Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Favorite Saint Books for 9-12 Year Olds

I've been asked many times over the years about my favorite books for kids.  More and more, I'm asked about my favorite Saints books.  Recently I pulled together a list of books and emailed it to a reader and then thought...gee...I should probably just post this on the blog. :) Many of these books/series have found their way into previous posts but I've never made a master list.

So, here are some of my favorite Saint books for intermediate kids- I've targeted the age range of 9-12, but of course most of these books would work for older or younger kids.  All of these books get used in my classroom, and I think that they work because I have a variety of lengths and reading levels.  Also, the links I've included with the books are Amazon affiliate links.  What that means is that if after clicking through you make a purchase, I'll get a small percentage at no extra cost to you.  (And then I'll probably just use that to buy more books :) ).  If you are so inclined, I'd be even happier if you supported your local Catholic bookstore by purchasing the books from them.  But regardless, you really should your get your hands on some of these great books!

Probably my most recommended Saint books are from the Pauline Media Encounter the Saints series. Chapter books that are essentially novelized biographies, easy to read but factual and appealing, and the black and white illustration are perfect for the books:
They have dozens of titles, but here are just a few:
Saint Maximilian Kolbe: Mary's Knight (Encounter the Saints) (I use this one every year for a cross curricular unit on St. Max's life you can see here.)
Saint John Paul II: Be Not Afraid (Encounter the Saints)
Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Way of Love (Encounter the Saints Series,16)

These books from Word Among Us Press have beautiful illustrations and more sophisticated accompanying text than your typical picture book:
St. Peter's Story
Saints Tell Their Stories

This illustration of the marriage of Joseph and Mary is lovely:

And here's a different look at the Nativity:

And I love this illustration of St. John at the foot of the cross:

While they might be intended for a slightly younger audience, I (and my students) still love the Saints books illustrated by Tomie de Paola.  You can't go wrong:
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland
The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica
Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi

This hefty encyclopedia style book gets flipped through.  I like the photos, classic art, and factual info:

The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Saints

I've recommended the Catholic Story Coloring Books before (we use them to prepare for receiving the Brown Scapular).  They are coloring books, but really contain tons of info in short chapter format- great for getting to know a new Saint and for budding artists:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Coloring Book: A Catholic Story Coloring Book

For compilation books of the Saints I like: 

I also have a ton of the little 20ish page St. Joseph picture books in a basket.  The text is simple, but still carries a lot of info, and could easily be read in one sitting by a 4th-5th grader.  They are nice to have on hand for extra snippets of time that need to be filled:
There are tons of titles in this series, but here is one set that would get you started:
Book of Saints Gift Set (Books 1-12) (St Joseph Picture Book Series) (these are compilation books with one Saint per page)
St. Therese of the Child Jesus (or there are single Saint books that tell their story over about 20 pages)

These graphic novels are a hot commodity in my classroom- last year when I got them, they were literally passes from kid to kid and never touched a shelf until the school year was over!  (More details on these books can be found in this post.)
Pauline Books & Media provided me with a copy of The Legend of Saint Christopher and Saint Clare of Assisi in exchange for an honest review.

 If you are looking for something for a more advanced reader or a kid who wants to know more about Saints closer to their age, I would recommend Ablaze and Radiate. Colleen Swain's well written books about daring teen saints include biographies, photos, maps, Scripture verses, practical challenges, and room to journal.  The ten-ish included Saints each get about 15 pages of coverage and the book also has additional resources about some of the tough topics in the books:

Also for older readers, I love this Saint collection that pairs Saints with the virtues. (More detailed review of this book can be found in this post.)

Pauline Books & Media provided me with a free copy of How to Be a Hero: Train with the Saints in exchange for an honest review.

Whew!  That's my list.  I hope that this is helpful when shopping for your child or classroom.  
So now, what great books have I left off the list?  Let me know what I am missing out on!


  1. Oh, this list was a HUGE blessing! Thank you for taking this time. I have a been trying to gather a list to put in a purchase and this was like hitting a gold mine. I absolutely appreciate all you provide in this blog. It is making a huge difference in our faith formation ministry here in Waverly, Iowa!

    1. Oh, I'm so glad! Thanks for your comment! If you haven't seen it, this list is even more thorough: https://www.looktohimandberadiant.com/2021/11/favorite-books-for-catholic-kids.html