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Kathryn Swegart reviews a new picture book that introduces children to the events of Holy Week and Easter.

Reading is important because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything. Tomie dePaola 


Recently, Catholic Mom asked contributors to offer advice to a new mom who had joined the group. Without hesitation I urged families to read aloud to their children: often and to all ages (even newborns). Decades of research have shown that it is the best thing a parent can do to further the education of their child. 

I circle back to Tomie dePaola’s quote. What better subject is there to read about than the life of Christ? 




Veteran author Ann Ingalls and talented artist Steliyana Doneva have joined forces to create Journey with Jesus: An Easter Story, a kid-friendly book about the last days of Christ. Rich in colorful detail, Doneva’s paintings draw the reader into dramatic scenes of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, His Passion, and the glorious Resurrection. 

I hope to read this book with my inquisitive 7-year-old granddaughter and watch her reaction. Fine picture books are also an engaging way to help children appreciate fine art. 

The illustrator is Bulgarian artist Steliyana Doneva. With a background in animation, the artist focused her imagination on dramatic scenes in the life of Jesus. Our eyes are drawn to subtle shadows, backgrounds, and facial expressions. Her painstaking work brings the scenes to life in vibrant color. 

Author Ann Ingalls fully complements the illustrations with a lyrical text that never forces rhyming words. Thus, it makes for a great read aloud and is sure to stimulate positive reactions in a young reader.  

The illustration that depicts Jesus carrying His Cross portrays the suffering face of Our Lord. 

Ingalls writes this description:

Poor Jesus stumbled on His way. 
So Simon bore the cross that day. 
His fate a simple cross of wood. 
His mother right beneath Him stood. 


It is a difficult task to present the Passion of Our Lord to children. I recommend Journey with Jesus for your family. It makes the perfect Easter gift. 



Ask for Journey with Jesus at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Paraclete Press.



Copyright 2024 Kathryn Swegart
Images: Canva
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