[Editor’s note: We are pleased to introduce a new weekly feature in collaboration with CatholicsRead, a free, email-based opportunity for Catholics to learn about the best and newest in Catholic publishing on a weekly basis. Titles range from children’s books to professional ministry resources and everything in between. CatholicsRead is powered by the Association of Catholic Publishers whose members produce Catholic resources in many and multiple formats for children, youth, parents, and volunteer and paid Church leaders. Each week, CatholicsRead’s Therese Brown will provide a write-up about the featured titles here at Where Peter Is. Beginning next week, the column will appear on Tuesday mornings.]
About 10 years ago, my graduate school program sent us students to Disney World to experience some of the behind-the-scenes “magic” that makes Disney so appealing to whole families, parents included. That question—what is the magic—was on my mind when I returned to Disney last week and walked through Downtown Disney once again. I watched parentless adults engaged every bit as much as the smallest children. I couldn’t believe how the styles of Mickey and Minnie ears had evolved since the first time I was there, as a child. I was amazed at how the Tomorrowland of my youth had become “today-land”—e.g., anyone heard of the Internet of Things?! And then those crazy A, B, C, D, and E tickets—the ones that you had to buy more of to get on the really good rides—that got ditched for daily passes. . .
Oh, yeah. The Disney “magic.” The magic isn’t proprietary (trust me on this). The magic isn’t innovative or terribly creative—really. The magic isn’t even new. The magic is simple. It’s story. Walt Disney and the many Imagineers who followed him have done something that Jesus himself did—they told stories that connect with people and that need only the smallest hint to be remembered and shared again.
That’s what I love about this week’s crop of CatholicsRead books for children and families.
The “best-selling” story we have is the Bible—and in it, the Gospels. African Gospel and The Bible for Little Ones offer parents two resources to share that story over and over again in words and pictures. Both books can help little children see themselves in our incredible story of God’s revealing love and help create memories that will nourish them as they grow older.
Our stories develop in our families, especially our faith stories. Our Family Prays and Catholic Prayers and Practices are great resources to help parents make prayer a living, breathing part of each day’s ordinary story. It can be as simple as night-time prayer or blessings at the table.
That experience of table blessings becomes the connecting point to the Eucharist, and My Mass Book can assist there. The Eucharist is the ultimate experience of breaking open our story and sharing it with others. Creating a proverbial library of table experiences, both sacred and profane, in children enables them to understand and grow with the Eucharist over time.
As an adult with older parents, How Grandfather Tree Forgot His Stories resonates the most with me. I spend a lot of my time with my father retelling stories of vacations we took, people we knew, and some really ordinary things that we did. Some of the stories even involve Disneyland! Those stories formed me and continue to form me with every telling.
And isn’t that why we retell Jesus’ story every day, every week, and remember in the Eucharist every day, every week?