Patti Maguire Armstrong shares her enthusiasm for a new children's book series, Very Young Catholics, published by Holy Heroes.
Absolutely stunning! I cannot contain my excitement for the Very Young Catholic Series, nor can I exaggerate it. The series published by Holy Heroes is like National Geographic meets the Catholic faith in the spirit of Maria Montessori. It’s written for children, but as an adult I am enamored with it. There are 11 books completed, with the goal of 24 in all.
The author, Emily Koczela, is the director of the Very Young Catholic Project, a lawyer, who served as Chief Financial Officer to a network of Catholic schools and a Catholic, mother of six, and grandmother of fourteen. Visit VeryYoungCatholic.com to watch the two videos with images from Koczela's research for her award-winning books on Togo and Taiwan. The beauty and power of the images sweep you away into another place, so different and yet so familiar in the practice of the Catholic faith.
Koczela’s travels to more than a dozen countries have taken her to foreign lands wrapped in the unity of our Catholic faith, attending Mass across nations. In creating the project, Koczela explained that these words of the Eucharistic Prayer were particularly inspiring to her:
You never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.
As parents, we want to convey the beauty of the Catholic faith to our children. This book series does that through vibrant images capturing dramatic landscapes and the daily events of children whose lives revolve around family, friends, school and their Catholic faith. It is the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church in the stories of children.
Each book begins with a short prologue explaining such things as the geography and lifestyles of each place. In Very Young Catholics in India, we learn there are twenty-two major languages. One of the boys in the story is named Thomas after the Apostle Thomas who came to India after Jesus’ resurrection. We follow the three siblings to school, to the market, an overnight train trip and a visit to a stone elephant and a dinosaur museum.
They recall the ministry of Saint Thomas the Apostle to India and attend Mass at the Basilica of Vilankanni, dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health. People come there from all over India praying for healing. We also learn about the geography and weather, that the most famous garment of clothing is the sari, cricket is their favorite sport and St Teresa of Kolkata served the poorest of the poor in India.
Enjoy a video peek at a chapter from Very Young Catholics in Fiji. The story of three children is told in the stunning beauty of Fiji. It opens with a picnic at a natural water slide on a river, and closes with a lovo, the traditional Fijian barbecue.
A video of chapter one of Very Young Catholics in Togo is set in a small West African farming village. Mass is celebrated at the lovely village church, which serves several surrounding villages as well.
Very Young Catholics in Canada is set in the far northwest of Canada opens with the ancient celebration of the Feast of Saint Martin, including a bonfire and a lantern launch. There is sledding, ice hockey, tales of the Canadian wilderness and bonus content about the Aurora Borealis and the Klondike Gold Rush.
Each book is a glimpse into the lives of children around the globe. Within the beauty of the images and engaging stories is the understanding that we are all saying the same prayers and hold the same beliefs despite wide differences in cultures, customs and geography.
Koczela has created a masterpiece in this series, educating, entertaining, and drawing us into the Catholic faith beyond mere words. We become kindred souls with our Catholic brethren and receive consolation and confirmation that we really are one body in Christ.
Copyright 2023 Patti Maguire Armstrong
Images: courtesy of VeryYoungCatholic.com, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Patti Maguire Armstrong
Award-winning author and journalist Patti Maguire Armstrong hosts the TV talk show Ladies of Another View. She was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’ bestselling Amazing Grace series. Her latest books are What Would Monica Do? and Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven. Patti and her husband, Mark, live in North Dakota where they raised their 10 children.