Monday, September 7, 2009

Religious Books for Kids

I feel self-imposed pressure to find good Biblical literature for my kids. I have had crummy luck finding the perfect mix. I think my kids are at an age when they are younger than the "really good" ones out there. I did purchase one about two years ago that is just now perfect for my 4-year-old, but still it is a bit lacking. The stories are brief and simple, but he still seems interested. We can read the entire New Testament in one night! Probably our best Bible is Picture That! Published by Zonderkidz. It is a read-along-book. There is a little picture of a boat when the boys are supposed to say, "Boat!" There is a picture of water when they are supposed to shout, "Water." And shout they do! They like it. It is both a good way to introduce some basic Bible stories and a good way to teach your kids to follow along and track with words etc.

Still, I wanted something more. By accident I found Jan Brett's Noah's Ark.

It was mixed in with all the non-religious picture books at the library. I guess because she isn't viewed as strictly a religious writer. It is great! The pictures are engaging. The storyline is both basic and interesting---something tricky to do when writing Bible stories for young readers. That seems to be the bummer in general with retold Bible stories for young kids: they take all the excitement out of the story to get it at their level. The other problem I run in to with these types of books is that they don't edit out enough and then they are way too wordy. I find myself retelling the stories as we flip through the pictures.

I was pleased with a four volume series put out by Moody Press called Read-Aloud Bible Stories. They were first printed in 1982 and won the Gold Medallion Book Award and the C.S. Lewis Honor Book distinction.

But, once again, not a perfect fit. The story lines are perfect for a 2/3-year-old, but lacking for my 4-year-old. And the people in the pictures are a bit non-descript....especially Jesus. My middle boy kept asking where Jesus was, but every time he was referred to the artist chose to only show his back and not his face. I get the purpose behind that, but my little boy doesn't and just wanted to see this guy we talk so much about. :)

Still, I think it is a good Bible series and would be worth buying used on Amazon.

My next posting will be highlighting some disasters in this religious category, some books to stay away from....or not...I think you'll find the next post very interesting as it ends up being a spiritual discussion between me and my oldest.


Ashlee said...

Hey! Jenn put me on to a GREAT children's Bible: The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The illustrations are amazing and each story points to Christ. My boys love it and are excited to read from it.

Rebekah said...

Oh very cool! I will have to get that one! Love it! Sounds great!