Keeping the Faith With Books: Summer Reading List
I love books. I am one of those people who can spend hours on Pinterest looking up nerdy bookworm pictures and pinning them to my "Nerd" board, like these:
My love of books definitely stemmed from being read to extensively as a child, so as I grew older it was no surprise that I spent a lot of my time reading, even during the summer break (though I did spend a lot of time outside as well). Reading was always a way I could enter into the minds of other people to help me learn more about myself, especially when it came to faith. To help you keep the faith this summer, why not pick up a book or two? Here are some suggestions to help you keep in touch with or rediscover Jesus this summer:
BIBLE STORIES FOR GROWING KIDS:
This book by mother-daughter team Francine Rivers and Shannon Rivers-Coibion showcases 30 important people from the Bible, some famous, some less well-known. With beautiful illustrations and easy-to-understand storytelling, this book is sure to be a favourite with parents and kids alike. There's also the added bonus of discussion questions and activities at the end of each chapter parents and kids can do to grow up together in faith. A great bedtime book for those hot summer nights while you're trying to cool off! Look out for copies at the Edmonton Eparchy Pastoral Centre.
Recommended ages: 6-10 yrs
SUMMER BIBLE CHALLENGES:
Have you always thought to yourself, "Man, I should really read the Bible..." but didn't know where to start? Why not check out some of the above Bible reading plans for the summer! Notice that none of them attempt to get through the entire Bible, but rather look at smaller chunks or collections of books. You can also make your own summer reading plan by taking a specific book and dividing it up over the course of 30 days. Who knows? If you can read small chunks of the Bible throughout the summer, maybe you'll continue reading throughout the year and be able to impress that cute boy or girl with your stellar knowledge of Scripture. For some cool Bibles to get you started, click here, here, and here (P.s. you can find some of these Bibles at the Pastoral Centre!).
Recommended Ages: All ages!
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen continue to compile these classic collections of stories from people just like you and me! With short stories for all ages, these books are great to read a little at a time throughout the whole summer. Or, if you're like me, get through a whole book in one sitting and jump over to the next! Find them on the Chicken Soup for the Soul website, at Chapters, or your local library. Titles include Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Preteen's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul and so many more!
Recommended Ages: All ages!
I'm going to bet that you've probably heard of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; the first time for me was when my grade three class went to the high school to watch their Drama 30 production of the play. This classic book by C.S. Lewis, an author who converted to Catholicism when he was an adult, is part of a series called The Chronicles of Narnia. It's a series that's beloved by children everywhere and a great series to get hooked on that explores magic and the triumph of good over evil in a way that has subtle threads of the Catholic faith woven through. Great to read out loud as a family or for silent, individual reading. Most libraries will have copies of the books, including the eparchial library at the Pastoral Centre.
Recommended Ages: 10+
Mark: Eyewitness is a historical/biblical fiction book that follows the story of Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark. It's really cool because it fleshes out what Mark would have seen as an eyewitness of Jesus' ministry, death, and Resurrection, a story we've heard countless times but maybe think of as something mythological rather than something that actually happened. It definitely made me think about Jesus and the Gospels in a whole new light! Ellen Gunderson Traylor has also written novels about other important Biblical characters like Samson, Ruth, and Joshua. Guess what: the Pastoral Centre has copies of some of these, so go on over and pick up one or two today! Personally, I think John, Son of Thunder is calling my name.
Recommended Ages: 14+
If you're looking for more Francine Rivers, check out the Mark of the Lion series. More historical/biblical fiction, this one is set several years after Jesus' Ascension into Heaven, in and around 70 AD, around the time of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The series combines adventure, drama, and romance, all while exploring faith in the context of the first believers. This series is great for those already established in their faith and those who are curious to learn more as the books help inspire reflection on one's own life (at least it definitely did for me!). Available at your local public library, Indigo, and your local Christian bookstore.
Recommended ages: 16+
CHASING LIBERTY AND I AM MARGARET SERIES:
If you're not as into historical fiction, maybe you should try going in the opposite direction: post-apocalyptic. The Chasing Liberty and I Am Margaret series both take place in dystopian societies where totalitarian regimes reign and faith is criminalized (hmm... which is kind of what's happened in recent history...). Think The Hunger Games with a Catholic twist. Some of the themes are mature and graphic, so keep that in mind if you're thinking about checking them out – the I Am Margaret series has a parents' guide to help you decide if the series is right for you. Unfortunately these books are tough to find at the library, but there are online options (here and here) to purchasing them. If you get yourself a copy, let me know how you like it!
Recommended Ages: 16+
These are just some ideas of books that might be interesting for summer reading. For some other options, this blog post on the Five Must-Read Books for Catholic Tots, Kids, Tweens, and Teens is super useful. If you do try one of the books listed above or find something else you'd like to share with others, post a picture of the book on Instagram, tag us (@stnicksyouth), and use the hashtag #ByzyReading to keep us in the loop!
Here's to an amazing summer of good reading that inspires you to keep the faith!
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