Guys. This book. Hear me out, because I only review books that I absolutely can’t live without, and I’m really stingy about granting that kind of bookshelf status.
Catherine’s Pascha, written by Charlotte Riggle, walks you through Pascha from a little girl’s perspective–starting with the time-for-bed-no-wait-it’s-just-a-nap dilemma every parent and child in the Orthodox church debates on Holy Saturday (leave for church at 10:30pm? What’s up with that, guys?). It was a cute conversation. If I ever meet Charlotte Riggle in person, I want a fist bump.
Riggle proceeds to pull out some of the most recognizable highlights of the whole night–the processional around the church and the songs that accompany it, the pounding on the door, the priest shouting “Lift up your Gates so the King of Glory can come in!”, the first cries of “CHRIST IS RISEN!” in different languages, and the joyful communion of the faithful.
What I love about it is the subtle way it speaks to children, from the way it brings to the forefront all those moments that kids find interesting and meaningful (candles blowing out in the wind outside, the Pascha songs they love, red eggs, eating any food they want) to the quiet nod it pays to the inflexibility of kids who don’t like the subtle differences between various parishes they’ve visited. And the illustrations are among some of the brightest, most radiant, glowy-est I’ve ever seen–which is, of course, exactly the spirit of Pascha.
When I brought the book in the house, it caught my 9-year-old’s eye immediately, and she literally screamed, “MOM! IT SAYS ‘PASCHA’ ON IT! LET ME SEE!”
And she proceeded to bury her face in it for the next hour. So you know? It was going to be a winner in my house, really, no matter what was inside. Because my daughter couldn’t believe that a real, live, book that came from an actual publisher was talking about her most favorite holiday–which happens to be invisible to most everyone in her world. A book about Pascha! What?!
But, even though it didn’t even have to be great, it is. What’s inside is beautiful and reflective of a child’s Paschal experience. And all right, all right; I’ll admit that as my daughter read it out loud to me as I trudged my way through cooking yet another Lenten meal, I got a little misty-eyed, full of hope and anticipation.
So if you’re interested in Catherine’s Pascha, now would be a pretty fun time to grab it for your bookshelf. Kids have just experienced Pascha, and it will be super fun for them to leaf their way through the book pointing at all the different illustrations while saying, “hey, I remember that!” Plus, I spotted it on sale at Amazon for $7.49. 😉
It’s gotten a ton of mileage at my house. It’ll get a lot at yours, too!