Kids and teens have a lot of time on their hands these days. In various parts of Canada, school’s out and remote learning is in. Sports and many outdoor activities are on hold. Even the toboggan hill is off limits in some places! What’s a kid or teen (or at-their-wits’-end parent) to do?
When screen time has reached its limits and the younger members of the family are bored of yet another board game, it’s time to get lost in a book or two. When my son was in elementary school, one of his teachers started a fun activity known as DEAR time: Drop Everything And Read! At a random time once a day, the teacher would call out, “DEAR time!” The kids would scramble to grab a book and dive in for a little while.
So, to get you in the spirit, here are some faith-related books for kids and teens to get them thinking, dreaming, even praying. There are also some suggestions for tired parents who are finding it hard to keep everything going with kids underfoot 24/7, COVID fatigue and the January blahs. So… drop everything and read!
- Emeline the Cat and Brother Francis Who Taught Her Love (by Giuseppe Caffulli; illustrated by Marina Cremonini): The irresistible story of Francis of Assisi told by a stray cat who discovers love through this humble saint. Gorgeous watercolour illustrations.
- Amazing Friendships between Animals and Saints (by Greg Kennedy SJ; illustrated and with activities by Kerry Lyn Wilson): A whimsically illustrated original collection of stories about animals and the saints who loved them. Listen to the story of “Saint Kevin and the Blackbird” on YouTube as a sneak preview! Lots of supplementary activities available online.
- Activities for Well-Being: Body, Mind and Spirit (by Cathy McAleese and Jennifer Moore-Mallinos): Kids and parents alike will enjoy these activities that help them calm down, relax and be mindful during a stressful time.
- Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World: Sit with the Pope as he answers questions from kids from all over the globe!
- Reupholstered Psalms: Ancient Songs Sung New (by Greg Kennedy SJ): Think the Psalms are old and outdated? Think again! This collection of modern takes on these timeless texts will help you see them with fresh eyes.
- Northern Light: A Canadian Prayer Book (by Les Miller): Lush photographs and contemporary prayers set from coast to coast – a feast for the eyes and the spirit!
- Holy Seeing: A Visual Invitation to Prayer (by Brother Ignatius Feaver O.F.M. Cap.): Black-and-white illustrations plus a brief text to reflect on and a few reflection questions – an engaging way to learn about seeing the world through the inner eyes of our soul.
- Spiritual Wisdom and Divine Light: A Coloring Book for Prayer and Meditation (by Trish Sullivan Vanni and Claire Peron): Pick up some markers or pencil crayons and colour your way to peace and calm when you need a break from reality.
- At Your Side: Prayers for Messy, Delightful, Complicated, Outrageous, Everyday Life (by Raymond Friel and David Wells): Perfect for stressed-out parents: original, contemporary prayers that help bring you closer to Jesus when you need him most.
- Written on My Heart: Classic Prayers in the Modern World (by Michael Swan): The prayers we know by heart can be an anchor in a topsy-turvy world. In recalling a well-loved prayer, we step right into it, wherever we may be.
- There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: Everyday Stories of God’s Goodness (by Michael Way Skinner and Christine Way Skinner): It can be hard to see the abundance around us when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. This heart-warming book helps us be more aware of those many moments when God’s goodness shines in our lives.
- A Recipe for Faith: Choosing and Using the Best Ingredients (by Anne Jamieson): Faith, like a good recipe, involves planning, preparation, time, care and good ingredients. This down-home book offers lots of ways to enrich your spiritual life, one ingredient at a time.
Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor, Novalis