God’s people are a people who listen to stories: stories of God’s action and faithfulness, stories of humanity's failures and longing for restoration, stories of God’s provision in and through his Son Jesus. It is no coincidence that young children naturally love to listen to tales about the world around them. Children are natural learners who constantly ask questions and seek answers. The Bible tells us that God has put eternity into our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), which I take to mean that each of us is designed to want more. We can try to find it in everything but God, but as Augustine says, our hearts will continue to be restless until we find our rest in God.
Because we are designed by God to long for bigger and compelling stories, and because children are naturally voracious learners, I want to recommend several resources to help you encourage learning and placing your child in the grandest of stories.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally-Lloyd Jones—in my opinion, a must for every household.
The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung does a fantastic job in summarizing the overarching story of the Bible in a book that takes about 15 minutes to read.
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd Jones is a devotional that will encourage both parents and children. The illustrations are so good I regularly steal them for sermons and lessons.
Found by Sally Lloyd Jones—are you seeing a pattern here? You can’t go wrong with this author! This is a board book paraphrasing Psalm 23.
Baby’s Hug-a-Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones is a board book children’s bible with about 10 stories. Sandra McCrackin in her side project, Rain for Roots, wrote an entire album setting these stories to music.
The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos is an older children’s Bible that is fantastic and covers much of Scripture. It is meant to be read by an adult to a child and is probably the best way to bridge between children’s picture Bibles and the Bible you read.
Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd Jones—a great read for Advent and Christmas! We base our Christmas Pageant on this book.
The Radical Book for Kids by Champ Thornton is a wonderfully engaging book kids in 3rd through 8th grade will really enjoy. It is part systematic theology, part history of Christianity, pat life application lessons. I highly recommend this!
The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross by Carl Lafterton—an engaging and beautiful picture book that really lays out the reason why Jesus came to die for us and what his work on the cross means.
God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell is a brand new book that teaches parents and children about the rich diversity God created for all of humanity. This book can help change our families, church, and an entire generation as we celebrate diversity rather than ignore or war against it.
The Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchell is a wonderfully written book about Jesus’ arrival.
The Storm the Stopped by Alison Mitchell—I love this book because it retells Jesus’ calming the storm in a way that is engaging to small children and ties it back to the point that when Jesus calms the storm, he is doing stuff only God can do…thus, Jesus is God!
The One O’Clock Miracle by Alison Mitchell won the Christian Book Awards “Book of the Year: Speaking Volumes” award in 2016. I really appreciate this author because she brings this story alive!
Long Story Short and Old Story New by Marty Machowski coordinate with our Children’s Worship lesson and have five 10 minute devotionals for your family each week. If you are wanting to lead devotionals for your family and are looking for a resource, check out these two volumes!
Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids by David Murray is exactly the type of resource that is designed to help your child begin to read an adult Bible on his/her own. With short readings (about 2-5 verses) a day, this plan goes through the major parts of the Bible in a winsome and manageable way. I will be giving these as gifts to our soon to be Children’s Worship Graduates and I think every child, when they are around 3-5th grade (and even through 9th grade) would really love this book.
This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jaquelle Crowe—a book for teenagers written by a teenager. A mercifully short and highly readable as well as practical book to give your teenager.
And of course, at some point you should buy your child a Bible. I like the ESV for its faithfulness and readability, but there are other translations out there. If you’d like help in narrowing down the choices, let me know!
I have all of these books in my office, please let me know if you’d like to thumb through any of them!