Saturday, April 30, 2022

May Radiant Roundup

Can you believe that is is already May!?! So many things to celebrate during this time of year- I know I have been busy with Confirmations and First Communions, and my 8th graders are wrapping up their school year and looking toward graduation. May will fly by, but there are so many things to savor, including the continuation of the Easter Season, the month of Our Lady, and the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker just to name a few! Click below on any of the links to help you learn and pray this month.

The Month of Mary:
Marian Paper Dolls (2nd & up)
Favorite Marian Songs a playlist (all ages)

The Easter Season: 
50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days- Easy to share pdf with ideas for the whole Easter Season
Fifty Days of Easter* Post with collection of ideas for celebrating Easter
What Easter Looks Like * Coloring Page/Printable
The Sound of Easter: An Easter Playlist
Resurrection Eggs*
The Gospel in an Eggshell*

St. Joseph the Worker: May 1st

Good Shepherd Sunday: May 8th
While these activities are not exclusively about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, I think that Good Shepherd Sunday is a perfect time to teach about the parables:
More info on how to teach the parables* (ideas for all ages, printables for 6th & up)

St. Simon Stock: May 16th

Ascension: May 26th (Observed in some dioceses on Sunday, May 29th)
A great day to celebrate the Four Marks of the Church!* (K-3rd)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

April Radiant Roundup: Ideas for Holy Week, Easter, and Divine Mercy Sunday

It's almost Holy Week! Here are some activities for your kids to celebrate the Sacred Triduum, the beginning of the Easter Season, and Divine Mercy Sunday!

Links take you to the original posts with all the details. Links with a * indicate free printables.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday April 10th- Easter Sunday, April 17th

What the Triduum Looks Like* Coloring Page/Printable
Holy Week Family Retreat & Journal* (In English, Spanish, and French, and with an editable schedule)
Best Stations of the Cross Books for Kids*

The Easter Season: April 17th-June 5th
50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days with 2022 Update* Easy to share pdf with ideas for the whole Easter Season
Fifty Days of Easter* Post with collection of ideas for celebrating Easter
What Easter Looks Like* Coloring Page/Printable
The Sound of Easter: An Easter Playlist
Resurrection Eggs*
The Gospel in an Eggshell*

Divine Mercy Sunday: April 24th
Divine Mercy Watercolor Art* (printable coloring page-2nd-6th)
Divine Mercy Melty Bead Craft* (printable pattern and examples-2nd-8th)
Pop Out Divine Mercy Chaplet* (Connection to Reconciliation-2nd-6th)

Praying that you, your students, and your families have a blessed Triduum and Easter Season!

Saturday, April 2, 2022

The Best Stations of the Cross Books for Kids

Have you been praying the Stations of the Cross this Lent? This beautiful, traditional prayer is a rich and meaningful way to meditate on Our Lord's Passion while looking towards His Resurrection. I use the Stations of the Cross all throughout Lent in my classroom- we pray them together, the students make projects about the Stations, they write their own versions, and they lead them for the school. To help with their prayer and reflection, I've got a big basket with a huge variety of books about the Stations for them to use, and I'm always on the lookout to add more to the collection.  Because I teach junior high, a lot of the books are intended for an adult audience, but it is always great to find well made versions for kids.

In case you are interested in adding a new Stations of the Cross book (or two!) to your collection before Holy Week, I thought I'd give a run down of some of the best books I have for kids. I included quite a variety, because "the best" version is going to mean something different to everyone based on age of the kids and how you'd like to use it. Some of the details that you might consider:
  • Style of the illustrations
  • Reading level and length of the text for the prayer and reflection
  • Inclusion of Scripture or Scripture references
  • Text of prayers like the "We adore you, O Christ..." and Stabat Mater
  • Traditional Stations of the Cross or new Scriptural Stations
  • Designed for communal prayer or personal prayer
  • Affordability for having multiple copies for a group
  • Size and quality of the book
Two quick notes: 
-I did include a little * giving my top recommendations for certain uses. Those can be found at the bottom of the summaries.
-And one way that I adapt a lot of these books for communal prayer, even for our whole school, without having hundreds of books (...and not making photocopies... just say no to copyright violation, friends!) is to use one book as the reader script and then to give everyone a prayer card with the "We adore you, O Christ..." prayer so that they can more actively participate. I've got a free printable for that at the bottom of the post if you'd like to do the same.

