For God so loved
Picture books with Biblical themes
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Go and Do Likewise! by John Hendrix: In Go and Do Likewise! author and illustrator John Hendrix offers a visual feast as he shares some of Jesus’ best-known parables like the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. Hendrix writes that his latest book is not intended to be an exegetical or hermeneutical text but rather a retelling to help younger audiences hear familiar Bible stories in new ways: “My aim is to help readers imagine themselves as the first audience of these words.” His resulting compilation combines expressive illustrations with careful paraphrases for families to enjoy together. (Ages 4-10)
The God Contest by Carl Laferton: In this Tales That Tell the Truth book, Laferton contrasts Elijah’s God contest against Baal worshippers on Mount Carmel with Jesus’ final God contest on Mount Zion. The people of Elijah’s day were confused about which God to believe in, just as the people from Jesus’ time weren’t sure He was really God. In the Old Testament, holy fire consumes Elijah’s water-logged sacrifice to prove Yahweh is God. In the New Testament, Jesus rises from the dead, proving He is God. Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations energize the text. (Ages 4-8)
The Marvelous Maker by April Graney: In this creation and redemption parable, Graney uses rhyming prose to tell the story of Adamus and Genevieve who (like Adam and Eve) experience the Fall and its consequences but (unlike Adam and Eve) also witness God’s rescue plan. Monica Garofalo’s colorful illustrations enhance the story by incorporating subtle Scripture references pointing families to the Bible for further study. Since the book’s parable format and Graney’s renaming of Adam and Eve could be confusing for some young readers, parents should read it along with children to help them interpret the message. (Ages 4-8)
God Made Me Unique by Chonda Ralston (with Joni and Friends): Joni Eareckson Tada writes in the introduction that she hopes this picture book will help caregivers teach children that “God creates each unique individual and that disability is sometimes part of his plan.” With rhyming text, the book emphasizes that everyone is made in God’s image and therefore “has tremendous value, regardless of their appearance or abilities.” It also explores the important role each person plays in the larger Church body, as referenced in 1 Corinthians 12. Endnotes provide additional suggestions for helping children form a gospel-centered understanding of disability. (Ages 4-8)
How do we know Christianity is really true? Why does God let bad things happen? What happens when we die? Chris Morphew writes for middle schoolers as he tackles these tough topics through three books in the new Big Questions series (The Good Book Company, 2021).
In How Do We Know That Christianity Is Really True? Morphew helps kids evaluate historical accounts and evidence of Jesus’ resurrection so they can answer confidently the questions their peers ask about the hope they have in Christ. In Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen? Morphew engages kids in a conversation about why suffering exists and why a good God allows it, reminding them that suffering is a time to trust Jesus because “we know it’s not the whole story.” In What Happens When We Die? Morphew peels back common misconceptions about the afterlife and roots his discussion of heaven and hell in the transforming work of Jesus, who will one day return and bring “the power of heaven to heal our broken world.” —K.C.
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