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Barb Szyszkiewicz reviews Penny and the Stolen Chalice, a new mystery story for kids by Antony Barone Kolenc.

There's nothing like a mystery story to grab a reader's interest—and young readers are no exception. I grew up on the Bobbsey Twins, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys (I have a brother, and the books were around). Antony Barone Kolenc has written Penny and the Stolen Chalice, a mystery story with a Catholic twist that will appeal to middle-grade readers, published by OSV Kids.


Penny and the Stolen Chalice


The author is well-known for his award-winning Harwood Mysteries series for middle- and high-school readers. This book stars an 11-year-old protagonist but is perfect for readers 8 and up. Penny, a non-Catholic new kid in a Catholic school, can’t help but try to find out who stole a chalice during a school Mass when the fire alarm went off just after Communion. Along the way, she learns—and comes to believe—how the Eucharist truly is the Body and Blood of Christ. She also makes some friends, and I hope they’ll appear in future books in this series.

While this is a children’s book, there are adult characters who are key to the story. Among them are Penny’s recently widowed mom, her grandfather who has terminal cancer, the school’s principal and custodian, and the ever-suspicious religious sister who runs the nursing home where Penny’s grandfather lives.

This story would make a fun read-aloud in a Catholic-school classroom or for a parent and child to enjoy together.

Ask for Penny and the Stolen Chalice at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, OSV Kids.


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Copyright 2024 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Images: Canva
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