Make Room: A Child's Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alary; Illustrated by Ann Boyajian is a simple but unique book to teach children about the heart of the practice of Lent in the lead up to Easter. While there are numerous resources explaining Lent, especially for adults, what makes this book different is the theme of 'making room' in our lives as opposed to being just a time of penitence.
I'm making this observation as one whose Church Family celebrates Easter and Advent while not officially observing the season of Lent but for the first twelve or thirteen years of my life I was brought up in the Catholic faith, so I do remember aspects of these liturgical traditions but I never really understood their meaning at the time.
Make Room explains them in a way that I never comprehended as a child. Lent in my mind brought back memories of eating fish and having ash smeared on my forehead - externals that didn't reach my heart back then and therefore were easily discarded later on.
Over the past few years I've been contemplating liturgy and tradition and how to meaningfully incorporate them into our days. We've focussed mostly on Advent, but Easter seems to come upon us all of a sudden and while we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I don't think our observance of this time truly reflects its incredible significance. Unlike Christmas, where there is still evidence to be seen around us in the form of manger scenes, Christmas Carols, and 'goodwill to men,' the celebration of this most world-changing event is overshadowed by an avalanche of bunnies and chocolate.
In Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Noel Piper writes:
"Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what - Who - is most important to us."
Laura Alary explains the season of Lent as a journey mirroring the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness where he made time to listen to Father God and to get ready for what He had come into the world to do.
Whether your Church tradition includes the observance of Lent or not, Make Room is a book to share with your children to help prepare their hearts for understanding and appreciating the Easter message.
Make Room is published by Paraclete Press and contains 32 pages with winsome full-colour illustrations throughout. (See their website for a view of the inside of the book) It would be ideal for a family read aloud for ages 6 to 12 years.
Paraclete Press has kindly given me a copy of this book as a giveaway. If you would like to enter to win the book you may choose one or all of these ways:
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I'd also love you to share any traditions your family has to celebrate this season. A winner will be chosen and announced on Friday 3rd March.
Entrants from anywhere in the world where there is a postal service are welcome to enter!