Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tomie dePaola, A Name to Know for Faith Formation in Young Children

There's nothing quite like cuddling up with the little ones in your life sharing a picture book, is there?

In our home, books seem like as much of a daily staple as food and sleep are.  Nary a day goes by when we don't enjoy a picture book or ten.  And, seldom does a week go by without at least one of those books being faith-based.

This week, as I prepare to teach a six week preschool co-op class, I have been thinking a lot about our favorite faith-related picture books and how I might integrate them into the lessons I am planning.  However, there are so many that we enjoy that it has been hard to narrow down the pickings.  Hard that is until I realized one thing many of the books have in common:  Tomie dePaola.

You may know this name best from the classic Strega Nona books dePaola has written.  Or perhaps you are familiar with one of the other 200+ children's books this talented man has authored and/or illustrated since the 1960's.  Truly, his oeuvre is most impressive.  With board books, big books, legends, folk tales, holiday books, autobiographical stories, and, of course, religious stories, Tomie dePaola has become a favorite among children, parents, teachers and librarians.  He is certainly well-loved in our home!

As we prepare to remember the Feast of the Archangels coming up this week, we have been enjoying the angel theme with the simple book Angels, Angels Everywhere and the faith-based legendPascual and the Kitchen Angels.  The former delights my children with its illustrations and allows them to pretend to read with its very limited text.  The latter not only entertains the kids but has my brain synapsing with ideas for an entire morning's literature-based, sensory-motor lesson plan for co-op.  Yes, it is that rich in concepts, themes and inspiration.

In fact, all of Tomie dePaola's books, religious-based or not, are quite rich in inspiration.  He offers a rich series of folktales and legends from varied cultures, writes stories with overt and subtle morals, and - bonus - is not afraid to evangelize through his writing.  Indeed, as an Irish-Italian Catholic author, he liberally sprinkles inferences to the saints, Mass and other "Catholic" concepts throughout many of his basically secular books and, of course, bases some of his beautifully-illustrated, well-researched and entertaining stories solely on our faith tradition.  

Our local library system, as well as many others throughout the world, offer many of Tomie dePaola's books for patrons to borrow.  I encourage you to do so.

Storytime is such a time-honored, warm and wonderful tradition.  It becomes even richer when it deepens our little one's understanding of our faith.

There are so many wonderful Tomie dePaola titles to choose from.  Below is a carousel of just some that you might want to introduce to your children.  Also, to learn more about Tomie dePaola, his art, his books and more, visit his website, which even features a few simple coloring pages.

Do you have a favorite faith-based author, illustrator or picture book title?  Do share..

As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions in the comments and encourage you to join in on this ongoing discussion of how we might work together to train up the young children in our lives to love and live the faith.

Please continue to join us here each Sunday for new thoughts, tips and sharing about Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation for Young Children.

Disclosure: If you click on any Amazon links here and make a purchase of any item, I may receive a small percentage to help defray the cost of training my children up.  Thank you!


Mägi said...

Love Tommie!

Amanda said...

I remember loving Tommie de Paola when I was in school. My favorite was The Clown of God!

The Sunshine Crew said...

Got to meet him and got to sit and listen to him read to the children at a Barnes & Noble in Mayfield Heights OH years ago. He signed books for my first graders. Very inspirational books and such a nice man!
:) Colleen

Martianne said...

Oh, Colleen. I am so envious!


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