Today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is Catherine’s Pascha – A Celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church
Written by: Charlotte Riggle
Illustrated by: R. J. Hughes
Publisher: Phoenix Flair Press (2015)
Suitable for ages: 6 and up
Themes/Topics: Pascha (Easter), Orthodox Christian Easter, Eastern Orthodox Church, religious celebrations, religious diversity, cultures from around the world
Brief Synopsis: Through the eyes of a young girl named Catherine, readers learn about Pascha [PAH-ska], the Orthodox Christian Easter service celebrated in communities around the world. Catherine is determined to stay awake on Holy Saturday this year so she can experience the Pascha (Easter) service at her church. In beginning of the story, while Catherine naps, the family is busy with preparations for the feast that follows the service on Easter Sunday. After they leave for the service, the author takes us inside the church to experience the details of this special celebration. The illustrations show different churches from around the world, in all seven continents, where Pascha has been celebrated – yes, even in Antarctica!
Besides the story, the author includes back matter, a glossary and Frequently Asked Questions pages for easy reference.
Opening pages: Mom says I have to go to bed at my regular time, even though it’s Holy Saturday.
“But, Mom!” I say. “It’s going to be time to get up in just a little while!”
“All the more reason for you to get a little nap,” she says, and she turns off the light.
Well, Mom can make me go to bed, but she can’t make me go to sleep. I’m going to stay awake until it’s time to go to church.”
Why I like this book: Catherine’s Pascha is a lovely story packed with details about a special annual event still celebrated today. Children will certainly identify with the child centered character of Catherine the author created. Given I was raised Roman Catholic, this story brought back many memories of Christmas midnight mass, including the excitement of wanting to stay awake. Although our Easter was celebrated in a daytime service, just as Catherine and her family, we celebrated Easter by wearing new clothing, and eating special food after fasting for Lent.
This story would be a good addition to any collection of books on world religions, Orthodox traditions, and Orthodox Pascha (Easter).
See the Charlotte Riggle’s website which is filled with further reading, resources, activities, and more.
Listen to Charlotte Riggle’s interview by Bobby Maddex with Ancient Faith Ministries podcast.
Check out author Susanna’s Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page here to read more of today’s book reviews.