In the links below, I've included some Amazon Affiliate Links. However, I always encourage you to consider shopping with the publisher, at a local Catholic book store, or directly from the author when possible!

  • Written by Jared Dees and illustrated by Ezekiel Saucedo
  • 5x8" 100 pages, black and white illustrations, paperback, regular weight paper
  • The book includes an Intro and four different sets of Stations of the Cross: a Five Minute Stations, Family Stations, School Stations, and Virtues Stations.
  • Jared knows kids and classrooms, and his understanding of both are apparent in this great collection of prayers for the Stations of the Cross. He acknowledges that while kids can have short attention spans, his goal was to be "respectful of their attention" in the way that the prayers are presented. Giving them meaningful prayers that connect to their lives in language they can understand, this book is going to get a lot of use in both homes and classrooms. 
  • If you can't tell from the post-it notes all over the book in the picture, I immediately put my copy to use for our all school Stations of the Cross a couple of weeks ago. They were simple for my 8th graders to lead and essentially no prep for me, but they were perfect reflections for the school kids. I had three separate teachers tell me later how great they thought they were- easy to understand and easy to relate to kids' lives. 
  • *Top recommendation for a resource for teachers and catechists.

The Way of the Cross
  • Written by Juliette Levivier and illustrated by Anne Gravier
  • From Ignatius Press here
  • 6.5x8.5", full color, hardback, glossy pages
  • Each Station includes a Bible verse and reference, longer story, and a 2-3 line prayer.
  • Also includes pages on the story of Holy Week, the tradition of the Way of the Cross, looking to the Resurrection, and how to pray. Each are very short and written with the young child in mind- these pages would be great to use to explain those traditions at their level.
  • Might be a little long to pray aloud a large group of younger kiddos (like in a classroom or church), but I can definitely see this being used with a family at home.

  • Illustrated by Tricia Dugat of Providential Co.
  • 5.5x8.5" full color, paperback, glossy paper, 30 pages
  • Tricia is one of my favorite modern illustrators, so I was so glad to add her interpretations of the Way of the Cross to my library!
  • Each Station includes an adapted Scripture reading and a one line prayer. The "We adore you, O Christ..." prayer is on each page, making it perfectly set up for leading the Stations aloud for a group.
  • This book is based on the Scriptural Way of the Cross, a list of events about Jesus' Passion from the Bible. It was first used by Pope John Paul II in 1991 and has since been approved for congregational use. The Scriptural Way of the Cross includes slightly different events from the traditional Stations, such as the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging, Peter's Denial, and the Good Thief.  I love that the book helps tie together those important stories of the Passion of Jesus for the collective memory of the children who will pray with it. 
  • It would be good to note that it would change the way you would use the book if praying with the physical Stations in a Church- these will not match, but are perfect for private devotion with a class or family, or even for personal Bible study.
  • *Top recommendation for the Scriptural Way of the Cross, awesome for home or classroom.

The Stations of the Cross for Children
  • Written by Jerry Windley-Daoust and illustrated by Vicki Shuck
  • 5.5x8.5", full color, paperback, heavyweight paper pages
  • Each Station has a simple reflection and short prayer, and includes Scripture reference for the story.
  • Also has an "About this Book" and "Ways to Use" page for grownups, as well as optional prayers to include when praying the Stations.
  • This book follows the Scriptural Stations of the Cross book, which gives insight into the stories of Jesus' last days. Just a note that it will not match the traditional Stations used in church.
  • The illustrations are warm and they convey the emotions and sacrifice without being gory or scary, making them especially good for young children or kiddos that are more sensitive.
  • *Top recommendation for kiddos that need a gentler version of the Stations of the Cross.
  • Written by Regina Doman, illustrated by Chris Lewis
  • 8x6.5" full color, paperback, heavyweight pages
  • Includes a detailed illustration, Bible verse, reflection, short prayer, Prayer of Love to Jesus by St. Alphonsus Liguori, verse from Stabat Mater in English and Latin, and a sidebar with historical info and other details. The book closes with full text of Psalm 22.
  • With more mature illustrations from the awesome Chris Lewis of Baritus Catholic, I think that the content of this book is perfect for older kids and teens. Layers of meaning are embedded in both the pictures and text, making this book something that encourages deep reflection with each new reading. All of that info on each page might make it challenging to follow if praying with it in a group, but I think it is a wonderful resource for private prayer and reflection.
  • *Top recommendation for older kids and teens.

