A Little Chicken

Let’s Read  A Little Chicken by Tammi Sauer

     Sauer, Tammi, and Dan Taylor. A Little Chicken. Sterling Children’s Books, 2019.

Find this book at your local library, bookstore, OR…

How can you celebrate Memorial Day and teach about the virtue of courage at the same time? Read A Little Chicken with your little ones.

Let’s Think

For us:

Dot, “who was a little chicken,” is afraid of many things. So am I! Can’t we all relate to that little chicken? The truth is, there are times to be afraid and there are times to do the right thing even when you’re afraid of doing it. That’s what makes courage a virtue. Actually, it’s one of the cardinal virtues. The word cardinal means “hinge”. That means courage is one of the virtues that other virtues hinge (or depend) on. That just goes to show what we already knew – it often takes courage to do the right thing. And it makes courage an important virtue to teach our children.

The choice to be courageous, or brave, is always a matter of choosing the greater good. In Dot’s case, avoiding what she is afraid of is good. But saving her baby sister is a greater good. In another example, keeping your child close to you so you can keep her completely safe is good. But letting your first born go off to the first day of Kindergarten so she can learn is a greater good. (Even if you do shed a few tears when she’s out of sight.) Thinking of things in terms of the greater good can sometimes help us grow in the important virtue of courage.

I chose the story of a little chicken for this Memorial Day weekend. I am in awe of the courage it must take to stand up and fight for our country and the freedom of its citizens. So many men and women have chosen the greater good and fought to protect us and our rights to life, liberty, and happiness. So many men and women have lost their lives doing so. This Memorial Day, we pray for the souls of all those who did the right thing – and paid for it with their lives. We remember too, their loved ones, who courageously live with their loss.

For our children:  

Dot is a little chicken. She’s afraid of many things. But when her little sister, an egg, needs her help, Dot springs into action. Saving that egg is the right thing to do even though it is hard for her. That’s being brave. That’s having courage. For example, sometimes it takes courage to try a new food. But you might end up liking a new food that helps your body grow strong. Perhaps you are afraid of telling the truth when you make a mistake. But telling the truth is the right thing. That’s what courage is:  Doing the right thing even when it is hard. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means doing the right thing even though you’re afraid.

Let’s Talk  

  1. What is Dot afraid of?
  2. How does Dot show courage?
  3. Why does Dot show courage?
  4. What are you afraid of?
  5. How can you show courage?

Let’s Do
My Brave…

  1. Write “My Brave…” on a piece of colored paper.*
  2. Help your child name some situations in which she needs courage. Some examples:
    • a scary story,
    • first day of school
    • being in the dark
    • when another child is mean to you
    • going to the dentist
    • staying overnight at someone else’s house
    • telling the truth when you’ve done something wrong
    • playing on a new team or trying a new sport
    • being nice to a younger sibling when he/she is being demanding or difficult
    • going down the high slide at the playground
  1. Write each situation on a card or ½ sheet of paper.
  2. Choose a situation to practice courage with this week and post it on the “My Brave…” paper, perhaps on the refrigerator.
  3. Then celebrate when your child is brave and courageous! Great ways to celebrate include putting a sticker on the “My Brave…” paper or playing a game the child especially enjoys.
  4. How about adding some “My Brave…” situations of your own? It’s a virtue we all need to practice.

* I wish to thank Elizabeth who blogs at Cheeky Days: http://www.cheekydays.com for inspiring the “My Brave” activity.

Alternate Activity:

  1. Make the scary situation cards as directed above.
  2. Then take turns acting out the situations, role-playing ways to do the right thing, with courage

Alternate Memorial Day Activity:

  1. Explain that we celebrate Memorial Day to remember members of the armed forces who fought in wars to protect our country. We especially remember those who died.
  2. Make a flag out of construction paper, and tape it to a straw.
  3. Put the flag somewhere to help you remember to pray for those who fought for our country and those who are fighting for our country now. You could stick the flag into a potted plant or on your refrigerator.

