Celebrating St. Patrick Through Books {Lent Book Series}

The Lent Book Series today features Katie Young, a homeschooling mom of seven, blogger and lover of all kinds of Catholic feasts.  Today she and her children share some book ideas for St. Patrick’s Day.

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Growing up, I thought St. Patrick’s Day was all about the wearing the color green or else you’d be getting pinched all day long. Youch!! So, if I bump into you today and you’re not wearing green, you better watch out.

As the years have gone by, thankfully, the Spirit plants a desire to learn and grow in faith more, and my celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has evolved.

Early on in our marriage, my husband and I started the tradition with our kids of learning about the lives of the saints and celebrating feast days. We do this by reading books and stories about their lives, eating fun/themed foods, singing songs, making crafts, and more.

We found St. Patrick to be one of those “easy” saints when jumping into this new learning experience together. There is so much information and ideas out there to really celebrate his feast in a meaningful way.

Our family has really enjoyed getting to know St. Patrick, while keeping some of our own silly Irish traditions. The following four books are ones that we always pull out and read this time of year. I not only shared a little bit about what *I* think about the books, but also asked each of my older children to read and offer some thoughts and a review as well (great homeschooling assignment, no??)…

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St Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons

“This book tells a little about the life of St. Patrick and also about the reasons for the decorations, symbols, and celebrations and how they came about. It’s a better book for younger kids because it is a more of an introduction, but I wanted a little more detail on his life.” ~Lillian, age 9

I agree with Lillian about this book being more appropriate for the younger crew – this book is probably best for ages 2-7. What a great description of his life, the symbols of St. Patrick’s Day and also some legends surrounding the saint. The pictures are bright and fun and the flow of the book definitely will keep little ones attentive. One legend was new to me – “It is said that the sun didn’t set when Saint Patrick died and that it shone in the sky for twelve days and nights.” Cool!!

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The Story of Saint Patrick’s Day by Patricia A. Pingry

“It tells you the story of St. Patrick and why you celebrate it. I liked it because it’s a good book and you celebrate that feast the day after my birthday.” ~Elizabeth, age 7

This adorable little board book is one that the littlest ones can grab and look through many times, without ripping it – yippee! I love how on each page, there is a word or two highlighted to point out the main idea of the page. Great for those first readers to notice and understand even more. The pictures are lovely and the words are very simple for little ones to understand and enjoy.

A little warning…. we do have some little leprechauns that come to our house and make a mess on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, but they are also nice enough to leave some green goodies (Andes candies, tic tacs, Lucky Charms, a dollar bill, etc…). On one of the pages, it says, “Leprechauns are make-believe” – we had to kind of ad lib when we read this part. Our tradition is all in fun and the kids look forward to the visit of St. Patrick’s little friends each year.

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Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland by: Tomie dePaola

“Tomie dePaola’s St. Patrick book expresses a good example of St. Patrick’s life. DePaola is a good and devoted man. His books really express God and the lives of the saints.” ~Jonathan, age 12

We are big Tomie dePaola fans in our house! Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland is one of many saint books that he has blessed us with. He beautifully takes the life of a saint and creates a story for kids to sit down, read and enjoy, year after year.

The artwork is lovely as always too In his great story-telling format, he takes appropriate names for the land and culture to make the story come to life- for example, Dichu and Odran were some names in this book.

One neat part of Tomie dePaola’s saint books is that he usually includes a letter written to us at the end of the book to show how he was first introduced to the saint and how he has grown in knowledge of him or her. Reading this book is a great way to “meet” good ole St. Patrick!

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Patrick, Saint of Ireland by: Joyce Denham and Diana Mayo

“ I was surprised that a small book like this could hold so much information about St. Patrick. The illustrator was a good artist too!” ~Matthew, age 11

This book is woven together from both the writings of St. Patrick and the legends that are attributed to his name. Like Tomie dePaola, Denham & Mayo draw you in to the life of the saint through a story. The illustrations and text of this book are very well done and informative.

My favorite part is that it includes some of St. Patrick’s actual writings and prayers – what a meaningful element added to help understand who this saint was and how much He loved and trusted God!

In celebration of Saint Patrick’s feast day, we will most definitely be reading these four books together, as well as singing this song…

“The Trinity Song” is from the Dogma Dogs CD, and the kids learned the motions from this song from one of our very own Peoria-diocese seminarians – Matt Deptula, who helped lead a Trinity VBS at our church a couple summers ago).

How else will we celebrate? I’ll serve the traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner that night, probably Trinity sandwiches at lunch time (triangular shaped sandwiches – super easy!), and we will maybe do a craft. You can bet there will have been a visit from St. Patrick’s leprechauns and we will all be wearing green. I hope you will be too!!

++Saint Patrick, pray for us to be blessed with the virtues of courage, fortitude and faith.++

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Katie Young is blessed to have 8 very special people in her life. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Neil , and they have seven beautiful children together.  They live in Coal Valley and are members of Sacred Heart Church in Moline.

Her favorite thing to do is spending time with her family – whether it is playing games, watching movies, going on walks, fishing at the lake, reading books, cooking, teaching at the Young Family Academy, and most especially learning about and celebrating the richness of the Catholic faith together. You can visit their family blog at: Raising Young Ones.

2 thoughts on “Celebrating St. Patrick Through Books {Lent Book Series}”

  1. Thanks for your article, Katie. I enjoy reading about how others celebrate the feast days. Your article reminded me that I completely forgot about getting other books on St. Patrick from the library. I even forgot that dePaola wrote about St. Patrick. Just ordered a couple of books on interlibrary loan! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    1. You bet, Anne! What a pleasure and great fun it was to do this for Nancy! One of my favorite things to do with my kids is read to them – books bring such joy and meaning to our everyday lives!

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