Confirmation 2 Book Review

Ups and Downs: Prayers By and 4 Teens; edited by Elizabeth Halfmann; published by Liguori Publications; February 2010, 96 pp

This small book, compiled and edited by a teen, contains some powerful and poignant prayers. The four sections are titled "Searching & Questioning", "Wounded Hearts", "Hanging On" and "Fully Alive." The prayers and brief introduction in each section are written entirely by teenagers, and address feelings of stress, pain and joy. Relevant Bible verses complement the prayers throughout the book. Ups & Downs offers teens--and other seekers, as well--an inspiring message that prayer is powerful and personal. The publisher's description aptly states that the book "reminds teens they are not alone in their faith struggles, their school triumphs, and their family concerns, but they have a God who cares and peers who pray."

Personal Journey Bible: New Testament and Psalms; edited by Brian Singer-Towns; published by Saint Mary's Press; February 2009, 543 pp

Brian Singer-Towns has put together an appealing edition of the New Testament and Psalms for young people. The text is from the Saint Mary's Press Catholic Youth Bible, NRSV Edition, and includes the "Pray It! Study It! Live It!" articles that are in the Youth Bible. This edition also contains eleven inserts that will help guide teens on their faith journey. The inserts cover subjects such as "Finding Christ in Friends", "Finding Christ in Media" and "Finding Christ in Tough Times" and offer scripture readings, meditations, reflections and a psalm relevant to the subject. A concise appendix listing some of the core elements of Catholicism, along with traditional Catholic prayers and practices are also included. The small size of the book makes it easy to take anywhere and the bright-colored leatherette cover is attractive.

 Saints: Lives and Illuminations; written and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson; published by Wm. B. Eerdmans; January 2010, 160 pp

Author and illustrator Ruth Sanderson has had a lifelong interest in saints from around the world. Two of her earlier books Saints and More Saints were formatted for younger readers, in picture book style. This edition is much smaller in size and combines the short biographies of all the saints featured in the two previous books. All of the seventy-six saints featured have a one-page biography, with a lovely, detailed portrait of the saint on the facing page. Each biography lists the feast day and the group for whom the saint is patron or patroness. In addition to well-known saints such as Benedict, Stephen, and Elizabeth Ann Seton, the book includes lesser-known men and women who also have provided spiritual examples to many Christians. This attractive gift book offers inspiring stories of Christian devotion to readers of all ages.