Chivalry and Catholic Virtues meet in Theresa Linden’s Armor of God series, specially written for First Communicants.
Have or know a child who’s preparing for or just made their First Holy Communion? This series is just for them! Theresa Linden explores the six parts of the Armor of God listed in Ephesians 6 against a interest-catching backdrop of knights and quests. These books are sure to captivate 6-8 year old Catholic children and help them internalize and desire the virtues!
In the first book, Belt of Truth, George, a young page, has a lying problem.
George wants more than anything to be a knight. When he learns that Truthfulness is a necessary virtue, he’s dismayed. How can he stop lying when it seems like the best way to solve his problems and keep out of trouble? Watch George grow and practice virtue throughout this first book so that when he really gets in trouble, he is able to stand strong and tell the truth. He earns his first piece of armor: the Belt of Truth.
As the series continues, George learns about the other parts of a knight’s armor and other virtues including Righteousness, Peacefulness, and Faithfulness.
There’s also plenty of scuffles, sword fighting, horses, dragons, and more. Parents can feel good about giving this clean, virtue-driven series to their young kids to read. And kids can enjoy the fun of the chivalric era while imbibing some good morals.
Is the Armor of God series just for boys?
Nope! Girls will enjoy the fact that the knight school is for boys and girls! Boys train to be knights, and girls train to be dames. But they all get to practice all the fun parts of training. A girl is one of the three main characters that carry the series.
For the 6-8 year old, just becoming independent reader stage, I love the Saints and Friendly Beasts saint book series.
In the Saints and Friendly Beasts series, young readers will enjoy the large print and wealth of pictures. At the same time, they’ll become familiar with saints who loved animals. Popular Holy Hour books with my 6 and 8 year olds. Note: the pictures in these books are all black and white.
A recently published book that is awesome for this age is Meg Hunter-Kilmer’s Saints Around the World.
This is a saint book like no other! Meg Hunter Kilmer tells stories about many saints we’ve never heard of in a conversational style that makes these saints your kids’ new best friends. Check out my full Review of “Saints Around the World”!
Another series of saint books that’s wonderful for a 3rd grade reading level (or younger reader with help!) is the Life of a Saint series from Ignatius Press.
Learn about popular saints in these colorful, picture-rich books from reliable Ignatius Press.
Mayr Fabyan Windeatt brings the saints to life for children aged 9-99.
These saint biographies are 50-100 pages and perfect for book reports or spiritual reading. My kids bring these to Holy Hour all the time. Not very many pictures, but simple and inspiring stories about a variety of saints from Hyacinth to Martin de Porres.
A final awesome saint book series for the 9+ crowd is the Vision Series from Ignatius Press
Up to 24 books, the acclaimed Vision series offers inspiring saint biographies for 4th-8th graders. With longer chapters and more details, these books will satisfy kids who want to know more about their favorite saints- or maybe discover some new favorites!
If you haven’t heard the hype yet, the internet is buzzing about this amazing new book by Meg Hunter-Kilmer! And with good reason! This is hands down the most thorough look at saints from all around the world I’ve ever seen. From Africa to South America to Asia to the Caribbeans, there really are saints from all corners of the world featured in Saints Around the World!
Around the World and Down to Earth
Although this book features Saints from all sorts of cultures and walks of life, the emphasis is on their common humanity. You’ll hear how saints changed diapers, saints gave their grandchildren pony rides, saints did laundry. This is so important for our kids (and us) to understand: the saints were not just great preachers and theologians, they were moms and dads and kids like us!
Broken and Beautiful: The Body of Christ
This book is a celebration of the diversity of the Body of Christ. You’ll read the stories of Saints from Papua New Guineau to Iceland. You’ll learn about Saints in wheel chairs and Saints with birth defects and Saints who were blind. You’ll read about Saints with learning disabilities and speech impediments. You’ll learn about saints with big personalities and saints who were desperately shy. You’ll see Saints from various ethnicities with a great variety of skin tones.