  • Written by Colleen Pressprich, Illustrated by Adalee Hude
  • 5x7", full color, paperback, heavyweight pages, 32 pages
  • Adalee Hude of Brightly Hude is another favorite modern artist, and I think that her illustrations are simple and sweet, perfect for younger kids.
  • This book includes the "We adore you..." prayer, a story, a few discussion/reflection questions, and a short closing prayer. The set up is ready made for leading prayers for a group.
  • I love the addition of the reflection questions- they would be perfect to ponder quietly, or even have kids use as journaling prompts.
  • *Top recommendation for something affordable to use with a group in school or classroom that is short and purposeful.

  • 4x6" heavy, full color cards that come in in a sturdy storage box
  • While not in book format, these wonderful cards are a perfect tool to facilitate praying the Stations of the Cross with your family, and then also provide art that you can keep on display.
  • They include kid friendly art on one side and a short reading and prayer on the reverse.
  • These are the Stations that I have on display in my classroom this Lent, taped up across one wall. I like their consistent color scheme and the prayers on the back are perfect for kids. As my students have been working on a Stations of the Cross project, these cards are frequently flipped over and referenced.
  • I really, really appreciate the connected Bible verses listed on each card. References to any Gospel passages tied to that story, as well as other passages from Scripture are included. This is a wonderful resource that expands the use of the cards to reading the story of the Passion directly from the Bible.
  • Also you can use code BOGNER20 to get 20% off these Stations Cards or Stations of the Cross ring (perfect for bringing to church!) or any item or subscription. The resources from Catholic Family Crate are wonderful- catechetical, attractive, easy to use, and well made. I am really, really impressed by their new Faith in a Year Memberships and all that is included!
  • *Top recommendation for families, especially since this one can be used in more than one way! Pray as a family, hang up as art, or bring along for your kids to use at a parish presentation of the Stations of the Cross.

  • By James Allen (The Liturgical Press)
  • 8.25x5.25", BW, paperback, regular paper pages
  • Includes a reader reflection in first person perspective of one of the figures at the Crucifixion and then a longer group prayer. I think the first person perspective can be a powerful way to think about the Passion for kids, but the shift each Station might be difficult for younger kiddos. The length of the prayers that are read aloud also would be a challenge for younger students.
  • Specifically designed for use with a group of school children, it also includes suggestions for use for the teacher/leader. It is nice to have a version intended for group prayer in a school setting.
  • ***Unfortunately, this one seems to be out of print, but is listed at the book seller above and you could look for it on on ThriftBooks, ebay, etc.

No Greater Love: Stations of the Cross for Young People
  • By Amy Welborn from Creative Communications
  • 4x5.5" full color, paperback, thinner paper pages
  • Short meditation, long prayer, one line Bible verse
  • Available in bulk- more info on this below.

By His Cross: Stations of the Cross for Young Catholics and Their Families
  • By Jerry Welte from All Saints Press
  • 4x6" full color, paperback, thinner paper pages
  • Longer reflection, short prayer
  • (From the 2021 catalogue, so I couldn't find a link for this one. Check out the 2022 option below.)

Bulk Books for Stations of the Cross with Kids
  • All Saints Press and Creative Communications are some of the only publishers that I've seen that offer affordable bulk discounts and have kids' versions of the Stations. However, all of the ones that I have in my classroom and the new 2022 ones that I'm linking below aren't really great for communal prayer- they have a longer reflection for each station, but do not have a leader/response part. Here are a couple of examples:
  • Journey to the Cross and Sample inside pages This one has good illustrations and does have a short line that could be used as a group prayer.
  • Step up Close to Jesus and Sample inside pages This one's reflections are a little longer, and also has a line at the bottom that could be used for group prayer.
  • (I'd love to see an affordable bulk booklet option for kids that is actually designed for communal prayer with a large group- Something in the $1/book range is what would be practical when buying for a whole school- If you know about an option, please comment below or send me an email!)
  • 5.5x7.5" 32 pages, full color illustrations, glossy paper, paperback
  • From Catholic Book Publishing
  • Includes a reflection, leader prayer, group prayer, line from Stabat Mater.
  • While admittedly the cover art a little dated looking, this little book has great age appropriate, child friendly language and is actually set up for communal prayer. I like that it has a traditional feel and includes the Stabat Mater on each page.

