Easter can be a hectic time in Greek Orthodox households with so many church services to attend and various foods to prepare, we often don’t take time to experience the true meaning of Pascha.
For young people, candy often takes the center stage in their Easter experience, but books last longer than sugary treats. Entertaining and educational, picture books and the illustrated editions of the Bible help young children develop their reading skills while learning about the Greek Orthodox Christian faith and traditions. Here are a few books to enjoy this Easter season with young readers in mind.
The Illustrated Bible is a wonderful choice for young readers to begin reading the Holy Gospels. The illustrations encourage children to read the Bible stories on their own and get into the habit of Bible study from a young age. The Bible is the most popular book in print in the world and is available in all languages. The twelve passages read on Holy Thursday are especially moving as they describe the Holy Passion of Jesus Christ from the Last Supper to the Crucifixion. Young readers can follow along with their own copy of the Holy Gospels as they are read during the church services.
The Lucky Egg by Anna Prokos and illustrated by Christina Tsevis tells the story of Billy, who can’t wait for Easter. From the author and illustrator of The Lucky Cake, which explained the vasilopita tradition, this book explains the Greek Easter tradition of cracking eggs for young readers. The book is available online.
Easter Fun with Yiayia by Gary Underwood features Greek Easter traditions in an easy to read book for young readers. The book illustrates the various activities in preparation for Easter, the Easter week traditions, the Easter Sunday meal, and especially the dyeing of the eggs. Published in 2005, the book is highlighted with photographs of Greek families in Australia celebrating Easter.
Catherine’s Pascha: A Celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church by Charlotte Riggle and illustrated by R.J. Hughes follows a six year old girl through the celebration of Orthodox Easter. The book includes a glossary and a frequently asked questions section as well to help explain the traditions. The book is available online.
The Miracle of the Red Egg by Elizabeth Crispina Johnson and illustrated by Daria Fisher tells the origin of the tradition of dyeing eggs red for Easter. Set in the time of the Apostles and St. Mary Magdalene, the book recounts the miracle that turned an egg red and convinced an unbelieving emperor of the truth of Christ’s Resurrection. Available online, the book was first published in 2014 and reminds young readers of the true meaning of Pascha.
Easter coloring books are a fun gift for young children. The Easter Coloring Book in Greek by Anna Banks is perfect for the little ones who want to practice their Greek language skills while they color. With 62 pages, the book will keep the children occupied and entertained for hours and is available online.