By Regina Lourdan
If you have children at home, here are some books to pray and learn with all summer long:
“The Ten Commandments” by Sophie Piper. Paraclete Press (Brewster, Massachusetts, 2015). 48 pp., $14.95
This interactive and creative book cube will entertain and inform toddlers and older children. Little readers will learn the Ten Commandments by manipulating the sturdy folds and looking at the bright illustrations. Older children will be engaged by the hands-on experience and can even use the open-and-find folds of the cube as a way to quiz and remember God’s law handed down to Moses. Part toy, part biblical learning tool, this one is sure to be a favorite for busy hands. Ages 3-7.
“The Yes” by Sarah Bee, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2015). 32 pp., $16.
In this quirky story accompanied with equally interesting illustrations, a big Yes seeks out a Where to go. But Nos keep getting in the way, building obstacles and threatening the Yes with distractions. Yet with each step along the way, the Yes overcomes the loud and obstructive No’s and reaches his Where. Shy and overly cautious children will benefit from this unique book’s message of believing in yourself and ignoring the naysayers and inner “no.” Ages 4-8.
“The Wall People: In Search of a Home” by Joseph J. Di Certo, illustrated by Alan McCuller. Mountain Press Publishing Company. (Missoula, Montana, 2015). 141 pp., $14.
Preteens will find adventure, excitement and a little bit of magic in this story about a clan of people who live within the walls of New York City apartment buildings. Although fully human, the people hide from the outside world for fear of being treated like science experiments and pets. Relying solely on God’s grace and strong family ties forged through tradition and cooperation, the people work together to survive a desperate relocation of their homes and lives. Readers can draw parallels to the many moral challenges society faces today – struggling migrant families, helping one another despite differences, and faith in God – while enjoying an engaging story. Ages 10-14.
“Heart of a Lion: A Story of God’s Grace and a Family’s Hope” by Derek and John Paul George. Liguori Publications (Liguori, Missouri, 2015). 164 pp., $14.99
John Paul George’s life is a refreshing story of endless love, faith and hope. Diagnosed with a debilitating and usually fatal heart condition, George has spent his entire young life fighting for survival. With the help of courageous parents and a remarkable faith, he has lived to share his story of endurance through the challenges of a fatal diagnosis, surgeries and everyday missed opportunities. Now, as a young man, he sees why God saved his life – to become a priest. Teenagers will find inspiration in this easy-to-read book about a challenging and meaningful life. Ages 16 and up.
“The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch” by Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2015). 50 pp., $17.
There’s no time like the summertime for a refresher on American history. John Roy Lynch was a boy from Mississippi who fought for his own freedom and eventually the freedom of others as an elected state and House representative. He never lived to see a peaceful, unified nation, but during his lifetime he never stopped fighting for those goals. Ages 7-10.
“Before I Sleep I Say Thank You” by Carol Gordon Ekster, illustrated by Mary Rojas. Pauline Books and Media (Boston, 2015). 21 pp., $ 14.95
In this bedtime story, a young boy and his mother reflect on the day’s events and blessings. At the end, the young boy and his mother say, “Thank you, God, for all you have given us today.” The book is not just a nice story, but a good way for parents and children to pray together. Ages 4-7.
Lordan, a mother of two, has master’s degrees in education and political science and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service.