Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Journey to the Cross – Book Review

Journey to the Cross I recently attended the National Marketing Network Trade Show / Catholic Writers Guild Conference in Chicago this summer. At the tradeshow/conference, we Guild members got to meet many authors and receive free autographed books! I had a great time. Yet, the most memorable moment for me occurred as I traversed through the Trade Show booths.  I came across a table with a certain children’s book on it: Journey to the Cross. I said to myself, “Hey, that’s the book that won in my category at the National Indie Excellence Awards contest this year!” Okay, now I must see what’s so special about this book that it beat out my own book in the contest (mine was named a finalist). What occurred next was beyond awesome.

I stepped up to the table and met the author’s mother. Yes, I said “mother.” That took me aback, because she looked so young. I asked, “where is the author?” As I asked this question, a teenager walked up to me. At this point, I’m stunned at the young age of the author! I got to meet Shane Cloonan and immediately learned what a humble, respectful, and kind young man he has become. For some reason, Shane didn’t know that his book, Journey to the Cross won the 2016 National Indie Excellence Awards in the Children’s Religion category. I had the absolute honor of informing him. I wish I could have captured the look on his face. He was in awe. Eyes wide, he quietly said in a whisper, “Why this is really huge, isn’t it?” Yes, Shane, it is huge!

My Thoughts on Journey to the Cross and Shane Cloonan

Later that evening, after he had autographed my copy, I sat down to read the story, and instantly understood why Shane’s book won the award. Everyone knows the story of Jesus’ birth, life, passion and death. However, no one has ever told the story from the view of the ever-faithful donkey who was a part of Jesus’ life. By the time I reached the last page of the book, tears flowed down my cheeks; for this story, told from this perspective, touched my heart to the core. The donkey had such love for Jesus throughout the story; only wanting to be Jesus’ faithful servant. Shane Cloonan has a definite talent for writing children’s books. The etchings by Richard Browning are exquisite; giving our little ones an ability to grasp the message of the story, via illustration.

I am so glad that I made a point of asking Shane to sign my book as follows: “From the award winning author, Shane Cloonan” because, one day I hope that the name of Shane Cloonan will be a household name. I plan to keep my eye on what else this young man produces; once again requesting a signed copy from this award winning author!

If you would like to get your copy of Journey to the Cross, click here.

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

This post was shared with My Scribbler’s Heart for the #OpenBook link-up.

6 Responses to Journey to the Cross – Book Review

  • As Shane’s mom I am so proud him, but Miss Lieto your graciousness is beyond words. I am so proud to have met you. To have you be the one to announce to us Shane’s win, and now write such a heartwarming review of Journey to the Cross has literally brought tears to my eyes. You are a wonderful young woman. God Bless you .
    btw: Shane has not seen any of this yet, he will be thrilled to hear from you.

    • Hi Debbie: So good to hear from you! Actually, the honor was all mine to share the news with Shane. I will never forget the look on his face! And when I come across a great book, like Journey to the Cross, well, I just have to share it with my followers, who are always looking for ways to grow closer to Christ. Tell Shane I said hello and wish him a great school year. – Peace, Virginia

    Ralph is starting to rejoin the world so I’ll be out scouting for new churches with gift shops. AN EXCELLENT BOOK
    Kate Schultz

  • What a great story! And looks like a lovely book! One of the things I missed by not being at the conference this year was that opportunity to meet authors and take home books. Maybe next year.

    Thanks for linking up!

    • Carolyn: This would be a great book to read to your children during Holy Week. I highly recommend it, at the risk of having your daughter make Journey to the Cross as her “best book ever!”

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