Book Notes: 4 New Catholic Books You Need Now, For Advent and Christmas



Gaze Upon Jesus: Experiencing Christ’s Childhood through the Eyes of Women edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist

This is the perfect tool for a Christian woman’s Advent study — either individually or in a group. In six sections examining six virtues, the reader meditates on a separate event (i.e, the Annunciation, the Visitation) starting with scripture but including analysis, a fictional story to bring the events to life, reflection, group questions, and the study of sacred art. The addition of the artwork and Stephanie Landsem’s wonderful storytelling set this apart from other studies. Useful any time of year, but most fruitful for the Advent season.

Drinking with Saint Nick: Christmas Cocktails for Saints and Sinners by Michael P.  Foley

This beautiful hardcover book includes beer and wine recommendations and dozens of cocktail recipes for Advent through Candlemas. Pick and choose among drink suggestions made according to the calendar, the twelve days of Christmas, the Golden Nights, and more. With each entry, learn more about the saints, the liturgical calendar, and Church history. Makes a lovely gift!

Saint Rudolph and the Reindeer: A  Christmas Story by Susan Peek, Illustrated by Anne Peek

This picture book has more depth than your average children’s Christmas book. Discover how a young reindeer without a name crosses paths with a saintly bishop and a holy monk. The result is a warm and tender story of Christian charity and everyone’s favorite reindeer. Lovingly written and illustrated for fireside Christmas nights cuddled on the couch.

Margaret’s Night in St. Peter’s (A Christmas Story) by Jon M. Sweeney, illustrated by Roy DeLeon

The second book in The Pope’s Cat Series centers on Christmas in the Vatican. In this short, illustrated chapter book, Margaret, the pope’s cat, is privy to the Christmas hubbub at the Vatican, including Midnight Mass and the Pope’s annual Urbi et Orbi message.

Margaret also gets a cat’s eye view of a Vatican tour, including Michelangelo’s Pietà and a statue of Saint Peter. There are lots of opportunities for children to absorb Vatican culture. I stopped to explain to my seven-year-old what a cardinal was and talk about where else she has seen the Pietà statue.

Courtesy of Paraclete Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2018 Carolyn Astfalk
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About Author

Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mother of four young children, and a writer. Her contemporary Catholic romances are available at She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, a Catholic Teen Books author, and blogs at My Scribbler’s Heart. Visit

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