Another Memorial Day Activity:

  1. Attend a local Memorial Day parade. Learn how to salute veterans.
  2. Visit a local cemetery and leave flowers on a relative’s grave.
  3. Or, leave flowers on a veteran’s grave. They will always have a flag on their grave.

Let’s Pray
Dear God,
Sometimes it is really hard to be brave.
Sometimes I am afraid.
Sometimes I am even afraid of doing the right thing.
But then I remember –
You are always with me.
You are always there, loving me, helping me to do what is right.
You help me to find courage.
Thank you God, for helping me choose
to do the right thing.
Thank you for all the people
who have done the right thing
to keep me safe
to give me all the good things that I have.
Thank you for the people who care for me.
Thank you for all the people I love.
Thank you, Lord,
for my heart
that is sometimes a little chicken
and sometimes very brave.

Word Every Catholic Should Know
virtue: the habit of doing actions that are good. Developing virtues and doing the right thing is pleasing to God. Courage is a virtue.

The story of Joshua found in Joshua 1: 1-9.

Let’s Remember
This week, in what situation are you going to show courage and do the right thing?

Earth! My First 4.5 Billion Years

Let’s Read

Earth! My First 4.5 Billion Years

     McAnulty, Stacy, and David Litchfield. Earth!: My First 4.6 Billion Years. Henry Holt and Company, 2018.

Get the book at your local library, bookseller, or...

Let’s Think
For us:
What does the Catholic Church have to say about evolution? This is such an important question for our time and misinformation about Church teaching on this subject abounds. These are the important points:

  1. The Catholic Church does not teach a literal interpretation of the creation stories in the Bible. The Catechism of the Catholic Church* says that the 6 days of creation in Genesis are symbolic.
  2. The truths we learn from the creation stories in Genesis are:
    1. God exists. God created the world out of nothing.
    2. The material world (matter) is good.
    3. God is good. God created the world in love.
    4. Human beings are good. Each human being has dignity and is created in the image of God.
    5. The first human being and every human since has a soul that is specially created by God.
  3. The Church does not attempt to answer the question of HOW the world was created. That is a question for science and the Church encourages scientists who investigate the natural processes of creation. Faith and reason are not enemies. Truth depends on both.
  4. Catholics may accept the theory of evolution of the cosmos, of living things, and of human beings. It is essential however, to remember that God is the originator of creation and everything has unfolded and continues to unfold according to God’s plan.
  5. On the other hand, Catholics are free not to believe in evolution if they so choose.

For our children:
Long before all the plants and the sun and the stars were created there was nothing but God – only God. God is love. God shared that love by creating the universe out of nothing. God created all the stars, the planets, all the living things on earth, and people too. People are different than the other creatures. They are made in God’s image. God gives each person a soul. People can know God in a way other animals cannot. The Bible teaches us these things: WHO is the creator? God. WHY does God create? Out of love.

God told the very first people that we need to take care of the earth. We can use the things on earth to eat and to make homes, but we must also care for the earth and all of its creatures. This is called stewardship.

Scientists are still figuring out HOW the earth and living things were created. This book (Earth! My First 4.5 Billion Years) shows some of what scientists have learned about how the earth began.

Let’s Talk  

  1. Why did God want to create the earth, all living things, and people?
  2. How are people different from other animals?
  3. What are some of the ways people DO take good care of the earth?
  4. What are some of the ways people DO NOT take good care of the earth?

Let’s Do
Make an easy (No-Sew) tote bag out of an old T-shirt.

This is a great way to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!  Easy to follow directions for this quick project were created by Jamie Sanders on her blog, Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. Click on the T-shirts to go there.

Let’s Pray
Dear God,

once, there was nothing but you.
Then, out of nothing,
you created the universe.
You created earth
and you created plants and animals.
Last of all you created people.
And you said it was all very good.
All people are created good
just like you are good.
All people are created to love
just like you love.
Thank you God, for our planet, Earth.
Thank you God for all good things that live on planet Earth.

Help us to take care of our planet.
Help us to be good stewards of all the good things on Earth.
Help us to love like you love us.


Words Every Catholic Should Know
stewardship: using our time, our talents, and our resources to take care of what God has given us, especially creation. Good stewardship means only using what we need and not wasting or abusing the natural world.

