February 18, 2017


Lent 2017 for Orthodox Christian Kids!

Great Lent is (almost) here!

And though the grownups are usually the ones more excited about leaving bacon behind and reading spiritual books so they can take one more step up the mountain, well, kids are a little more spiritual pliable since their minds and hearts aren't so habit-bound. I think kids are the best, and such natural seekers and learners and teachers. How often will a child change her mind about how she sees the world--after she reads a story of another child who chooses to be brave?

But, grownups. We read those same stories of bravery, and change comes so  s l o w l y.

I've been collecting spiritual books for Orthodox kids for too many years to count. Here are some of my favorite stories--stories filled with potential inspiration when it comes to Lent... 


To encourage kids to pray

The Monk Who Grew Prayer

This short book for toddlers and older is all about a life spent in pursuit of prayer. Whimsical, sweet, and soft like a song; I love this book.

In the Candle's Glow

A brand new picture book for toddlers and older about a little girl who loves to pray. Her loving spirit is contagious, and this book is a delight.

What Do You Hear, Angel?

A very sweet picture book for toddlers and young children that encourages them to hear God in all things. 

A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy

Learning to pray in church, now there's a worth-while lenten goal! This book is written even for very small children, and is designed to help a child follow along and enter into the Divine Liturgy.

Special Agents of Christ 

There aren't many prayer books out there for young, independent readers. This one encourages the child to think like a young saint and engage in the spiritual fight! It's a training manual of sorts, for elementary-aged kids, which includes a guide to confession.

My Prayer Book

A large, picture book-format prayer book filled with icon-style illustrations and prayers for many different occasions. There is additional text in the back of the book that explains, for older children, more about the prayers and the reasons for them.

Royal Monastic

Written for teens and adults, this is the story of Princess Ileana of Romania, who eventually became Mother Alexandra. A wonderful story of a role model who models perseverance, faith, and prayer.

Hear Me

Hear Me is a prayer book specifically written for young people who are high school-aged or older. Filled with inspiring prayers, a guide through confession, and a topical section that focuses on anger, loneliness, persecution, anxiety, depression, peer pressure and other themes that face young people as they mature...


To encourage children in their knowledge of the faith

Every Time I Do My Cross

A beautiful book for toddlers that teaches them the power of making the sign of the cross over themselves and how that helps them enter into prayer, giving, and being thankful.

Pictures of God

An introductory book for young children that explains the symbolism found in icons, introduces readers to several saints and their stories, and encourages children in their faith. From God to You is a follow up book, and just as informative!   

The Tale of Three Trees

A classic picture book that subtly tells the tale of Christ's death and resurrection through the journey of three trees. 

The Resurrection of Christ 

This is one of the Potamitis Publishing Paterikon books. They're tiny and amazing. There are a million of them now (exaggeration--maybe around 60?) and so worth looking into. Each one tells a short story of a saint, or teaches a bit about a feast; and there are coloring books too! This one is perfect to finish off Great Lent!

The Miracle of the Red Egg

A story of St Mary Magdalene and how she bravely shared her faith (and why we celebrate with red eggs on Pascha!).

The Bible for Young People

This is my very favorite children's Bible. Written with a distinctly Orthodox Christian viewpoint, if you start in the middle of the book, around page 90, you can follow the path of Christ, from his birth to the cross as we traverse lent and head toward Pascha!

Heaven Meets Earth

Written for both children and adults in mind, this book features all of the feasts of the liturgical calendar. It highlights traditions, includes hymns, Bible passages, quotes from the Fathers, etc... A perfect handbook for the many feasts that we enter into from Annunciation through to Pascha!


To encourage humility and other virtues

The Hidden Garden

A picture book for all ages, especially those who are 5-10. It takes a child on an inward journey, into the heart, encouraging him to examine that inner garden and see what is planted and growing there.

The Boy, the Kitchen, and His Cave

A children's picture book that is quite long, but entirely lovely. In the book, we follow St Euphrosynos from the time he is a child to his life as a saint. This is one of the only saint books I have included in this list and there are certainly many, many books on saints that teach about prayer, humility, sacrifice, giving, and love. All of them completely appropriate for Great Lent! This book in particular highlights a humble man and his search for holiness. 

Philo and the Superholies

A ridiculously adorable book for young people about a little boy who learns to call on the SuperHolies during his time of need. Prayer, Patience, Goodness, Self Control--you know! All those virtues we wish we could employ every minute, every day... 

The Quiltmaker's Gift 

A deeply spiritual story about both humility and sacrificial giving. Wonderfully told, beautifully illustrated, see if you can track down this book, or its prequel, The Quiltmaker's Journey for a read during Great Lent

Shepherding Sam

This sweet story could be a read-aloud, or is perfect for independent reders. It's the tale of a dog and a boy, and is set at a charming monastery that has a children's garden and a stable of farm animals. A little adventure, a little prayer, and a lot of love are found in these pages.

From I-ville to You-ville

A favorite of middle grade readers. This is an adventure story where a young boy learns to move from a self-centered worldview, to one of holiness, giving, and love. 


Lent is all about turning inward. I love Great Lent! Here are a few other blog posts you may want to check out that focus on lenten reading for kids.


Great Lent Learning Basket from Matushka Emma

Some ideas of things to think about and do with children on the OCA website

Learning during Lent (including a cool calendar!) by Jennifer at Illumination Learning

A wonderful list of good books from Carol at The Many Hats of an Orthodox Mom

If you have other favorites that you'd like to share, please list them in the comments!


Published: February 18, 2017 | Filed under: You

Comments (4)
Monica said:
February 19, 2017 @ 4:20 PM

Last year we read The Lost Princess by George MacDonald and Hinds Feet on High Places: Delightfully Illustrated and Arranged for Children. Both had been recommended reading for ME by my priest at previous times in my life, and both seemed perfect for Great Lent Last Year. We did them as Family Read-Alouds, along with I-Ville to You-Ville. https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Princess-George-MacDonald/dp/0802850707/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1487549854&sr=8-3&keywords=lost+princess https://www.amazon.com/Hinds-Feet-High-Places-Delightfully/dp/0768420210/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487549927&sr=1-4&keywords=hinds+feet+on+high+places+by+hannah+hurnard

jane g meyer replied:
February 22, 2017 @ 10:17 AM

Love these two books. Wonderful additions to the list. I haven't read Hinds Feet in High Places for ages. I can totally see that it would work well for even young children in a read aloud. (And right now we are actually reading a George MacDonald book!) Very fun. Thanks for sharing, Monica.

Kristina said:
February 22, 2017 @ 9:22 AM

Here's a daily calendar of ideas of ways to grow in godliness during Great Lent: https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/a-calendar-for-great-lent/

jane g meyer replied:
February 22, 2017 @ 10:17 AM

Thanks for the link, Kristina!

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