In the last few years, including during the pandemic, I have attended a few baby showers and noticed one very favorable change to showers of a previous era. Moms and dads asked that families and friends bring their favorite children’s books so that they could build a library for their child.

While most lists of “favorites” would include Dr. Seuss and “Goodnight, Moon,” my sister-in-law, a former school principal, introduced me to the amazing world of Newberry and Caldicott Award winners. Gen Xer and Millennial moms and dads have also expanded my notion of what a favorite is by sharing their own or their children’s most cherished story in their gifts.

What I love about this somewhat established trend is that parents value the skill and gift of reading so much that they want to tend to and nurture that in their children from the earliest age. As shower gifts are opened and books are revealed and passed around, I always picture what that shelf in the nursery must look like, and I imagine cozy nights with a wee one in the arms of a parent, listening to the unique poetry and prose of children’s literature.

Each of the four books in this week’s CatholicsRead list would be welcome residents on any Catholic family’s bookshelf.

As always, there are basics that every family should have. Next to the children’s or family Bible should go both of these Pflaum titles, Lessons about God that Kids Can See and The Gospels for Young Catholics. These learning resources will help your children better understand and integrate the Bible into their daily lives because they are practical, concrete, and tactile.

With Advent soon upon us, every child needs their own Advent wreath and Creative Communications for the Parish’s Countdown to Christmas includes the whole family in creating your family’s wreath. The kit includes all of the materials that will make for a fun activity night a few days before the first Sunday in Advent.

For slightly older children, I hope C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books have found a home on their bookshelves. It’s hard to find an adult Catholic who hasn’t read at least one of the books—most especially The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe—or seen the 2005 cinematic version. While many know that there is a connection between Lewis, his novels, and Catholicism, Ascension has published A Catholic Guide to Narnia: Questions and Activities for the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to help you uncover the Christian symbolism and lessons through conversation and activities.


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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.

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