Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians turned to books for information, inspiration, or plain old escape. I know I did! Even with the public libraries closed for extended times, people found ways to get their hands on books: ordering them online for delivery, calling their local second-hand bookstore for curbside pickup, visiting a nearby Little Free Library or trading books with neighbours. For adults and kids alike, reading has been a sanity saver and an imagination booster.

Now that summer is on our doorstep, it’s still the perfect time to dip into a good book. Novalis has many wonderful books to choose from: check out our website for the latest! Here are a few titles to get you started. I have to admit, it was very hard to choose just a handful. The books below are recently published, not overly long and intended to suit a range of interests.

Listening to Indigenous Voices: A Dialogue Guide on Justice and Right Relationships*, by Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice. The road to reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada is a long one. It may seem overwhelming. Where can we begin? This guide, which contains 11 workshop sessions, offers a constructive and respectful way to promote dialogue in your parish, school or other community. Also available in French.

A Post-Pandemic Church: Prophetic Possibilities, by Sr. Nuala Kenny. Many of us are wondering what the Church will look like after the pandemic ends. Who will return? Who won’t? What will the priorities be? In this honest and inspiring book, Sr. Nuala explores a range of underlying systemic and cultural issues in need of conversion. Are we ready to be part of the Church’s healing, renewal and transformation?

Here with Us: A Parish Guide to Serving People with Dementia, by Michael Swan. How can your parish better serve people with dementia, whether they are at church, at home or in a care facility? Michael Swan looks past cultural assumptions and provides the latest information about this life-limiting illness to help parishes respond with effective programs and care. 

The Catholic Educator as Catechist: Reflections on the New Directory for Catechesis, by Richard Olson. Teachers haven’t had much time to read over the past school year, but summer may offer them some spare moments to delve into this set of down-to-earth stories and faith-filled reflections by a veteran educator. Richard Olson shines a light on the Catholic teacher’s role as a Christian witness and memory keeper, the importance of ongoing faith formation, ways to nourish the seed of faith in students, current challenges and opportunities, and more.

The Green Bible: Words of Love for a Suffering Creation, by Stephen Scharper and Simon Appolloni. We all know that our common home, planet Earth, is suffering. This collection of wisdom from voices that span centuries, traditions, races, ages and geography helps us as Christians find the words to pray for and work toward balance between economic growth, justice and respect for the Earth.

For Heaven’s Sake, Vote!: Your Guide to Catholic Social Teaching and the Federal Election, in partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Will there be a fall 2021 federal election? No one knows for sure, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. This user-friendly booklet will help you learn more about what the Church teaches about seven key topics: human dignity, poverty, homelessness, health care, Indigenous issues, newcomers, and the environment. Should there be a federal election, find out how the various parties plan to address these issues. Your voice matters!

Holy Seeing: A Visual Invitation to Prayer, by Brother Ignatius Feaver. Images can gently lead us into prayer when we can’t find the words. Accompanying each of the 30 black-and-white illustrations in this small volume is a passage from scripture, our Catholic Tradition or a poem, a brief reflection by Brother Ignatius on the illustration, and questions for reflection.

Amazing Friendships Between Animals and Saints, by Greg Kennedy SJ, illustrated by Kerry Lyn Wilson. This delightful illustrated book for children is filled with stories of saints and the animals that befriended them. These friendships have much to teach us today about how to care for our common home, Earth, and live kindly with all her children. Also included are many whimsical details and creatures for children to seek and find. Extra resources are available online.

We Follow Jesus, by Christine Way Skinner, illustrated by Céleste Gagnon. The fourth installment in the Catholic Kids’ Series, this colourfully illustrated book teaches younger children the many ways they can explore becoming disciples of Christ. 

Reupholstered Psalms: Ancient Songs Sung New, by Greg Kennedy SJ. Sometimes the psalms can feel disconnected from what we’re living. These “reupholstered” versions of psalms 1 to 50 are a fresh take on that ancient wisdom that makes these songs relevant, modern and thought-provoking, like a bracing dive into a cold lake that wakes up your senses and brings clarity.

Northern Light: A Canadian Prayer Book, by Les Miller. In a few short weeks, we will celebrate Canada Day. This collection of original prayers and photographs by Les Miller explores how the physical landscape nurtures us in good times and tough times and reveals how our prayers are grounded in our deep communion with creation around us.

Happy reading!

Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor, Novalis

Editor of Looking to the Laity: Reflections on Where the Church Can Go from Here (another great read!)

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