All About Advent and Christmas: Review
Advent is only 5 weeks away. Besides making sure I have new candles for our Advent wreath, I also like to check if there are any new books that are worthwhile reading and gift giving.
I have been searching for a long time for books written for older children about the Liturgical Year. There are many books written for adults on how to celebrate in the family for the Liturgical Year, and younger children’s picture books that relate stories about the different aspects of the seasons. But for the older elementary up to high school age (9-18), there aren’t many books written. I have loved the books by Inos Biffi and illustrated by Franco Vignazia, but copies are getting harder to find.
Katherine Bogner’s new book All About Advent and Christmas fits this niche. Here is a book about Advent and Christmas that speaks directly to the older child/teen without being patronizing. The book covers so much about Advent and Christmas, taken from the sources of the Bible, the Liturgy and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but also includes popular customs and traditions, such as the Advent Wreath and the Jesse Tree.
The information provided is just enough to inform, and also to inspire, giving room for the reader to apply his/her own creative ways of celebrating the seasons of Advent and Christmas.
The illustrations by Shari Van Vranken are inviting and lovely, with wonderful details.
The book begins by unfolding the two main themes of Advent and Christmas: Light and darkness, and the Coming of the Messiah, both in past and the Second Coming. Next Advent and Christmas as treated in the Church’s liturgy are explained. I do have a small quibble in this area, as the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is the last day of the Christmas season, and then begins Ordinary Time, which is presented differently in the book, but that’s my only one.(See General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar and The Catholic Lectionary Website for explanation.)
All About Advent and Christmas also touches on the key Advent and Christmas figures: St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also touches on the saints of Advent, particularly the most popular St. Nicholas and St. Lucy. And then other liturgical celebrations of Advent are included, such as Gaudete Sunday and the O Antiphons.
I would recommend this book as personal reading from ages 9 to adult, and even as a read-aloud in small areas for ages 6 and up. Besides family reading, this would be a wonderful book for church library and CGS atrium reading.
All About Advent and Christmas by Katherine Bogner, illustrated by Shari Van Vranken published by Emmaus Road Publishing.
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