Genre

Children’s Literature

Audience

Children, Young Families

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2022

Themes

prayer, personal relationship to God, struggle, journey, healing, transformation, purpose, grace, miracles, scripture, friendship, blessings, trauma, catapillars

 

Reviewed by

Dr. Lisa Theus

Happy, colorful Bella the Caterpillar meets with a horrible surprise one day: a storm whisks her away from her home. She wakes up lost. Her colors have been drained. All she has is a strange new friend, the snail Mira, who promises to travel with her on her journey. Without any other choice, Bella agrees to the company. Together, they make other new friends, and Bella relearns the joy of prayer. Her renewed relationship with God and a newfound knowledge of Scripture allow her to face her fear of change: just in time, because Bella the Caterpillar has one more giant adventure before her that she can only get through with the help of God and her friends.

Bella’s Beautiful Miracle is a very sweet chapter book for young children. It tells a universal story in a simple way: someone learns how to overcome personal loss and trauma thanks to the support of God and her community. She begins to see the blessings of God all around her. The cast of characters is earnest and kind. The book really is ideal for young readers: the writing is straightforward; there is a bit of suspense without any scary tension or enemies; and everything ends up great for everyone. For some readers, it might even be too sweet, so be advised if you’re reading with older children.

The story also reads well for Christians of any denomination. It focuses strictly on building a personal relationship with God and allowing his grace into your life. It does mention Jesus a couple of times, but it doesn’t get into any theology or doctrine, including no mention of why the Cross is a significant symbol. It could have easily been written by a Protestant or a Catholic, and there are even scenes that feel more stereotypically Protestant, such as Bella’s public “testifying” about her relationship with God. Bella’s Beautiful Miracle is great for a Kindergarten or first grade faith formation or Sunday school class – an age where the focus is getting kids used to saying their prayers and building a relationship with God, before getting into the deeper theology of First Communion.

Overall a heartwarming, charming tale, Bella’s Beautiful Miracle offers innocent and young-at-heart readers a valuable lesson in letting go and letting God transform you (and your fears) into His next miracle.

August & September New Book Releases

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Sister Aloysius Gets Ready for the First Day of School By Linda Etchison Illustrated by Denise Plumlee-Tadlock

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Cinderella by Charles Perrault

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Five Little Angels by Kathleen T. Pelley Illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic

Children learn how to make angels dance with joy in this dreamy hand-painted bedtime story.

Best of 2020

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Extraordinary! by Jacqueline Brown, Illustrated by Katie Anne Ennis

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A fairy tale about faith, hope, and the destruction they protect us from.

Sister Aloysius Arrives at Our Lady of Sorrows By Linda Etchison, Illustrated by Denise Plumlee-Tadlock

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There Once Was a Penny by Mark Restaino, Illustrations by J.P. Alcomendas

This nursery rhyme teaches kids the value of faith and how it can help a person to love themselves according to standards not of this world.

Jesus Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Mark Restaino, Illustrations by J.P. Alcomendas

This delightful picture book lets young readers imagine the daily life of the Christ Child while also teaching simple prayers.

The Rose and the Snake by Mark Restaino, Illustrated by J.P. Alcemendas

This thought-provoking children’s tale is tailor made to improve reading comprehension and teach a child where real self-worth comes from.

Books to Pray With, March: For the New Martyrs

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The Fruit Tree by Mark Restaino, Illustrations by J.P. Alcomendas

This children’s fable will teach the whole family Biblical literacy and the Christian symbolic language.

Molly McBride and the Plaid Jumper by Jean Schoonover-Egolf

Molly doesn’t want to take off her purple habit the Children of Mary sisters wear but mom’s says she has to put on the school uniform.

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Six series that are a must-have for your Preteen’s library ages 8-13