Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: Totally Catholic

It's not too often that I open up a book and get so excited about it that I have to call a friend and tell them about it and why they might want to consider picking up a copy.  But last week when a copy of TTotally Catholic! arrived in my mailbox, I did just that within a few minutes of opening up the book.  I was so impressed with what I saw in this book as I paged through it and read through a couple of chapters that I had to tell my friend who teaches a fifth grade religious ed class about it.

Totally Catholic! is a catechism for kids, their parents and their teachers.  The catechism is geared primarily to children between the ages of 9-12.  The overall format of the book has a fun feel to it.  The pages are filled with graphics and lots of little fun fact types of asides related to the subject matter for the chapter.  There are little "BTW" boxes that explain terms or other similar things.  There are brainstorm questions to get you thinking about the topic at hand which would be great for a classroom discussion,  There's a feature called Catholic VIP that highlights a saint and gives a brief biography.  There's another aside called "Did you know?" that has interesting facts.  Each chapter also has a scripture link, as well as sections called "Now Act" which challenge you to put your faith in action and "From My Heart" which prompts prayer.  At the end of each chapter there is a recap that highlights the main teaching points from the chapter.

The book has appendixes at the end that cover some Catholic basics and prayers.  The appendixes are separated into two categories, How Catholics Live and How Catholics Pray.  I think they're both done pretty well and are par for the course as far as the appendixes or supplemental materials at the end of religious ed text books are concerned.  This book is also indexed which makes it nice if you're looking to hone in on a specific topic.

This book is not only great to use at home with your children, but it would also be a great resource to have in a religious education class.  Each lesson references a specific subject in the Catechism of the Catholic Church so parents and teachers can read up on the topic in the catechism for more background before going over the chapter in the book with their children/students.  While the book is geared to the 9-12 year old age range, you could easily use this book as a supplement for second through eighth grade religious ed classrooms.  I know from my own experience as well as what I have heard from some of my friends who are also catechists, that the kids really respond well to books like this that make learning their Catholic faith fun.

I was provided with a review copy of this book by the publisher, Pauline Books, in exchange for my honest review.  You can find out more about Totally Catholic! by visiting Pauline Books & Media.  You can even take a peek inside the book for yourself.

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