Book Notes: Inspiration for Future Saints

"Book Notes: Inspiration for future saints" by Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS (

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Are you raising saints? We all hope to be doing exactly that. And what better way to inspire the future saints in our lives than by offering them books about the great saints of the Church? Here are six new books for future saints of all ages.

For Toddlers and Up

Cloud of Witnesses: A Child’s First Book of Saints by Katie Warner, illustrated by Meg Whalen, is a sweet board book packed with wisdom from well-known saints. On the left side of the book, there’s a quotation from the saint or a prayer inspired by that saint’s life; on the right, a simple and engaging picture of that saint — often, but not always, depicted in prayer. (If you remember the deep suffering St. John Paul II endured in the final years of his life, the picture of him will tear at your heart.) Published by TAN Books.

For Young Independent Readers

The story of St. Teresa of Calcutta is recounted and illustrated in child-friendly format in Pauline Kids’ Mother Teresa: The Story of the Saint of Calcutta, by Marlyn Evangelina Monge, FSP (illustrated by Seung-bum Park). This 64-page chapter book tells how young Agnes discovered God’s plan for her, and went on to become a model of Christ’s love in the modern world. The story of Mother Teresa’s life told here emphasizes trusting God and caring for others.

Mother Teresa was such a small woman, but she was mighty. She used every opportunity to invite others to join her in caring for Jesus’ brothers and sisters. (45)

Graphic Novel

Francis of Assisi by Justin Lang (illustrated by Miguel Berzosa) brings home the message of St. Francis of Assisi’s powerful conversion experience, deep prayer life, and personal mission to preach the Gospel. The dramatic portrayal in a graphic novel fits well with the larger-than-life image of the “Little Poor Man of Assisi.” From St. Anthony Messenger Press.

For Readers in Grade 3 and Up

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Emily Beata Marsh, FSP, offers a peek into the life of an ordinary French girl who followed her heart and saw visions of Jesus. Learn how she became the “Apostle of the Sacred Heart” and introduced a beautiful devotion to the world. The book, part of the Encounter the Saints series from Pauline Kids concludes with a handy glossary, a prayer for the intercession of St. Margaret Mary, and the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

For Advanced Readers

George P. Evans’ John of the Cross, part of Pauline Kids’ Saints by Our Side series for older readers, introduces this mystical poet and spiritual guide to a new generation. Readers who think poets have an easy life and do nothing but sit around writing all day will learn that this poet lived in poverty as a child, was a reformer within the Carmelite Order, and even was imprisoned for his convictions! A prayer in the saint’s honor, timeline of his life, and reflection questions are useful resources at the end of the book.

Also from the Saints by Our Side series is Thomas Aquinas by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP. This biography not only tells the story of Aquinas’ life, but also offers advice on reading an article of the Summa and a plan for using the Summa in spiritual reading. (Yes, this is a book for middle-school readers, inviting them to dig into Aquinas!) The author does a good job in setting the stage (time and place) for this saint’s life story.

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Copyright 2018 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
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About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.

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