One of the first Grow Christians’ post I remember reading is Making Room in the Basket for the Easter Story by Regina Walton. This post came just a month into Grow Christians’ existence and it captured what this community has done so well from the very beginning. Regina Walton wrote back in March 2016,
Complicating this for progressive Christian parents is that many children’s books on the Easter story emphasize a heavy-handed version of atonement theology (God demanded Christ’s sacrificial death in humankind’s place because of sin), or contain subtle or not-so-subtle anti-Semitism in the way Jewish authorities are depicted or described. Some of us may have our own “baggage” around the Passion story from faith backgrounds that depicted Jesus’ death graphically and seemed to revel in the gore and extreme suffering of the Crucifixion. It’s easy to see why many parents would rather gloss over the events of Holy Week altogether, and reach instead for blessedly simple chocolate bunnies and jellybeans.
Regina acknowledged that yes, it can be difficult to find age appropriate resources that align with our Episcopal identity and understanding of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Yes, it is easier to fill up the Easter basket with plastic eggs and fluffy rabbits. But God entrusted these children into our care. Whether they are the children in our homes or the children in our churches, we promised at their baptisms to do all in our power to support them in their life in Christ. So, it’s worth the extra effort to push some of those chocolate bunnies out of the way to make room for ‘the story’ in this year’s Easter basket. Here are some of the books published since Regina’s post seven years ago that our household recommends.
For the youngest children
What is God Like by by
Elementary Age Children
And for the Adult Easter Basket
New Directions for Holy Questions by Claire Brown and Anita Peebles
Faithful Celebrations: Making Time for God from Mardi Gras through Pentecost by Sharon Ely Pearson
And finally, it might be beneficial for all adults to read this 2017 article from Patheos about how to talk to (and not talk to) kids about Easter. Jesus’ death and resurrection can be incredibly confusing for young children. If your kids are anything like mine, then they will have loads of questions after hearing the stories of Good Friday and Easter. If you need a little bit of coaching on (avoiding) substitutionary atonement, then this article is for you.
What books will be in your Easter baskets?