Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Let the Little Ones Come to Him: Books for Catholic Kids

books for Catholic kids

Please note that all the links below will take you to my Amazon Affliate account. If you click on the link and order the products within 24 hours, I will earn a small comission on the sale. Proceeds from the sale of items through my Amazon account help support the Herd and help give my sons a voice.

Some of my friends and I are on a mission. It's a tough one but we've chosen to accept it. The mission? Find Catholic books for our kids that aren't saccharine, out dated and feature fun, modern families living the faith. Bonus points if the drawings look like they were made in this century!

I'm going to hell for those comments, aren't I?

It seems that while the secular evangelical mass market on books, DVDs, media, WWJD-wear and the like has exploded AND kept up with the times, much of what is available is for Protestant children and youth. While many, many of these books are benign, I wanted books that taught my children about our Catholic faith- the Mass, saints, Eucharist, sacraments and more. My quest for these types of books has lead me to some awesome books:

Saints of Note is a fun book for children from about second to sixth grade. The stories are presented in comic book/graphic novel format and feature a wide selection of popular AND lesser known saints. The drawings are fun, bright and appealing to children. The chapters are short and perfect for bedtime stories or for those children who are just beginning to read chapter books. I love that the saints the children visit are diverse in both the time periods they live in and their race/ethnic background. After each "visit" there is biographical information on each saint, complete with photographs and pictures.

Joseph and Chico: The Life of Pope Benedict the XVI as Told by His Cat: This hardcover book is the life of Pope Benedict as told by a cat! It's presents the life-story of our current pope in a fun and entertaining manner without "dumbing down" the text for children. I think the story of the Pope through the eyes on an animal makes the Pope a bit more human and access able to children; plus, the cat as a narrator is pretty funny!
The illustrations are done in water-color, I believe, and feature a cat on every page. I think it is best for second grade on up, but it can be read to younger children. The books does discuss Nazi Germany and I found myself "editing" those parts when I read them to my preschool-aged children. Now that my Joseph is older and understands about war, he could read them, as they are not terribly graphic.
There's another book, Max and Benedict, by the same author that might work its way into an Easter basket this year!

Little Acts of Grace and other books by the authors, are great for children of small ages. They are paper back but sturdy and perfect for Mass. The illustrations are well done yet simple and feature children from a large variety of backgrounds. The language is simple enough for children in first grade to read with help . We also have the Mass Book for Children, Catholic Prayer Book for Children and one about Mary. I recommend them all!

We Go to Mass  (by St. Joseph Board Books) are simple stories for young children. The illustrations are a bit old-fashioned for my tastes but are well done. The text explains the Mass in simple, easy to understand terms. Our copy has a handle on the top, making it a great book for littles one to carry around. This book, and others put out my St. Joseph Board Books, makes a great baptismal gift for any child and is great as part of a "quiet time" bag for Mass.

Celebrating Mass is another St. Joseph Board Books. We have the copy shown and for a long time, it was toddler George's favorite book because he could open it easily, thanks to the large tabs! (I think the priest in the illustrations looks like him!) The pictures are brightly colored, well drawn and simple. All the important elements are there but there is not "extra" clutter in them. The pictures and short text appeal to young children.

I really love A Peek Into My Church. The narrator is a little girl named Libby who takes you on a tour of her parish and neighborhood. Along the way, she explains how Communion wafers are made, the different things priests and nuns do, the articles of Mass and more. It's a great way to show children how universal the church is and a wonderful example of the Church in action, at home and in the community. Bonus: At the end, there are pictures of different articles of Mass, what the priest wears and so on, with the proper labels. When you kid asks, "Why does Father wear a dress?" you can explain exactly what that "dress" is and all the items he wears under it! (Yes, a kid really did ask that and, no, it wasn't mine!)

The board books in the Walking with God seris is my go-to baptism gift for babies. The one shown is "Count Your Blessings" and it, like all the others in the seris, feature soft black and white photographs of thing babies love! This book has many pictures of faces, children playing and sweet toys. The simple text makes a perfect before-bedtime book and it's easy enough for beginning readers to read to younger siblings. We also have "The Little Shepard" which, again, feature simple text and lovely black and white photogaphs. These are great new baby gifts or in Easter baskets!

Of course, these aren't all the great Catholic books out there for kids! What books have you read that you recommend?

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