For the Eastern Orthodox Church, Great Lent is the seven week period before Pascha (Easter) during which the faithful fast from certain foods and, more importantly, from sin. In order to enter more fully into the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, we repent through the traditional disciplines of prayer and fasting. Over the next several weeks, I will be posting articles in this series entitled “The Lenten Journey” in which I share resources, ideas, and meditations to help us all make ready for Christ’s resurrection–and our own.
If you walked into my house on any given day, you would likely find my three kids reading away. One of their favorite bookshelves is the one that contains our Orthodox children’s library. Over the years I have been collecting quality Orthodox children’s books to help our children learn about their faith.
Last week I shared Ways to Involve Children in Great Lent with some simple yet profound ways to help children take part in and begin to understand Lent. However, one of my favorite ways to begin any spiritual conversation with my children is through an excellent book. Today I wanted to share some wonderful books that can help a child (or an adult!) develop a deeper understanding of Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha.
Best Children’s Books for Lent and Holy Week
Lent! Wonderful Lent! by Debra Sancer
Designed for children ages 5-10, this book helps children understand the meaning of Lent as a time for repentance and preparation. It also explains each of the Sundays during Great Lent.
The Hidden Garden: A Story of the Heart by Jane G. Meyer
While not overtly about Lent, this beautiful story helps children realize that their heart is a garden that needs Christ’s care to become a thing of beauty. It would make an excellent introduction into the reason behind the disciplines of prayer and fasting during Great Lent.
Pictures of God: A Child’s Guide to Understanding Icons by John Kosmas Skinas
This is a fantastic introduction to icons–both their spiritual meaning and the stories behind several prominently displayed ones. Through Pictures of God, children learn about Christ the Pantocrator, The Nativity, The Annunciation, the Theotokos of Tenderness, and many other icons. My children enjoy finding the icons they have seen in the book in our church on Sundays. The perfect book for The Sunday of Orthodoxy.
Holy Week and Pascha
Glorious Pascha by Debra Sancer
An excellent description of each day of Holy Week beginning with Palm Sunday. This book helps elementary aged children understand the significance of Holy Week in both the life of Christ and in the Church. A companion book to Lent! Wonderful Lent!
The Miracle of the Red Egg by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson
Have you ever wondered why Orthodox Christians dye Easter eggs red? This charming children’s book shares the story behind the tradition. Children (and adults!) learn about St. Mary Magdalene, a Roman emperor, and a miracle that shows the power of the resurrection.
Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle
Catherine’s Pascha is a USA Best Books Award Finalist–an honor rarely bestowed upon an Orthodox book. This beautiful book walks a child through Pascha–from baking on Saturday to the beautiful service and breaking the fast with church family.
Heaven Meets Earth: Celebrating Pascha and the Twelve Feasts by John Kosmas Skinas
A beautiful book that explains each of the twelve great feasts of the Church–including Pascha. With icons, hymns, Scriptures, and quotes from the Fathers, and traditions explained, your family will use this resource for years to come.
These Orthodox children’s books are a wonderful way to help your child prepare for and experience Great Lent and Pascha. You can purchase them and place them on a shelf that is easily accessible to your children. Then, watch them read their favorites over and over–drawing closer to Christ in the process.
What are your favorite children’s books for Lent and Pascha?
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