Though my presentation on October 3, “Books for Grandkids,” had a small turnout due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, we offered it again to a large crowd. I also did two “book talks” for CCD parents earlier this month. I had a blast making book suggestions from noted Catholic publishers as well as secular books by a variety of authors starring Catholic characters. Titles included books for pre-school to teens. I passed out bookmarks and a list of questions parents and grandparents can use to open discussion about any type of fiction. (If any other parishes out there want me to do it for them, I’d be happy to repeat it!)
Here are some of the books I talked about during the presentation and had on display for browsing afterward.
The Pumpkin Patch Parable / written by Liz Curtis Higgs; illustrated by Nancy Munger (Tommy Nelson, 1995)
This board book presents an alternative to traditional Halloween. Each spread include a related spiritual verse. The story describes the farmer who grows pumpkins and all the stages from planting seeds to harvest and how they each require patience and tending. But in October the farmer chooses the perfect pumpkin to carve. A candle is placed inside to glow, a reminder of how God turns the simple into the glorious.
Everybody Has a Body: God Made Boys nd Girls / written by Monica Ashour; illustrated by Karol Kaminski (Pauline Kids, 2015)
This board book with bold, cartoon-like illustrations, serves as a first introduction to the difference between girls and boys. God makes everybody alike, yet he made our bodies different, too. Parents were once children but now they have specific roles, as children will when they grow up. This is a celebration of bodies and the roles they play in God’s plan. Pre-K.
Forever You: A book about your Soul and Body / written by Nicole Lataif; illustrated by Mary Rojas (Pauline Books and Media, 2012)
For pre-K—elementary with gentle text and illustrations to match, this book is a celebration of our bodies and what they can do (legs to climb) and how our soul gives our bodies life:
“It’s not made of light, but warms you like the sun.”
“It’s not like the wind, but sings like a gentle breeze.”
The soul is a part of all we do, whether singing or bathing. It lets people see us from the inside out, in what we feel, what we like, what we love, and in our special gifts and talents.
The Song of Francis / written by Tomie dePaola (GP Putnam’s Sons, 2009)
Francis wants to sing, to sing of the love of God he feels. But he is a alone. An angel encourages him to sing anyway. His singing attracts birds, the sun and moon. When he stops, they leave and Francis vows to sing again tomorrow and each day thereafter. This simple book of bold colors and minimal text has a gentle yet powerful message as it depicts Saint Francis singing his love for God to the sun, moon, and birds.
He Said Yes: The Story of Father Michael Judge / written by Kelly Ann Lynch; illustrated by M. Scott Oatman (Paulist Press, 2007)
Biography of Father Judge from his days as a student through his answering God’s calling (in many different ways) to his heroism on 9/11. Each “spread” in the book features a different challenge God presented for him, from becoming a priest to working with the homeless and through to his role as chaplain for the NYC Fire Dept. For advanced beginning readers through upper elementary (grades 3-6).
The Old Shepherd’s Tale / written by Christopher Nye; illustrated by Henri Sørensen ( Housatonic Press, 2004)
This storybook for older listeners and readers (grades K and up) with appealing illustrations shares the story of Christ’s birth from the perspective of the animals and an old shepherd that cares for them. Each gentle animal is blessed with gifts for their part in that most holy of nights—to aid the Christ child, but also for all of mankind: food and nourishment from the cow, strength from the ox, and protection from danger from the donkey. Their story doesn’t end on that night, however. The old shepherd continues to care for them as teach people how important animals are—in many ways. A wonderful expansion on the message from the night of Jesus’ birth and a great family story.