Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Christ Centered Books for Easter

I have been building my kids' collection of Easter books and Christmas books since I had a newborn, adding to the collection each year.  I also used to work in a Christian bookstore, and took charge of the children's section there.  I will tell you something -- it is MUCH easier to find good Christ centered Christmas books than Easter books.  Some Christian books take Christ's death and resurrection too lightly and and some are way too wordy or heavy for young children.  But there are really good books out there, and I'm sure there are more I don't even know about!  Start your collection now if you haven't before, by adding one or two to your child's Easter basket this year!  Here is my list of good choices, broken down into 3 categories: Storybook Bibles, Bible narratives and allegorical tales.

1. Storybook Bibles -- I am so thankful for the increasing number of really good storybook Bibles that have been published in the past 10 years or so, especially when it comes to reading the Bible as one whole story to young children.  My goal is to build our collection of good children's Bibles so we are always working through one together (right now we are reading two!) Why not make it an Easter tradition to receive a new story Bible? My personal favorite is the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  We gave this to our kids for Christmas this year and Susie (3 1/2) is absolutely enamored with it.  I would recommend this Bible to young preschoolers up to early elementary (but be prepared to be challenged yourself while reading it!).  Here are others I like, roughly in age order:
  • Jesus Hug-a-Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (I have written about this quite a bit before! My favorite for babies.)
  • God is Great Bible Stories for Toddlers by Carolyn Larson (we wore ours out and I have a new one coming for Chip's Easter basket this year).
  • Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm (we put this one in Susie's Easter basket last year and loved reading it together -- so well done).
  • Read Aloud Bible Stories 4 Volume set by Ella Lindvall (don't have these, but I have read them many times in our church nursery, and they are excellent!)
  • Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
  • The Golden Children's Bible (a classic older one with fewer pictures)
  • The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos (another older one with very few pictures -- I love the way this is written!  We read this to our 4 year old's SS class, but I would typically recommend it for early elementary and up).
2. Bible Narratives -- In some ways this type of book is a dime a dozen.  You can certainly find inexpensive paperback books about Christ's death and resurrection, and perhaps some of those are just fine.  But some are certainly better than others! I like to have a good assortment in our collection because some have better pictures, some are better for different ages, etc. Yesterday Chip was flipping through one and pointed out and said "Jesus!" "Cross!"  He is not a fantastic talker, so I was so excited that his exposure to good books has taught him this.  Here are my top choices:
  • Christian Focus has a little collection of board books called "Sent to Save" that each focus on how Christ saves his people that are really well done.  I don't think anyone does good serious board books like Christian Focus (side note: I also really LOVE their board books about God's character and prayer).  They will not have flashy sparkly pictures, but they have very sound content!  I would recommend Jesus Helps His People or Jesus Finds His People for your littlest readers this Easter.
  • Bright Easter Day by Julie Steigmeier is my new favorite!  I love the realistic illustrations and well written story.  Even though it rhymes, it is very true to the Biblical account.  
  • The Very First Easter by Paul Maier is still too long for my kids to sit and listen to all at once, but it is top notch for sure.  I think this beautiful book holds the bar up high on Bible narrative books -- there just isn't a better one (in my opinion!).
3. Allegorical tales -- some books teach about Christ in a different way, without actually telling a narrative account of the Easter story.  I like to read allegories myself, and they are a great way to teach children!  Remember when you first read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and rejoiced with all your heart that Aslan was alive again?  Allegories give us a new look on a familiar story.  Here are some I like:
  • The Tale of Three Trees (classic -- there are several versions out there)
  • The Legend of the Easter Lily (I like this story but wish it would be redone with more serious pictures since the story is more grown up than it looks)
  • Benjamin's Box (a good one to go with Resurrection Eggs)
  • R.C. Sproul's children's stories, especially The Prince's Poison Cup and The Priest with Dirty Robes.  We don't own these yet -- again, I'm saving them until my kids are old enough to really appreciate them, but they set the bar on allegories.  Just like Maier's book on the first Easter, these books are so well written, they can be enjoyed by children of all ages.  Well worth the price you'll invest.
 What are your favorites?  Do you have some I haven't yet seen?

1 comment:

Desiring Virtue said...

Yay! Thank you for sharing Gretchen!