Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bringing kids to Mass? Help has arrived.

If you have small children and you bring them with you to Mass, you probably know all too well the challenges of not only keeping them quiet but of engaging them in something that is often beyond their understanding. We've tried everything, from snacks when the kids were very young to prayer books and books on the saints as they got a little older, to Sunday missals -- traditional or MagnifiKid-style -- when they reached First Communion year. It's not easy, is it? Even now, our 8-year-old needs help as she tries to understand the readings, and our 3-year-old, well, let's just say we have a ways to go there.

And that is why I am so happy to introduce and recommend to you a new book that is sure to be a help to all those weary parents trying to find a way to make the Scripture readings relevant to little ones. Jonathan Stampf's newly released book Hear My Voice: A Children's Translation of Gospel Readings of the Catholic Mass for 2009 is a perfect addition to any family's library. The Gospel readings are not watered down or sapped of meaning. They are simply written in a style that children can appreciate, with the actual Scriptural text in a box to the right. Parents and children can read the Gospel story together the night before Mass and talk about what it means, making the Mass experience that much more fulfilling for everyone involved, including the folks two pews away who might otherwise be trying to hear over the din of unhappy children.

What I especially like is the fact that the children's version of the Gospel would be perfect for our 8-year-old, but to the left of the reading on the pages with beautiful color illustrations by Robert Conrad, is a one-line synopsis of what's happening in the Gospel story. Those one-liners are perfect for our 3-year-old. She can look at the picture and try to absorb not the whole story but that one line. So I think this book can work on many levels with children of various ages. You can check out more by clicking HERE to see sample pages, or if you're ready to buy, you can click HERE. Better buy it quick since the new liturgical year starts Nov. 30, the first Sunday of Advent, which is just around the corner.

We need more books like this, books with contemporary artwork and simple but faithful translations of Scripture. Let's hope there's more to come from Prayer Press.

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