January: Are you looking to bring the bible into everyday life with your child? Are you wondering where to start? Why not start at the beginning?
Try reading through a whole child’s bible a little bit each day, starting right at the beginning. You could incorporate this as an extra story at bedtime (what a treat!) or another time when your child likes to snuggle up to read with you. There are so many great bible storybooks out there for you to try. When you’ve finished one, why not start again with a different one? This will give your child a regular intake of the word as well as a wonderful overview of the bigger story of God’s plan. Be flexible to wonder, question, imagine and explore anything that grabs your child’s attention as you read together.
As your child grows you could encourage them to read to you every other time and then begin to read a standard bible together, or go through a book of the bible and share what jumps out at you or what you what to find out more about or what you feel Jesus is showing you and more…
Here are some tried and tested bibles to inspire you to get started…
February: Help your child to explore and experience some of the many aspects of God’s character through this beautiful book, ‘Jesus Showed Us!’ by Brad Jersak and illustrated by Shari-Anne Vis.
The unusual images make this book stand out as something different and it certainly is! Each page focusses in on a different facet of the character of God through how Jesus lived. The main aim of the book is to show us that God is love, He is real, He is with us and He can be known by us.
I recommend savouring each page with your child and using as a launch pad to discovering more about God together. Use as a starter for prayer or an Adventure Time; imagine being in the moment that each image portrays, to draw near to Christ yourselves. Or go exploring the stories referred to in other bibles and storybooks to delve deeper into God’s character!
A real treasure of a book. Plus free colouring pages available at Brad Jersak’s website here.
March: This month’s book is ‘The Funniest Animals God ever made’ by Rosie Greening, illustrated by Stuart Lynch.
I came across this wonderfully fun treasure of a board book recently. It’s perfect for little hands that want to explore and feel their way around the world! Each page explores a weird and wonderful creature such as a narwhal or armadillo with big bright illustrations and a touch and feel section. The bold colourful text wonders about each animal with intriguing questions about their strange features!
A great read that introduces God’s creativity to young children. Perfect for babies and pre-schoolers. Even my five year old loved exploring each page!
April: Here’s an intriguing book to help you explore some of Jesus’ friends over the course of history. ‘Everyone a child should know’ by Clare Heath-Whyte is thoughtfully written, with sweet illustrations by Jenny Brake.
Each page focuses on one of 52 followers of Jesus, highlighting their uniqueness in living for him and how they had a big impact on the world around them. You and your child will be introduced to both familiar and completely new people who stepped out in faith to put Jesus first in their lives and may well spark new interests, discussions and wonderings. The encouraging message that everyone’s life is significant rings loud and clear across the book.
Inspiring and thought provoking; highly recommended for ages 4-8
May: ‘Little Mole Finds Hope’ by Glenys Nellist and cleverly illustrated by Sarah Garland is this month’s book to invest in! It’s a sweet story of a small mole and his Mama and a search for the meaning of hope in a seemingly dark, wintry time.
It’s a perfect conversation starter for sharing emotions with your child as well as bringing more understanding on what hope actually means for us when we are struggling. There are some lovely ideas at the end of the book on ways to interact and empathise with your child, to bring hope into the everyday.
The delicate illustrations add to the promise of light in the darkness and show that how we look at things is so important. A lovely story of kindness, compassion and of course hope!
Perfect for 4 – 7 year olds
Glenys Nellist has written many excellent books for children. She has a wonderful talent for communicating profound truths to the young and enabling them to engage with God in a personal way. I highly recommend checking out her other books and her website here.
June: Are you looking for ways to help children learn more about who God really is in a way that relates to their everyday lives? Well, look no further! ‘Images of God’ by Marie-Helene Delval is the perfect introduction.
The author communicates themes such as God is… mystery, covenant, joy, mercy and much much more in a clear and beautiful way. You and your child will be captivated and intrigued by the stunning illustrations and depth of thought on each page. There are 40 different charcteristics of God to explore together.
Each page could be used as a daily devotion or prayer or as inspiration for art or a curriculum on God’s character. Or use to help your child imagine being with Daddy God, Jesus or Holy Spirit as an Adventure Time starting point.
Brilliant for ages 4-9. A wonderful addition to your home library.
July: This month’s book is full of colour and life and inspiration! ‘When God Made You’ by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated by David Catrow is a super read.
It’s lilting rhyme and rhythm will draw you and your child into an experience of discovering God’s incredible heart for you. The focus of the book is that each of us is created, known, chosen and unique and we can be confident to be fully ourselves because God has made us in his image. The text urges us to consider our talents and gifts and to explore using them and being creative; to dream big and not hold back!
The bright illustrations splash across each page showing the journey of a small child as she brings light and colour to those around her. There’s plenty to explore with your child to spark conversations on kindness, creativity, love and most importantly God’s heart for us.
A great read for ages 4-8!
September: If you haven’t discovered Make Believe Ideas yet then check them out! Each book is full of colour, quality text and creativity! This month’s book is from their range: ‘God loves you just the way you are’ by James Dillon.
Your child will love the bright, fun pictures of different animals exploring the world around them in their unique way, whether noisy, shy, messy or grumpy. The overall message rings loud and clear that God loves each one just as they are! A wonderful book to help your child explore emotions and actions in a simple way, learning that they are truly loved no matter what!
A great read for ages 3-6!
October: ‘God knows all about me’ written by Claire Page and illustrated by Clare Fennell is a wonderful rhyming padded board book to treasure.
This book will help the child in your life to learn that God is interested in every part of their lives, from their actions to their whereabouts to their bodies. Each page has colourful, interesting illustrations depicting different children experiencing the ups and downs of everday life. There’s plenty to chat about and relate to!
You could make sharing this book an interactive experience with fun actions for each page and help your child to join in with the regular refrain ‘God knows all about me.’ A super book to build faith in our God, who is always with us and always knows us!
Great fun for ages 0-4 years.
November: Sally Lloyd-Jones is a wonderful children’s author. She has written so many excellent stories and this month’s book is no exception! Baby Wren and the Great Gift is a beautiful book, full of glorious illustrations and engaging text that draws you into Baby Wren’s world and her search for her own gift.
This story offers an antidote to comparison through appreciation, wonder and the self-discovery of our own uniqueness. Use as a starting point to explore your own gifts and talents as well as celebrate those of others.
Check out Sally’s website for some free downloads to go with this book!
December: Are you hunting out great books to build anticipation for Christmas? There are so many wonderful ones to choose from. Here are two new ones by a couple of my favourite authors!
Little Mole’s Christmas Gift by Glenys Nellist is the second story about sweet Little Mole. A lovely book focussed on kindness and consideration of others. With endearing illustrations this is a real gem to help you explore the true heart of Christmas with the child in your life.
Perfect for 3-6 year olds.
The Jesus Storybook Bible A Christmas Collection by best-selling author Sally Lloyd-Jones has just been published! It brings together the three Christmas stories from The Storybook Bible but with added extras to create a beautiful book to experience together.
There are buttons to press for Christmas music or a reading from David Suchet. And for each day of Advent there is a short story, bible verse and truth to explore to take you through God’s big story from Genesis to Christ’s birth.
Guaranteed to become a book to treasure each December. Great for 4-8 year olds.