To match the beautiful souls described in Saints Around the World, Lindsey Sanders illustrated this book with beautiful watercolor pictures. Many pictures feature everyday items as symbols. This emphasizes the theme that these saints lived seemingly ordinary lives. You may spot a soccer ball, some musical instruments, horses, and more in the background of these illustrations.
Lovers of vintage comic books will enjoy this recently published reprinting of a series of classic comic strips. These comic strips retell over 20 famous Bible stories. The book starts with Adam and Eve and continues through to the Ascension and Pentecost. With vivid full color pictures and all the action, I think Classic Bible Comics will appeal to most kids in the 6-8 year old range.
What we liked
My 8 and 6 year olds snapped this book right up and spent a couple hours pouring over the vivid pictures and simple text. They gave it a thumbs up as an exciting and engaging way to learn basic Bible stories such as Joseph, David & Goliath, and Jonah. Their only complaint was that this book was too short!
Comparing to other Picture Bibles
If you’ve seen my list Good Graphic Novels and Comic Books for Catholic Kids, you know we enjoy exploring all the great religious-themed comic books out there. So to compare with some others I talk about on that list, Classic Bible Comics is easier to read than The Picture Bible or The Action Bible. It’s also much shorter: it hits the famous stories, but doesn’t attempt to provide a comprehensive picture of salvation history. Basically, this book is short and sweet, like your favorite comic strips from an old newspaper.
May is First Communion time for many families across the country! Looking for a gift for your First Communicant, or a First Communicant you know? Here are some of my favorite books to gift on this very special occasion!
Bibles & Catechism
The Action Bible is a sure-fire way to get an 8 year old obsessed with reading the Bible. My 8 year old knows the Old Testament prophets better than I do, really.
The Catechism of the Seven Sacraments, or “The Lego Catechism” as my kids call it, can’t help but be a hit with the 7-8 year old crowd. This fantastic resource ties together Biblical history, Catechism, and Legos together in a fun and memorable way.
Looking for a more traditionally illustrated, simpler Bible? The Illustrated Catholic Children’s Bible has your basic Bible stories told in a simple and easy to read format for your younger First Communicant.
I’m a huge fan of this book of Gospel Readings and Reflections for Children. I love that it combines Lectio Divina and Visio Divina into a simple and effective devotional kids can understand. Check out my full review here! ADD
The King of the Golden City is a lovely allegory by Mother Mary Loyola that helps children understand readying their hearts for Jesus. There are two editions: the original that appeals more to girls and a special edition for boys.
Made for Greatness is a one of a kind journal that encourages 8-12 year olds to develop a positive growth mindset. By reading about recent saints and using journaling prompts, kids will gain confidence and develop habits they can be proud of. Check out my full review here.
Like author Maura McKeegan, I discovered Biblical typology in college and was utterly fascinated. As a well-catechized, homeschooled cradle Catholic, I couldn’t believe I had never learned about all the amazing parallels between the Old and New Testament. Now, with the Old and New series of picture books, you can teach your 5-10 year olds about typology as they become familiar with Bible stories.
What is Biblical Typology?
Biblical typology is the study of seeing the prefiguring of people and events of the New Testament and covenant in the Old Testament and covenants. McKeegan quotes Augustine’s explanation:
In McKeegan’s Old and New Series, of which Saved by the Lamb is the fourth volume, you and your children can see how Old Testament figures like Jonah, Adam, and Moses are types of Christ.
Saved by the Lamb: how Moses foreshadows Jesus
In Saved by the Lamb, McKeegan traces Moses’ life and the events of Passover. On each page, you’ll read a paragraph about Moses, then a paragraph about Jesus. The parallel placement of the text with carefully selected similar meter and diction really brings home to children the parallels. You’ll be crying out in surprise with your kids as the amazing parallels unfold.
You’ll understand the Gospel of Matthew better: why Matthew, the learned Jew, was so excited about Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. You’ll learn how the centuries of Passover sacrifice was conditioning the Jews to understand Jesus as the Paschal lamb that must be slain to save the people. And so much more!
