My granddaughter recently received the sacrament of Baptism. Before the momentous day, I stopped by the gift shop of the local Marian shrine to pick up a Baby bible and maybe another book or two. What I found was four marvelous books I believe every Catholic baby should have in her library.
First, every child should have a Bible from the very beginning of his or her life. There are many baby Bibles from which to choose. One of my favorite go-tos is Baby’s First Bible Stories. This baby Bible contains 12 of the most popular Bible stories, like Noah’s Ark, Daniel and the Lions, and Jesus’ birth. One side is a short retelling of the story; the opposite page has a colorful picture. My favorite part, though, is the little one-line prayer at the end of the Bible story. It teaches that prayer and reading Scriptures go together.
A Catholic library would not be complete without a Marian book. My new favorite is Our Lady’s Wardrobe by Anthony DeStefano. What a beautiful book with beautiful pictures! This hardback tells the story of Mary through, of all things, her clothes! Admittedly, while on earth, the humble Mary had no fancy robes. Now, in Heaven, she has the most beautiful assortment of apparel. Through her attire, we learn about the various apparitions of Our Lady and her mission to help all people come to know, love, and serve her Son, Jesus. This gorgeous book is definitely one that should be on your child’s bookshelf.
I, of course, love saint books! There are lots of great saint books out there for babies and toddlers. I love The Saints Are Watching Over Me by Joe Klinker. This simple introduction to various fantastic saints reinforces the fact that saints are real people (or angels, in St. Michael’s case). Some had families, some were soldiers, some lived when Jesus did, others are more modern saints; but they all loved God. If you want to share with your child the story of a specific saint, then Our Sunday Visitor has other Tiny Saints board books by the same author. It is never too early to teach your child that we have friends in high places!
Another wonderful saint book is Lisa M. Hendey’s Saints Like Me. This little board book teaches our little ones to grow in holiness by loving self, others, and the world God created. I love the illustrations almost as much as the message of Lisa’s narrative. Every child can recognize themselves within its pages. And they will learn that God loves them and has given them a special mission in life as unique as they are.
Before I Was Me by Frank Frazier is another delightful story about God’s love for our children. With a If You Give a Mouse a Cookie type of story lay-out, the charming pre-born baby in God’s hands goes through all the important things he might be in life, only to realize that he is important and loved by God not because of what he will do but because of who he is – a child of God! This fun-to-read book has a very important lesson for all of us to remember.
Spoiler alert to her parents: What Zipporah did not get for her Baptism she will receive for Christmas. As a note of discloser to you, my readers, if you use the above links to purchase one of these precious books, I will be slightly compensated; after all, we have a college fund to get started!
Seriously, though, as the primary educators of our children, it is important that we read to them books that teach them about God and His saints. In the sacrament of Baptism, our babies are infused with the seeds of faith, hope, and love. Good literature is one way we can water those seeds and help them grow. Remember, of all the gifts we will ever give our children, the Catholic faith is the greatest (yep, even better than a pony)!
Do you have any suggestions for other religious children’s books that Zipporah ought to have in her little library? Let me know in the comments below.