Megan Swaim reviews a great book to add to your collection just in time for the Christmas season.
When our oldest was little, the selection of storybooks for Catholic kids seemed a bit sparse. Much of what we had was either saint-focused, or a child’s version of Bible stories. Of course, these are good, and we were glad to have them in our home! But they weren’t the books that our children were pulling out over and over again. They were most attracted to books with rhyme, with vibrant illustrations, with engaging stories that engaged their little imaginations. Fast forward a few years and a few kids and our family has been so delighted by all the new books available to Catholic kids.
A new offering from OSV Kids is particularly delightful to our 4-year-old daughter, and I’m glad that it’s on our shelf for her as we approach Advent and Christmas.
Jesus, Were You Little? written by Sally Metzger and illustrated by Caroline Baker Mazure is a charming book with stunning illustrations that young children will find especially engaging. The depictions of the child Jesus are wonderful and the text invites children to imagine Jesus when he was their age. Repeated throughout are the words, “I wonder, Jesus, did you ever …” And all the examples that follow are so sweet, truly capturing the magic of childhood as well as the moments that are really challenging for little ones.
This book is also delightfully diverse, any child will be able to recognize aspects of their own life in this story - life in the city, playing in nature, doing homework, eating meals. And so many of those scenes then carry over to the life of the child Jesus, so children can really see just how like them Jesus was. I was delighted, too, to discover the illustrations include children of different races, abilities and interests.
My 4-year-old and I read it while snuggled up in our cozy reading chair. When we closed the book, she looked at me and marveled over the possibility that Jesus might have spilled His milk, just like she (often) does! But that was just the start, then she wondered if He would have said He was sorry and helped clean it up, if He would have been frustrated when He couldn’t do big things, and if He made other “mistakes” like she does sometimes.
It prompted such a sweet conversation about how much Jesus must love little children, since He chose to become one Himself. I’m really glad we discovered this book in time to return to it through Advent and especially in the Christmas season. It’s easy to think of Jesus as the baby in the manger and as the 30-year-old preaching and teaching, but it requires some imaginative prayer on our part to consider all the other parts of Jesus’ life in between. This is a great book to help our children in that holy work!
Copyright 2022 Megan Swaim
About the Author
Megan Swaim is an Indiana girl on an east coast adventure. A former high school youth minister, she now gets to minister full-time to her three young daughters and her husband Josh. Megan spends her days homeschooling at the kitchen table, drinking iced coffee, and exploring coastal Virginia.