I recently had the opportunity to read Mary Reed Newland's The Year & Our Children. The book walks you through the liturgical year, starting with Advent and progresses chronologically through the major and popular feast days and seasons. The book offers a litany of suggestions for how you can help your child celebrate the Church year at home. The book was written in 1956 (pre-Vatican II) so some of the suggestions in this book seem a little dated, but there are still plenty of suggestions that are relevant for today's Catholic family. There are a few areas in the book where you can see how some Church traditions seem to have disappeared as a result of the changes brought about by Vatican II. I found those areas to be rather interesting.
For every season or feast day, the author offers many suggestions for introducing prayer into your daily family life. Some of it seems a little over the top, but much of it seems totally feasible. What you chose to incorporate into your own family's spiritual life will depend on what your family is up to trying. She also offers ideas for craft projects and treats. Some of the craft projects seemed a little difficult to visualize since there are no pictures or diagrams to accompany the suggestions. For that reason, I would not classify this book as a craft book. Many of the food suggestions have the recipes, but there were a few that simply suggested a treat. For the cooking challenged, like myself, I found the instances where a food was suggested but no recipe provided to be a little disappointing.
The book reads much like a modern day Catholic blog. The author walks us through how she and her family live out the liturgical year. She beautifully shows by example how using manipulatives like story telling, crafts and foods help children to understand their faith better. From personal, experience, I can say that I find this to be true for my own children as well. When the children have ways of connecting the celebrations of the Church in their own homes through a variety of activities and objects that help them to learn and live their faith, the results are amazing.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The tone was very pleasant, and I loved seeing how so many problems and concerns that many mothers have today with regards to raising their children in the faith were also concerns of mothers back in the 50's.
If you are looking for a book that will help you understand the liturgical year better so that you can be better armed to impart the faith in your children, then this would be a great book to consider reading.
I received a complimentary copy of The Year & Our Children from Sophia Institute Press in exchange for my honest review of the book.