  • Written by Angela M. Burrin and illustrated by Maria Cristina Lo Cascio
  • 9.5x8.5", full color, hardback, glossy pages
  • Includes an intro to the Stations and how to pray pages, longer story for each Station of the Cross, a short prayer, and closes with traditional prayers for the Stations and prayer intentions. I really like the watercolor illustrations that are simple but have some beautiful details. This one definitely has more of a "storybook" feel that would be great for families.
  • ***Unfortunately, this one seems to be out of print, but you could keep an eye out for a used copy on ThriftBooks, ebay, etc.

Print Your Own Stations Book

If you are looking for a way to have an affordable set of Stations of the Cross that can be used by everyone in your family, classroom, or school this is the best printable set of Stations I've seen- it has everything needed to pray as a group. It is set up to print on 8.5x14" paper: Printable Stations Book 

Stations of the Cross Art & Activities
If you are just looking for Stations of the Cross art to hang up or use in a prayer space, or would like a hands-on Stations of the Cross activity for kids, these are some of my favorites:

Prayer Before a Crucifix Mini Shrines/Prayer Cards
One way that I've used some of the books above in large group (without having multiple copies) is by having one reader leading from the book and everyone else with this Prayer Prayer Before a Crucifix prayer card. This encourages their response and prayer with each Station, and then afterwards, they can fold it in half and stand up to make a little Mini Prayer Shrine. Feel free to use these with your own kids during Stations or as a little display for their desk or dresser during Holy Week!

Click here to print the Prayer Before a Crucifix mini shrines:

If you know of any other great Stations of the Cross books for kids, make sure to send them my way!

Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Giant Stack of Catholic Graphic Novels

Graphic novels... do your kids or students love them?

What's your opinion? 

I've heard a lot of thoughts about graphic novels from parents and teachers during my time as an educator. In this post, I'd like to share some ideas with you about why I think graphic novels are a great tool for Catholic homes and classrooms, as well as a list of graphic novels that your kiddos might enjoy.

First, graphic novels are a format, not a genre. Lumping them as all good or all bad is like saying that all picture books are good or all chapter books are bad. Graphic novels are a format that combine images and words, often in the form of captions and speech bubbles, to share information. Similar to a comic book, a graphic novel is usually longer and stands alone, as opposed to a serial story. Just like a picture book or chapter book, graphic novels can be about any topic and vary in quality. Many Catholic publishers are taking advantage of the creative scope within a graphic novel to share stories from the Bible and lives of the Saints.

Benefits of Graphic Novels Overall:

  • The graphic novel format can bring important info (including more complex non-fiction topics) into the hands of reluctant readers or readers who need more support.
  • Graphic novels use tools that are a benefit to visual learners (which includes so many students!)
  • In storytelling, graphic novels utilize both written/verbal communication as well as visuals/non-verbals. To fully understand the nuance of a story, the reader must look at body language, facial expression, "sound effects" and movement. While the word count is certainly lower than a chapter book, there is not necessarily less information shared (there might even be more!).
  • Well written and illustrated graphic novels can develop and challenge reading skills like sequencing, making inferences, and understanding dialogue and perspective.
  • They are great for presenting a topic using less time than a chapter book. Graphic novels are more readily used in shorter chunks, making them perfect to pick up and enjoy for snippets of time (like at the end of class for my early finishers).
  • Emotions are often more obviously portrayed in graphic novels. This can be a great tool for teaching social skills, empathy, etc.
  • They appeal to older readers and welcome younger readers.
  • I don't recommend that a child ONLY read graphic novels- just like I encourage them to read across all formats and genres. Graphic novels can be part of that.
Benefits of Catholic Graphic Novels:
  • Catholic graphic novels use modern tools to communicate timeless truths. They are attractive to kids today, who live in a visually stimulating world. This style is appealing, encouraging them to pick up the book even if the topic doesn't initially catch their interest.
  • They allow a child to take in a greater breadth of info, hopefully leading them to then want to read something in more depth. A child can read several Saint biography graphic novels in the time it might take them to read a Saint chapter book. Both are good, but the graphic novel format can expand their overall knowledge and understanding.
  • The same is true with graphic novels about Scripture. While the actual Bible is of course the best, we still make use of picture book Bibles and short stories to teach kids. Graphic novels with Bible stories can help kids grasp the big picture and motivate them to read the full text of the passage in Scripture.
  • Catholic graphic novels offer great opportunities for cross curricular content in classrooms. A small group set of graphic novels on a Saint or Bible story can promote good conversation among readers, and use faith-filled content to teach sequencing, character development, plot, etc.
So, are you intrigued? I've been adding Catholic graphic novels to my classroom library for many years, so I've got a good stack to share with you today.
In the links below, I've included Amazon Affiliate Links. However, I've also included links directly to the publisher, and I always encourage you to consider shopping at a local Catholic book store or directly from the author when possible!

