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God's Saintly Friends
by Kathryn Reetzke 
Illustrated by Abigail Holt

In a period in our history where saintly companions are precious and few, this book from Park End Books is a wonderful prompt for our little ones to be just that for others!  Written by my friend and fellow contributor to ByziKids Magazine, Kathryn Reetzke, each page introduces a set of saintly companions and lists the godly trait that is found in such a friendship.  The colorful, simple illustrations by Abigail Holt are very attractive as well and invite the young readers to look around and identify the things they see in them.  “Where is the sun?”   “Do you see the jars of myrrh?”  “Doesn’t the angel look friendly?”  The book encourages the reader to learn even more about these saintly friends, research their lives, and then explore ways they can develop these same traits of holiness within their own homes.  It is true that to have a friend, one must BE a friend, and this is a wonderful way to begin to teach a child exactly how to do just that.   


Thank you to Park End Books for sending me a free copy for my review!  I will be proud to read it to the littlest ByziKid, my granddaughter Sophia, and add it to the collection on Sophia’s Bookshelf!  You can find more children’s book reviews on Sophia’s Bookshelf, on the ByziKids page at ByziMom.com.  


If YOU would like to add it to your collection as well, you can find God’s Saintly Friends at  https://parkendbooks.com/ with FREE SHIPPING in the US.

Saint Ia Rides a Leaf
by Melinda Johnson
Illustrated by Kristina Tartara

Wouldn't you like to curl up with your precious ByziKids and read them an adventure story about a real model of faith?

I'm happy to have been chosen to review the board book, St Ia Rides a Leaf written by my online friend, Melinda Johnson (one of the authors of the popular new book, Seven Holy Women, from Ancient Faith).

St. Ia is one of the seven saints studied in SHW and she has an incredible adventure of faith that is just perfect for sharing with young Christian minds!

The illustrations by Kristina Tartara are fun and engaging with cute little sea creatures that readers can search for on every page.

I am definitely happy to have had the chance to review this great children's book and I sincerely hope Melinda Johnson is planning to write many more like them. It's a perfect way for me to start a collection for my future grandchildren!

More about Melinda's work:. https://www.google.com/.../our-board-book-st-ia.../amp/

Get the book from St. Vladimir's Seminary Press:. https://svspress.com/saint-ia-rides-a-leaf-board-book/

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Little Lost Nun
by Melinda Johnson 

This book is more than just a wonderful story about the power of prayer and friendship. It is a feast for a child’s imagination.  Melinda Johnson’s vivid and colorful narrative and dialogue encourage the young reader to feel, see, smell, hear, and taste all the wonderful things about the monastery garden where the story unfolds.  To tell the truth, the details of the charming children’s garden at the monastery where the girls go to visit inspired me too!  It was truly fascinating and left me wondering if it existed in real life, or only in the author’s mind.  


There is a glossary in the front of the book to help children who haven’t grown up in a monastery community (as my own children were blessed to have done!) so they will understand all of the Orthodox vocabulary used in the book.  There is also a list of discussion questions already prepared for you at the back of the book to be pondered by your own ByziKid but also making it perfect for a children’s first book club read! 

  

Our copy came with a paper icon print of the Raising of Tabitha from the Dead in honor of the main character, Tabitha which is suitable for placing in Sophia’s very own little icon corner in the corner of her room!  Also available is the adorable peg doll shown in the photo, which includes velcro tabs and a paper icon just the right size for her to carry, just like in the book!  

 

I anticipate that Sophia should attempt to read by herself when she reaches about a third-grade reading level.  Until then, I’ll be happy to read it to the littlest ByziKid, my granddaughter Sophia, and add it to the collection on Sophia’s Bookshelf!  You can find more children’s book reviews on Sophia’s Bookshelf, on the ByziKids page at ByziMom.com.  


If YOU would like to add it to your collection as well, you can find Little Lost Nun, AND the precious Nun peg doll to go with the book, at  https://parkendbooks.com/ with FREE SHIPPING in the US.

Nine Deer & ME
by Melinda Johnson
Illustrated by Amandine Wanert

It has always been my hope to teach my children, and now my grandchildren, that the saints in heaven are our very true friends and this sweet little counting book about St. Abigail of Ireland’s journey to find the right place for her monastery does that. This adorable and sturdy board book by Melinda Johnson will not only help my little Sophie learn to count but will instruct her about the great lengths St Abigail was willing to go to find where God wanted her to be!  

 

Little Eastern Christians will surely notice St. Abigail praying with her chotki on the opening page.  As she progresses on her journey to find her rightful place, she counts the things she notices on her way, knowing that when she gets to the number nine, she’s found her special place!    It’s a perfect way to encourage little ones to learn their numbers!  “Are there really seven birds in that tree?  How many rabbits do you see?”

The illustrations are soft and simple, with lively colors and inviting use of light that makes it easy for the child to imagine themselves right there in the scene. There is a review of all the numbers at the end of the book, with Abigail among the nine deer as number ten!

 

If YOU would like to add it to your collection as well, you can find Nine Deer and ME at  the

Ancient Faith Store: https://store.ancientfaith.com/nine-deer-and-me-board-book/

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