Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Favorite Books About Mary + A Playlist

It's May, so Mary and Mothers are common themes in Catholic classrooms and homes.  I reserve our special Mary activities and lessons for the month of May, but I also like to enrich my students understanding with both literature and music.  Here are a few of our favorite books and songs about Mary!

First up, a playlist:  Click on the image below for a YouTube playlist of some great and fun and sacred Marian music.  The videos...meh, but the music is lovely.  I turn this on in my classroom just for the sound, not on the SmartBoard for the students.  What would you add?  What great Marian songs are we missing?
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5sexwzkyqUWfv8cgIVoeMgjBWwKz8j1e

And our favorite books: I pull these books from other places and feature them in a special basket in our faith corner during the month of May.  This list doesn't include all the Bible story books we have that also of course feature Mary, but those are going to have to be saved for another post. 

These Catholic Story Coloring Books feature various Marian apparitions and are published through TAN books.  I wrote about how I use them in the classroom here, but unfortunately some of them can be hard to find.

Next up, collection of short, simple, and sweet books about Mary from St. Joseph Picture Books.  Quick and easy, I am still ok with my 5th graders reading them to keep them familiar with all of the stories surrounding Mary and her role in Biblical times as well as now.

And, there is definitely Fulton Sheen's Jesus, Son of Mary.  I love using this one as a read aloud.  In Sheen's typical style, the easy to read passages are packed with depth, allowing me to use this picture book to lead 5th grade level discussions on Mary's role as Jesus's Mother, the first Christian, and a model for all of us. 
 My 1947 copy has lovely illustrations, but so does the reprint version. :)

This one was recently acquired.  Mary's Story by Sarah Jane Boss chronicles the story of Mary's life starting with St. Anne and Joachim's desire for a child all the way to her Assumption.  It relies on both Scripture and Tradition , but also weaves some "legend" or the author's generalizations to fill in the blanks.  The text isn't my favorite, but also isn't worrisome.  However, I really like the illustrations.  They are lovely, reverent, detailed, and fresh all at the same time.
 They remind me a bit of Jan Brett's style for tucking more of the story into the margins and edges of pages, in corners and backgrounds.  It reminds me that there is so much of Mary's life that is was hidden, left to our imaginings.



This book, Just Like Mary by Rosemarie Gortler and Donna Piscitelli, is different in that each page (or few pages) tells about an event in Mary's life and then shows how she can be a guide to us in similar situations.

For example, here it recounts Mary & Joseph's flight to Egypt after the birth of Jesus, and how that can show us that we need to listen to God.  I like that it practically shows kiddos how Mary can be a model for our daily lives.

And my favorite Marian picture book by far is Take it to the Queen by Josephine Nobisso.   Gorgeously illustrated, it tells the story of all of Salvation History and the role of Mary as Queen Mother through an allegory that is full of symbolism and creative meaning. 
 "Hidden" images in the illustration point to more Christian truths, and the author even has a list of specific things to look and listen for on the inside covers of the book.  Its lasting message reminds us that Mary is always ready to take our offerings, work, gifts, and our very selves straight to the heart of her Son.

Lots of good reading!  I'd love to hear about your favorite kids' books honoring Mary- what else would you recommend?
 

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