we received a generous donation from a local organization of the Breakthrough Bibles (published by St Mary’s Press, which OP cites). While the Good News Translation is not my favorite, it works very well for the middle school group (grades 4-6) especially since many of our students still English as a second language. The sidebars and insert pages on topics and bible personages are very well done. Again I am not a fan of the anime style illustrations, but the kids love them. The Catechists for these classes are very enthusiastic about this bible, and the workbooks which are also available. They cover the OT over 2 years, and the NT the third year. The workbooks along with the extra material in the bible itself do a good job of covering the rest of the curriculum for those grades, commandments, beatitudes, moral life, sacraments and liturgy and of course salvation history.
By the time our students are in junior high however we prefer they start using the translation used in liturgy, namely the NAB because we rely heavily on a lectionary based program, supplemented by the regular CCD texts for those grades. By then they need a better more accurate translation. For a student as well who is ready for a more formal bible study, they need either the NAB or RSV-CE, depending on the resources they are using. The Catholic Youth Bible, also from St. Mary’s press, is a good student bible for Jr High and High school, also comes with generous inserts and extra material and very good curriculum support. It is available in either NRSV or NAB versions.
But for what this Breakthrough bible is intended to be, a first real bible (not story bible) to convey salvation history, and a familiarity with key stories and persons in that story, this does a very good job. Far to expensive to use as a text, but each year the parents and kids like this bible so much they usually purchase one for their own children to keep.
So yes I could recommend it for any middle schooler.
I have never met a 10 year old who is ready for the Scripture text in the Didache series–which we use for post Confirmation classes, 11th & 12 grade–but then I don’t know your children. It would be a very good resource however for a parent to have on hand for discussions with an advanced 10 year old.
It is no surprise that St. Mary’s press caters to youth, and to catechists and teachers who work with youth, because that is their purpose, so I don’t necessarily see that as a negative. The are one of the few publishers to provided comprehensive material – beyond Confirmation prep – for High School RE as well as for Youth Ministry (which are complementary but not the same thing). I have found isolated problems in some of their material, but nothing that is not endemic in most RE texts (rather wishy washy language regarding the commandments and topic of sin, the weight of emphasis on various aspects of the Eucharist etc.). Their good outweighs the shortcomings. In general their materials are simply too expensive for parish use, at least hear.
We got a grant for our Didache series that we use for HS CCD, the only way we could afford them, but in any case they pay for themselves in 2 years because they are not consumable as are other textbook series.