Tiber River Review: Lisa Mladinich’s Be an Amazing Catechist

Lisa Mladinich’s Be an Amazing Catechist reads like a Catechesis 101 magazine. Packed with practical suggestions, resources to investigate, and advice drawing upon her classroom experience, this would be a terrific resource for giving to teachers at the beginning of the year or for reflection at any point in their vocation. Lisa writes with humor and assures us:

What this book is not, is the esoteric product of a highly educated, highly trained expert. Based on several years of my own classroom experience and my own and others’ reserach, it is more like a field guide – written by one of your own in language you can relate to.

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Be an Amazing Catechist
Be an Amazing Catechist

Her tone remains similarly light throughout the booklet, while touching on real-world challenges like determining age-appropriate materials for your students, ways to encourage parent involvement, and classroom discipline. Mladinich emphasizes both children’s different learning styles and our own unique approaches to catechesis. Reading this can help you to evaluate where your own strengths lie and encourage you to try new approaches with your students.

It’s thanks to this book that I discovered Lisa’s treasury of puppet show scripts for religious education, which would be great for a teacher to use with younger students or for older kids to create shows for younger classes. She also speaks to the special needs of many of our students and how to handle them with sensitivity.

The overall theme of growing in faith runs strong throughout the book. She provides ways to introduce students to Scripture, prayer, and the sacramental life. At the same time, she reminds us that we need to nurture our own faith.

“To be all lit up and powerful, you’ve got to cling to the sacraments, to Scripture, to daily prayer, and to spiritual reading. We’re all busy, so find even a few minutes a day to let God refresh you and turn your heart to Him.”

Lisa has assembled more resources and a team of columnists at AmazingCatechists.com to complement and expand upon many of the themes explored in her booklet. I would highly recommend her work for both new catechists unsure of where to start and experienced catechists in need of reflection.

I wrote this review of Be an Amazing Catechist for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

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  1. scotch meg says

    I’m concerned looking at the cover, which looks very 70’s to me. You give it a good review, but I want reassurance – it’s not dated?

  2. says

    Oh, no, not at all – I am pretty sure it just came out in 2010, in fact. It’s about the length of a short magazine – maybe 25 pages? Very non-70’s. :)

  3. says

    I think this book is awesome! It is concise, simple and no-nonsense. Yet, for such a small book it has surprising depth. I love Lisa’s style and the way she encourages all the way through. There’s no way you can read this book and think you couldn’t do this catechist thing. She just gives you confidence.

    Also, she continually tells you how doing this extra step will help your own faith life as well. That’s great!

    I highly recommend this for new catechists and for those that might want to pick up a trick or two.

    • Dorian Speed says

      Yes, that’s exactly right, Marc – there’s no way you can read the book and think you couldn’t do this catechist thing. You know, there’s a real skill to being upbeat and encouraging without being too in-your-face perky, and I feel like Lisa has that in spades.