WASHINGTON — The following books are suitable for Christmas
All Shall Be Well: A Spiritual Journal for
Hope and Encouragement by Hilda St. Clair. Paraclete Press (Brewster,
Mass., 2016). 120 pp.
Teenage readers and adults alike will find calm, inspired
creativity and peaceful contemplation with this beautifully illustrated
journal. Sixty quotes illuminated with bright watercolor are accompanied with
activities to help focus the day on God. Hopeful and encouraging, the journal
is a reprieve from a loud and hectic world. Ages 13 and up
Page-A-Day Children's Bible by
Rhona Davies, illustrated by Marcin Piwowarski. Pauline Books and Media
(Boston, 2016). 381 pp.
The Bible has been rewritten time and again for younger
audiences. And although the market is flooded with token children’s Bibles,
this one stands out for its practicality and simplicity. It is a reasonable way
to introduce a child to daily Scripture reading with a page a day, and this
Bible's pretty illustrations and well-written passages will make the time spent
reading valuable and enjoyable. Ages 8-10
Mother Teresa of Kolkata: Saint Among the
Poor by Didier Chardez. Pauline Books and Media (Boston, 2016). 66 pp.
Inspired by real-life anecdotes told by one of St. Teresa's
travel companions, Msgr. Leo Maasburg, this graphic novel tells the story of
the modern-day saint from her childhood days throughout her adult ministry. Sometimes
humorous, the colorful graphic novel gives a very personal side to the newly
canonized saint. Mother Teresa: The Smile of Calcutta
and Mother Teresa of Calcutta by Francine Bay and
illustrated by Emmanuel Beaudeeson, both published by Magnificat, as well as
Liguori's Mother Teresa: A Life of Love by John
and Marieta Monette are three more books that would make nice additions to
complete a collection. Ages 6-10
Jesus Speaks to Me About Confession
by Angela M. Burrin, illustrated by Maria Cristina Lo Cascio. The Word Among Us
Press (Frederick, Md., 2016). 45 pp.
Not too long after the celebration of Christmas, children start
to seriously prepare for their first confession, a sometimes intimidating event
for a young Catholic. In this illustrated keepsake book, Jesus is the narrator.
He gently talks directly to the young reader, explaining the origins, steps and
gift of the sacrament of reconciliation. The book also includes prayers, such
as a prayer to the Holy Spirit, an act of contrition and an examination of
conscience for children. Ages 7-9
The Shadow of His Wings: A Graphic Biography
of Father Gereon Goldmann by Max Temescu. Ignatius Press (San Francisco,
2016). 128 pp.
From a young age, German Father Gereon Goldmann wanted to be
nothing more than a missionary priest. But the world in which he lived would
not allow it. Drafted into the Nazi army while a seminarian, he had to put his
studies on hold while he faced intense fighting — for souls. He ministered to
Catholic soldiers and tried to bring Jesus' love to hardened men and innocent
civilians. Even after the war was over, Father Goldmann was wrongly imprisoned
for being a "Nazi priest." His story, told here as a graphic novel
with a biographical epilogue and photographs, is remarkable and inspirational.
Be warned, reflective of the violence and horror of the war, several
illustrations in this book graphically show guns, knives and violence. Ages
32 Days: A Story of Faith and Courage
by Ellen Lucey Prozeller. Pauline Books and Media (Boston, 2016). 116 pp.
Inspired by an anecdote shared by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, this
book is a poignant story about a young Chinese girl martyred for her devotion
to Jesus. Although the facts surrounding her life, even her real name, are
unclear, her story of faith amid persecution under communist China will leave a
memorable and inspirational impression. A wonderfully written book, this will
surely touch the lives of many readers. Ages 9-11
Spider's Gift: A Christmas Story by
Geraldine Ann Marshall, illustrated by Rebecca Sorge. Pauline Books and Media
(Boston, 2016). 40 pp.
This is a fictional Christmas tale with a message reminding young
children that all creation, no matter how small, has a gift to share. Wanting
to honor the Holy Family like his friends the honey bee and cricket, a spider
uses his gleaming web to protect baby Jesus from Herod's soldiers. A Spider's Gift is nice alternative to the secular
Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph stories. Ages 4-6
A Missal for Toddlers illustrated
by Elen Lescoat. Magnificat (New York, 2016). 22 pp.
A board book built strong for little fingers, A Missal for Toddlers explains the mystery of the Mass
with simple language and colorful images. The Mass is seen through the eyes of
a young boy who tries to sit nicely and quietly while his mother, father and
sister participate in the Mass. Ages 3 and up
The Christmas Star by Maite Roche.
Magnificat (New York, 2016). 12 pp.
Short, sweet and sturdy, The Christmas
Star explains in the simplest way the story of the Magi. A perfect gift
for Little Christmas, the feast of the Epiphany, this introductory book is
illustrated with vivid pinks, teals and turquoise. Also illustrated by Roche is
Magnificat's A Gospel Advent Calendar. The doors
of the Advent calendar open up within the backdrop of a magnificently detailed
Bethlehem countryside. A companion booklet with a short Bible verse, meditation
and picture to color in accompanies each day of calendar, which includes the
feast of the Holy Family and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Ages 2
Lordan, a mother of three, has master's degrees in
education and political science and is a former assistant international editor
of Catholic News Service.