Katie Fitzgerald reviews Through the Year with Mary, a wonderful new book to help children grow closer to the Blessed Mother.
If you are seeking an easy way to develop and nourish your children’s relationship with the Blessed Mother, Through the Year with Mary by Katherine Bogner, published by Emmaus Road Publishing, is the perfect resource. This family-friendly guide follows the liturgical year month by month, providing weekly reflections on Marian tradition that suit the season.
Each month’s section begins with an introduction that provides background and context for the weekly lessons to come. For each week, there is a reading with discussion questions, a piece of artwork depicting Our Lady, a “To Jesus Through Mary” section explaining how Mary leads us to her Son, and a prayer.
The information presented includes everything from well-known topics such as the Miraculous Medal and May Crowning, to lesser-known Marian apparitions, such as Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin in 1859. The readings are just over a page long, and they provide scriptural references for further understanding. Though an upper elementary child might be able to read and understand these on his or her own, the introduction emphasizes that this is a book meant to be shared by adults and children together, and the writing style reflects that.
The prayers are primarily in English, but there are some Latin, Spanish, and French translations as well. The young reader is introduced to not only the Hail Mary, Magnificat, and the Angelus, but also to various canticles and litanies that kids might not yet know. All of the prayers mentioned in the weekly lessons are collected at the back of the book for quick reference, along with a guide for praying the Rosary. The Rosary is also the focus of the October section of the book, which provides Scripture readings to go along with each Mystery.
The pieces of art come from a variety of times and places, and they include photographs of paintings and windows in contemporary churches, works of Byzantine art by unknown artists, and pieces by famous painters such as Nicolas Poussin, Diego Velasquez, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Fra Angelico. The variety of images highlights the universality of the faith and the many beautiful ways creative people have imagined Our Lady through time.
As a homeschooling mom, I’m always excited to find a book that simplifies my Catechism lessons. This book, with its attractive layout, accessible organization and sturdy cover, is a wonderful option. Families, religious education catechists, and Catholic school teachers alike can easily incorporate this book into their existing prayer routines and celebrations of the liturgical year. Since each week’s content is divided into sections, it could be presented to children in short segments throughout the week, or once a week in a special Marian lesson. All the artwork also means this book can double as an art history text.
Through the Year with Mary is a beautifully designed tribute to the Mother of God providing, as the subtitle states, many opportunities for adults to ponder and pray alongside the children in their lives. I’m looking forward to sharing it with my own children this summer, and I enthusiastically recommend that you do the same!
Copyright 2023 Katie Fitzgerald
Images: (top) copyright 2021 Holy Cross Family Ministries; Canva
About the Author
Katie Fitzgerald is a former children's librarian turned stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. She and her librarian husband live in Maryland with their five children, the youngest of whom are boy/girl twins. She has published two textbooks for librarians, and she writes about homeschooling, books and the reading life from a Catholic perspective at ReadAtHomeMom.com and on Instagram @read.at.home.mom.