Oh, when the saint books come marching in…


When I was a child, we celebrated saints throughout the month of November. Every night at dinner one of us would read a story about a saint aloud. One year my mother even gave us a saints exam. Fortunately she was an easy grader.

As we grew older, we moved our family “saint-a-thon” online and took turns sending an email about a saint each day during November. But even though we all got saint-a-thon T-shirts one year for Christmas, life got even busier, and we haven’t kept up with it in recent years.

Our two boys are not ready to read or write entries for a saint-a-thon, but they do love to read stories with us. The books about saints are not always at the top of the pile, but we’ve had more success with some than others.

In honor of the month of November, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite saint books for children–in no particular order. I’m hoping you’ll let me know your–or your children’s–favorites, too:

1.       New Picture Book of Catholic Saints

This book is a classic and features memorable pictures and short entries. I like this book for the times when a saint comes up in conversation, and we need a quick summary.


2.       Once Upon a Time Saints by Ethel Pochocki

I love this one because the stories are truly stories and make the saints accessible, real people. But our boys are still a bit young for it.


3.       An Alphabet of Catholic Saints by Brenda and George Nippert

I can’t remember when and how I came across this book, but I love it because it offers very quick summaries of the saints—and they rhyme! Each page has a picture and a verse—along with a brief description of the saint in prose. We especially like that one of the saints in this book is a Chinese saint.

4.       Christopher: The Holy Giant by Tomie de Paola

This book is out of print, so we must have found it on one of our used bookstore visits. We enjoy Tomie de Paola’s illustrations, and Leo likes watching St. Christopher carry Jesus through the stormy water. Tomie de Paola wrote and illustrated other saint books—The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica and Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland are still in print—but I’m not as familiar with those.

I asked my sister Treasa, who is a children’s librarian, for a few suggestions and she added these:

 5.       Brigid’s Cloak by Bryce Milligan



6.       Saint Tarcisius by Mary Berardi (which also seems to be out of print, but perhaps you can find it in a library)



7.       Saint comic books

I had forgotten that we had a comic book about St. Francis of Assisi when I was a child, but it seems to be out of print. I see one online about Mother Teresa, though, that looks promising. Comic books are an easy sell with our 5-year-old.


8.       The saint books by Father Lovasik, S.V.D., such as this one about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.



What are your favorite children’s books about saints? Please let me know below or write to openwindowcr@gmail.com.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.