*Catechism of the Catholic Church: this book explains all the truths that Catholics believe. If you have any question about Catholic teaching, look it up in this book. The statement about the creation stories in Genesis can be found in paragraph 337. There is an English version available free on the Vatican website. The link is on the Resources page.  

Genesis 1

Let’s Remember
What is one thing you can do this week to take good care of the earth? 

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman

Let’s Read:  I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman

        Tillman, Nancy. I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2016.

Find the book at your local library, purchase from your local bookseller, or…


As always, Nancy Tillman’s illustrations capture the heart, and the beautiful text completes the picture. Share a mother’s love with this beautiful story, a love which transcends mere time, space, and form. For a mother always knows… and so does God.

Let’s Think
For us:   (We focus on a mother’s love this week, but Dad’s day will come.)

The Catholic Church teaches that love means wanting only the good for the other person. Is there any human love that does so more completely than a mother’s love? And part of that love is knowing your child so deeply that you would recognize him or her anywhere. That is the deep love expressed so beautifully in this book and celebrated on Mother’s Day.

This love is also a hallmark of our relationship with God. Consider these words of Psalm 139:

“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar…
You are familiar with all my ways.”

Yes, like a mother, God knows us. Like a mother’s love, God’s love envelops us wherever we are and whatever we do. Imagine for a moment the immensity of God’s knowledge of us. Your knowledge of your children is part of the way you love them. In the same way, God’s knowledge of you is infused with deep love. However, God’s love and knowledge is greater than that of any human, even greater that any human being can imagine. God’s, all-powerful, all-knowing love blankets us and our children in warmth.

More beautiful words from Psalm 139:

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on thefar side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me.
Your right hand will hold me fast…

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made…”

For our children:  

I would know you anywhere, My Love. You are such a part of me, so dear to my heart, that we are connected in a special way.

God’s love is even greater than that. It’s hard to even imagine because my love for you is bigger and brighter than the sun. But God’s love is even bigger than that. God loves us both so much that God knows everything about us. The Bible says that God knows everything that you do and everything you say and everything you think. And God takes all of that and wraps it all up in love, just like when I hug you – except bigger! God knew you and loved you even before you were born.

There’s only one way to say thank you for all that knowing and all that loving. That’s why we praise God for all God’s goodness. That’s why we worship God. That’s why we pray. That’s why we treat others with kindness. These are all things we do to love God in return.

Let’s Talk
   1. How do you know I love you?

   2. How do we know God loves us?
   3. God knows everything we do and think and say. Why isn’t that scary? (God’s “knowing” is filled with love and care for us.)
   4. How do we love God back?

Let’s Do
God Made the Animals and God Made Me (Animal Charades)

  1. Write the names of the animals in I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love on slips of paper. For your non-readers, add simple pictures of the animals. (If you have any animal cards or magnets from another game, feel free to use those.)
  2. Put the slips of paper in an empty can or basket.
  3. Take turns choosing a slip of paper and acting out the animal.
  4. When you take a slip out of the container say, “God made the animals and God made me.” Then act out the animal. Someone else guesses what animal you are acting out
  5. When the correct animal is named, say, “I’d know you anywhere, My Love.” Perhaps that should be accompanied by a tickle!
  6. End the activity with a rousing game of Hide and Seek. You many know them anywhere, but can you find them anywhere?

Let’s Pray
Feel free to act out each animal as you say the prayer. Then fold your hands together (as in prayer) with the words, “and you made me.” Children love active prayer and I think God does too!

Dear God,
You made the rhinoceros
and the fox and the camel
and the pig.and you made me.
You made the owland the horse and the bearand the raccoon
and you made me.
You made
the blue-footed booby
and the lion and the giraffe
and the koala and you made me.
You made me your special child
and you know everything about me.
I praise you, God
for I am wonderfully made.
You made my wonderful mother too!
Thank you God!

Word Every Catholic Should Know
All-knowing (omniscience): This is one of the attributes of God. God has perfect knowledge. There is nothing that God doesn’t know. God is also all powerful, eternal, all-loving, and always present.

