We are blessed to have a growing collection of Christian and Catholic books to celebrate the greatest of all Christian holiday seasons! To keep this post from becoming overly long, this post is going to be for Easter books from a religious perspective. Tomorrow’s post will include Easter and Springtime books that have a more secular point of view (click here to follow a link to that post). Board books will have a separate post here. None of the books center around the popular “Easter Bunny” myth because that is something we have decided not to perpetuate in our household. Anyway, here is our collection, in alphabetical order:
Abby’s Easter Garden
by Nancy Gonzales
This is a sweet paperback book about a young girl praying for her heart’s desires. Abby wants a pet, but for various reasons, her parents do not allow it. Abby then wishes for a garden, and her parents tell her to pray about it. She finally gets her wish. This book is not overly long, but it is not appealing to very young children; I would guess it would work best for school age children and older. The story does not have a regular, tie-it-together ending, but instead feels like it ends abruptly. This is probably intended to get the owner to finish the story in the journal pages at the end, but for young listeners, you will need to make up your own ending. The illustrations are watery and fanciful. I do think it is a nice book to talk about taking our desires to the Lord in prayer.
The Birds’ Gift: A Ukrainian Easter Story
by Eric Kimmel
This is a sweet folk tale about a flock of golden birds taken in by people one winter. At Eastertide, these birds deliver intricately colored eggs for the villagers. It is a legend to describe why people decorate their pisanky in the Ukraine (or other Easter European cultures). It also ties in a parish priest, making it perfect for Catholic families! The illustrations are brightly colored, and the text is perfect for kindergarten age children or older.
The Donkey and the Golden Light
by John and Gill Speirs
This is a gorgeous book that begins with the Nativity of Our Lord, presents glimpses of Christ’s life, and culminates on Easter Sunday. It tells the story of a donkey named Bethlehem, who remembers a bright, golden light in the stable the night he was born. Christ is the golden light, but the donkey is separated from him for many years, all the while wondering what became of the golden light. He is reunited with Our Lord on Palm Sunday, and on Easter Sunday, the donkey meets the Resurrected Christ with his golden light, filling the donkey’s soul with peace.
This book wonderful for age 4 or 5 and above, and it is one that Seasonal Catholic heartily recommends for teaching children about Christ. We keep it our year-round, because of the many topics about Christ’s life that it covers, but it is great to pull this one out specifically during Eastertide because the Resurrection is the pinnacle of its story.
by Fiona French
This is a gorgeous book! The first eight of twelve scenes are about Holy Week, and the last four are about Easter. The stories are straight from the Bible, presented with very short text so as to keep young children engaged. The illustrations remind you of stained glass windows, and so far, they have not appealed to toddlers in my family. I would guess this book is for age four or five and older.
The Easter Cave
by Carol Wedeven
This is a really nice book for preschoolers. Each scene has one line of text to describe it, and that line is repeated as the story grows. It is marketed for kids age 4-7, but because this is a repetition book, my children have liked it from age 2. It is one of their favorite Easter books. The illustrations are very easy for young children to understand, and the inclusion of animals makes it even more appealing to them. It tells the Easter story from Good Friday through Easter Sunday morning, and it is thanks to this book that my children learned the Bible verse, “He is not here; He is risen.” (Luke 24:6) We love this book!
The Easter Story
by Brian Wildsmith
This book begins the Easter narrative at Palm Sunday, and continues through the Resurrection, with that same donkey staying alongside Our Lord throughout. It is accented with gold matte throughout, and the images are of a very unique style. Because of the longer text and the illustrations, my children, age 5 and younger, are not yet engaged with this book, but I hope they will enjoy it more in years to come. The only gripe I have with the book is a typo: “Early Sunday morning, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene…” The Gospels say it was Mary, Mother of James, NOT Our Lady. Other than that, it is still a nice book to have in our collection.
