Excellent children’s books focus on Jesus, forgiveness, saints

Reviewed by Regina Lordan, “Glory Be Saints A to Z” by Rebecca Pohlmeier and “The Creator’s Love Story” by Madeleine Carroll are excellent children’s books. (CNS)

The following books are suitable for summer reading:

“The Big Book of Christians Around the World” by Sophie de Mullenheim. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2020). 85 pp., $16.99.

If your summer vacation was canceled thanks to the COVID-19 virus, take an epic family trip to 25 different countries with “The Big Book of Christians Around the World.” Full of interesting facts, illustrations and photography, this hardback will pique children’s curiosity about culture, geography, politics and religion. Time to set up a virtual trivia game and impress the grandparents. Ages 9-12.

“Glory Be Saints A to Z” by Rebecca Pohlmeier. Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, Indiana, 2020). 25 pp., $12.95.

This is the book cover of “Glory Be Saints A to Z” by Rebecca Pohlmeier. The book is reviewed by Regina Lordan. (CNS) See BOOKS-CHILDREN June 26, 2020.

Babies and toddlers can’t get enough books on the alphabet, and Catholic babies and toddlers can’t get enough books about saints. Combine the two, and you get “Glory Be Saints A to Z,” a surprisingly unique addition to that “keep-kids-busy-at-Mass” bag. This sturdy board book displays colorful cartoon images of saints bearing welcoming smiles that will introduce children to pre-reading skills in a fun, saintly way. Ages 0-5.





“Friends Again” by Karine-Marie Amiot, illustrated by Violaine Costa (Magnificat, New York, 2020). 32 pp., $14.99.

Forgiveness can be hard for even the best Catholics, especially when it involves forgiving family members. “Friends Again” addresses this typical quandary to young readers through the example of a quarreling brother and sister. What starts as an accident escalates into a tumultuous tug-of-war battle of guilt and anger. Will forgiveness prevail? Will they be friends again? Of course, but not without a little self-giving. The book’s finely detailed illustrations match the story in engagement and quality. And during these times of being stuck at home while quarantining with family, this book is needed now more than ever. Ages 4 and up.

“Philip Rivers: Passion and Purpose” by Joan Rivers and Patrice Lappert. Sophia Institute Press. (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2019). 44 pp., $14.95.

Written by the mother of professional quarterback Philip Rivers, this biography tells the story of a passionate and hard-working athlete. With full-page photography and glossy pages, it is intended to inspire early readers to rely on God for help. Despite a few public mistakes on the field, including his famous “humble fumble,” Rivers built a stellar professional career and beautiful relationship with God. Ages 7 and up.

“God the Father and the Best Day Ever” by Gracie Jagla, illustrated by Jacob Popcak. Our Sunday Visitor. (Huntington, Indiana, 2020). 32 pp., $16.95.

What happened when Jesus opened the gates of heaven? What happened to all those people from the Old Testament who died waiting for salvation? “God the Father and the Best Day Ever” answers these ponderings with simple rhyming poetry and full-page illustrations. Creative and whimsical, the book gives children a hopeful image of the joys of heaven and a better understanding of God’s love for his people through his son Jesus. Ages 4 and up.

“Jesus, I Love You: My First Words to Pray to God” by Augustine Gadient, illustrated by Mizuho Fujisawa. Ignatius Press. (San Francisco, 2020). 20 pp., $12.95.

“Jesus, I Love You” will become a helpful resource for keeping little hands busy and little minds engrossed in quiet, prayerful activity. A sturdy board book with toddler-sized peek-a-boo flaps, children will learn simple ways to talk to God in words they can articulate. The companion books by Augustine Gadient, “Where is Jesus: My First Words in Search of God” and “Thank You, Lord: My First Words in Praise of God,” offer a trio of suggestions for prayer. Ages 0-3.

“The Daily Examen Journal: A 30-Day Spiritual Retreat” by Jerry Windley-Daoust. Gracewatch Media. (Winona, Minnesota, 2020). 129 pp., $12.00.

“The Daily Examen Journal” is a spiritual self-examination tool for younger readers to mindfully pay attention to God. Using the six movements of the Ignatian spiritual exercises as its model, the journal’s purpose is to guide readers through a deeper awareness and responsiveness to God’s constant presence in their lives. The book offers spiritual writings for reflection and vast opportunities for writing. Use it as a solitary activity or encourage the whole family to participate. Ages 12 and up.

“St. John the Baptist: A Voice Crying Out in the Desert” by Ezekiel Saucedo. Pauline Books and Media. (Boston, 2019). 119 pp., $13.95.

Comic-book enthusiasts, take notice. The story of St. John the Baptist comes to life in a new graphic novel just for readers like you. The book’s little dialogue bubbles tell this brave saint’s interesting journey in all its drama-filled glory. All that baptizing, preaching, cricket-eating, and yes, birthday beheading, are included. Ages 7 and up.

“The Creator’s Love Story” by Madeleine Carroll, illustrated by Jen Olson. Isaiah Books. (Little Bookham, United Kingdom, 2020). 28 pp., $9.

“The Creator’s Love Story” teaches children with simple verse and soft watercolor illustrations major events in the New Testament. Wholly focused on Jesus, this picture book is truly a love story for young disciples to help them know Jesus and his divinity on an introductory, but personal level. Ages 0-5.

Lordan, a mother to three young children, has master’s degrees in education and political science and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service. She currently teaches and is a court-appointed advocate for children in foster care.

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