Finding Patience by Virginia Lieto

Author: Virginia Lieto

Illustrated: Carole Hahn Panzner

Published: Parenesis Publishing.

Age Range: 3 – 8

Younger school aged children will love holding this picture book in their hands.  Every page is brightly coloured with large, simple drawings and pastel backgrounds to the broad and spaciously set print. It is a book designed to be read by beginner readers.

Virginia Lieto has produced a beautiful picture book which explores the virtue of patience.  Children will relate to the circumstances of our three main characters Faith, Hope and Charity.  The three sisters are moving to a new place and must start at a new school. Faith is nervous about her new beginning and fears that she will not find new friends.   

The story and characters are deliberately simple and straightforward.  Faith’s family is traditionally structured with mum, dad and three sisters. Her family prays together and provides a source of comfort and reassurance when Faith’s first few days at school do not go that well. Children will understand Faith’s fears and tears and empathize with her struggles.

The book is short enough to maintain the interest of young readers but manages to span across three days in Faith’s life as she perseveres and tries to hold onto hope that things will get better. The story is long enough to reinforce the notion of ‘patience’ – of needing to wait sometimes for an answer to our prayers.

I found the final two or three pages to be fun.  Faith develops internal strength of character due to the trials she has faced and continues to put her faith in God.  The final page is satisfying and made me laugh out loud. Children will love it. 

The illustrations of this book are simple and colourful.  There is a strong focus on faces which young children will really love. The whole book is vivid and engaging. The setting reflects school life for children in the USA – the school bus, the school canteen.  The children wear school uniforms perhaps suggesting a Catholic school.  

The story is a vehicle for exploring the virtue of patience, but Faith, Hope and Charity are also demonstrated in turn. This is not a story about naughty children who are disrespectful to the dimwit adults in their lives.  Faith’s parents are caring, thoughtful and traditional.  Dad goes to work and Mum gets the new house in order.  Mum is on hand to provide comfort and Dad leads prayers at the dinner table. It is refreshing and unapologetic in its portrayal of a more traditional family life.

Virginia Lieto has explored the virtues well in this little book.  Not only does she name the children virtuously, but a little puppy named Love also make an appearance, a present from none other than friendly neighbour, Mr Gabriel.  The religious references are peppered throughout and therefore provide plenty of opportunities to discuss the virtues. and also the role of Mr Gabriel (Angel?) who drops in a little Love at the end.

Virginia Lieto

This picture book will undoubtedly appeal to young school aged children, teachers, parents and grandparents.  It is a great book for prompting discussions of character, virtue, kindness and prayer.  It is a book that is simple, but with a story line that creates tension as Faith is tested with the passing of each day.  Ultimately it is a book that provides a positive message to children about the virtue of patience and the importance of Faith.

You can purchase Finding Patience through Amazon.

Finding Patience Teacher/Homeschool Resources

  • Lead a discussion about Patience:

What does it mean to be Patient?

Can you remember a time when you had to be patient?

Do you think it is hard to be patient sometimes? Why?

  • Create an individual or class artwork that depicts Patience.  Either decorate the word “Patience” or draw a picture of someone waiting for something.
  • Here is an interesting lapbook that can be purchased cheaply through teachers pay teachers.

 I would use it in conjunction with a story from the gospels about patience:

For example:

Luke 2 41-52: Twelve-year-old Jesus teaching in the temple and then understanding that it was not the right time.  He went home with his parents and was obedient to them.  Jesus was patient and waited until he was a grown man to teach people about God.

  • There is a prayer for patience at the end of the book: say it together as a class or family.  Ask children to compose a short prayer to God for patience.
  • This wall hanging could be made in conjunction with learning about the fruits of the spirit.
  • There are other themes in the book about helping new children to feel welcome – about kindness and caring for others. 
    • Have you ever been somewhere new, and you didn’t know anyone?
    • How did you feel?
    • How can you make someone else feel welcome when they are new?

The class could make a poster of ideas, or each child to pin a card on the wall with an idea about helping new people to feel welcome.

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