Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I readily admit I am a bibliophile. What is a bibliophile? A quick dictionary.com definition is, “a person who loves or collects books, especially as examples of fine or unusual printing, binding, or the like.” While I’m not into the “examples of fine or unusual printing…” part of that definition, I definitely do love books, and I love to collect them. I suspect there is a genetic predisposition for this condition, but I haven’t started (or completed, for that matter) any studies on the subject.
Initially, Man Cub could have cared less about books – I think he cared less because he liked seeing his mom stroke out when she would pull out an age-appropriate book and he would run away yelling “no book!” That said, I am beginning to encourage Man Cub to also enjoy collecting books, and it warms my heart when he races to grab a book from a shelf at the store, and wants to take it home. Books got me through some incredibly rough patches in my life – the escape they provided from real life really helped me steel myself against the harshness of tween-age and teenage peer stress.
I have an e-reader which is used for novels and fiction, whereas my “work-related” books and religion-centered books are typically bought in tangible book form, so I can mark in them and reference them often. Between Soldier Boy (also a bibliophile, but less willing to admit his disorder than I) and I, we have a couple hundred pounds of books – movers at a couple duty locations ago asked of me, “ummm, ma’am, have you ever heard of a Kindle?” Granted, at this stage in Soldier Boy’s life, his books weigh exponentially heavy because of the size of his textbooks for his various courses of study.
That said, I am selective in the books I buy, or bring home. Lately, I’ve been focusing mainly on building Man Cub’s library. Because he’s so new to this earth, he doesn’t have much of a collection, whereas my collection is vast – I can honestly say I have read *most* of every book I own. And, until I read all of every book I currently own, I am on a buying freeze for more books. At least, until I find another book I absolutely must add to my collection…
As I have been building Man Cub’s collection, I noticed perhaps half of his collection are turning into religion centered books. Not necessarily “Catholic centered,” but the generic “Christian centered” books – the ones that encourage prayers to God, the ones that encourage children to talk to God and to build that relationship with God. So, I decided to take a picture of a small bit of his collection (read: the books I could easily find, since they are literally all over the house).
“A Donkey’s Tale,” (another Pauline Kids Books & Media publication) chronicles Jesus’ life, as told by a faithful donkey that journeys with Jesus from birth to Resurrection and Ascension. It is wordy, and is definitely for an older child – I am thinking over the age of 6. I look forward to hearing Man Cub read this book aloud to his “mean Mom” who makes him read to her when he gets older. I can assure readers that he was completely uninterested in it last Christmas, at the tender age of 2 and a half.
Finally, my absolutely favorite bedtime story book is a recent addition to our collection: “Before I Sleep I Say Thank You.” Written by Carol Gordon Ekster, and published by none other than – you guessed it – Pauline Kids Books & Media, it follows a little boy preparing for bed, and the prayers he says with his mom (although, sometimes he prays with Dad). At the end, it closes with a “Now it’s your turn” option for kids – it prompts children to think of something you wish you had done differently in the day (saying, essentially, an examination of conscience – figuring out what you did that was not pleasant or in line with God’s word or will), expressing you are sorry for what you had done (saying an act of contrition, in Catholic terminology), and then 5 things you are grateful for (giving thanks to God for your blessings). Essentially, it takes a child away from the rote memorized Christian-centered prayers (the Our Father, the Glory Be, and the Hail Mary), and really encourages the child to spend time in the spontaneous prayers to God, which as you will remember from a previous post of mine, is very important to me. Man Cub really enjoys this book as well, and we have read it not just at bedtime, but also throughout the day!
If you live near a Pauline Book store, and are trying to come up with gifts for any religious reason, I highly recommend checking with them, rather than automatically ordering online. They have books, as well as Baptismal gifts, Confirmation gifts, coloring books, Crucifixes, statues, prayer cards, Rosaries, and so much more!! I know the one close to me just put out their Advent displays, so if you are looking for an Advent wreath, check them out for that as well – they have the real candle wreaths, as well as plush, stuffed wreaths suitable for small children.
There you have it – some of my all-time favorite child-friendly religion-centered books, and my favorite Catholic-Christian book store to frequent. I know there are tons more books out there, that I have not accrued yet. It’s dangerous for me to go into any book store, whether it is the larger nation-wide chains (Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.) or the lesser-known (but also nation-wide) book stores (Pauline Books), or independently run used-book stores. But, that is why I readily admit I am a bibliophile, and hope that the trait is genetic, and my child/ren also follow their mother and father’s path. I firmly believe knowledge is power, and even when it comes to religion and politics, it is important to be educated as to your beliefs and “why you believe the way you do.”
So, what are some of your favorite books for small children?