There are a lot of great books out there to teach your child about our faith. The text book we use for religious education is nice, but in many ways it can seem limited. If you want your child to truly understand and appreciate our faith, you will likely want to think outside the text book. Over the past year and a half I have been seeking out children's books to supplement the religious education curriculum. In that time, I have come across many wonderful books. Some are very inexpensive and others are a bit more costly.
St. Joseph Picture Books
St. Joseph picture books, which can be purchased locally at Rosa Mystica, are very nice inexpensive books. Generally they cost between $1.50 and $2.00 depending on the book and where you buy it. I buy ours from our local Catholic book store, Rosa Mystica and online at The Catholic Company. Most of the time I prefer to buy them locally because we can page through the book before we buy.
My Picture Missal comes to Mass with us every week. The book is filled with pictures of children participating in Mass. For a child who can read, he or she can use this book to follow along with the order of the Mass. Because it's a picture missal, even children who are not yet reading can follow along by looking at the pictures.
Overall, these books appeal to a wide age range of children. The very young can pick up these books and enjoy the pictures and the old child can pick up the book and learn about our faith.
Three Brothers and Three Sisters Books
Three Brothers and Three Sisters books and go fish card game. The books seem like they are best suited to children in the age range of 3 to 7. In simple terms, they explain the seven sacraments of the church. The illustrations are very cute and so are the stories. The books are a bit pricier than the St. Joseph Picture Books, but they have a more modern feel to them. My youngest daughter loves these books and simply adores the sacrament go fish game. She learned the names of the seven sacraments last year simply by playing the game. And, I think it sparked her fascination with our parish deacons.
Pauline Kids is a publish company that produces books with a very contemporary feel. They present our faith in a way that is very upbeat. We currently have three of their books in our home library and each of them are well liked by my children.
The Rosary Comic Book. For each mystery of the rosary there is an eleven panel comic strip that explains the mystery. Scriptural references are given at the end of each comic strip. If your child does not have a rosary, he or she can use this book to pray the rosary.
Saints and Their Stories. I will be using this lovely book in my religious education classes throughout the year. The stories are perfect for reading aloud or reading silently.
Older children can learn about the seven sacraments in Goodness Graces! The book consist of ten fun stories about how other children have come to see the value of a particular sacrament.
During my older daughter's second grade year she wore out the lovely Mass book the religous education program gave her. Unfortunately we had great difficulty finding another Missal that was done as nicely as this one. One week at Mass I noticed a child with what appeared to be a comic book missal. I caught the name of it and checked it out on line. I was delighted with the content of the little Missal. Magnifikid! is a children's weekly Missal booklet. The booklet contains a comic strip, articles, activities, prayer page and the order of the Mass with the reading for Sunday's Mass. I initially balked at the yearly subscription rate of $34.90, but have come to realize that this publication is worth every penny. Magnifikid recommends this publication for children between the ages of 6-12 years old. I would place a grade range of 2nd to 6th on it. I think the reading level is a bit too advanced for a child in kindergarten or first grade. I highly recommend this publication. It will help the older child learn how to follow along at Mass. Occasionally I will present a saint story or explanation of a particular holy day that I have found in an issue of Magnifikid in my religious education classes.
The Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross that can be used to teach your child to reflect on the Stations of the Cross. The illustrations are sensitive to young children. St. Joseph's Picture Books' The Way of the Cross for Children is a nice choice for older children. Both of these books are nice to have during Lent.
Catholic Children's Treasure Box Series
Catholic Children's Treasure Box series highly enough. I was intrigued by these books about a year ago after hearing some great things about them from families who had them. A complete set (20 books) cost anywhere from $80-$100 depending on who you buy them from on line. I was initially put off by the price but after buying the complete series I have to say that I find them to be worth every penny. The books are very traditional, in that they nicely teach the lessons a child might find in the Baltimore Catechism on a younger level. These books are best suited to children between the ages of three to eight. They are nicely written and contain several stories, poems and activities in each book. My daughter, who is five, really enjoys listening to the stories contained in these books. I will be incorporating several of the stories found in these books into the kindergarten religious education classes this year.