An Important Catechesis
These simple picture books really provide an amazing opportunity for early catechesis. I believe they’ll awaken an interest in Biblical typology and scriptural exegesis in many children. The target age is 5-10, and I found this spot on for my own children: it went over my 4 year olds head mostly, but my 6 and 8 year olds loved it and kept interrupting to restate the connections. You can buy these books through my Amazon affiliate link: Saved by the Lamb: Moses and Jesus
Disclaimer: I received a copy of “Saved by the Lamb” from Emmaus Road Publishing in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Check out my some of my other favorite books on My Book Lists page!
Do you have a little one who loves, loves, loves horses? I was that child, and to this day I love horses. Here are my favorite picture books old and new which capture the beauty and spirit of this special animal.
One of Jan Brett’s lesser known books, but still a charming story with lovely illustrations. Fritz is a short, ugly pony that the people say is unworthy to carry the children. But when the beautiful horses shy away in a crisis, Fritz is there for the children.
The Perfect Pony is another pony story about looks being less important than a sweet nature. Katie dreams of a beautiful, prancing horse, but finds that her wise mother is right that the perfect pony may be different than she imagined.
Who doesn’t love Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague? In Five O’Clock Charlie, Marguerite Henry tells a memorable story about a winsome old draft horse named Charlie. Love the Wesley Dennis illustrations.
Two sisters remember their mother telling them that the Carousel horses waking to life in early spring. They go on an imaginative journey which brings them healing after the death of their mother (trigger warning: mother has died). Gorgeously illustrated by Jim LaMarche.
Once upon a time, there was a boy who “loved horses more than anything else in the world”… The Billy and Blaze series are classic adventures about a boy and his pony. A little lengthier than other picture books, these are also great for young readers.
A little girl longs for a horse more than anything, but her parents carefully explain why buying one isn’t possible. Instead, she uses her imagination and drawings to fly through the stars with her dream pony.
Do you want to enjoy reading aloud to your children but sometimes feel bored with the standard childhood read aloud canon? Check out The Michells series by Hilda Van Stockum, a Catholic mom of six. In this semi-autobiographical series, Hilda Van Stockum perfectly captures the love, chaos, and hilarity of family life. It’s the perfect read aloud for parent and kids: the kids love the Mitchell children’s antics, and I laugh out loud in sympathy with the overwhelmed parents.
A Relatable Catholic Family
Any Anne of Green Gables fans out there? Do you remember the notoroious cake story and Anne’s early writing struggles? She only begins to achieve success when she begins writing about what she knows: small town life on the island.
Similarly, Hilda Van Stockum, a Catholic convert and mother, writes this absolutely charming series about what she knows: life with half a dozen Catholic children.
The Mitchells aren’t a perfect family. Kids break things, lose their siblings, and lose their tempers. But they take care of each other, they apologize, and they work together to keep the home fires burning during World War II.
The first book, The Mitchells: Five for Victory, has the least overtly Catholic content. But in the second book, Canadian Summer, you will see the family going to great lengths to attend Mass. Actually, Mother’s determination to bring the whole family to Mass despite no car, mud puddles, dusty roads, only two bikes, and runaway dogs is quite touching.
Meet the Mitchells
Joan is the responsible oldest girl who’s determined to keep all the children in line. Patsy is a dreamy artist. Peter’s a sturdy boy who feels responsible for protecting his sisters. Angela has the golden curls and blue eyes of an angel and makes more trouble than a houseful of animals. Timmy is a serious baby who bites everything.
Then there’s Granny, a delightful Dutchwoman who doesn’t let her age keep her from adventure. Mother is, refreshingly, an achingly realistic parent who rushes around distributing love and discipline in equal measures. Last but not least, there’s Father, who leaves to fight in World War II as Five for Victory begins with the parting admonition: “NO PETS!”
