Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, February 18, 2013

DIG IN...To Lent...With Books!

(photo from Gwinnettmagazine.com)
Lent is a journey toward the Hope and Joy of Christ's Resurrection. It is a chance for us to slow down with our families and to focus and examine the condition of our spiritual life - which like a seedling plant, needs to be cultivated through prayer, fasting, acts of charity, and repentance.

A lovely new book from Jane G. Meyer illustrates this examination and cultivation perfectly: The Hidden Garden, illustrated by Masha Lobastov.
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. This charming parable will encourage children (and adults) to open the gate to Christ and tend the garden of their heart with loving care. -Product description from Conciliar Press (update 12/13 - now Ancient Faith Publishing).
Don't miss Jane's new picture book - here just in time for Lent!  Through the eyes of an old man we learn how our heart can be like a desert, where we wander all alone with our anger and selfishness, not even willing to open the gate to Someone who knocks.  

How can we find the key that will let Him in to show us "how to turn the desert into a place of color and beauty"?  You'll have to get the book to find out (and I guarantee it's a beautiful place you'll want to step into over and over again!) 

Children will also like the practical tips "To Help Tend Your Garden" at the end of the book - reminders for everyday, but especially as Lent starts.

This is a photo of my dad, Fr. Peter Gillquist (of blessed memory),
as a little boy - taken in the 1940's for a church bulletin.

The gift of Lent is that it is a time of preparation - to draw closer to God and to acknowledge that He is the reason that we exist.  We need to seize this opportunity with our children to grow spiritually, so that it doesn't become just a "what-food-are-you-giving-up-for-Lent?" experience.

Books About Prayer for Kids...
Prayer For A Child
by Rachel Field
The Monk Who Grew Prayer
by Claire Brandenburg
Anytime, Anywhere: A Little Boy's Prayer
by Marcus Hummon
Give Me Grace... A Child's Daybook of Prayers,
by Cynthia Rylant
Special Agents of Christ: A Prayer Book,
by Annalisa Boyd
Hear Me: A Prayerbook for Orthodox Teens
More Lenten Reading:
The Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Elwell Hunt

The Book of Jonah, by Niko Chocheli

The Life of St. Brigid, by Jane Meyer

Song of the Swallows, by Leo Politi

Letters to St. Lydia, YA Novel by Melinda Johnson

Great Lent: Journey to Pascha by Alexander Schmemann

The Lenten Spring by Thomas Hopko

The lenten spring shines forth,
the flower of repentance!
Let us cleanse ourselves from all evil,
crying out to the Giver of Light:
Glory to You, O Lover of man!
-from Cheesefare Wednesday Vespers


  1. All these books sound lovely! And I do love a good picture book! :D

  2. The photo of the little boy praying is my dad - taken for a church bulletine in the 1940's!