Choosing a Bible for your child
Amber Parry Strong, of Island Bay (Kids Friendly) Presbyterian Church shared this resource she wrote for the families of her community. It is a good guide from a mum obviously committed to sharing her love of the bible with her and all children. We hope you find it helpful.
God’s Big Story
With recent curriculum and Bibles like ‘The Jesus Storybook Bible’ there is a much greater emphasis on helping children understand God’s Big story as it is told RIGHT THROUGH the Bible- not just selecting favourite stories and bits. Why is this important? For a couple of challenging and interesting articles read:
The Jesus Story Book Bible
by Sally Lloyd-Jones, published by ZonderKids
The Jesus Storybook Bible is a brilliant, read to your child/group of children Bible that will have children (and adults) wanting to hear more about the God who loves them and comes to rescue them. The stories are woven together beautifully with this recurring theme and as Sally Lloyd Jones says in the introductory chapter (don’t skip it!): “It takes the whole Bible to tell this story. And at the centre of the Story is a baby. Every story whispers his name…. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle….the Child on whom everything would depend…”
Kids Friendly Advisor, Cheryl Harray, encourages churches to recommend this Bible to parents so they can simply read a chapter a day- at teatime, bedtime, breakfast- whatever works best. She has also used it very effectively in an all age service where everyone from youngest to eldest were attentive to the simple words of truth and hope.
Kaila Pettigrove: “We received a Bible for Christmas and I want to recommend it! It’s called The Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s a paraphrase version, but it’s done with such love and sensitivity! My seven-year-old commented that, “This Bible is great for children of ALL ages because it explains the WHOLE Bible in a way that is very easy to understand.” She’s right! It doesn’t just give a paraphrased version of a few selected stories, but it starts from the beginning and puts everything into the context of Jesus sent to us because God loved us!
Here is a wonderful quote from the introduction titled “The Story and the Song.’Some people think the Bible is a book of rules…The Bible certainly has rules in it…But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.’
It goes on the tell the reader/listeners that the Bible tells a Story using lots of other stories. They all fit together to make a puzzle with one piece at the middle. “Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.”
My 4-year-old son often squiggles in his seat as we have our family devotions. Tonight as my husband read aloud from the introduction and then the first story, he sat mesmerized with his mouth half-way open! I really should’ve asked HIM to write this review!
You can order The Jesus Storybook Bible by downloading the order form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to (04) 805 0134, or phone 0800 424 253. Special discounted prices are available on orders of 10+ or more.
The Jesus Storybook Curriculum
The curriculum is designed to work alongside the Bible and aims to teach ‘the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible’. I cannot recommend this curriculum highly enough. Too often, our children’s programmes are so geared at entertainment, or are so diluted of content, that the true message of what Christ has done is lost. This programme takes seriously God’s love, our sin, and that we need Jesus, our Saviour, to redeem us and our lost world. Judy Goroncy, Highgate Presbyterian.
For more about this curriculum see our Kids friendly resource “Choosing a curriculum”
The Rhyme Bible Story Book
Published by ZonderKids. Recommended by Kaila Pettigrove:
I’ve seen loads of baby bibles, toddler bibles, and kid’s bibles. Some are decent paraphrases, and some are so watered down… I wonder what the message is. This one is wonderful. The rhymes are not forced and very clever. The paraphrase often gets right to the heart of the story… even some of the more difficult ones.”
The Beginner’s Bible
Published by ZonderKids. Reviewed by Cheryl Harray, Kids Friendly Advisor, Synod of Otago & Southland
The Beginners Bible is an ideal first Bible for young children with over 90 favourite Bible stories coming to life through simple text and colourful, fun illustrations on every page.
Many churches running preschool community outreaches (eg mainly music and playgroups) give a copy of this Bible to children as they ‘graduate.’ Other churches present parents with a copy when their child is baptised or at a service of thanksgiving/dedication.
Again and again I have heard something like: “Every night we have to read a story from that book you gave my child. He/she just loves it. Thank you so much!”
The text is also very easily adapted for simple plays and interactive stories. Try the Christmas story p266-281 with groups of people responding with a sound every time you read ‘angel’ (hallelujah- sung if possible) ‘baby’ (aahhh!) ‘shepherd/sheep’ (baaa!) EASY and fun with groups of children or all ages.
The Beginner’s Bible Kid-Sized Devotions…365 Devotions to Grow Closer to God
Illustrations by Kelly Pulley. Published by Zonderkidz. Reviewed by Kaila Pettigrove, Kids Friendly Coach
I was pleasantly surprised by this little devotional. I’m very wary of resources aimed at pre-schoolers. Some are too dry, some are so sugar-coated they’ve lost their message. The Beginner’s Bible Kid-Sized Devotions really hits the nail on the head! Great structure, great theology, and thoughtful presentation all contribute to make this a very handy resource:
- Handy Size (perfect for kids to hold it while their grown-up reads)
- Handy Length (just long enough to spark discussions, but short enough to keep attention)
- Handy Illustrations (colourful and eye-catching)
- Handy Layout (Scripture is as important as the devotional)
- Handy Selection of Stories (well-chosen and edited for a holistic view of the Bible)
I recommend this as a great gift for Godparents to give for baptisms, birthdays, or other special events when a Bible has already been given.
