Katie Fitzgerald reviews Through the Year with Tomie dePaola, a new book about the liturgical year from Ignatius Press.
Families who love Tomie dePaola’s picture books about saints and Biblical figures are in for a real treat with a brand-new title from Ignatius Press, Through the Year with Tomie dePaola. Published posthumously, this volume collects the beautiful little pieces of “Art Mail” Tomie dePaola sent to his friends and family over the years to commemorate various feast days and liturgical celebrations.
Text written by Catherine Harmon and John Herreid accompanies these charming folk-art drawings and provides a small biography or description for each saint or celebration shown. The book is organized by month, and each section ends with a list of additional celebrations not covered in detail in this volume.
This is a visually appealing book, not just for the artwork, but also because of its kid-friendly design. Its compact size makes it ideal for little hands to hold as they read. The smaller size also means it can easily be carried along to Mass in a purse or bag. In terms of reading level, it can be appreciated as either a read-aloud for ages 4 to 7 (or the whole family), or as an independent read for ages 8 to 12 (and beyond). There are a lot of collections of saint stories, and a lot of books about liturgical living out there, but because of Tomie dePaola’s irresistible signature style, this one stands out as special.
With the holidays on the horizon, this book could be a great gift for a godchild, Catholic school teacher, or homeschool mom, as well as for godchildren, grandchildren, or your own children. It’s also one to keep in mind for special occasions like Baptism and first holy Communion when you want to give a keepsake present.
Tomie dePaola passed away in 2020, and the legacy he left behind in his Catholic art is such a gift. Keep this book handy on your bookshelf and you’ll have the chance to be blessed by Tomie many times each month, and to enrich your knowledge of the Church year as well. I’m putting my copy of this book directly in my Mass bag for my six-year-old, and I know it won’t be long before the pages are worn with love from eager reading.
Copyright 2023 Katie Fitzgerald
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.