First Communion Books 2011 - Book Reviews

Book Review by Ann Jonas, Tradebook Buyer - CSB/SJU Bookstores
this review was published in the St. Cloud Visitor.

Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Zondervan; August 2010; 127 pp.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu retells fifty-six of his favorite Bible stories in his Children of God Storybook Bible. A page or two in length, each story is written in a manner that makes it easy to understand.  Each Biblical narrative starts with a brief heading to introduce the story and ends with a simple, one-sentence prayer, such as "Dear God, help me to have a good and kind heart."  The striking illustrations are done by twenty artists from all over the world; they were invited to utilize the style and richness of their own cultures to illuminate the stories.  Tutu, the Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, is known for his great love for children.  His message in the book's introduction tells children to "Do what is right, be kind to one another, and be friends with God."  This lovely book is filled with the Bible stories to help them follow that message.

Saints Tell Their Stories by Patricia Mitchell; illustrated by Maria Cristina Lo Cascio; Word Among Us Press; July 2010; 61 pp.
This hardcover children's book features the lives of twenty-six saints.  Many of the saints may be familiar to the reader, such as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Nicholas, Saint Patrick, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  Others, such as Saint Boniface, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati may not be as well known, but all have an important story to tell.  Each of the saints shares the story of their life in the first person, in simple, easy to understand language.  All the saints' narratives tell of the importance of God in their lives and encourage children to be close to God and Jesus.  The lovely, pastel illustrations add interest to each biography.  The book's introduction tells children to look at the saints as friends and guides, and encourages them to "go ahead and ask the saints to pray for you."  Saints Tell Their Stories will help children learn more about the saints and why we honor them.

The Lion Book of Day-By-Day Prayers, written and compiled by Mary Joslin; illustrated by Amanda Hall; Lion Publishing; May 2010, 159 pp.
Mary Joslin, known for her children's books on belief and spirituality, wrote a number of the prayers in this lovely book.  Blessings from a variety of other sources, including the Bible, saints, and poets are also contained in this extensive collection of Christian prayers.  The selections are arranged by theme, including prayers for morning, bedtime, the seasons, the church year, and praying with the Bible.  The chapter titled "Day-by-Day Prayers" stresses Christian values such as wisdom, justice, and self-control for each day of the week.  There are traditional prayers in the book and some beautiful new prayers; all are written in a way that makes them easy for children to understand.  The charming illustrations add some colorful detail to this very nice gift book.