I have some recommendations for children’s books that promote the Gospel in a unique and effective way. My two year old son does not regularly go for the many Bibley books we have around. I usually have to pick them out for him; his favorites these days are the Seuss books and the Fly Guy books. So these recommendations are more from me and not from his three-year-old mind.
My Big Book of Bible Stories, by Phil A. Smouse – Got this one from Truth for Life. Try to find the audio online of Alistair Begg reading the Ruth story. The book contains 17 stories from both the Old and New Testament. They are rhymed to the tune or style of Dr. Seuss. We would read them at dinner times with our two little boys.
The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd Jones – I have this one on my e-reader. The way she works Jesus into all of the familiar stories is great. Our fave story is the one about the little girl that Jesus raises from the dead. Sally clearly shows the kindness and compassion of Jesus. She also fits in a reference to Lord of the Rings, by stating that Jesus is in the business of making the sad things come untrue. Amen!
More to come…
Just a side note… Be sure to have a hymnal or other songbook in your home in order to sing some songs together as a family. My son is so excited to pick songs from the hymnal and then end with Luther’s “Mighty Fortress” as he affectionately calls it. He has all the first verse memorized. The fun part for me is trying to sight read some obscure hymn that I’ve never heard before, just because my son picked it. All the while my wife sits nearby and laughs.
Divergent Series by Veronica Roth – Better than Hunger Games by far. This young Christian author weaves a great story of the fight for good and the evil that can exist within us all.
Pathfinder Series by Orson Scott Card – His Mormon background adds some much needed morality to the dystopian malaise. A strong and loving marriage is also on display in the book, which is often not a characteristic of a YA book. I just recently finished the second book in the series, Ruins, and though it is a little heady with the philosophy, it still kept me interested and caused me to think.
Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness – A great, innovative concept, but very graphic at times. I see boys enjoying this series more than girls. The final book in the series is one of the best. This series will get your moral imagination working. Also, romance is a part of the story, but it is meaningful and not overdone.
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi – Fast paced story about a boy beating the odds. There is some language and tough situations, but I believe it is shown in a truthful light. He has a new book called “The Drowned Cities.” I’ll hopefully read that and be able to review it soon.
Hunger Games Trilogy – I say this only to be different, but N. D. Wilson has shown that Katniss’ sacrifice is really no sacrifice at all. She goes on to do great evil against her fellow man. See his take at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2012/05/17/why-hunger-games-is-flawed-to-its-core/
Any crazy romantic paranormal dystopian fluff… I have to say that I haven’t read them, but they don’t look redemptive just by their covers. I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. But sometimes, yes, do judge it. I watch many high school students, regardless of their faith, reading books that I wouldn’t want anyone to read no matter their age. It is my hope that parents would be more aware of the content going through the heart of children.
If you haven’t read any of Trenton Stewart’s books, then you are missing out. I would choose any of his Mysterious Benedict books over the Wimpy Kids and Twilights of recent times. Trenton is able to keep you interested and keep you guessing at the same time. As a young parent of little boys, I have already started compiling this series for my shelves. My younger brother, a married man in his 20s also loved these books.
This title in the series goes back in history in order to tell us Mr. Benedict’s childhood story. Like many troubled children in stories, Nicholas has been passed from orphanage to orphanage. He has no friends, no consistency, no purpose. Part of the wonder in this book is Nicholas’ growth into a purpose and a meaning for his life. Of course, Stewart includes all the humorous wordplays and situations throughout the book.
I was rooting for Nicholas throughout the whole book. I hope that some upper elementary and middle school boys especially can find some hope and purpose from the story of Nicholas. The words in this book, although not explicitly Christian, show us the truth of relationships and sacrificing for the good of others. This is a needed corrective to the self-seeking, what’s in it for me type attitudes in children’s fiction. May the word dwell in us richly.