Life! That is what we celebrate at Easter. Eternal life made possible for us by Christ’s resurrection and the abundant life we have even now following and loving Him.
The Catholic life sees no end to celebration. As the years go round and round, we celebrate some more. Feast days and birthdays and anniversaries and remembrances – you would start to think that life was just one big non-stop celebration.
That’s the great Catholic spirit behind an unusual and delightful set of children’s board books by the occasional Catholic Exchange writer, Heidi Bratton. Combining her talent for photography with her love of fun and her eye for the tender and funny moments that punctuate daily life with children, she has written and illustrated this inspiring Celebrate series.
Each of the four books focuses in on one aspect of family life, catching kids in candid moments of wonder and joy, but also of puzzlement, hesitation, and sadness. One of the books, Celebrate Feelings takes its cue from Mark 10:13-16 to show how God accepts us all, just as we are, with ALL our feelings. To God we are all little children who need to be with him whether we are feeling up or feeling down. The whole family will instantly relate to the emotional photographs packed into this delightful book.
Inspired by the story of Noah’s family caring for animals on the Ark, Celebrate Animals enchants with black and white photographs of children interacting with animals. Children’s empathy will be aroused at seeing the loving care other children lavish on God’s creatures and the joyful return of affection from so many animals.
Celebrate Family is a response to God’s cocommand at Deuteronomy 6:4-9 where everyday family life becomes, as the Church teaches us, a school of love.
As love extends outward to embrace others, so Celebrate Me and You was inspired by St. Paul’s analogy of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27, teaching that we all have our place in the body that is God’s family. To be part of the body means using our bodies — using our strengths — to help the whole body of Christ, or at least to help that person right there who needs a hand! Illustrations include action photographs of the strengths that physically-challenged people bring to the family of God.
I especially loved the very natural inclusion of a Down syndrome child within these books’ photographs. He appears just like “one of the kids” — which of course he is. Knowing how Down syndrome children are marked for extinction by the culture of death gives special poignancy — and urgency — to his inclusion.
With the easy-for-little-hands dimensions of 5”X5” any ($7.95) or all four ($24.95) of the these sturdy 16-page board books would nestle sweetly among the jelly beans in your child’s Easter basket — and unlike the chocolate bunny, will still be enjoyed as spring passes into summer and summer fades into fall and another year of Catholic celebration rolls on.
[Copyright Catholic Exchange 2010]