Psalm 139 

Let’s Remember
As you go through the week, remember that God knows you and loves you. How can you love others in return?

Sometimes Rain by Meg Fleming

Let’s Read  
Sometimes Rain by Meg Fleming; Illustrations by Diana Sudyka 

     Fleming, Meg, and Diana Sudyka. Sometimes Rain. Beach Lane Books, 2018. 

Get the book at your local library, independent book store, or


Sometimes Rain is a fun romp through the seasons in catchy rhyme and beautiful art.
It’s a perfect way to celebrate Spring – even if it is a bit muddy outside.  

Let’s Think  
For us:  
We often hear that science and religion are opposed to each other, that if you believe the truths of science, you can’t believe the truths of faith. That’s not the Catholic view. We find truth in both science AND faith. Science and faith could never be opposites!  Who made all those scientific truths true? God did! The natural world is filled with the presence of God. God is there breathing in every bunny and communicating through the touch of the wind. In a very special way, God is present in each of us who are made in his image and likeness. A celebration of the seasons, as in this beautiful picture book, is a perfect opportunity to appreciate the gifts of nature, and God’s presence in all of it. As the seasons change and the new life of spring blooms, we renew our awareness of the love of God showing all around us, in every leaf, flower, and raindrop.  

For our children: 
Nature is always changing. It was winter and now it is spring. Even though the seasons change, God’s love never goes away. This beautiful natural world is a gift from God. We can learn something about God in each piece of nature. When we look at a beautiful flower, we can see that God loves colors and variety! When it rains, the plants and creatures of the earth get the water they need to grow. We learn that God cares for all creation. In spring, we learn that new life is a gift of God’s love. Even in the cold and dark of winter we learn that all of creation needs rest – just like we do! 

Let’s Talk  

  1. It was winter. What has gone away now that winter is over?
  2. What signs of new life can we see now that it is spring?
  3. Choose one of those spring gifts. What does it teach us about God?
  4. How do the seasons show us that God’s love never ends?

Let’s Do   
Have a spring treasure hunt.
– Take a walk and find these items: a flowering bush, mud, a new green leaf, a robin, a bud, the sound of bird song, a brightly colored flower. What other signs of the season can you find?
– Choose one of the items and ask, “What does this show us about God?”
– Bring some signs of spring into your home.

OR –
Take photos of each item on your treasure hunt list. When you get home, print them out and staple them between two pieces of construction paper. You have a spring scrapbook! How about “Creation is Springing to Life” as a title?

Let’s Pray   
Dear God,
The world celebrates your love for everything living.
The plants are alive; the animals are alive!I am alive!Your creation is a beautiful gift at all times of the year.
The seasons change from spring
to summerto fall
to winter
and back to spring again.
But one thing never changes: your love for me!Thank you God, for all of nature.
Thank you God, for loving me.

Word Every Catholic Should Know   
creation – all things that were made by God. We often use the word to talk about nature. All of creation shows us what God is like.

Psalm 148:1-14 A song of praise to God for all of creation.

Let’s Remember 
Through creation, we learn something about the Creator. This week, look for signs of God’s love in nature.

No, David by David Shannon

Let’s Read: No, David

    Shannon, David. No, David! Blue Sky Press, 2018.

Find at your local library, buy from an independent bookstore, or…


How does a 5 year old boy experience the no’s that must certainly come his way? We find out in the delightful picture book, No, David. More importantly, we visualize the unconditional love of a parent for a child. This “no matter what” love is a model for the eternal, all-forgiving love of God.

Let’s Think:

How can a child understand God’s mercy if he cannot understand what it means to fail? And how can a child understand why he needs to be forgiven if he cannot understand that he sins?

He does sin. I sin. You do too. We all choose wrong 

acts. We choose wrong words. We even choose wrong thoughts. That’s why we need a Savior. Jesus paid the price for our sins, so that we can be friends with God even though we sin. He died and then rose, giving us the gift of life forever. This is God’s biggest “I Love You” hug.

