More Good Books for Children

Warning: If you don't like books, then STOP READING!

If, on the other hand, you agree with Cicero that “a room without books is like a body without a soul,” then come with me. . . .

I'm continuing my articles about interesting books for children. I keep running into authors at conventions and discovering new books, you see, so what else can a book lover do?!

Here's the latest from Catholic Kids:

(Enjoy a video of sample book pages here!)

In Gifts from Our Father: A Catholic Prayer Book for Kids, author Tom Wall and illustrator Martin Whitmore offer a truly unique collection of All Things Catholic: prayers, definitions, teachings, devotions, and feast days.

As I paged through the colorful hardcover book, I sensed that Tom Wall, the curator of all this content, must be very much in love with Jesus and the Church. Also, I wished this book had been around when my children were between the ages of 3 and 10. I can imagine my children bringing Gifts from Our Father to church with them on Sundays; I would have been very happy to glance over their shoulders once in a while to appreciate what they were enjoying in the book.

There's no table of contents, so it takes some time to rediscover a gem I found in a previous reading. I wanted to show a friend the section on the Mass, for example, but the book's free-range organization caused me to leaf through the book a couple of times before I struck gold.

Readers will likely have strong reactions to the illustrations, which are are vivid, simple, and mesmerizing. They proudly embrace a cartoon style, even to the point of bug-eyed characters. Some parents I know automatically dismiss cartoon religious art. Others, like me, enjoy the color and life of playful illustrations. While I can't say I have fallen in love with Martin Whitmore's prominent eyeballs, I am grateful for his vibrant new images. When I was young, I instinctively avoided pious drawings that made the saints look like they never budged an inch in real life. I mean, really, how could little Maria Goretti go out and play, carrying, as she must, that enormous halo and handfuls of flowers?

But don't let the playful illustrations fool you; this book is packed with substance. The beauty of the Church is here to cherish. Parents who feel unsure about their grasp of basic elements of the faith can explore Gifts from Our Father with their children and feel confident about our rich heritage.

Here's some of what you can discover together with your children:

  • Traditions and teachings of the Catholic faith: such as the Nicene Creed, the Works of Mercy, the Sacraments, the Beatitudes, the liturgical seasons, etc.
  • The Mass: its components and meaning
  • Saints: old favorites as well as recently canonized models in faith
  • Prayers: lots and lots of wonderful, creative prayers!

In his General Audience last week Wednesday (26 August 2015), Pope Francis called out energetically to parents:

You, mother, father, teach your children to pray, to make the Sign of the Cross: this is a lovely task for mothers and fathers!

Books like Gifts from Our Father will help us get right down to business. Let us pray!