Torture, crucifixion and death can be pretty heavy stuff for young children. The Stations of the Cross, the ancient devotion tracing Jesus’ steps to Calgary, is a part of Catholic Lenten preparation and religious education. But few books address this tradition in language geared for children. Julianne Will’s third book, “Stations of the Cross for Children,” answers that need with prayers that balance the heartache of the Passion with the hope of the Resurrection in everyday words that children can use and understand.

“Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross can be the stuff of nightmares for young children,” Will says. ” ‘Stations of the Cross for Children’ relates Jesus’ agonizing moments, such as when He falls for the first time, to events children might experience, such as the embarrassment of tripping and falling in front of their friends. This book focuses on Jesus’ courage and strength and shows children how they can exhibit those qualities in their own lives.”

The richly illustrated book, released by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Co., is accompanied by a teacher’s guide describing the history of the Stations of the Cross, and offering discussion questions for each station. The teacher’s guide includes suggestions for creating a prayer service or lesson around each of the 14 stations, making it easy for parents or teachers to lead the conversation while learning about the devotion themselves.

A set of 14 full-color posters matching the book illustrations rounds out the package. The children’s book may be purchased with the posters and teacher’s guide or separately for use at home. The book, guide and posters can be seen at www.osv.com.

This is Will’s third Catholic book for children. She co-authored OSV’s “Catholic Encyclopedia for Children” with Ann Ball in 2003. Her second book, “Catholic Children’s Prayer Book,” has spent seven months on the national Catholic Book Publishers Association’s bestseller list since it was released last year. She just signed a contract for a fourth book incorporating stories of the faith into a children’s Bible.

Will is director of publications at Canterbury School, a private, independent school in Fort Wayne. There, she is responsible for the school’s weekly newsletter and quarterly magazine, produces booklets and fliers, manages media relations, maintains the school Web site and serves as photographer.

Will also is a freelance writer and editor. She writes the Inns and Outings column and Chefs Tell profile each month for Fort Wayne Magazine, in addition to other features. She continues to write advertising and marketing copy for Our Sunday Visitor; and she proofs copy for several advertising agencies in Chicago.

Will is active in her community, as well. She is a member of the board of directors of the Civic Theatre, serving on the marketing committee. She also is a member of Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana and a regular volunteer at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Club Art. Will is a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church and an active member of the Jorgensen YMCA.

A graduate of St. Joseph Hessen Cassel, Heritage High School and Purdue University, Will has held positions in Indiana and Colorado as a reporter, marketing and volunteer coordinator, news copy editor, book editor, presentation editor and special sections manager.

Her insight into children’s perspectives for her books is a gift from her 8-year-old daughter, Mia, who lives with Will in southwest Fort Wayne.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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