This Sunday (4/28/19) is Divine Mercy Sunday, a day to remember that Jesus always wants to forgive us. Jesus’ love is always waiting for us. Jesus’ heart is filled with mercy. Jesus appeared to Saint Faustina many, many years ago to share that very message.

That brings us to No, David.

David does what all children do. Actually David does what all people do. And his mother has to say, “No.” His mother has to say, “Stop.” And so does God. Because we are SO much like David. However, not everything David does is a sin. We sin when we

 freely choose to do something that we know is wrong.

But after a book full of no’s comes the best part. We are loved. No matter what we’ve done or failed to do, we are loved. And if we are sorry, we are forgiven.

David’s mom loves him no matter what. Our God loves us no matter what. Sin puts distance between us and God. Jesus’ life and death built the bridge we need.

We are loved. We are forgiven. And our lives can end with the biggest hug of all, God’s welcome into heaven.

That’s what the Resurrection of Jesus accomplishes. It’s the day that changes everything. Because of that day, your life, my life, and the lives of your children can be gathered up into the loving arms of God. This Sunday we remember the all-loving, all-forgiving heart of Jesus: Divine Mercy, indeed.

Let’s Talk: 

  1. How do you feel when you choose to do something wrong?
  2. When you do something that is wrong, how can you make it right? (You can admit your sin and say you are sorry. You can confess your sin in the sacrament of Reconciliation. You can try not to commit that sin again. You can do something to erase the effects of your sin.)
  3. Why does Jesus forgive us when we are sorry?
  4. How do you forgive others?
  5. How do you show others your love?

Let’s Do:  Make a huggable heart.

Materials (for each heart): Four pieces of construction paper, colors of your choice; glue or glue stick; markers, and crayons.


  1. Cut a large heart out of one piece of construction paper (as large as you can according to the size of the paper).
  2. Cut two arms out of the white construction paper. Make them about 1.5 inches wide and 9 inches long.
  3. Accordion fold each arm.
  4. Trace your child’s hand and cut out two of them. (You can trace both hands or you can trace it once and cut two.)
  5. Glue the arms on the side of the heart and glue the hands on the end of the arms.
  6. With marker, write “I Forgive You” on the heart. (The sample shows the words printed out and glued on, which is another option.)
  7. If you’d like, decorate the heart.
  8. Make the point – God is always waiting to welcome us back with a hug. We are eternally loved by God!

Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

Only you know the truth inside my heart.

Sometimes I do good things. Sometimes I sin.

I am so sorry for the times I have not made good choices.

I am sorry for the times I did not love God and love others.

Forgive me, God.

I will try to act with love. I will try to do good.  

Thank you for Jesus, who died on the cross so our sins can be forgiven.

Thank you for Jesus, who rose from the dead on Easter.

Thank you to Jesus, for his love and mercy.

I love you, God.


Let’s Remember: Who can you show mercy to this week?

Words Every Catholic Should Know:

sin: Choosing to do something that you know is wrong. Sin harms and/or breaks our relationship with God and with others.

mercy: Forgiveness; care for others. The mercy of God has no limits.

Scripture for Children:

(Read this in a great children’s Bible. For suggestions, see the Resources page.)

The Story of the Prodigal Son — Luke 15:11-32

For More Information:

Read the story of St. Faustina. Jesus appeared to her and told her of his unlimited mercy for all who turn to him. The following website is one place you can read her story.  https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/stfaust.htm

One place to find information for children about St. Faustina:  https://www.catholic.org/saints/fun_facts_arch.php?saint=510

Show your children the image of the Divine Mercy that Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to have painted. You can find it here: https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/image.php


Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg

April 19, 2019

Let’s Read:  Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg 

DeGezelle, Terri. Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg. Pauline Books & Media, 2017.

Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg tells a story that we don’t know is true. That’s why the word legend is in the title. But it also tells a story that we DO know is true. Reading this book with your children is a way to talk about the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus as well as the awesome miracle of his Resurrection. The story handles the hard parts without being scary, and celebrates the good parts with joy.

