Books and online resources for you and your students
By Carolyn Astfalk
Wisdom flowering from the pages
Growth mindsets for kids
Nothing You Can’t Do! The secret power of growth mindsets for kids by Mary Cay Ricci walks students in grades four through six through an interactive guide to viewing life and its challenges in a can-do manner. Chapters cover everything from an explanation of mindsets to brain science, quitting, failure, and goal-setting. Easy to read with fun illustrations, thought-provoking questions, and recommended resources, it includes historical examples and dozens of “secrets” to overcome struggles and pursue goals. Available from Prufrock Press.
Understanding signs and symbols
Amy Welborn’s Book of Catholic Signs & Symbols: An Illustrated Guide to Their History and Meaning makes an excellent classroom reference. Enrich students’ understanding and appreciation of art and their faith life by taking a closer look at objects and images they encounter related to God, Jesus, Mary, saints, Scripture, the Church, sacramentals, and sacraments. Suitable for grades one through six. Available from Loyola Press.
Bringing faith to the classroom
Reach students’ hearts with rich, faith-building experiences by applying the steps of lectio divina (or sacred reading) to religious education. In Christ in the Classroom: Lesson Planning for the Heart and Mind, Jared Dees (creator of TheReligionTeacher.com) approaches lesson planning through the simple steps of learn, meditate, pray, contemplate, and act. The book includes specific suggestions and best practices for helping students enter a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Available from Ave Maria Press.
Called to Pray: Daily Prayers for Catholic Schools, written and complied by Justin McClain, is filled with more than 200 short prayers indexed thematically and by feast/memorial day. Examples include Prayer for Students Struggling with Depression, Prayer for Stress and School, and Prayer for the Christmas Break. Ideal for grades five through 12, prayers are meant to be used throughout the school year and liturgical seasons by students, teachers, and staff. Available from Ave Maria Press.
Enrich each day with short, simple quotes and reflections from Peter Celano’s My Year with the Saints for Kids. Daily entries include a sentence or two from Scripture, a saint, or other noted Catholic figure. Some entries also offer a simple question for reflection (Where do you need courage today?) or a suggested prayer (Pray for me, St. Kateri). Available from Paraclete Press.
A spiritual journal for kids
The Holy Heroes Spiritual Journal for preteens and teens has been expanded and revised in its fourth edition. The spiral-bound journal helps young people recollect, pray, and participate in the Church’s liturgical year. It includes room for prayer intentions, an examination of conscience, a guide to the rosary, and a pocket for storing daily prayer prompts (included) and other resources. Available at holyheroes.com, where you can also view a video peek inside the journal.
An introduction to St. Francis of Assisi
Told by a mother bird to her fledgling, Saint Francis and the Animals shares the story of the saint’s love for animals as beloved creatures of God. Featuring rich illustrations with earthy colors and designs, the book depicts St. Francis speaking to his horse, a fish, a wolf, a rabbit, and the fledgling himself. Written by Phil Gallery (creator of the Can You Find Jesus? series) and illustrated by Sibyl Mackenzie. Available from Paraclete Press.
Tools for greater springtime growth
Learn how to create personalized certificates for students and volunteers using Google Sheets and the Google add-on autoCrat. The step-by-step video walks you through the process: Youtu.be/A8y5s09VrKU.
Introduce the Angelus, Act of Contrition, Act of Faith, and other prayers to students for daily classroom recitation with these illustrated posters from Creative Communications (todayct.us/2S28sSx). The 20 x 27-inch posters are suitable for church or classroom use.
Hi God 7 by Carey Landry and Carol Jean Kinghorn, the latest in the series of audio CDs for young people from OCP, emphasizes the words of Jesus. Also includes responses from the Mass of Thanks and Praise. Keyboard and guitar accompaniment books are also available from OCP.org.
Living Rosary how-to
Try a living Rosary with a class or school: Find step-by-step directions along with an easy how-to video. Help students focus on the mysteries, match older students with younger students, or create a parish-wide event. Learn more at todayct.us/2DDsBGD.
Carolyn Astfalk is a contemporary Catholic novelist, blogger, CatholicMom.com contributor, and mother of four Catholic-school students ranging from kindergarten to high school.
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