Two years back, I had it in mind to get all of our San Antonio Catholic moms group ideas for All Saints/All Souls up on our blog. Now that I’m actually doing it, there’s covid. Thankfully, though, most of these ideas from simpler, personal interaction times can still be done just on a household level. This is one of those.
Even from the days of having just one kid to keep up with, I’ve been jealous of the library’s story time. Why don’t we have story time at our church? Why don’t we have good Catholic fiction and non-fiction books with awesome illustrations that we can read to our kids and emphasize with crafts and activities?
Besides being the inspiration for our Bible Story Time meetings every Monday, which we decided to rename Kids’ Mass prep, that thought from long ago finally got me to just read a Saint book or two at our annual All Saints/All Souls Day party last year. Luckily, I had run across a few fabulous ones with lovely modern illustrations.
My favorite is, “Saintly Rhymes for Modern Times,” by Meghan Bausch. Fabiola Garza recently published her first book with fantastic illustrations. It’s called, “The Story of St. John Paul II: The Boy Who Became Pope.” I’m hoping and praying that she keeps sinking her awesome talent into more Saint books. Liguori has a series out called, “Saints and me!” which are short, illustrated stories on popular Saints. The Illustrations are similar in style to Holy Heroes, and the stories are short enough and basic enough to be appropriate for our littlest ones. You can also grab, “The Saints Coloring Book,” that St. Joseph Kids’ Books puts out. It’s easy to find, and extremely inexpensive.
Once you have a smattering of books in hand, all you have to worry about is timing. Story time is a great activity if you need to wait for everyone to arrive. It’s also helpful for transitioning to or from prayer times, like after trick-or-treating for souls. Making a small stack of books available for moms to grab when their kids are having a tough time is also helpful. You could also set up a listening corner and offer a selection of audio stories from Holy Heroes called Glory Stories. The CDs make great prizes for the Saint Walk, too.
Before reading, it often helps to sing a song or nursery rhyme with hand motions to get everyone’s attention. Our group’s favorite is, “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” that we do faster and faster. You can transition to the book by saying that God made the head, shoulders, knees, and toes of some wonderful people who once lived on Earth. They are called Saints. If you have other great books that can keep the interest of toddlers, we’d love to hear about it!