Let’s Think:

For us to know —

Scripture doesn’t actually tell us a whole lot about Simon of Cyrene. We know that he was from Cyrene, a town in what is now Libya in northern Africa. We know that he was on the way into Jerusalem when Jesus was on the way out of Jerusalem with his cross or crossbeam. We know that Simon was pressed into service by the soldiers that were forcing Jesus to carry his cross to the place of his crucifixion. Those soldiers were afraid that Jesus wouldn’t make it. So they pulled Simon out of the safety of the crowd and forced him to help Jesus with his deadly burden. We also know that Simon was the father of two sons, Alexander and Rufus. We can assume that the experience changed life for Simon. He became a follower of the Risen Christ, a Christian.

It is tempting to hide our children from the ugliness of the cross. Jesus suffered. It was human beings who caused that suffering. But children are rarely unaware of the brokenness of the world. They see. They know. What they need is someone to explain it. What they need is someone to say: Evil exists, bad exists. People sin. But God is stronger and better and more good than all of that. God’s love ALWAYS wins. The new life of the resurrection of Jesus defeats brokenness and death with the glory of eternal life. All beauty, goodness, and truth are caught up in this miracle.

For our children to know —

Sometimes people do really bad things and hurt others. Long, long ago, some people hurt Jesus. They wanted to stop him from doing good in the world. They wanted to stop him from leading people to God the Father. So they chose to hurt him and put him to death.

But Jesus is God’s Son. Even though Jesus was hurt, something good and more important would come from it. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter! He left pain and death behind. He showed that God’s love for each of us is stronger than evil and pain and death.

Easter is the most important day for Christians. That is because on this day we celebrate that Jesus is alive and will be with us forever. Jesus forgives our sins. Jesus shows us how to love. Jesus shows us that goodness, love, and life will always win in the end. If we know and love Jesus we can be joyful, even when bad things happen.

At Easter we often use symbols of new life: eggs, butterflies, flowers, and baby animals to show the new life and joy that we have because Jesus rose.

Let’s Talk:

  1. Why did Simon help Jesus?
  2. How do you think helping Jesus affected Simon?
  3. Some of Jesus’ friends saw him after he rose from the dead on Easter. What do you think that was like?
  4. What are some signs of new life that we use to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection?

Let’s Do: Coloring Easter Eggs – of course!

Eggs are meaningful at Easter because they are symbols of the new life.

  1. Use white or other light colored crayons to draw symbols that represent the Easter story on hard-boiled eggs. Try drawing crosses, the tomb with a stone in front of it, flowers, butterflies, or stick figures to represent Jesus, Mary, the disciples John and Peter, Mary Magdalene, or Simon.
  2. Then dye the eggs. The dye will not stick to the crayoned designs, making beautiful pictures.
  3. We can give special meaning to the colors we use to dye Easter eggs (or the jelly beans we eat). The colors mentioned in the book are
  • Blue – the Sea of Galilee. Jesus spent much time fishing and teaching his disciples there. This is also where Jesus walked on water.
  • Green – the hillside where Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount” and also where the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes took place.
  • Red – the blood of Jesus when he was hurt and crucified by the soldiers
  • Purple – the usual color of royalty; Jesus is King of our hearts

You could also use

  • Yellow – the bright sunlight on the day Jesus rose from the dead
  • Orange – the color of our joy at the Good News that Jesus rose from the dead!

Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

From a bulb that we plant in the ground

comes a beautiful flower.

New life.

From a caterpillar’s cocoon

comes a colorful butterfly.

New life.

From an simple white egg

hatches a baby chick.

New life.

From the grave closed with a stone

rose Jesus.

New life.

Because he died for us

and because he rose to new life,

we have life forever.

Thank you God,

for new life in Jesus.


Let’s Remember:

How many signs of new life can you find around you in the coming week? Each one is a sign of the goodness of God!

Word Every Catholic Should Know:

Resurrection: Jesus rising from the dead on the third day after he was crucified. Jesus appeared to many people in many places over a period of 40 days after Easter.

Scripture for Children: The Resurrection stories are in all of the 4 Gospels. Choose 1 to read from a children’s Bible…

Matthew 28: 1-15; Mark 16:1-13; Luke241-49;  John 20: 1-29.