I love being a Catholic and frequently long for the days when (it felt like) everyone was Catholic and the lifestyle was normal. So normal, that to this day stores & restaurants still promote fish during Lent. Since I've had kids, I've had trouble finding quality, authentic Catholic media for them. Don't get me wrong, there is all sorts of Catholic media out here, but I am picky. And looking for a Catholic version of something as engaging as VeggieTales is a tall order. Interestingly, my favorite children's books are anything but new and modern, but ARE engaging. Just goes to show that classics are classic for a reason!
For The Littles
For the youngest in our family, we've really enjoyed the St. Joseph Rattle Books. Since I usually only have one or two, I don't let them "look" at them except during Mass, so they never actually get to read them. They are short & the pictures help to expose them to Catholicism from a very early age. I love that!
For PreK to Early Elementary
We have LOVED The Catholic Children's Treasure Box! I'm sure that it was once aimed at a much older set of children, I'd say that approximately 4-8, MAYBE 4-12 would be my guess now. I'm guessing at the older ranges since I have no kids over 5. These are reprints of a children’s magazine from the 1950’s and have parent information on the topics on the front and back cover.
Inside, there is a story about a saint or other important person in the Church (St. Therese covers many books), activities for kids to do when they are bored using very little and/or just their imagination, a rebus-story about a guardian Angel names Wupsy and an African missionary, poems and stories with morals.
My daughter would bring me the whole stack to read at age 3. We LOVE these. You can read my full review of the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box at Happy Little Homemaker.
For the Elementary Set
At a meeting of our Catholic mom's group, someone had found a fantastic deal on the St. Joseph Picture Books and shared the bounty. When I heard her story, I was so excited, that I bought every single one I could find--I think I ended up with 15-20 different titles in packs of 10 for $1 on Amazon! (You might still be able to find some – I use them for first communion, baptism, & other gifts.)
Topics are fairly advanced, but starting with Kindergarten, we've been using them to celebrate the liturgical year and learn about our faith. The Way of the Cross For Children is excellent and we used that through all of Lent. We also used Celebrating Lent to explain the what, why & how. We have also used portions of several others to explain feasts like the Immaculate Conception & Our Lady of Guadalupe. When I remember to get them out & notice the feast day, that is J. I haven’t read all our titles yet, but the theology in the ones we HAVE seems pretty authentic & sound. I would have no problem buying more at full price (which is still pretty cheap). In fact, I'm building a wish list of additional books I'd like to have!
Bonus – St. Joseph Coloring Books
As a bonus, the same company who makes the St Joseph Picture Books also has a huge line of coloring books that we use for the kids to color in when saying our Rosary. I'm starting to remember to get them out more frequently, too, as I notice a title works well with a particular part of the liturgical year.
What are some of your favorite Catholic books for kids?
Copyright 2013 Jen Steed
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