Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

Lent starts on March 6th this year, which currently feels like a long way off, but in terms of teacher planning, this is the time to start gathering resources and making your plans for how you want to celebrate the season with your students. Over the years I have done many different things, but I wanted to share some books that have helped me during this season in the past.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase a book using my link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids and the other two books in its family of devotions, Jesus Always: 365 Devotions for Kids (Jesus Calling®) and Jesus Today Devotions for Kids (Jesus Calling®) are all great daily devotionals that can be used year round, but I especially like using them in Lent.  The Jesus Calling series of devotionals is originally written for adults, and this children’s adaptation I think runs a little old to be labeled for “kids”.  The reflection questions seem to fit better with middle school and older.  Each day is written as though Jesus is talking to the reader.  There are reflections and scriptures for further reading.  The layout is bright and fun and would definitely work for family reflection as well.

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare has been one of my favorite books for a long time.  I first read it in 8th grade and I have used it in my literature and religion classes for the last 8 years.  This is a novel which features Daniel, an ardent Zealot at the time of Jesus.  Over the course of the book Daniel meets Jesus, who slowly but surely begins to chip away at the anger that Daniel has used as a shield for years.  The vocabulary in this book is challenging, but students really engage with the text and especially enjoy when they hear Bible stories they know through the eyes of a character who often completely misses the point.  There are also some great opportunities for Bible study and history lessons as students work through the novel.

The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold is a book I have used as a read aloud every year in my 7th grade religion class, but would also be a fun read aloud for the Lenten season.  It is a modern retelling of Snow White and Rose Red set in New York City with the backdrop of a Catholic school and abandoned Church.  The themes of false accusation and suffering for a just cause fit well within the Lenten season, but this would definitely more of a read for enjoyment than a strictly academic reading.  I also always brag a little when I read this to my students because the author was friends with my older sisters and graduated from the same high school that I did.

The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion is a small pamphlet which tells the basics of the story of Saint Faustina and her message of Divine Mercy.  Jesus appeared to Saint Faustina many times and gave her several missions: to write a journal, to commission a painting of him as the Divine Mercy, to create a Divine Mercy Sunday and to teach the world his chaplet prayer.  This prayer has become one of the most powerful and important prayers in my life, so I always share it with my students during Lent and teach them how to pray it.  We also research the life of Saint Faustina, and this little book is a great resource, as her diary is over 500 pages long!

What books/prayers will you be using with your kids and students this Lent?  Let me know in the comments below.  

*All the links to books in this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you purchase a book using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

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