Crawford sisters

write from Pittsburgh.