I'll start with graphic novels about the Bible, then Sacraments, then the Saints, then some inspiring people and fictional stories intended to catechize. I've given you a picture of the cover and a sample inside page, a run down of details like length and page size, and a short description of the book.

The Life of Jesus, by Alex Ben
  • Pauline Books & Media- 136 pages, 8"x11" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • Also available in Spanish!
  • Stunningly illustrated with impeccable detail.
  • Chronicles Jesus' Incarnation from Birth through Ascension.
  • Includes quotes and captions paired with colorful, comic book style stories, this book would be a memorable read for any intermediate or middle schooler.  
  • Each page also lists the direct Scripture References to the included stories.  
  • The book is broken into themed chapters and has a great table of contents to help you find just the story you'd like to read.  

Illustrated Bibles for Children from Ignatius Press
The Illustrated Gospel for Children, by Jean-Francois Kieffer, Illustrated by Christine Ponsard
  • From Ignatius Press- Available here, use code KATIE25 for 25% off list price! (code active until 4/17/22)
  • And I'll be giving away a set of these on Instagram from 3/17-3/19/22!
  • Ignatius Press- Gospels 107 pages, others 47 pages, 7"x9" padded hardcover, full color glossy pages.
  • Keepsake quality hardbacks, these books are great for elementary aged students ready to read stories from the New Testament on their own. The illustrations and text are more simple, making them approachable and readable for younger kids.
  • The Gospel collection is great, but I also really like the individual books highlighting the miracles and parables of Jesus.
  • And I think that the Book of Acts can often get overlooked in children's books- the stories of the early Church are so important to their understanding of the gift of the Sacraments, participation in a parish community, and the continuation of Jesus' ministry through the Apostles.
  • The citation for each story is also included on the page, so the reader can also look up the whole story in the context as they are ready.

The Comic Book Bibles from TAN Books
  • TAN Books- 115 and 139 pages, 6"x9" softcover, full color matte pages.
  • Filled with rich illustrations, these comic book Bibles are most impressive because they contain the full text (RSVCE translation) of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.
  • I love that this is not a watered down version- it contains an approved, adult level translation, but coupled with the illustrations and movement provided in a graphic novel format, it is more readable (for both kids and adults!).
  • One tiny complaint is that the text is pretty small and the white margins are pretty wide- I do wish that the space was maximized.
  • Again, love that the Acts of the Apostles is included. This is a great resource, especially for older kids reading stories from Acts as preparation for receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Catechism of the Seven Sacraments, by Kevin and Mary O'Neill
  • StoryTel Press- 291 pages, 9"x11" hardcover, full color glossy pages.
  • My students thoroughly love this giant-comic-strip-Lego-illustrated-Sacrament-themed-Scripture-rich book. I actually have two copies now and they are pulled off the shelf almost daily. My first copy is in its fifth school year of use and is still in phenomenal shape.
  • The almost 300 pages tell the story of the Sacraments through the eyes of two kids, Fulton and Cynthia.  Exploring the connecting typology of the Sacraments as found in the Old Testament and the Church today, the book also weaves in Saints, morality, prayer, and more.  
  • My students are fascinated by the details in the Lego scenes that tell the story and enjoy finding bricks that they have at home to recreate the pictures.  I love the richness of the faith that is shared in such a multifaceted manner throughout the book, and how they use the Sacraments to weave together the story of Salvation History.  The graphic novel style compels you to keep picking it up, flipping to a new section, and reading more.  
  • There is also a handy glossary in the back, color coded sections by Sacraments, and frequent Scripture and Catechism references in the margins.  
  • Pocket Guide to the Rosary and a Pocket Guide to Reconciliation are also available.