The Easter Story
by Suzanne Berry
This is a cute little book from Hallmark intended for toddlers. There are no scenes of Our Lord on the cross – only three crosses are depicted in a background. So, if your children are sensitive to crucifix images, this book might be perfect for them. The text consists of sweet little four-line rhyming stanzas, and the illustrations are almost like cartoons.
The Easter Swallows
by Vicki Howie
This is a sweet story of two swallows who come in contact with Our Lord several times before his death. It tells the events of Holy Week from their perspective, and shows their sorrow. They are then greeted with the good news of Easter morning, as well as their own news of four new babies in their nest. The water color illustrations are beautiful, and the text is simple and engaging enough for toddlers and older.
K is for Kite: God’s Springtime Alphabet
by Kathy Wargin
This is a cute picture book for children learning their ABCs. Each letter is given an item and a two-line rhyme. It is from a Christian perspective, but also includes many secular items in its list as well. The illustrations are captivating for preschoolers and toddlers. My kids really like this book!
The Parable of the Lily
by Liz Higgs
This is a sweet book about a young girl who is disappointed in the gift of a box of dirt, but finds that the bulbs it contained have blossomed on Easter Sunday. The text is short and the illustrations simple, making this a great book for kids age 3 and up. There are Bible verses interspersed throughout the book. This is not a Catholic book, but it is still steeped in Christianity.
Petook: An Easter Story
by Caryll Houselander; illustrated by Tomie dePaola
This is the story of a proud rooster, Petook, who encounters a young Christ, then many years later, witnesses his crucifixion. On Easter morning, one of Petook’s new chicks hatch, bringing the joy of new life with it. The illustrations are classic Tomie dePaola, so not all children are going to enjoy them. The text is probably best for school age and older. Our Lord only makes two appearance, once as a young boy, and once in the background, on the cross.
A Royal Easter Story (The Princess Parables)
by Jeanna Young
My two year old daughter absolutely adore the Princess Parables, so when I saw this was being released by Zondervan Kidz, I was excited! It is the story of the five princess sisters racing a group of five knights to an Easter celebration. Along the way, the sisters meet a young girl in trouble and help her at the cost of losing the race. It is a story of self sacrifice for young children, probably toddlers and above. The illustrations are bright and cheerful, as in all the Princess Parables books, and the dust jacket has glitter on all of the princess’ dresses. The length of the story would generally be a bit long for toddlers, but given the subject of princesses, this book works well for young girls. The author included a note at the back explaining why she picked this story, and its Biblical reference. We highly recommend this book for all the little princesses out there!
The Sparrow’s Easter Song
by Michelle Adams; illustrated by Marion Eldridge
This book is gorgeous! It tells the sweet story of a young sparrow overjoyed at witnessing Christ’s resurrection, good news he then shares with his animal friends. The pictures are bright and cheery, and certain to appeal to toddlers and up. The text is in four-line rhyming stanzas, with one to three stanzas per page. This book is one of our favorites for Easter! Your family is certain to love it.
The Story of Easter
by Jean Miller
This is a Little Golden Book. It is the only flop on this list. It incorrectly states Our Lady went to the tomb with Mary Magdalene (the Gospels say it was Mary, Mother of James). It also confuses terminology: it says Easter is always on a Sunday because that is the day Our Lord Ascended into Heaven. The Ascension actually falls on a Thursday according to Church tradition. Also, it says, “Jesus’ ascent to heaven is called the Resurrection.” Wait, what? We have decided to get rid of this book because it has too many errors.
The Story of the Empty Tomb
by Bryan Davis
This is a cute little paperback book by Arch Books (Protestant). The story begins on Easter morning with St. Mary Magdalene finding an empty tomb, includes the story of Saints Peter and John hurrying to the tomb, and ends with St. Thomas touching Our Lord’s wounds. It has between one and four four-line rhyming stanzas on each two-page spread; the illustrations are bright, cheerful watercolors. This book says it is for kids age 5-9 or a 3rd grade reading level for independent readers, but my children have liked it as young as age 2.