A Glimpse at “Lives of the Saints for Children: February: Friends of Christ” written by Demetrios and Anna Fotopoulos and illustrated by Paraskevi Hatzithanasi

Newrome Press is publishing a twelve-book series called Friends of Christ. Each volume contains the stories of five saints who are commemorated during a particular month of the year. Here is a closer look at Lives of the Saints for Children: February: Friends of Christ, written by Demetrios and Anna Fotopoulos and illustrated by Paraskevi Hatzithanasi, translated by Nicholas Palis, and printed in 2019.

The February edition of the Friends of Christ series tells its readers stories from the life of St. Nikiphoros the martyr (Feb. 9), St. Haralambos the hieromartyr (Feb. 10), St. Theodora the empress (Feb. 11), Venerable Philothei the Athenian (Feb. 19), and Great Martyr Photini the Samaritan woman (Feb. 26). Readers will learn more about the faithful life of each of these saints, and feel encouraged to grow in their own faith. The saints’ stories are carefully worded so that children of all ages can understand. Each has been translated very smoothly into English by translator Nicholas Palis.

The bulk of the book features the stories of these five saints (and the others whose lives they influenced). The book effectively meets this purpose, but it also offers some extra “bonus” materials that are helpful. In addition to the saints’ stories, it also offers a handful of other important resources. The book begins and ends with helpful prayers (the morning prayer to one’s patron saint, and the evening one); and it also contains “the Friends of Christ Glossary”, where some of the more challenging words in the text are explained. In addition, it comes with a large decal featuring one of the illustrations, that could be added to a timeline if the family or Church school room has one on their wall. The decal also makes a wonderful bookmark to mark the reader’s place in each story.

Paraskevi Hatzithanasi’s sketches add much to the stories in the book. They seem to draw from iconographic representations, enhancing the text while also familiarizing readers with the saint(s) in such a way that they will easily recognize the saint’s icon, when they find it at church or elsewhere. Illustrative details from each major illustration are scattered throughout that saint’s story, and offer a fun little challenge: that of finding where each detail is located in its original illustration.

This well-made hardcover book will last through many February readings, whether in a home or in a Church school. Each saint’s story could be read all at once (perhaps for a family night, or in a Sunday Church school class); or bit by bit, across a series of days, until it is completed. 

Order your own copy of Lives of the Saints for Children: February: Friends of Christ from Newrome Press, here: https://newromepress.com/friends-of-christ-february/

We thank Newrome Press for sharing this book with us, so that we can share it with you

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts.

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