Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
Written by Sylvia Dorham
Illustrated by Mia Sasscer
TAN Books, 2022
24 pages, $14.95
“When life gets all tangled,/ A little or lots,/ Just run to Our Lady,/ Undoer of Knots!” What should we do when life is complicated and messy? We can turn with confidence to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. Told from a child’s perspective, the lyrical, rhythmic text captures the concerns and anxious feelings that arise from problems big and small. Misunderstandings, hurtful words, disappointments and sin can all lead to knotty problems that seem insurmountable. Our Lady can help as she undoes our knots and leads us to her Son. A poignant and engaging introduction to this popular devotion. Ages 5-8.
The Little Friar Who Flew
Written by Patricia Lee Gauch
Illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Magnificat-Ignatius, 2022 (first published in 1980)
40 pages, $16.99
What happens to kids who seem a bit gawky? Sometimes they grow up to be saints! Such is the story of St. Joseph of Cupertino, a 17th-century youth who grew up to become a Franciscan friar and a mystic. Initially, Joseph seemed to have more quirks than gifts. However, his life was a remarkable one, hallmarked by joy. He took tremendous joy in the world around him and especially in the love of God. Sometimes his joy was so great that the earth could not hold him down! Many witnessed the joyful friar flying! This utterly charming picture book is a reissue from several decades ago, allowing for a new generation to be captivated by St. Joseph’s story, depicted in Tomie de Paola’s classic illustrations. Ages 5 and up.
Written by Claudia Cangilla McAdam
Our Sunday Visitor, 2022
400 pages, $19.95
“We weren’t just not Catholic; we weren’t anything,” Tabby Long, an eighth-grader attending a Catholic school, mused. So it surprises her when her dad, whose sight is failing, asks her to go to church on Good Friday, where he experiences a miraculous healing. And nearly as surprising is when her mom rejects his claim and deserts the family. At a loss, Tabby follows the advice of her religion teacher and spends time in the adoration chapel reading Scripture and putting herself in the biblical stories. She steps into the sandals of Tabitha Longinus, daughter of the centurion stationed beneath the cross where Yeshua hangs. For time-traveler Tabby and first-century Tabitha, the adventure is just beginning, an adventure culminating in deepened faith and family blessings. Ages 13-17.
A Miracle in the Kitchen: A Legend About St. Zita
Written by Pamela Love
Illustrated by Sheila Bailey
40 pages, $14.95
Young Zita had a life much akin to Cinderella. A servant girl, Zita was treated harshly, and her days were filled with endless hours of cooking, cleaning and other hard work. Her only joy was found in the time she could attend Mass and small opportunities to help her loved ones. One day, Zita leaves her post to help a desperately ill friend. She fears returning to work, knowing that she has not made the daily bread. Much to her surprise, she returns to find an angel turning out beautiful loaves of hot bread in the kitchen. This legend introduces readers to the life of St. Zita, the goodness that characterized her, and the miraculous intervention that aided the saint and all those around her. Ages 5-9.
How the Angels Got Their Wings
Written by Anthony DeStefano
Illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo
Sophia Institute, 2022
32 pages, $16.95
“So listen, children, gather near/ Listen now, and you will hear/ an ancient tale that’s true and thrilling,/ sacred, stirring, and sometimes chilling.” This remarkable history of angels introduces young readers to Archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel and their special missions, as well as to banished Satan and the angels who rebelled against God. In rhymed verse, this book reassures youth that angels are everywhere (“We can’t see them, but they’re there!”) and a special one guards them throughout their lives. The illustrations are heavenly, offering a delightful peek at the hidden world of angels who serve God and stand ready to guide humanity. Ages 6-9.
The Little Way: A Journey to the Summit of Love
Written by Judith Bouilloc
Illustrated by Sara Ugolotti
72 pages, $16.99
Henry, a small boy, has set his sights on reaching the mountain summit where heaven and earth touch. As he hikes the trails, Henry revels in what others seem to miss: the dancing bee, the ant with the heavy load, the cluster of stars forming a capital H (“My name is inscribed in the heavens!”). So many paths to choose, but none seems to be the way to God — not the “Avenue of Competition,” the “Highway of Mediocrity,” nor the “Golden Alley of Celebrity.” “The Way of Small Things” might, however, be just right. It’s there he meets St. Thérèse, who joyfully shares with him her “Little Way,” the path to sainthood. Delightful tale, rich in Scripture and the teachings of the Little Flower of Lisieux, complete with happy illustrations. Ages 7 and up.
Jack Giorgio: Future Priest
Written by Katie Warner
Illustrated by Amy Rodriguez
TAN Books, 2022
32 pages, $16.99
Little Jack Giorgio dreams of being a superhero but isn’t sure real ones still exist. When Dad suggests looking at church, Jack is puzzled but offers a quick prayer: “If heroes exist, please show them to me./ A hero is still what I most want to be.” At Mass, Jack’s prayer is answered. Might Jack someday be a brave superhero, too, serving the People of God? Colorful illustrations offer glimpses of the traditional Latin Mass. Ages 6 and older.
The Crawford sisters write from Pittsburgh.