A Little Book about Confession for Children by Kendra Tierney of Catholic All Year has already gotten a fair share of reviews among Catholic bloggers (see here and here for a few).
I read A Little Book about Confession for Children as more of a book ABOUT "confession for children," than a book about confession FOR Children. There are lots of chapters, Q and A, and advice for parents throughout the book. The How to Use This Book section makes it quite clear that this is not a book you hand a child and walk away. It is meant to be experienced with the guidance of a parent.
However, it is chock full of good material FOR children, in addition to loads of advice and general information for parents and even any Catholics who need a refresher course in Confession 101.
My favorite part(s) of A Little Book about Confession for Children is the mini-biographies of saints that are included. The stories of these saints are delightful and do much to impress that confession is not just for sinners.
Kendra does a terrific job explaining the sacrament and all that goes into preparation for it, as well as explaining things I never thought to question, such as Why do children need to go to Confession? With my children, the answer to that is very obvious. ;)
Her examination of conscience is thorough and age-appropriate, and I appreciate her advice to parents to edit or add as necessary. Children vary so much on the spectrum of scrupulosity, from "terrified I'm going to Hell" to "not a mortal sin, so it's not that big a deal." I think Kendra is very thoughtful to caution parents at this point, seeing as how each child can be so different.
The end of the book scripts a typical confession experience, which is something we role-play/review before confession in our household, usually in the car on the drive there.
There are a few lines in the confession script that I have never heard in confession:
"After absolution the priest continues, Give thanks to Lord for he is good.
You answer: His mercy endures forever."
Every confession I have ever made has gone like this:
After absolution, the priest says, "Go in peace." and I reply, as taught by Sr. Pamela all those years ago, "Thank you, Father."
That's the only thing I would add to this book, a "Thank you, Father." though it's probably technically not part of the "script."
Sometimes there is a "You're Welcome" from my confessor, but usually I'm high-tailing it out of the box at that moment and probably miss it more often than not.
All in all, A Little Book about Confession for Children is a solid book on the topic with a wealth of information and would be a terrific teaching tool for any parent, and if you go to end of this post, YOU can enter to win your very own copy.
Finding Grace by blogger friend, Laura Pearl has been reviewed a fair amount in the Catholic blogosphere as well (you can see a couple here and here). Finding Grace is a novel about Grace Kelly, an awkward 8th grader in upstate New York, 1972, who is nothing like Princess Grace of Monaco. We follow Grace, and her friends and family through Grace's high school years and into college.
Despite starting with an 8th grade protagonist, I would reserve Finding Grace from high school readers and up. In an early chapter, we read about the obelisk topped with an eagle, a landmark at the local university, and the legend that the eagle will fly away the first time a virgin graduates from the college. This was my first clue that this was not a children's book, and Laura herself says that she wrote is "geared toward the high school-aged and older crowd."
Grace decides to change her life after a deep conversation with her father. She commits herself to the goal of sainthood. In small ways and large, Grace attempts to be a saintly person. Her acts of charity range from allowing her mother to choose some of her clothing, to befriending an elderly nun, to not standing in the way of her best friend's romance with Grace's one true love.
The trajectory of the finding or making of Grace is interspersed with detailed accounts of a few saints and holy people, such as Pier Giorgio Frassati. I didn't really know anything about Pier Giorgio Frassati until I read Finding Grace, but I was compelled to purchase this biography ,Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: Journey to the Summit (Encounter the Saints) and am reading it to Edmund.
Finding Grace hits nearly every Catholic hot button topic, except homosexuality. Pre-marital sex, pregnancy out of wedlock, contraception, and abortion are all major plot points and are dealt with in a chaste and completely Catholic way. Of course, Grace is not the focus of any of those events, and she largely stays true to her secret plan to become a saint. She is not without fault and does make a mistake or two, but all in all, she is a very virtuous heroine.
Her love story is reminiscent of Anne and Gilbert's famous romance, with friendship finally followed by true love. I would recommend Finding Grace for any high school girl or older.
I find Laura's posts about the birth of Finding Grace, utterly fascinating. Laura says that while Grace's story has similarities to her own, it is not the same story. I think I would have to meet her, and her parents, and her husband to see if that is the case or not. I do know that her husband bears a striking physical resemblance to Tom Buckley, the heartthrob in the book.
Edmund's review of the graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn:
The Storm in the Barn is an ok book. It is not like a really awesome book. It is about a boy that every one hates and it is during the Dust Bowl. This boy goes to an abandoned barn and there is a ghost thing but it is the rain in a different form. At the end of the book, he took the rain outside and the rain got sucked up into the clouds and it started a big rainy storm. Everyone loved him and his family that hated him loved him too.
After reading the editorial reviews on Amazon, I'm not entirely sure that the boy is "hated" by everyone, or if he just feels useless in a world of failing crops and financial ruin. I am certain that Edmund's honest if lackluster opinion will inspire exactly no one to click on the affiliate link up there. Is it any wonder that the librarian said no one had ever checked out this book before?
Now for the fun stuff! A Giveaway!!!
I'm giving away one copy of A Little Book About Confession for Children which was provided to me by the author. Here goes my first Rafflecopter giveaway, I kept it short and sweet.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And a Link-Up!!!