Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Favorite Catholic Children's Bibles

Best Catholic Bibles for Kids or Youth

How do you select a Catholic Children's Bible?  Which children's bible is best for my kids?  Those are questions I get asked all the time.  Searching in my house I discovered almost a dozen different Catholic Bibles for kids or youth on our shelves.

When looking for a children's bible or book of bible stories for children, there are several things to take into consideration.  How old is the child?  Do you want something easy to read in story form or a bible with scripture text?  How big or heavy is the book? Is the children's bible a keepsake to commemorate a special event like a baptism, first communion or confirmation? And the answers to these questions might change as the child grows and develops or you have multiple children.

With those questions in mind, I'll delve into the Catholic Children's Bibles and Bible Stories we like best of those in our home.

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories
My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories
My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories
Compiled by Heidi Hess Saxton
Tommy Nelson Publishers

This is a book of bible stories based on the New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) text.  First, let me say this is really a quality and beautiful book.  It is hard cover with thick, slick pages.  The illustrations by Natalie Carabetta are wonderfully done in a soft almost watercolor effect.

This not a story book really, but a story bible for young readers.  Each of the more than 175 bible stories have an introduction, the scripture verse of the story, a prayer and more. This book of bible stories was created for children in elementary school to early adolescents.  After each story there is a section called, "Going Deeper" that gives references to scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read more on the topic and an action item to complete with family members.  The last section on each story is a quote of the day or "did you know" section.

What I love about My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories is that it is a cross between a bible storybook and a children's story bible.  There is quality storytelling but it also includes a deeper explanation that doesn't take away from the story.

The edition my children have is still available to purchase, however there is also a newer version available from the publisher here.

First Communion Bible
First Communion Bible
First Communion Bible
Saint Joseph Edition
New American Bible

We have this First Communion Bible in both the pink and the blue edge covers.  They were received as gifts by my older two children on their respective First Communions.  The cover is a vinyl over paper flex material that is stiff, but not heavy or as hard as a hard cover.  This bible is a complete bible with introductions before each book and a "how to read your bible" section in the beginning.  There are footnotes and some black and white illustrations and maps throughout the book.  There are thicker colored pages in the beginning and in the middle with prayers, and a place to memorialize the child's First Communion.  The end contains a dictionary, the list of Sunday readings and an index.

The pages are thin, but not whisper thin like many adult bibles which allows my daughter to mark her favorite scriptures easily.  The type is a good size for reading and the bible itself is 8.5 inches tall.  It has a nice looking cover for a gift bible, but it is readable and sturdy.

This is my teen daughter's "go to" daily reading bible even now.
Here is the link to the First Communion Bible in Blue.

Bible for Young Catholics
Bible for Young Catholics
Bible for Young Catholics
Anne Eileen Heffernan, FSP
Pauline Books & Media

This is a large (11 in tall) hardback book with thick, slick pages. It is important to note that this Bible contains paraphrased books of the bible in story form rather than exact scripture or simply a few bible stories.  The Bible for Young Catholics includes stories from every book of the bible with short introductions at the beginning of each book. The language is easy to read and understand for elementary age children and up with colored illustrations and maps throughout the Bible.

The end of the bible includes a glossary, timelines, charts and a bit on biblical history.  There is even a section at the end for parents and teachers on the background of the bible to help understand and explain the bible to children.  It is a nice looking book that can be read and shared as a family.

Illustrated Children's Bible
Illustrated Children's Bible
Illustrated Children's Bible
Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM
Catholic Book Publishing

In my opinion, this is a traditional Catholic children's bible or book of popular biblical stories.  It reminds me of the type of hardback Bible story books I had growing up.  The stories are succinct and well told and the hardback cover and paper pages give it a sturdy feel. There are full color illustrations of each story, but they have an older look to them. Again, like they were in a storybook or children's bible I might have owned in the 1970's.

My kids have spent much time with this Children's Bible over the years and have even added paper flags to note their favorite stories they want to read again and again.  I've also taken this one with me to my faith formation classes to help share bible stories when I don't want to read it in scripture form.

Break Through! The Bible for Young Catholics
Break Through! Bible for Young Catholics
Break Through! The Bible for Young Catholics
St. Mary's Press
Good News Translation Catholic Edition

The Catholic Youth Bible
St. Mary's Press
New American Bible Revised Edition

These two Catholic youth bibles are basically the same, but written for different ages. The Break Through Bible is for older elementary age through young teens with the Good News Translation Catholic Edition being a bit easier to read for tween aged readers.  The Catholic Youth Bible is geared toward those older teens written in the New American Bible Revised Edition.

The Catholic Youth Bible
The Catholic Youth Bible
Both of these Catholic Youth Bibles are what I call study bibles.  St. Mary's Press took the time to include introductions to each book, "Connection" sections connecting scripture to Catholic beliefs or teachings, questions probing the reader to make connections within the story, footnotes, inserts talking about biblical persons of faith, articles to help the reader understand God's message, a timeline, glossary, maps and prayers.  The pages are visually appealing with their use of illustrations, subheadings, text blocks, and more.

