Monthly Archives: November 2022

A Glimpse at “Maria the Mother of God” by Athena Dasiou-Ioannou and illustrated by Christina Douligeri

Newrome Press offers a beautiful picture book about the Theotokos, Maria the Mother of God, written by Athena Dasiou-Ioannou, and illustrated by Christina Douligeri. This book takes its readers through the earthly life of Mary, the Theotokos. Young children will love it for its beautiful illustrations, and older children will learn much from the text, scriptures, and songs incorporated into its pages. 

Author Athena Dasiou-Ioannou’s experience in and love for teaching children is evident in the way that she weaves scripture and the hymns of the church into the book, seamlessly entwining them with the carefully-explained story. In this way, the familiar songs and scriptures that children hear in Church are tied in perfectly with the story, connecting the story of the Theotokos’ life with their own experiences in the Divine services. Mary’s Greek name, Maria, is used for most of the book, and many of the hymns are provided in both English and in Greek, which is beautiful for children who are learning to speak and read both languages. Some vocabulary words are gently introduced in the story line, and a handful are listed in a glossary at the back of the book.

Illustrator Christina Douligeri’s art for this book does more than merely bringing life and color to the story. The pictures are truly beautiful, and include many carefully-chosen details. Each illustration is filled with soul and emotion, while also including so many similarities to icons that it will help young readers to recognize the saints both in the book and in their icon.  

This book is a great resource for families and church schools alike. It can be read many times throughout the year, as the Church year passes and we celebrate the many feasts of the Mother of God. May she pray for all of us.

Find your copy of Maria the Mother of God, here: 

Thanks to Newrome Press for supplying us with a copy of this book so that we could write this review. 

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


Three New Children’s Books from Newrome Press

Three new children’s books from Newrome Press are now available. You can read a bit about each, below. Visit so that you can be among the first to purchase them for yourself, your children, or your Sunday School class. 

A Boy’s Journey to Sainthood: Saint Porphyrios Kafsokalivia by Anna Iakovou, Illustrated by Konstantinos Dimitrelos

Many Orthodox Christians are familiar with St. Porphyrios Kafsokalivia, and resonate with his words. But do you know the story of his life? St. Porphyrios’ story is beautifully told and illustrated in this brand new picture book from Newrome Press. 

Author Anna Iakovou effectively uses descriptive language to tell St. Porphyrios’ life story. The reader can’t help but feel that they are right there with him. They sense the warm autumn sunshine on their shoulders as the boy struggles to read his favorite story, the life of St. John the Hut-Dweller, while watching over his family’s sheep. They hear the schemes of the lazy older coworkers forcing their work on him when he goes to the city to work in a grocery store.  They smell the sea air as the young man hides at every port beyond his original destination – his parents’ hometown, aboard the ship headed to Mt. Athos, where he longs to live. And they can almost taste his joy as he becomes a schema monk, years later.

Konstantinos Dimitrelos’ delightful illustrations add depth and charm to the story. The illustrations of the saint himself very much bring him to life in the reader’s mind. Tucked into the corner of one page, readers will even find a photograph of the saint, since he lived in the era of cameras. The book ends with two pages of heartening quotes from St. Porphyrios.

Readers of all ages will find encouragement to face whatever opportunities come their way as they read the story of the life of St. Porphyrios in this book. 


Paul Apostle to the Nations: the Life, Work, and Travels of the Herald of the Lord, from the Sacred Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner, Mesa Potamou, translated by Stavros and Stavroula Stamati

Newrome Press has just released a book for older children, focused on the life of Saint Paul. The first quarter of the book tells the story of his life, and the rest of the book takes a close look at his travels. Part story book, part “travel/history” guide, this book will be useful to anyone studying the travels of the saint and/or the history of cities in which he visited. 

The book includes beautiful iconography from the Sacred Monastery of Kykos, Cyprus, to illustrate the part of the book that tells Saint Paul’s life story. The portion of the book featuring his travels is broken up according to the trips that he took. Each travel section begins with a map illustrating that particular journey. Informational pages about each city which he visited on that journey follow the map, offering a brief history of the city, as well as some photographs of the city.

Older children who are fascinated by history, maps, or travel will enjoy learning about each place that Saint Paul visited, when they read this book. It will be a valuable asset to a home library, classroom, or church school that is studying the life of Saint Paul.


The Many Tunics of Christ: A Nativity Story by Theofanis Sawabe, Illustrated by Vladimir Ilievski

There once was a young man named Thomas who loved being a monk. He was delighted to live and work in the monastery. He did not like all of the noisy and frustrating people outside of the monastery, so living INSIDE the monastery, away from them, was just fine by him.

This book tells the story of what happened on the eve of Nativity, when Thomas’ tasks for the day took him OUTSIDE of the monastery: first, he was to accompany Patriarch John to the hospital to visit the sick; then he was to hand out winter clothes to the poor; and finally, he was to go to the market to pick up an order for the monastery. How did that day go? How did Thomas handle interacting with the “noisy and frustrating” people? And why did the Archangel Michael  show up when he was trying to rest up for the vigil? 

Answer all of these questions and more when you read The Many Tunics of Christ: A Nativity Story. You’ll find a bonus section in the back of the book about “Patriarch John”, who we now know as St. John the Merciful. Somewhere between Thomas’ attitude change and St. John’s (and Christ’s!) compassion, readers will come away from this book challenged to rethink their own attitudes towards those around them.


Thanks to Newrome Press for supplying us with copies of these books so that we could write these reviews. 

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

A Glimpse at “Good News Bad News” by Alexandra Chakos, Illustrated by Mike Stonelake

Ancient Faith Publishing’s brand new chapter book for kids ages 7-12, Good News Bad News, was written by Alexandra Chakos and is illustrated by Mike Stonelake. This book is the story of a young man who really wants to win a fabulous bike prize by selling lots of things for his school’s fundraiser, and he will go to almost any length to do so. It is the story of two brothers who do not always get along. It is also the story of a parish raising money for a new church building while also working together to raise the children in their midst. And it’s the story of two regular parents (who happen to be a priest and presvytera) who are learning with (and through!) their children.

They may be a priest’s family, but the Papadopoulos clan could pass for any other Orthodox Christian family who are trying to learn to love each other and grow in the Faith. The author’s introduction at the end of the book reveals that this story was based on real-life events that Presvytera Alexandra Chakos experienced while raising her own family. This explains why the story is so realistic! It is told in such a way that readers come away feeling that they’ve just been spying on the Papadopoulos family as they interact with each other and help each other through life’s challenges. 

Mike Stonelake’s engaging illustrations add a touch of humor to the story. They provide additional dimension to the characters and setting, drawing the reader in even more fully to the Papadopoulos’ world. Each illustration better helps the reader understand that priests’ families do normal things, too. For example, the dad of the family still drags their Christmas tree through the front door: he just does so while dressed in his cassock!

Parents and children alike will enjoy this tale. It has been woven with scriptures, joy, and just enough surprises to keep the reader guessing! The heartwarming ending takes place (appropriately) on Christmas day.

Purchase your own copy here:

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