Three recommendations to get younger readers thinking these summer months

We are halfway through summer vacation, and the post-Independence Day lull has arrived. It’s a great time to introduce a few books to kids to get them thinking. Some of our recent favorites have been:

  • “Stories of the Saints,” written by Carey Wallace and illustrated by Nick Thornborrow. This large, hardback book has more than 200 pages of captivating color illustrations and interesting saints from all over the world. It’s perfect for a pre-teen preparing for Confirmation, but even my younger kids love to study the pictures. “Stories of the Saints” is a great family read-aloud book.
  • “It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime, Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah. This book is a kid-friendly version of Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime.” Noah isn’t Catholic, and he’s definitely secular, but he writes respectfully about his mother’s Christian faith and does an excellent job of balancing the evil of apartheid with laugh-out-loud funny stories. If you’re looking for a way to start hard conversations about race with your older children, this book may be it.
  • “Rise Up: Shining with Virtue,” from Blessed Is She. This devotional covers 15 virtues over 15 weeks, is rooted in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, and has the Imprimatur from Bishop Thomas Olmsted. It was created for boys and girls aged 8-12 as a tool to develop a prayer routine, and free resources for a four-week, at-home VBS program can be found online at

BONNIE ENGSTROM is a writer, speaker, homemaker, and blogger from St. Patrick Parish, Washington. She is author of “61 Minutes to a Miracle: Fulton Sheen and a True Story of the Impossible.” Learn more about Bonnie at

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