The tag line on these Bibles is "Pray it, Study it, Live it" which is exactly what St. Mary's Press is attempting to
accomplish in these Youth Bibles.

The Catholic Children's Bible
The Catholic Children's Bible
St. Mary's Press
Good News Translation Catholic Edition

St. Mary's Press also has a version of their Catholic "Pray it, Study it, Live it" Bibles for elementary age children called The Catholic Children's Bible.  This is a Catholic Bible for children, not a book of bible stories.  St. Mary's has done a good job including intentional design elements to help early readers not feel overwhelmed and be encouraged to fall in love with reading the Bible.

The Bible uses lots of color with their introductions, illustrations and explanations to make it pleasing for children.They also feature well known stories to break open the Word for better comprehension of God's message. With larger fonts and color coded navigation, it can also be a good bible for teaching kids how to find scripture by book, chapter and verse.

This is a soft cover big book, roughly 6.8 x 10 inches, 2 in thick and a bit heavy for smaller hands. The Catholic Children's Bible is a nice transition into a full bible for those children who are wanting to move on from bible stories. This is a favorite of my nine year old daughter.

Those are just a few of the children's bibles we have in our home, but some of our favorites.  Do you have a favorite Catholic Children's Bible not mentioned?  What is it and why is it your (or your child's) favorite?

Some of the links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links.  If you follow the link and purchase a book, we receive a small stipend from Amazon to support our blog.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meditating the Hail Mary "Word by Word"

Three years ago, Sarah Reinhard invited me to participate in a little writing project to Look Closer at the Hail Mary prayer.  She gave me the word OF

Yes, my assignment was to write a meditation on the word "OF" as it appears at the end of the Hail Mary prayer.  Crazy, right?

Today that blog series is the latest publication by Ave Maria Press titled, Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary.

Last month, Sarah invited her contributors to participate in an online "interview" and mine appears on Catholic Mom today.  

As I answered the questions for the interview, several  previously unnoticed "connections" were revealed to me showing that these events -all occurring seemingly independent of one another - were not mere coincidence. I just couldn't see the bigger picture. Looking back though, it became so beautifully apparent. After finishing the interview, it was very late (early) and I went to bed. The next morning, desperately trying to heed the alarm and wake up, I opened my email half asleep. The daily readings delivered to my inbox boldly announced October 7 as the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Nothing is coincidence. Surely, Our Lady is reminding me that I am supposed to surrender everything to God, to trust Him, and stop questioning His ways when the path is hard and appears fruitless. He is in charge and Mary watches over me as a mother quietly watches over her child.

If you'd like to develop a closer relationship with Mary, the Mother of God, here is a great opportunity to pray and mediate on the graces she offers as our most important advocate at the foot of the cross. Click on the link and get your copy today. You won't be disappointed.

If you want a better understanding on my "this-can't-be a coincidence" connection, go here to read "OF" and then read my Catholic Mom Contributor Interview.  Click on the Amazon link above to pick up your copy of Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Reviewing the Storm of the Century

A review of Al Roker's Storm of the Century
Storm of the Century by Al Roker
As the co-editor of Through a Night of Horrors: Voices from the 1900 Galveston Storm, whenever a new book is published about the 1900 Storm, fiction or non-fiction, someone in my family calls to ask my opinion. So when Al Roker released “The Storm of the Century Tragedy, Heroism, Survival and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900,” earlier this year I added it to my “must read” list.

Right away, the cover evokes the century-old sensationalist journalism publications of the past, with a long descriptive title; however, I like the use of Kurz & Allison’s 1900 lithograph, Galveston's Awful Calamity - Gulf Tidal Wave, September 8th 1900.

It’s an easy read for me and while it isn’t a great work of literature, it’s not the worst I’ve read about the 1900 Storm. Overall, the book contains sloppy editing and it’s rife with minor errors that likely few would notice. Irritating Texas and Galveston history errors aside, Roker brings the Night of Horrors to life and summarizes the recovery of the city.

As one familiar with hundreds of the individual stories, I’m always interested in how authors manage to select several individual stories from the many and follow them into a narrative.  
(In my opinion, the best of these is and shall remain, John Edward Weems’ A Weekend in September. If you are interested in the 1900 Galveston Storm, this book is a must read.)

I realize that very few others will read this book with the original source material readily in mind, or at hand for consideration and comparison, but I readily catch sloppy editing and errors. For example, on page 170, Roker writes that Lloyd Fayling is sent to escort prominent Galvestonians to Austin. The escort was to Houston. Although not a massive error, it does slight the timeline and interrupt the flow.

It’s evident the ways Mr. Roker (born, reared, and educated in New York) inserted his own viewpoint or bias into the story. Where I interpret firsthand accounts one way, he has interpreted them another and used specific adjectives to twist their meaning to fit his point of view.

For example, in the original firsthand account, Fayling writes that upon being kicked out of their hotel rooms, “The drummers were very indignant and swore in eighteen languages, mostly Hebrew.

Roker translates this as, “There, backed by soldiers, he persuaded the proprietor to boot out a bunch of peddlers and salesmen – ‘mostly Hebrew,’ Fayling sniffed – who had rooms on the parlor floor.”

