Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories by Heidi Hess Saxton

I love this book of Bible stories!

We've been using this book for two years now, reading aloud one Bible story to all of the children twice a week. There is a brief introduction for each story but the text is directly from the Bible, the NRSV. At the end of each passage is a small prayer, often verses of a psalm or a traditional Catholic prayer. There are often quotes or tidbits of information as well.  I appreciate how selections are included from less common "story" books like Baruch and Sirach.

The Going Deeper section lists related Bible passages, other readings used at Mass with the Bible story, or sections of the Catechism. You could use these readings with older children to delve more deeply into the text. This section also includes one or two recommendations for actions related to the Bible story. I love that these are not sickly sweet at all, but suggestions even adults might appreciate.

There's an excellent illustration for each Bible story in full color. I found the illustrations tasteful and realistic.

After two years of two stories each week, we're about two-thirds of the way through the book, so there's a lot of material within the book. My children are currently 10, 7, 5, and 3 (though the three year old doesn't always listen quietly to the story). I began reading from this book when First Daughter was in kindergarten and think it works well starting at that age. Because it's the NRSV, there's no reason older children can't appreciate it as well.

Both First Son and First Daughter will be reading independently from retellings of the Bible next year in our history studies. There are reasons to use a children's Bible, but the writings of Charlotte Mason and Sofia Cavalletti have persuaded me that even very young children can grasp the essential truths of Scripture. Not every Bible passage will be appropriate for children, so I appreciate this book in which Scripture passages are selected with children in mind but presented through the NRSV.


  1. Nice. I would love to look at this in person sometime. We were given a children's Bible from our friend Larry at Church, and while it isn't specifically Catholic (that I can tell) I love it sooooo much. The stories go much more in depth, and while they aren't verbatim from Biblical text, there is are parts that are and the stories are just very thought-provoking. It was a Godsend, as I was just wanting to find something better than the few we had sitting around.

    During lent we did the Lenten Cross thing from "Lent and Easter in the Domestic Church" and I did some readings from the Children's Bible and some from our NAB. I will honestly say I do not fully appreciate the dynamic equivalence (I believe that is the correct term) of the RSV.

    Anyways, good review, thanks for sharing.

    1. I think there are benefits to introducing children to various Bible translations. The kids read from the NAB in Catechesis (and hear it at Mass, of course). This book is the NRSV, but we read the psalms from the KJV almost every day during the school year. I read the RSV myself and that's what I use when I'm teaching Catechesis.


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