5 Kid’s Books Perfect for Celebrating Mary
One of our family’s favorite things to do is read books together. While we read during the day, we especially enjoy reading to our children at night right before bedtime. Both religious and secular books are mixed in together so as parents, we never know exactly which books our children will pick.
Because our children are age 5 and under, our top five list of children’s books is geared for children from birth to age ten, as some of our favorite books go beyond age five. With each book, we will also give our age suggestion as it may vary from the publisher’s suggestion. The books are listed in age order.
Before starting our family, both of us were introduced to the St. Louis de Montfort method of consecration to Mary, in which we give our entire selves to Jesus through Mary. As we began our family, we wanted to find age-appropriate ways to introduce our children to Mary, most especially during Mary’s month of May.
Here are five books we find perfect to use to celebrate Mary’s month of May.
1. My First Pictures of Mary by Maite Roche
My First Pictures of Mary by Maite Roche is a gorgeous board book for children. Our children love taking Maite Roche books to Mass or “reading” during family prayer time. The beautiful illustrations truly help the children reflect on Mary’s life with an adult’s help. At fourteen pages, this book is the perfect length for toddlers. Key moments in Mary’s life are illustrated on one page with the other page containing smaller pictures with details in more depth. Scenes depicted include Mary visiting Elizabeth (The Visitation) and Mary listening to the angel Gabriel (The Annunciation) in an easy-to-understand way for children. While recommended for children up to age five, our children enjoyed this book as soon as they were able to sit still long enough to look at a board book until approximately age 4. Board books by Maite Roche are a favorite baptism gift in our house and are great for bringing to Mass if you choose to bring books.
2. The Virgin Mary Around The World! A Pilgrimage of Faith Book by Chantal Baros
The Virgin Mary Around The World! A Pilgrimage of Faith Book by Chantal Baros is another great board book. The book explores the various titles of Mary throughout the world in a rhyming format. The book includes eleven different apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary from around the world. Marian apparitions featured in the book include: Our Lady of Guadalupe (our favorite), Our Lady of China, Our Lady of Knock, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Vailankanni, Our Lady of Aparecida, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Kibeho, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Charity (Cuba). The book is made by the same people who brought us Shining Light Dolls (another favorite for teething toddlers in the Kraft household), so the gorgeous pictures go along with the Marian Shining Light Dolls line. We would suggest it from birth to age four.
3. Leading the Little Ones to Mary by Sr. Mary Lelia, S.S.N.D.
Leading the Little Ones to Mary by Sr. Mary Lelia, S.S.N.D. is a great way to introduce children to Mary. The book has sixteen chapters which include four short talks each. The talks are usually 1-2 pages. Each talk includes an age-appropriate reflection on Mary’s life or Marian devotion and has the children make a consecration at the end of each talk. Each day we read, our children pray from the book, “Holy Mary, I want to belong to you. I give you my whole self and all the good things I do, at home, at school, in church, on the playground. My mother, I am all yours, and all I do belongs to you.”
Our five year old and three year old really enjoyed thinking of Mary as a child and worked to emulate her and it helped foster a true devotion to Mary. Stories included discussing St. Dominic getting the rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe’s appearance to St. Juan Diego, and learning about St. Therese. The black and white pictures in the book helped keep their interest. One day, the reflection asked how the children would like to help Mary. My 3 year old was quick to say she wanted to help Mary after baby Jesus was born!
Some reflections even had me wondering how I could better emulate Mary. It truly reminded me of the de Monfort Method of total consecration broken down so my young children could understand. While my 3 year old enjoyed the book, I felt it was best geared for ages 4-6.
4. Mary My Mother by Father Lovasik, S.V.D.
Mary My Mother by Father Lovasik, S.V.D. explores Mary’s life in an easy to understand format. It discusses Mary’s birth, her marriage to St. Joseph, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, the Wedding at Cana and much more. The full-color illustrations are very engaging and encourage children to reflect on each page of the book. It is a great aid for us to use during the family rosary, especially when we are praying the Joyful Mysteries. I especially appreciate how Father Lovasik uses words children can understand. For instance, instead of calling it the Annunciation, the page is titled “The Angel Speaks to Mary.”
I would recommend it around age 2 or 3 (as soon as the kiddo can keep the paper book out of their mouth) up to age 8 or 9. There are multiple other books by Father Lovasik that we adore as well.
5. Marian Consecration for Children by Carrie Gress PhD
Marian Consecration for Children by Carrie Gress PhD was recently released. If you are only going to check out one Marian book this year, I highly recommend this one.
After we finished reading “Leading the Little Ones to Mary,” our children wanted another Marian devotion book. I had heard so many wonderful things about this one from other moms so I decided to check it out. The book is geared for 5 to 10 year olds according to the publisher, which seems about right to me. Some literature references were slightly above my 5 year old’s listening level, but the stories within the mediation are broken down and explained well enough that it isn’t necessary to have previously read those works.
Gress is the author of The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis. Her knowledge and love of Mary shines through the pages. In reading the note to parents at the front of the book, I felt like a friend was speaking to me and encouraging me. Gress writes, “A look around the world today can leave parents feeling helpless about how to prepare their children for an uncertain future. And yet there are few things that can prepare them better than a strong relationship with their spiritual Mother.” She goes onto note that history is full of child saints that Mary has appeared to who were chosen because of their deep trust and humility. Children have a special place in salvation history because of their love of God.
The book is divided into 34 days and is intended to be read for 34 days in a row. Throughout the book, Gress artfully tells tales of saints, kings, and queens to teach children about virtue, vices, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was especially pleased to see her use contemporary stories, including The Chronicles of Narnia, Winnie the Pooh, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to help illustrate Mary’s relationship with us. Each day has a short 2 page meditation followed by discussion questions and has short prayers to pray. Perhaps the most interesting portion of the book is the “Did You Know?” section each day which provides additional interesting facts related to the meditation. The book includes stories such as the miraculous account of the priests who saved Mary’s veil from a fire, how St. Louis de Montfort’s book True Devotion to Mary was almost lost forever, and why ladybugs are named for Mary. On day 34, Gress provides an Act of Consecration and later in the appendix gives out ideas for living your Marian consecration within the home. I look forward to incorporating this book as we continue to prepare for my son’s First Reconciliation and First Communion.
We hope these books can help you and your child draw closer to Mary during her month of May and throughout the entire year!