To my mind, the original phrase doesn’t imply Fayling “sniffed” at anything. He merely noted that the men being kicked out of their rooms swore in eighteen languages. While I read “eighteen” and consider it an exaggeration, I find nothing negative in describing the languages as “mostly Hebrew.”

More importantly, Roker’s is the first compilation narrative to draw out a first-hand narrative from the African-American perspective, relying on an oral history collected by Izola Collins that was not available to us in 2000. It’s valuable because the story of African-American’s in Galveston in 1900 cannot be reduced to sweeping generalizations, but must be studied from the individual context of specific families and how they related and created a varied mosaic within society. Authors both use their own filter of experience to identify with and latch onto specific stories, and also - because they’re weaving an exciting tale - are drawn to the more lurid or shocking pieces.

Another small point of Roker's book is very gratifying. Where Erik Larsen assigned blame for the failed advance warnings on hubristic (Larsen’s adjective) local forecaster Isaac Cline, Roker adeptly addresses the development of weather forecasting as a science, applicable scientific theory and data collection of the era, and delves into the internal politics of the national office Weather Bureau.  There is no overt slander of Isaac or Joseph Cline in Roker’s book. For that, I thank him.

Roker’s book also brings to life another issue rarely seen among 1900 Storm narratives: the one-upmanship between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer in not only reporting the Storm, but also raising donations for support. Had he included Thomas’ Edison’s fait accompli of sneaking an assistant onto the island with a moving picture camera on the island, the trifecta would be complete.

With all this in mind, go read the book and let me know what you thought. Did any story in particular stand out to you? Let me know and I'll point you to the original primary source document. I promise there are so many more stories just waiting to be discovered!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffin Flashback

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins with CoffeeDon't you love it when you stumble on something sweet you'd forgotten about?  I made banana chocolate chip mini muffins last night with my over ripe bananas. As I was sitting here this morning eating a couple with my coffee I remembered that not only have these muffins always been a favorite with my kids, but we actually made a "cooking show" over eight years ago.   Sure enough, the cooking show is still on my YouTube channel.

Wow. What a walk down memory lane.

To set the scene - this was 2007. We had just moved into the house we are in now.  You might know that we call our youngest daughter "Birdie", but once upon a time our older two kids had nicknames as well.  Ashley was "Wumpy" (5 1/2 yrs old here) and  Daniel was "Munchkin" (3 1/2 yrs old here).  Laurie is of course still "Birdie" and doesn't appear in the video but she was 10 months old at this time.

Munchkin and Wumpy Cooking Show

This was probably my one and only time to edit a video and I'm sure my son will laugh at my attempt now that he is semi-professional with video work.  Maybe you'll agree with me when I say there is something nice about the non-polished look of our "Cooking Show."  Course it could just be nostalgia and cute kids.

Here it is!  "The Munchkin and Wumpy Cooking Show!"

Are you smiling?  I know I am.  They were so little!!!!  Now they are a pre-teen and teen, my size and taller!

I know the type is too small to read the recipe and you ALL want to make these amazing Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins based on Ashley's recommendation.  Just for you, I've put it into a .pdf file you can download and print below.

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffin Recipe
Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffin Recipe

By the way, when you make these, don't expect them to last long.  They are bite size and very delicious.   Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Houston Halloween Fun Run

Monster Mash Run with Karbach Brewing Company - Houston's Halloween Fun Run
What could be more fun than a Halloween themed fun run with costumes at a popular Houston brewery?  Seriously!

RA Sports Management and Karbach Brewing Co have teamed up for the 8th annual Monster Mash Run in Houston on October 31, 2015.  The run includes chip timed 5K and 10K for all ages (on a USATF Certified course) and a KidsK for the little ones.

Everyone who registers gets a Monster Mash Run t-shirt included.  The Kids K includes a trick or treat bucket and a candy stop halfway through their run.  5K and 10K runners/walkers will receive a custom made commemorative glass from Karbach and if you are over 21 you also receive two tickets for free Houston brewed Karbach beer. Woo Hoo!
Free Karbach beer at Monster Mash Run in Houston
Free Karbach beer for runners!

My kids are already discussing what costumes they will wear to volunteer and then run in the race.   I've been checking out the RA Sports Management Pinterest board for running costumes for ideas for my kids but I'm not sure how to help them select a costume. Do you have a tip for us on how to select a costume for running?

RA Sports Management's board Race Costumes on Pinterest.

Now to the best part!  Register now for Houston's Monster Mash Run on Halloween morning with special code SOUNDMINDSPIRIT and receive 20% off your entire registration!  This works if you are registering for the 5K, 10K or KidsK and it will work if you register the entire family!

Houston Halloween Fun Run - Monster Mash Run Coupon
Save 20% on Monster Mash Run - Houston's Halloween Fun Run
As you might remember, my husband is a runner and we as a family love to support him in his races. Even though I don't run myself, I have found that I really enjoy being there on race days to encourage and support other runners. Our family is really looking forward to our first Monster Mash Run and I hope to see you there!  Look for me in the registration tent on race morning and come say hi!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...