Friday, May 18, 2018

Katie Reads {11} New Classroom Books

I've added quite a few new favorites to my classroom faith library this spring!  I wanted to share them with you as you are planning for your classrooms in the fall or looking for books for your own kiddos to read over the summer.  This collection of recommendations includes some gorgeous picture books and detailed graphic novels that all would work in upper elementary or middle school classrooms (or even with teens and adults!)

AND if you want to click over to Instagram, I also have a giveaway going on for the whole Old and New series from Emmaus Road Publishing!  Go check it out!

*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links

The End of the Fiery Sword,
Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb, and
Building the Way to Heaven
all by Maura Roan McKeegan, illustrated by T. Schluenderfritz from Emmaus Road Publishing.
Emmaus Road Publishing provided me with a copy of Building the Way to Heaven in exchange for an honest review.
If you followed along with my #BeautifulTypology series, you know that connections between the Old and New Testaments are one of my most beloved topics to study and pray with.  I've mentioned them before in this Katie Reads post, but this series is probably my favorite set of Scripture books in my classroom.  The gorgeous, detailed illustrations and captivating text both create a beautifully thought provoking little book connecting the Old with the New.  They help kids and adults alike dig into how the past events of the Bible point to Christ and the Church, turning these stories into a fascinating and rewarding treasure hunt.

McKeegan has taken a few of the biggest typology themes and turned them into accessible, reverent, and beautiful children's books. The End of the Fiery Sword compares Adam and Eve to Jesus and Mary. Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb compares Jonah and Jesus. The brand new Building the Way to Heaven compares the Tower of Babel and Pentecost.  Each book uses vivid, lovely illustrations and lyrical language to draw connections between the Old and New Testament on side by side pages. These books would make a wonderful addition to libraries in Catholic homes and classrooms.
As St. Augustine said, "The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old is unveiled in the New." What better way to unfold these truths with children- I hope that the author continues to add to the series!

Just in time for Pentecost, I'm giving away a set of these three books over on Instagram!  The giveaway closes on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at midnight, Central.

Here's a scene from The End of the Fiery Sword featuring Adam and Eve on the right and Joseph, Mary, and in utero Baby Jesus:

And one from Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb with the storm and the boats for both Jonah and Jesus:

And here is a beautiful image of the connection to the Crucifixion and the Mass, showing that God brings heaven down to earth, we cannot build earth up to heaven like the people of Shinar tried to do with the Tower of Babel:

The Catholic Field Guide to the Liturgy by Michele E. Chronister
The author provided me with a copy of the Catholic Field Guide in exchange for an honest review.

I just love Michelle's new book on the Liturgy!  She's written books for kids before about the Rosary and praying during the Liturgical Seasons, as well as books for adults on Adaptive Catechesis.  This brand new book is a 156 page treasury of articles used in the Mass and other Sacraments.  Perfect for anyone who is ready to learn about about the names and purposes of these sacred items, it could be used with early elementary aged students as an introduction and even all the way up to for adults who want to learn the difference between the cassock and the chasuble or the paten and the pyx.  I wish that I had this earlier in the year during our unit on the Eucharist, but will be glad to add it to our collection of books on the Mass for future students.

Organized by color coded categories with a convenient index in the back, each item has a watercolor illustration and detailed description that is very user friendly.  She even has a companion book called My First Book of Catholic Pictures for little learners.  Perfect for church tours, Sacramental years, RCIA candidates, Liturgical Ministers, or any curious Catholic, this handy guide is certainly a welcome tool for any classroom or home.

Fr. Augustus Tolton: The First Recognized Black Catholic Priest in America, by Corinna Laughlin and Maria Laughlin, Liturgical Training Publications

This was an impulse purchase from my local Catholic book store that I am super happy with. Fr. Tolton served as a priest in Quincy, IL and later Chicago, making him even more relevant for my central Illinois classroom. The quality of the images and text in this graphic novel can't be beat, and I'm not ashamed to admit I was so moved by the storytelling that I cried when I first read it at home before bringing it to school. It was passed from student to student and they raved over the emotion and detail in the illustrations that tell Fr. Tolton's story.

The Story of Father Emil Kapaun, by Fr. William J. Donnelly, M.M.

I picked up this comic book on my pilgrimage last month to Pilsen, KS, hometown of Fr. Kapuan. I've since shared about his life in my classroom during the month of April, including watching a couple of videos and adding this book to our Saint of the month display. I've also pulled a few resources from the Fr. Kapaun curriculum freely shared by the Diocese of Wichita- tons of ideas for teaching about him, as well as about virtue, prayer, and more.

Dearest Children: A Message Inspired by Father Edward J. Flanagan, by Eli Hernandez, Boys Town Press

My students enjoyed the style of this book and remarked that it had something for everyone. Sweet drawings based on real photographs of Fr. Flanagan (also documented in the book), direct quotes of his wisdom, and kid friendly reflections about the things Fr. Flanagan stood for and taught. This particular copy of the book was pretty special because it is signed by the author and is on a #SaintBookTrek, visiting Catholic schools all around the country. It traveled to Massachusetts after it left our classroom!

The Catechism of the Seven Sacraments by Kevin and Mary O'Neill from StoryTel Press

We are thoroughly loving this giant-comic strip-Lego illustrated-Sacrament themed-Scripture rich brand new book from StoryTel Press.  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.  We look forward to more books from the O'Neill Family!

Our Lady of Fatima, the Graphic Novel from the Dio Gratias Company

Dio Gratias Company provided me with a copy of Our Lady of Fatima in exchange for an honest review.

A beautifully illustrated large hardback book, this comic book style story shares the awesome events that occurred in Fatima in 1916 and 1917 and includes biographical information about Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Sr. Lucia dos Santos. Told from the interesting perspective of Sr. Lucia looking back on the apparitions at the end of her life, the book would be a great introduction for kids learning about OLF as well as those that already know a lot about the story. Go check out the Deo Gratias' next graphic novel project on Kickstarter for Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Those are our new additions!  What great Catholic kids' books have you seen lately?


  1. Hi, Katie.
    I have read The End of the Fiery Sword and Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb to my CCD students and they loved it! I can't tell you how much they really enjoyed how the Old and New Testaments are connected. I also purchased the Our Lady of Fatima Graphic Novel for one of my sons for Easter. He read it right away, then we read it as a family. Wonderful story. - Laura G.

  2. Theology of the Body for toddlers' 2nd book: My Body is Smart. Definitely for younger tots but my husband and I like the book for our 2 year old daughter as we teach her about waiting - living through a lot of the examples in the book. She really likes the book, too!

  3. Hey Katie,
    Do you have the ISBN info for the Tolton comic book?

    1. My copy is packed away in my classroom at the moment, but it looks like the ISBN 10 and 13 are both in the info section of the Amazon link above. The book is also available on the Liturgy Training Publication website if you’d prefer to not purchase from Amazon :)