Saints Tell their Stories by Patricia Mitchell, illustrated by Maria Cristina Lo Cascio
Mater Amabilis recommends Once Upon a Time Saints and More Once Upon a Time Saints for Level 1B (first grade). We've used this books often. I read them to First Son when he was in first grade. Because we were reading them in our history program when First Daughter was in kindergarten and first grade, she read the Loyola Kids Book of Saints. You can read my review of that book, but I knew it would be too much reading for Second Daughter to do on her own and more than I wanted to read aloud to her. I started looking through our shelves to find another saints book to read aloud instead and found Saints Tell their Stories.
This book contains stories of 26 saints after an introductory page on who the saints are and how we can learn from them. For each saint, there's a page of text (four to five paragraphs), a full-page illustration, and a few standard details like when they lived and their feast days. The text focuses on how a child could relate to the saint. They are arranged in chronological order and include saints from every age, including Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. St. Maximilian Kolbe's story is also included, but it's presented calmly enough for younger listeners (though you could also skip it).
I read one story once each loop to Second Daughter, about once a week, and she narrated it. They are just about the perfect length for beginning narrators.
The Once Upon a Time Saints stories intertwine myth and legend with facts, which bothers some people. While I thoroughly enjoy them and think legendary saint stories are a part of our culture, I understand the desire to avoid confusing children with mythical saints.
Saints Tell their Stories could be a great alternative for Level 1B. Another good option would be Saints and their Stories by Patricia E. Jablonski. The illustrations in the latter are lovely! There's more legend mixed in and the stories are longer. (I received Saints and their Stories as a review copy.) I actually thought we'd get through both in first grade, but we didn't get to this book. I've read it aloud to the children at least once already, though.
The italic print: I think I bought Saints Tell their Stories used. I received Saints and their Stories as a review copy. Links to Amazon are affiliate links. As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). Every little bit helps - thanks!