Mary Stories from the Bible, one of several new children’s books from Ignatius Press, is a collection of five stories from the life of Mary: The Childhood of Mary, The Annunciation, The Birth of Jesus, the Wedding Feast at Cana, and The Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is written specifically for children ages five and up, and is great for reading out loud together, or could be read solo by a more independent reader.
My kindergartner and I spent several mornings reading this book together and were delighted by the beautiful narration that weaves excerpts from Scripture with details passed down through “little-t-tradition.” The stories and their beautiful illustrations helped my daughter better imagine these scenes from the life of Mary and made her heavenly mother more “real.”
Reading “The Childhood of Mary,” Lucy was fascinated by Mary’s parents, Joachim and Ann, and was really challenged by Mary’s goodness, even as a little girl. As we read the story and looked at the pictures of Mary as a child, she wondered what it would be like to never throw tantrums or disobey, and to always do what is right. (I’m hopeful this will begin some fruitful conversations in our home about imitating the virtues of Mary!)
“The Wedding Feast of Cana” got Lucy thinking about the other relationships Mary and Jesus must have had, and how they had friends and were part of a community, just like we are a part of our parish community. Both these stories helped her connect the life of Mary to her own experiences, even as a five-year-old.
My own favorite was the telling of “The Death and Resurrection of Jesus.” Before we got to this story, I’d been disappointed that the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple wasn’t included in the book, but I was delighted to discover that it was beautifully woven into the story of Jesus’ Passion. The author also did an excellent job of telling the story of John and Mary, imagining what that relationship looked like after Jesus’ death. It helped us talk about how Jesus gave Mary to us as our mother, too.
My kids think this is a very special book and have added it to their prayer table, next to their Bibles. They keep bringing it out during reading time to look at together. It has been a great addition to our library for Advent and would make a great Christmas gift.
(Personal Note: Although the recommended age is five and up, my three-year-old also enjoys this book. She pays less attention to the narrative, but is really captured by the lovely illustrations and we use the pictures to talk about the stories. I think it would be a great addition the library of preschoolers, too.)
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Copyright 2018 Megan Swaim.