One of my favorite things about having preschool-aged kids was our storytimes. What could be better than snuggling on the couch, discovering new truths, exciting tales, and fantastic art for the first time with the little people I love?
In storytime, the book choice is important! There are many fantastic secular storybooks, but what of Christian picture books? Isn’t it difficult to find engaging and creative books for young children that glorify Christ?
Relax! I’ve got you covered. There are so many fantastic Christian books available that I really had to pick and choose. You’ll find a lot of great lists. Mine is eccentric… a little theology here, a fun parable there, and a missionary now and again. This is a list of our absolute favorites. When you’re done reading about our favorites, be sure to leave yours as well. Don’t forget to post a link, so we can all be certain that we’re locating the correct books.
Here’s our list:
Published by New Leaf Publishing Group, this set of four books covers The Scripture, The Gospel, The Trinity and The Mission. They are fantastic – hands down, the best little theology picture books I’ve found. If you click on the title above, it will take you to a review of the series that I’ve already written.
This series is a wonderful way to start your kids out with biographies of heroes in Christian history. My children were fascinated by the stories, and later were excited to learn more about each person. Each two page spread has a few short paragraphs on one side, with a summary sentence on the other. If your children are very young, you can read just the summary to them. We like the summary sentence because as the boys learned to read, they would read the sentence, and I would read the other page. So far, the series includes books about George Müller, Corrie ten Boom, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, John Calvin, David Livingstone, Helen Roseveare, Eric Liddell, and Martin Luther.
Dr. Sproul’s books are gorgeous, well-written, and they have a point. Reformation Trust did a terrific job with these books. The Prince’s Poison Cup is an allegory about Christ’s sacrifice for us. Right now (April 11, 2012), the DVD animatic and CD audiobook are on sale for $5! (I have no idea how long that will last, but Ligonier runs occasional sales). You purchase it or listen to samples of Dr. Sproul reading here.
Dr. Maier’s picture book (published by Thriven Financial for Lutherans) about Martin Luther is fantastic – and beautifully made. A professor of history, Dr. Maier has a gift for distilling the story for children. His “The Very First” series is also wonderful (The Very First: Christmas, Easter, Christians). Published by Concordia Publishing House, they each tell the story of a parent or grandparent talking to a child about an aspect of the biblical story. I haven’t read Dr. Maier’s “The Real Story” series, but I imagine it’s just as wonderful as the rest of his books for children.
The Erik Series by Jeannie St. John Taylor (ages 4-8)
These were some of my children’s favorite books in preschool and kindergarten – my children loved the books so much they sometimes slept with these! They are sweet, they answer questions kids really worry about, and Erik is just a kid sincerely trying to follow Jesus. Jeannie St. John Taylor is also the illustrator; her paintings are fun! These are published by Kregel Kidzone. The titles include: How I Pray for My Friends, Am I Making God Smile?, Am I Trusting?, Am I Forgiving?, Am I Praying?, Erik’s Christmas Gift Exchange.
These are wonderful resources. I love using them with my children – and when I teach others. David Haidle is an incredible artist, and Helen has a gift with words. The Creation Story for Children (Master Books) has a paragraph or two on each spread about the day of creation, and a verse or two from Psalms. At the end of the book, there are several pages talking about some of the amazing creatures God created. He is My Shepherd (Multnomah) explains each verse from Psalm 23 in the context of shepherding. There are many facts about sheep, their behavior and caring for them, that many of us don’t know. It’s fascinating to learn what the psalm really means.
This colorful book published by Crossway is a fun way to introduce kids to 26 of the Church’s important figures. Kids will learn about figures like Terullian, Monica-mother-of-Augustine, Anne Bradstreet, and John Calvin. My children enjoy the book even more now that they’ve been reading biographies of the people outlined.
We’ve read this fantastic biography (published by Tommy Nelson) around Thanksgiving each year since the boys were three years old. There’s quite a bit of text, so at first it took us a week or so of storytimes to read all the way through. The book is well-written, fascinating, and a testimony to God’s sovereign power over the lives of men. The paintings by Shannon Stirnweis are wonderful as well. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
So… I can’t finish my post without suggesting a couple of my favorite magazines. I’m totally biased, of course.
These are two of our family’s favorite magazines (and my kids have read a lot of magazines!). They are just fantastic, and every page points to Jesus. What’s not to love?
Upper Room’s Pockets (ages 6-12)
This is another one of our favorite magazines for kids. There are fun stories, games, poems, and contests.
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There are more wonderful books I’d love to suggest, but I’m out of words, and it’s time to start school. So, feel free to suggest your favorite Christian children’s books! Don’t forget those links, so we can be sure we’re looking at the right books!
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a freelance children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., Pockets, Devozine, Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.