  • Sophia Institute Press- 70 pages, 6.5"x10" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • Three stories within the graphic novel teach about the Sacraments of Initiation. Characters Hannah and Andy carry the connecting story line through all three sections, learning about Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. The narrative teaches about each Sacrament naturally as part of the events of the story, and you can see Hannah and Andy grow and mature in their faith in each encounter with the Sacraments. 
  • Perfect for a kid preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation, or a sibling of a First Communicant or baby to be Baptized.

The Saints Chronicles, various authors and illustrators
Volume 1: Sts. Patrick, Jerome Emiliani, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Henry Morse, and Joan of Arc
Volume 2: Sts. Anne Line, Brigid of Ireland, Francis of Assisi, Nicholas, and Pachomius
Volume 3: Sts. Anthony of Padua, Ava, Samson, Bernadette, and Charles Lwanga
Volume 4: Sts. Willibrord, Margaret of Scotland, Rose of Lima, and Dominic
Volume 5: Sts. Ignatius of Loyola, Germaine of Pibrac, Pope Celestine V, Vincent de Paul, and Clare of Assisi
  • Sophia Institute Press- 116 pages, 6.5"x10" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • The Saints Chronicles collection has a mature look for middle school or older readers and features five Saints in each book.  Well known Saints like Anthony, Patrick and Nicholas are mixed in with the lesser known Henry Morse, Charles Lwanga, and Pachomus.  
  • Creatively told by many different authors and illustrators, these books are almost like five individual comic books in one.

Pauline Books and Media Graphic Novels
St. Francis of Assisi: Messenger of Peace
Saint Joan of Arc: Quest for Peace (out of stock on Amazon, available at Pauline Books & Media)
Saint Bernadette: The Miracle of Lourdes (seems to be out of print, could look for a used copy)
Mother Teresa of Kolcutta: Saint Among the Poor (out of stock on Amazon, available at Pauline Books & Media)
  • Pauline Books & Media- 40-60 pages, 8"x11" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • These books are shorter in length but with larger pages and comic book style illustrations.
  • I think they are great way to introduce kids to the lives of the Saints in a "quicker" format than a traditional chapter book.

More Graphic Novels from Pauline Books & Media
  • Pauline Books & Media- 119-196 pages, 6"x8" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • This series of graphic novels from Pauline Kids are definitely some of the favorite books in my classroom- they are among the first to be picked up when there is free time at the end of class, especially by my 6th graders.
  • Several in this collection are Shounen-Manga style, recognizable to kids but packed with Saintly content.
  • My favorite this set is the story of John the Baptist. Based on Scripture (and a few tales from tradition about his life), the brightly illustrated book presents his whole life in one cohesive story- which you don't often see. The illustrations  use light and color in a compelling way that adds depth and emotion.

Maximilian Kolbe: The Saint of Auschwitz, by Jean-Francois Vivier, Illustrated by Joel Costes
  • Sophia Institute Press- 52 pages, 9"x12" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • St. Maximilian Kolbe is a favorite of mine and is quite popular with my students, so this oversized book retelling his life was a great addition to my classroom library.
  • I always appreciate when biographies of St. Max include just as many details (if not more) about the way he lived vs. the way that he died. While his martyrdom in Auschwitz is a powerful part of his story, I am glad that this book also focuses on the extensive work he did in the decades before his arrest. The ways he chose to follow Christ and spread devotion the Mary, the Immaculata, as well as his ingenuity, generosity, and persistence are shared as part of the entirety of his life story.

  • Liturgy Training Publications- 48 pages, 9"x12" softcover, full color glossy pages.
  • This was a purchase from my local Catholic book store that I've often recommended although it was a bit hard to find online for a while. It is currently in stock at LTP and I recommend grabbing a copy or two! 
  • Fr. Tolton served as a priest in Quincy, IL and later Chicago, making him super relevant for my central Illinois classroom, but his story is for everyone. His life, which began in slavery, concluded with him pouring out his life in sacrificial generosity for his people as the first recognized Black Catholic priest in America. His mother escaped with her children while his father was away fighting in the Civil War. Augustus was captivated by his Catholic faith, but unwelcomed by many in his church and Catholic school. While pursuing a call to the priesthood, he was rejected by every seminary in America and had to travel to Rome to be ordained. He then came back to serve some of the very people that were already prejudiced against him. The challenging circumstances of his life are conveyed with hope and ultimately love in this graphic novel retelling for kids using appropriate emotion and detail.

