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3 Heartwarming picture books to share Black saints’ stories with your children


Magnificat Ignatius - Catholic Sprouts - Providential

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 11/03/22

These really beautiful picture books for Catholic kids focus on Black Catholics like St. Martin de Porres.

Today we celebrate the life of St. Martin de Porres, a holy Dominican friar who was a skilled surgeon and healer. His feast day seems like the perfect opportunity to draw attention to some really beautiful new picture books for Catholic kids that focus on Black Catholics like St. Martin. 

1Julia Greeley: Secret Angel to the Poor

This absolute gem of a book tells the story of Julia Greeley, an African-American woman who was born enslaved and became an “angel of mercy” to the poor of Denver, Colorado—a bustling, growing Western town at the time. 

She was very poor herself, but whatever she received, often by begging, she generously shared with those who needed it more than she did. Filled with the joy of loving Jesus, she lifted the spirits of everyone she met.

The story pulls together many recorded incidents from her life, presenting them in a way that’s very appealing and easy to understand for children. My children loved this one and asked to re-read it again and again. And I teared up every time. It’s that good. 

2Great Black Catholics: Saints Like Me

Great Black Catholics is a beautiful board book that features incredible Black Catholics from all over the world, including those who have been named Venerable, Blessed and Saint. 

It’s a delightful read that shows little ones that they can grow up to be like these holy men and women. 

3Light of the Saints

This book is so much fun! You hold a light (a flashlight, phone light, or sunny window) to the back of the pages to reveal beautiful images. While this book isn’t only about Black saints, it features a number of saints of color, such as St. Josephine Bakhita.

Thanks to my local library, my four children read hundreds of books per month. Light of the Saints was an all-time favorite for them, earning the rare distinction of being kept on my daughter’s nightstand for weeks.

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