By Regina Lordan | Catholic News Service
The following books, all published this year, are suitable for summer reading:
• "Saintly Rhymes for Modern Times," by Meghan Bausch. (28 pp.)
Resist the temptation to wince at the possibility of yet another children's book on saints. This one is different and will be a special keepsake for little ones. "Saintly Rhymes for Modern Times" is a compilation of poems featuring 18 holy men and women. The poems are short, sweet and meaningful. They include all the information a child needs to know about that particular saint in a few short few rhyming lines. The saints are paired with beautifully unique illustrations made with overlaying photographs. Ages 2 and up.
• "Secrets: Visible and Invisible," by Carolyn Astfalk, T.M. Gaouette, Theresa Linden, Susan Peek, Cynthia T. Toney, Corinna Turner and Leslea Wahl. (214 pp.)
This anthology of short stories for Catholic teenagers, being released July 4, is a true literary treasure. It provides genres for every type of reader, each so well-written that the reader is invited to fully escape into many different worlds and places. The short stories will take its readers to dystopian Europe, high school hallways, a city block in summer and a soldier's medical ward in16th-century Italy, just to name a few. The characters are diverse, exciting, relatable; their adventures are accessible, mysterious and enthralling. But within these different settings, there is one uniting comfort: God is always there, whether revealed in a desperate prayer to a guardian angel, through pure romantic love, the presence of Christian charity, men and women religious or within the sacraments. Ages 12-17.
• "The Miracle of the Bread, the Fish and the Boy," by Anthony DeStefano, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey. (31 pp.)
This book retells the famous story from the Gospel of John in which Jesus miraculously multiplied enough bread and fish to feed a crowd of thousands. It is told from the viewpoint of that little boy, spotted by Andrew in the crowd, who had just five small loaves and two small fish to share. In this adaptation, we learn that the little boy had intended to use that food as a gift to his mother, who desperately needed a break from hardship. And yet his generous gift of sacrificing for and trusting Jesus not only became a miracle for the thousands, it also created a special miracle just for his family. The illustrations are bright enough to grab the attention of younger listeners while the text is appropriate for a broader age range of readers. Ages 4-8.
• "The Pope's Cat," by Jon M. Sweeney, illustrated by Roy DeLeon. (62 pp.)
Young lovers of Pope Francis and cats beware: You'll be hooked by this new series that displays the tenderness of an already beloved pope. True to his form of loving all of God's creation, Pope Francis adopts a stray cat who needs a little tender loving care (and a bath) before becoming more comfortable in the papal quarters. This first novel in a series (to be followed by "Margaret's Night in St. Peter's") introduces us to Margaret, a sweet stray cat in need of a warm home and food. We learn just a little bit about her and a little bit about the Pope's daily life, making readers eager for more. Ages 4-8.
• "God Knows It's My Birthday," by Angela M. Burrin, illustrated by Andrew Everitt-Stewart. (29 pp.)
This sweet book will give your children (or godchildren) all they need to know at a young age: that they are special because they were created by a loving and all-knowing God, how Jesus is our gift from God and that Mary is Jesus' mother. Within these pages, the author speaks directly to children, letting them know these simple, yet profound truths that will set them up for a foundation of faith. The book is a journal, and children are encouraged to draw pictures and write about special memories and milestones. Ages 4-9.
• "Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife," by Sarah Grace Tuttle, illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford. (48 pp.)
The beautifully illustrated poems will appeal to the city-dwelling or city-exploring child who may not notice or appreciate God's beauty in nature amid the concrete wilderness that is urban life. Creeping through the bricks, crouching in the bushes and hunting in the night are wildlife: moss and birds, feral cats and raccoons. The collage illustrations add to the feelings of a busy city alive with life; the poems rhythmically coincide with the changing seasons. Ages 4-8.
• "Marian Consecration for Children: Bringing Mary to Life in Young Hearts and Minds," by Carrie Gress. (170 pp.)
Following the universal Church's first celebration of the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church, a book just for children on Marian consecration seems quite timely and fills a needed void on bookshelves. It contains 33 days of preparation with a short reflection, discussion points, trivia and prayers. Similar to adult Marian consecrations, the days lead up to a Marian feast day that will become special to your children as they prepare and potentially throughout their lifetime. Simple, practical and fun, the book is full of meaningful anecdotes, special prayers, facts about saints and interesting revelations about the Church. Ages 5-12
• "Molly McBride and the Party Invitation: A Story About the Virtue of Charity," by Jean Schoonover-Egolf. (31 pp.)
Molly McBride and her friends easily teach school-aged children about how to be charitable to others in their daily lives. One in a series, "Party Invitation" is the story of young Molly facing a familiar conflict: Who should she invite to her party? She wants to leave out the mean kid, but needs some prodding to understand that Christian charity demands more from us. Ages 5-9.