• Daja Gombojav

Books For Catholic Kids: Who Is Jesus?

[This post is part of a series, reviewing and recommending books every Catholic family should have in their home. We welcome our parish children's literary expert, Kathy Swegart, to the blog!]

Who is Jesus? His Life * His Land * His Time

Notice right away that the title provides a clue to the entire book. Jesus is not spoken of

in the past tense. Jesus is alive and present to us now. That is the intent of this elegant

book suitable for ages 6-12. Using maps, illustrations and intriguing facts, this book truly

brings to life Jesus and His times. In one grand narrative arc, the writer puts together

salvation history from Abraham to the Resurrection.

Published by Magnificat and Ignatius Press, 91 pages. Written by Gaelle Tertrais illustrated by Adeline Avril

Simply told, we are lead step by step through the story of Moses, the judges, the kings and the prophets. Detailed maps show us key spots along the Mediterranean Sea including Mount Tabor, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. We read what people ate, where they lived and what they wore. I cannot think of any other book that describes the house where the Holy Family lived.

The houses of the period were simple square boxes with whitewashed earthen walls.

There was only one room. The only light came through a door and sometimes a


In this simple description, we can better imagine the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth, a village “nestled in a valley at the foot of a steep hill.” An illustration shows Mary wiping the face of her little boy. Joseph looks on, smiling as he ponders this moment of tranquility.

Indeed, all of us, young and old alike, can learn from this book. I imagine families

reading it together, tying together Gospel readings with chapters in the book. One section delves into parables. We learn about rhythms of the seasons and agriculture in the Holy Land. Another chapter covers Jesus’ last days, including a description of the crown of thorns, woven from a creeping plant often used as kindling. A small photograph of the Shroud of Turin appears near the end of the book--likely to spark the curiosity of any reader.

Children will enjoy studying the delightful illustrations of fish and animals galore,

including St. Peter’s fish complete with spiny dorsal fins. We learn that Jesus came to

know his grandparents, who lived in Nazareth.

No other book like this exists among Catholic children’s books. It is definitely not

another children’s Bible, but goes beyond stories, making the life of Jesus come alive.

Kathy Swegart is a best-selling author of award-winning children's books with a Masters in Education from Boston College. She is the mother of three and the grandmother of many book-loving children. You can catch up with her on her website: http://kathrynswegart.com/

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