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I’m so excited to share our first Saint in the Virtual Saint Picture Book Club – St. Juan Diego. St. Juan Diego’s feast day is December 9. If you are unfamiliar with him, St. Juan Diego is the saint to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe revealed herself.
St. Juan Diego Picture Books
I suggested two picture books for this month’s saint. The first was Talking Eagle & the Lady of Roses by Amy Cordova and Eugene Gollogly. This is a beautiful hardcover picture book that will be in your family for years. Not only are the illustration colors rich and vibrant, but the paper is thick and the pages are actually sewn together. That is rare indeed.
Aside from the fact that Talking Eagle & the Lady of Roses is physically a quality book, it is equally quality as far as story and picture are concerned. Unlike many stories, this one actually tells a bit about St. Juan Diego’s life and culture so that there is a little context around the story. It tells of his people and his childhood and even his wife. The pictures depict Juan & Our Lady as I imagine his people would recognize them (not white, but Mexican). The illustrations are beautiful and the story is accurate as far as I can tell. The story was woven together beautifully, told as a story, not as a textbook. The only thing I wish it had was a pronunciation guide for the difficult words. TOTALLY worth the extra money for Talking Eagle & the Lady of Roses!
The other book is a simple little paperback. This has all the pertinent details such as time period, place, feast day, and map in addition to a simply told story. Juan Diego: Mary’s Humble Messenger tells the story of how Mary appeared to Juan Diego. The pictures are detailed and the text is in a rose framed text box.
The end also shares a little bit about the church that stands there today, a prayer, and a glossary. This book is intended for a younger reader and the words and sentences are very simple. If your children are a little old for it, perhaps they could read it to their siblings who cannot. A cute book and a very affordable way to add books about saints to your library. They have several series of Saints and Me! books and have a workbook to go with each set.
St. Juan Diego Activities
While I started this book club for those who want to live the liturgical year but never have time, I did want to include a few extras pin case you have a little extra time this week. Many of these would work as activities for Our Lady of Guadalupe, too. That is celebrated on December 12.
Easy Food for the Feast of St. Juan Diego
If you are interesting in doing a little extra, have a small Mexican feast. Tacos, burritos, or enchiladas would easy to do. You have to eat dinner anyway, right?
Didn’t plan ahead? How about some cookies & hot chocolate. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg and the tiniest bit of cayenne pepper, for Mexican hot chocolate.
If you have extra time & energy, you could make Mexican Wedding Cookies. I love those!
Make a God’s Eye (or Ojo de Dios)
You remember making God’s Eyes as a child, right? Now is the time to pass the torch! Popsicle sticks & yarn scraps. This video is really the best way to refresh your memory.
Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe Printables
Real Life at Home just released a set of printables for Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe (feast day December 12) that were hand-drawn and colored by her husband!
If you have the Glory Stories Vol. 1 (includes the story of St. Juan Diego) from Holy Heroes, they have a free set of coloring pages about Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe available on their website.
While you are a little late to get the SaintMail package for this saint, if you would like to celebrate the liturgical year and not have to do any prep, you might want to give SaintMail a try. We got to review SaintMail last year and have been subscribing ever since!
You can see our package for St. Juan Diego above (we pay for the extra sibling supplement). Every month, you will get items relating to the Saint, a letter from the saint (with a wax seal! Love that touch :D), a craft or other activity, discussion points and ideas to take it further if you have time. Oh and a magnet, too. These are all on our fridge & the letters, activities and discussion points are filed to use again in the future as we have time. It’s totally worth the money. If I could afford it, I would buy them for my Godchildren, too! If you DO have a budget for an awesome Godchild gift, consider ordering a subscription to SaintMail for Christmas!
Molly & I have been working closely to coordinate our packages whenever we can, though we can’t always. It’s hard to find good picture books!
Do you have any favorite books, activities or other quick and easy ways to learn about St. Juan Diego for busy families? Please share them in the comments. Links welcome! Did you read one of our selected books for this month? I’d love to hear what you thought of them!