Barnabas Children’s Bible
Every church should invest in a really good children’s bible with great illustrations. Available from www.barnabasinchurches.org.uk .
Lectionary Story Bible
By Ralph Milton and illustrated by Margaret Kyle
Our son Blake really enjoyed reading stories from this bible when he was little. Jill Kayser
Available from www.mediacom.org.au
Taku Paipera – The Maori Children’s Bible
Launched by the Bible Society of NZ at the end of 2016 this Bible is a gift to all.
This Bible will lead to the preservation of te Reo and the continuation of promoting the use of Maori language.
Animated Old Testament Bible Stories
For the Old Testament search for “Testament: Bible in Animation” on YouTube. Here is a link for the story of Joseph. These classic 20 minute films of the stories of Creation and Flood, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Elijah, Saul & David, Daniel, Jonah and Ruth offer opportunities for introducing the stories in an engaging. They work equally well with younger and older children. They usually come in three parts so ask one of your clever young people to download and merge them so you can play it as one episode. Thank you God for young people!
Audio Bible stories
If your children love to listen to stories on CD at bedtime then “Once Upon a World” is a great buy. 16 Old Testament stories and 14 New Testament stories read by actor John Le Mesurier. I’ve also used them for our children’s programme (Sunday School). Invite children to lie down on a rug and close their eyes and listen. Or give them good art materials and encourage them to creatively depict the story as they listen (this way you get to play it over and over). Or if you love pictures then create a PPT of the story to go with the audio. Jill Kayser
I love this idea posted in Building Faith. Such a creative way to explore bible stories with kids and all you need is a box of Lego and a phone and of course a bible! Why not try this during a holiday period and give your regular leaders a break. Ask other adults or teens to come and work with kids over three weeks to create a movie and then show them in church over the next 3 weeks.
Christmas holidays solved!!!! Kaila Pettigrove
This is an amazing selection of FREE bible images- photo or illustration format- so easy to put into a Power Point, or print a story-teller’s copy of the day’s Bible story. The Maps show children where things actually took place!
Download free sets of Bible story images for teaching use in PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote or JPEG formats. Use the helpful Find a story right now menu to search for a Bible story by book, character or theme or click on the photos, illustrations of contributors tabs in the main menu to browse. Christine Harrex from Lawrence Waitahuna KIDS FRIENDLY Presbyterian Church
Most of these sets of pictures have to be purchased ( £5-10) but it’s worth it for Easter and Christmas when the whole local preschool comes to the church for a morning of story and activities. Their PowerPoint® presentations for teaching the Bible to children are cost effective, simple, easy to use, Biblically and historically accurate.Christine Harrex
This resource offers Bible Story books to print free from songwriter Jill Kemp (NZ), Check out the Values series for early learning centres, Easter and Christmas booklets. Scroll right to the bottom for many FREE resources. TGhe website is a little tricky to navigate, but there is a WEALTH of free resources here from Jill Kemp.
Thoughts to make your heart sing
I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love Sally Lloyd-Jones’ wonderful “Jesus Storybook Bible”. At this year’s South Island I was gifted a Manna book voucher and to my delight found Sally’s latest book on their bookstand at the conference. “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing”, is a beautifully illustrated book of devotions (and conversations) to share with your children.
My hope and prayer is that Thoughts That Make Your Heart Sing takes the child by the hand and gently introduces them to a faith that Corrie ten Boom called, ” the Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him”. It’s great to read it together as a family or alone and my hope is that this book will inspire wonder and open up the child to questions. Sally Lloyd-Jones
Artistic Bible PPT Stories
These watercolour bible story PowerPoints are a wonderful resource for using in church, children’s programmes or community events. Thanks to Vicar Henry Martin for his amazing generosity. Available from http://sermons4kids.com/hmartin.htm
This is a favourite find from Cheryl Harray, Kids Friendly Advisor, Synod of Otago & Southland.
Why not encourage your families to memorise one short memory verse a week during 2014?
Friends and Heroes have some great videos that are just the right length for use in Messy Church celebrations – 2-3 minutes or thereabouts. They use footage from the Friends and Heroes DVDs to illustrate the song lyrics, so they go beyond just the story in the title. They’re excellent quality, both in sound and images, and the style is attractive to adults and to children. And the Christmas one has a most attractive donkey. Well worth checking out and seeing where they might fit with your themes over the coming year, even if you’re not covering that exact story. These are free, which I think most generous of F&H.” Lucy Moore, Messy Church UK