Of course, the family somehow ends up with a rabbit, some fish, a parrot, a kitten, a squirrel, and a dog by the last chapter…
In Canadian Summer, the Mitchells move to Canada. Housing is difficult to find, so Father optimistically rents a remote ski cabin miles inaccessible by road and without power. Mother is not pleased to put it mildly, but over the course of the summer the Mitchells all learn the grace of having less and make new French Canadian Catholic friends.
The last book, Friendly Gables, picks up years later with the oldest Mitchells children in high school. This one has more focus on school interactions and Joan coming of age so is generally more interesting for the 11+ crowd.
Where can I buy the books?
In addition to being a fantastic read aloud, the Mitchell series is a wonderful choice for a middle grade independent reader.
The Mitchells: Five for Victory and its sequels are kept in print by Catholic publisher Bethlehem Books. You can buy the books on their website. The best time to buy is when they run a 50% off sale, usually in November/December.
Looking for the perfect prayer book for your 6-10 year old? You’ve found it!
The Catholic Treasury of Prayers and Verses is sure to delight both parents and children! This collection of beautiful prayers is complemented with tranquil illustrations to create the perfect prayer time companion for elementary schoolers.
Prayers both familiar and uncommon
I think this collection found a great balance between the classic prayers (Our Father, Apostles Creed, Hail Mary, Rosary instructions, etc) and lesser known prayers and Bible verses. You’ll find short prayers from St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein), St. John Neumann, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and more!
Great to take to Mass or Adoration
My favorite section includes prayers before the Eucharist, perfect for before and after Communion and during Adoration. There’s the classic Anima Christi, and little known prayers from Padre Pio and St. Francis of Assisi. There’s also an act of spiritual communion children can use daily.
Accessible Size and High Quality Binding
At 55 pages, The Catholic Treasury of Prayers and Verses won’t intimidate children. The length of the prayers and beautiful page embellishments are carefully selected to hold the interest of the elementary school crowd. With the quality hardcover binding, this little book would make a great gift for a First Communicant!
After seeing many ads for The Tuttle Twins books, I was excited to check out and review this popular series. The basic premise of the series is that twins Ethan and Emily Tuttle learn about economic principles and the path to freedom. Through simple stories and explanations, author Connor Boyack succeeds in actually making libertarian principles understandable for the 6-10 year old crowd. Impressive!
First of all, these books are written from a staunchly libertarian, black and white perspective. If you are a libertarian you will be a huge fan of these books. If you are generally conservative in your political views, you’ll enjoy parts of these books while not 100% agreeing with others. You might want to take a book by book approach, since each short book is focused on a particular concept. Personally, I think that most of the concepts in the books are worth learning about: hyperinflation, free market, coercive governments, the role of law, personal responsibility, entitlement, etc. On the other hand, I thought some concepts were oversimplified; for example, that central planning is always a bad idea.
These books belong to the time-honored tradition of didactic literature: books which both entertain and instruct. In other words, these books are not classics with superb style and diction. But they are very effective in conveying their concepts. My 8 year old can easily articulate many of these economic principles after reading this series.
Young Kids Enjoy Them
Here’s an important question: will my kids actually read them? Yes, they will, if they’re like mine. The bright, modern illustrations and simple text make these books easy and approachable for young readers. They are just right for the target audience of 6-10 year olds.
Encouraging Political Activism
One thing I think all parents will appreciate is the focus on encouraging children to get involved and take action to support their beliefs. For example, when city laws shut down their favorite food truck, Ethan and Emily go to the press to help publicize the unfairness of the laws.
Concepts by Book
Here are the main concepts covered in each book, if you want to pick and choose.
Personally, I think yes. Although you may not agree with everything unless you’re a libertarian, there’s also a lot of solid conservative principles about economy and freedom here explained in an accessible way for little kids. These books are completely clean, with a positive focus on supportive parents, respectful kids, and cooperation. They may not be great literature, but they’re effective in teaching libertarian basics.