Saint Comic Books
32 pages, 6.5"x10.5" softcover, full color matte paper pages
20 pages, 6.5"x10.5" softcover, full color matte paper pages,
Life is Worth Living: The Life of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (Not available online, contact the Sheen Foundation)
12 pages, 6.5"x10.5" softcover, full color glossy paper pages
  • This collection fits more of what you might think of as a traditional comic book- light weight paper, traditional style, and inexpensive. I picked up each of these at a corresponding shrine for each Saint/Blessed/Venerable, but am happy to see that you can order most of them online through the shrine gift shops. 
  • At around $3 each, you can't beat the value these provide. They also would be an affordable idea for a class or small group set to use for reading instruction. When I taught all subjects, I loved weaving faith into other content areas!

  • From Ignatius Press- Available here, use code KATIE25 for 25% off list price! (code active until 4/17/22)
  • Ignatius Press- 128 pages, 5"x8" softcover, full color glossy pages,
  • Fr. Goldmann was a seminarian in Germany at the beginning on WWII and was drafted into Hitler's SS.  This graphic novel biography (based on his autobiography by the same name) tells of dangerous and unbelievable events during the war that lead to his continued formation, secret ordination, and ministry to Catholics during a time when openly sharing one's faith often led to death.  
  • The first half of the book covers Goldmann's service during the war and imprisonment after.  It is followed by a text epilogue covering the events of the rest of his life as well as dozens of photographs and primary sources.  
  • The novel also includes a section with the script and sketches for the making of the graphic novel, which would be awesome for aspiring little authors.
  • Graphic novels and WWII are both perpetually popular content in my classroom library, so I knew this would be a winner among my 5th graders.  I thoroughly enjoyed it as well, and now need to borrow the original book from my dad.  The life of Fr. Goldmann gives us a different perspective of the good that triumphed during a terrible time in world history, the profound power of prayer, and the guidance and protection found in the shadow of His wings.

  • 50 pages, 9"x12" softcover, full color glossy pages
  • Also Available in Spanish!
  • This was a gift from some former students who have relocated to Florida. They came back for a visit, bringing a copy of this to add to my classroom library! It was so kind and generous of them to want to share new stories they are learning from their new diocese.
  • This graphic novels tells the story of the over 100 presumed martyrs whose Cause for Canonization was opened in 2015. They all were killed during the evangelization of Florida, and include Native Americans as well as European missionaries. The lives of Servant of God Antonio Cuipa and companions share about the early history of Catholicism in America.

The Adventures of Loupio, by Jean-Francois Kieffer 
  • From Ignatius Press- Available here, use code KATIE25 for 25% off list price! (code active until 4/17/22)
  • Ignatius Press- 42 pages, 9"x11" softcover, full color glossy pages
  • This sweet series chronicles the adventures of little Loupio, a friend of the iconic St. Francis of Assisi. With Brother Wolf by his side, he travels throughout 13th Century Italy facing challenges, solving problems, helping others, and learning about growing up.
  • I think the content and reading length of this series would make it perfect for emerging readers who enjoy beginning chapter books.

Brendan and Erc in Exile Series from Catholic Answers
The Truth is Out There:  Brendan and Erc in Exile, Volume 1, by Amadeus
  • Catholic Answers (You can get all three for $30 right now)
  • 119 pages, 8"x11" softcover, black & white (some color accents) matte paper pages.
  • This quirky and funny series features two futuristic space travelers who also happen to be wrestling with serious philosophical and theological questions. 
  • The humor and creative storyline present an original opportunity for mini lessons in apologetics and approaching the big ponderings of life. This is a great set of books for preteens and teens (and adults too!).

I look forward to adding more and more graphic novels to my classroom library as a creative way to bring evangelization and catechesis to my students in an attractive and relevant format! Did you see any new favorites?