Fifteen Children’s Books for Lent and Pascha (Easter)


“Without a shadow of doubt, on that last day, we shall rise again in the brilliant brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of our Redeemer Christ Jesus, as children of the living God and joint heirs with Christ, still destined to be shaped in his own image; for of Him, and by Him, and in Him we shall reign.” Saint Patrick.

This Lent, inspire your children to tend the garden of their hearts and open the gate to Christ with Jane Meyer’s new children’s book, The Hidden Garden. “Within every heart is a hidden garden. We can neglect it until the weeds take over and the flowers wither and die. Or with the help of Christ, we can care for it and make it a place of beauty, grace, and joy.

Hidden garden small

We could all grow spiritually from tending our own garden in our hearts. Isn’t this week, the first week of Lent for Orthodox Christians, a perfect time to tend the garden of our heart and soul with these inspiring books? I have listed favorite selections: three books on forgiveness – The Life of Saint Patrick, Saint Dionysios of Zakynthos and The Hermit, The Icon and The Emperor, delightful lyrical poems for little ones by Mother Melania, and books by Niko Chocheli, Calee Lee, Barbara Pappas and Elizabeth Crispina Johnson.

1. The Life of Saint Patrick, Enlightener of the Irish written and illustrated by Zachary Lynch. With beautiful celtic illustrations, this book tells the story of Saint Patrick’s life from his kidnapping at age 16, to his return to Ireland as Bishop of the Irish people. I particularly love Saint Patrick’s breastplate or prayer at the end.

2. Saint Dionysios of Zakinthos by Dionysios and Egle-Ekaterine Potamitis, illustrated by Egle-Ekaterine Potamitis  This is a profound story of forgiveness with vivid Byzantine style illustrations, just one of many,  many excellent books from Potamitis Publishing in Greece.

3. The Hidden Garden, a story of the heart by Jane G Meyer, illustrated by Masha Lobastov. At this time, we should all open the gate to Christ and tend the garden of our hearts. Find out how in Jane’s new children’s book.

4. Jonah’s Journey to the Deep, from the Old Testament Stories for Children by Mother Melania,  illustrated by Bonnie Gillis.

5. The Book of Jonah, illustrated for children by Niko Chocheli. Niko’s powerful illustrations help us to open our heart and mind to the Gospel of Christ in this prophesy.

6. Noah and the Ark of Salvation, from the Old Testament Stories for Children by Mother Melania  illustrated by Bonnie Gillis. We all know this story from Genesis – Noah’s faith saved his family, animals and the rest of creation through the ark, which typifies the Church and our salvation.

7. The Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, from The Twelve Great Feasts for Children series by Mother Melania (Sister Elayne) illustrated by Bonnie Gillis. This is a beautiful lyrical book about Palm Sunday.

8. Great and Holy Friday, from The Three-Day Pascha series by Mother Melania with illustrations by Bonnie Gillis.

9. Great and Holy Saturday, from The Three-Day Pascha series by Mother Melania with illustrations by Bonnie Gillis.

10. Pascha, The Feast of Feasts, from The Three-Day Pascha series by Mother Melania with illustrations by Bonnie Gillis.

11. The Queen and the Cats, A Story of Saint Helena by Calee M. Lee, illustrated by Turbo Qualls. This is a lovely story about Queen Helena bringing the precious cross to Cyprus and another gift, a boatload of feral cats. Find out why…

12. God’s Bubbly, Gurgly, Overwhelming, Overflowing Love by Barbara Pappas, illustrated by Irene Boutarelos. This is a story from creation to God’s promise of eternal life in the garden of paradise where God will wipe away every tear.

13. And Then Nicholas Sang, The Story of the Trisagion Hymn by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson, illustrated by Masha Lobastov.  A beautifully written story about the origin of the Trisagion hymn when a young boy was given the prayer by angels.

14. The Praises Psalm 148 illustrated for children by Niko Chocheli. This book is powerfully illustrated and invites all creation to praise the Lord.

15. The Hermit, The Icon and The Emperor by Chrissi Hart, illustrated by Niko Chochelli. My own book about forgiveness and a treasure of Cyprus.

All of these children’s books can be heard on Readings from Under the Grapevine podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

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