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The ABC's of Thomas Merton, A Monk at the Heart of the World


By Gregory Ryan and Elizabeth Ryan

Young readers (age 5-9), parents, grandparents, teachers, and catechists will enjoy learning about the major events in Thomas Merton’s life and the choices he made along the way to become the world’s most famous monk and hermit.

The playful ABCs format used in this book will help children to remember what they are learning about Thomas Merton and the Christian life in general. With childlike simplicity, the book creates an open and contemplative mood for the child and grown-up sharing in the reading experience.


This is a lovely, illustrated book which tells about the life of Thomas Merton, a monk, born in France, educated in England and the United States, and who eventually felt the call of God, became a monk and lived at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky.  Each page has one or more examples of each letter of the alphabet. Merton’s life story can serve as a role model for young children, demonstrating kindness, love and dedication.  He lived a purpose-driven life, advocating for peace and believing that the Earth is alive with God’s presence. –Congregational Libraries Today

Gregory Ryan is a charter member of the International Thomas Merton Society. He has published articles and book reviews in a number of Thomas Merton journals, and has been an elementary school teacher for over forty years. He resides with his wife, Elizabeth, in Wall NJ.

Elizabeth Ryan, the illustrator, is a painter with a degree from the Tyler School of Art. For over thirty years she has taught painting and shown her work in galleries throughout New Jersey.

Hardcover, 2017

Children's Saints