This giveaway is sponsored by ZonderKidz, a division of HarperCollins Christian publishing. It contains affiliate links, use of which supports the Grow Christians blog.
Update: This giveaway is now closed (a winner was announced on our Facebook page). But the books reviewed are just as good as they were before, so read through to learn more about teaching the faith with children’s books.
Last month I had the good fortune to meet a member of ZonderKidz’ marketing department. It didn’t take long for us to realize we had a few things in common. Not only did we both live in greater Grand Rapids, Michigan (a wonderful place!), we also shared a desire to get good resources into the hands of parents and churches.
When she discovered I edited this blog, she promised to send me a package of children’s books to review. When I opened it, I knew that the books inside weren’t meant for me; they were meant for one of our readers. So today’s post will walk you through these resources from ZonderKidz with some quick reviews. At the end I’ll let you know how you can enter to receive them all. They would be great for your family or your church library; there are some real winners in here that will teach the faith wherever they are found.
The giveaway includes…
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible
This is a classic retelling of the highlights of Holy Scripture with beautiful watercolor illustrations. It includes stories from Genesis to Revelation and is a widely recommended children’s Bible. Archbishop Tutu is one of the leading lights of the Anglican Communion and indeed, the whole world. You can’t go wrong reading this with a child. It contains retellings of Scripture in words and a format that even young children will understand. The book is engaging, enjoyable, and deeply meaningful.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nancy Tillman’s Let There Be Light
This gorgeously illustrated book contains the text of the Creation story from Archbishop Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible. The paintings are so beautiful, some took my breath away. Especially notable is the illustration which goes along with God’s decision to make people: a diversity of children, all with beautiful glittering crowns on their heads, standing alongside baby elephant, giraffe, tiger and stork.
Any child who reads this book will see their human dignity reflected in this page. It’s so well done it could be on the shelf of an adult as well – especially on the shelf of an adult who will pull it down and read it aloud!
Sally Lloyd-Jones’s Jesus Storybook Bible (includes audio CDs)
This book is another retelling of the Bible for children, but with a twist. The author connects the stories to the person and message of Jesus Christ. For example, this children’s Bible includes the story of the binding of Isaac (Genesis 22), which I have never seen in any other children’s Bible. The author connects the story to the crucifixion, writing
Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on his back. Like Isaac, he would trust his Father and do what his Father asked. He wouldn’t struggle or run away. Who was he? God’s Son, his only Son – the Son he loved.
Every children’s Bible interprets the text. Some readers may not be entirely comfortable with some of Sally Lloyd-Jones’ interpretations. Speaking personally, I found her description of salvation as God’s “Secret Rescue Plan” a little grating. Then again, I’m not the target audience – and this type of language is very appealing to children. Her read of the Hebrew Bible as focused on Jesus can also cause issues; for example, the prophet Isaiah is summarized simply as a letter proclaiming the future birth of Christ. But her text and pacing are strong and capture a reader’s attention.
A child new to the Bible would find much to enjoy in this text, and would gain capacity to understand the Bible’s meaning as well as its content.
Mike Berenstain’s The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Sunday.
This story helps children understand that Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus, not about Easter eggs and bunnies – but that eggs and bunnies can help us celebrate and rejoice. Sister is relieved; she likes her candy! My favorite section:
The Bear family said goodbye to Preacher Brown, Miz McGrizz, and the rest of their friends at the Chapel in the Woods and walked home through the beautiful spring countryside. They saw robins nesting on their pretty blue eggs and families of bunnies hopping about with their new babies. “Look!” said Sister. “Those are real live Easter eggs and Easter bunnies.” Mama smiled. “I think those kinds of eggs and bunnies are much more a part of Easter than any painted eggs or chocolate bunnies,” she said. “They are a part of God’s creation.” “Yes,” Papa agreed. “Just like we are a part of God’s creation too.”
I thought this book was adorable and had a great message; if my children were still young enough to enjoy it, it would be in their Easter baskets.
Glenys Nellist and Sophie Allsop’s Love Letters from God Bible Stories
This beautiful book incorporates a retelling of Scripture along with lift-the-flap letters from God helping young readers understand how to find themselves in the story. For example, the retelling of the story of David and Goliath includes a little lift-the-flap letter in which God writes, “Never forget I am bigger and stronger than anything you might be scared of. So try to be like David – do not be afraid. Remember, I am always with you.”
This is a great book for elementary children who will enjoy the illustrations and also be able to open and read the letters (without tearing them off the page like some preschoolers might!). The Bible stories are true to the text and the life lessons cultivate faith.
If your child is too old for Berenstain Bears, but still young enough to enjoy picture books, this would be a great Easter basket inclusion.
Chris Auer’s The Legend of the Sand Dollar
This would be a lovely book for people who live anywhere near sand dollars. I honestly don’t know that I have ever seen one in person! It’s definitely a book with a message to impart; there’s hardly any plot. But as a retelling of a legend, it does the job with colorful and engaging illustrations. The sand dollar is described as bearing the imprint of the star of Bethlehem, the Christmas poinsettia, the wounds of Christ, and the Easter lily, with five doves of peace inside.
If your family lives anywhere that you might find sand dollars, this retelling will help children think again about their meaning.
How to Enter
Want to enter our giveaway and maybe get them all? To do so, you need to do two things:
- Like the Grow Christians Facebook page.
- Comment on the Facebook post announcing this giveaway and let us know why you are entering. Is there a particular book that caught your eye? Are you planning to give any away?
Anyone over 13 living within the United States is eligible to enter this giveaway. A winner will be selected at random on April 3rd and be notified by Facebook Messenger to provide a USPS address. The winner must provide an address within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen; this will occur until a final winner is announced. So if you enter to win, watch your Facebook Messenger on Monday, April 3rd!
Here’s the link to the Grow Christians Facebook again – see you there!