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.

I really like the simplicity of these Stations of the Cross from Catholic Paper Goods. She has them in tons of options, including on a purple background or just black & white for easy printing, large 8x10 prints, and coloring pages

*New additions since this post was originally published:
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!


  1. Hi Katie, I would like to thank you for the wonderful review and recommendations on the Stations of the Cross for families. As my family transitions from young to older children I find it wonderful to find resources that help us grow spiritually. I hope that you have a holy Lent.

    1. I'm so happy that they are helpful! I found when I started teaching that there were a ton of resources online for little ones, but not as much for older kids. I'm always happy to be a little part of filling that gap!

  2. This is so helpful! Do you know of any more print your own options? The link above isn’t available any more.