Book Notes: The Heartbeat of Faith: 59 Poems, Fingerplays, and Prayers

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Children love poetry. Its rhyme, rhythm, and repetition delight them. Perhaps the steady rhythm of poetry reminds them of their mother’s heartbeat. This is all well and good because by hearing and reciting poems, children develop a sense of language and increase their vocabulary. As a former first-grade teacher and the author of a preschool religion series, I found that poetry is also an excellent way to introduce little ones to the faith.

The Heartbeat of Faith offers moms, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers, and teachers of preschool and primary age children an assortment of original poems. Some poems are about the children themselves—their eyes and noses, feelings, families, and growing up. They come to see that God made them who they are. One poem teaches “good words” to say, and another poem encourages them to share things. Because little children are learning about God’s world, other poems are creation centered and deal with things like chicks, birds, and raindrops.

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Most important are the poems that nurture children’s relationships with Jesus, Mary, and their Guardian Angel. Some poems introduce the children to the Bible and a few of its key stories that are child-friendly. Other poems are about Church feasts we celebrate. Poems in the form of prayers are also included, such as a child’s version of Psalm 139. A poem already a favorite among teachers explains how to act in church, God’s house.

During a good number of the poems, the children add gestures or actions, making the poem even more appealing and memorable. In one poem, for example, the children use their fingers to represent a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly.

Copyright 2016 Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Copyright 2016 Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

A bonus of the book is the “We Talk” feature that follows each poem. It suggests talking points and questions for interacting with the children and together delving more deeply into the poem’s topic.

Simple blackline drawings enhance the pages. Books ordered directly from me contain additional artwork.

The Heartbeat of Faith aids faith formation, develops language, and fosters a love of reading. It also creates a bond between the reader and listener. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a precious memory of sitting on the lap of a parent or grandparent and listening to a story . . . or a poem. Chances are, you can still recite nursery rhymes you learned as a child. The poems of faith in this new collection will certainly leave an indelible mark on children’s minds and hearts. And maybe yours too.

 

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p14-8c0eb-1-copyCopyright 2016 Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND

About the author: Mary Kathleen Glavich, a Sister of Notre Dame from Cleveland, Ohio, is an award-winning author and a pastoral associate at St. Dominic Parish. Her more than seventy books include The Catholic Companion to Mary, The Catholic Way to Pray, and a first novel, The Fisherman’s Wife, the Gospel According to St. Peter’s Spouse. An international speaker, she enjoys giving presentations, workshops, and retreats. She blogs weekly at www.kathleenglavich.org.

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