I love photo albums. I have huge photo albums with scrapbooked prints going back to my childhood, and neater digital albums of our family since Sunshine’s birth. The kids love pulling out our photo albums and exclaiming over the memories. Our Lady’s Picture Book by Anthony DeStefano is like a heavenly photo album for our Mama Mary.
I received this book for review courtesy of the publisher; all opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Our Lady’s Picture Book
The opening pages of Our Lady’s Picture Book show Mary looking at a photo album. DeStefano explains,
Picture help remind us of the people that we love;
people here on earth us and heaven up above.
Throughout the years Our Lady as been shown in many ways;
in paintings, statues, books and cards, and holiday displays.
These images can help us pray and make us faithful too.
From Our Lady’s picture book, here are just a few…
The beautiful images by Juliana Kolesova portray different scenes from Mary’s life, both before and after her assumption into heaven. DeStefano tells the story with his signature rhymes, making this a lyrical book to read aloud.
Our Lady’s Picture Book includes Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady Star of the Sea, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady Mother of Mercy, Our Lady Queen of Peace, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The stories draw children into each event from Mary’s life and why Mary was given this title.
Our Lady’s Picture Book is currently one of 5-year-old Pearl’s favourite books. She worked hard at reading aloud the titles of Mary under each picture by herself, or asking me what the titles were if she couldn’t figure them out. Her favourite picture is Our Lady Star of the Sea. With its deep blue hues, and Mary standing peacefully amid a tossing storm at sea, I can understand why she loves that image.
My favourite is Our Lady Queen of Peace, with her dark green hues and beautiful smile. She makes me feel that peace is possible, in our lives and in our world, if we just trust and pray. Because “the only way the gift of peace can ever be restored is if we worship Mary’s Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.” Any of these images, along with DeStefano’s rhyming prayers, provide much to meditate upon for adults as well as children.
No matter what situation we are facing, we can go to Mary for help and comfort. Children can identify with baby Jesus having a bad dream and Our Lady of Perpetual Help holding him tight. Children who feel sad and blue can go to Our Lady of Sorrows. Children who are lost or alone can ask Our Lady Star of the Sea for help. Over and over, DeStefano shows children how Mary knows how they are feeling and can intercede for them.
So when your family needs some prayers
and isn’t doing well,
ask Our Lady for her help
the bless the place you dwell.
As Faith Hakesley says, “There truly is no time during which we cannot turn to Mary for her intercession. There is no situation too difficult for her. There is no time when she will not help to bring us closer to her Son. She is our Mother and does not abandon us, the children she loves so much. Never be afraid of asking Our Lady for help!”
In the last pages of the books, DeStefano includes quotes about Mary from the Gospels as well as the Salve Regina. Both of these books have been a beautiful extension to our consecration to Mary this Advent season.
Two Beautiful Marian Books
Our Lady’s Picture Book complements Our Lady’s Wardrobe. While Our Lady’s Wardrobe focuses on specific Marian apparitions, Our Lady’s Picture Book focuses on other scenes from her life. Both books encourage children to get to know Mary and to run to her in prayer. As DeStefano shows, Mary is part of our heavenly family. Just as we look at pictures of our family members to feel close to them, we can also look at these pictures of Mary to draw closer to her and deepen our faith.
The illustrations in both these books are stunning. Kolesova uses the same model for Mary in all the images in both books. While I know that Mary is often depicted in different ways in artwork, I appreciated the same, familiar face through these books. Mary is shown with different expressions and garments and situations, but she’s still the same woman in every picture. For a kids’ book, I think this is comforting.
As Faith’s 8-year-old daughter says, “If Mary looks so beautiful in pictures, just imagine how beautiful she will be in Heaven!”
More about Anthony DeStefano
DeStefano has dedicated Our Lady’s Picture Book to Our Lady of Lourdes, to whom he attributes his success as an author. He told the National Catholic Register, “I just wanted to be a published author. For years, though, I couldn’t come up with any good ideas for books. But then I consecrated myself to Our Lady, after reading True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, and I couldn’t stop the ideas from coming.”