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Faith builders

Children's Books

Faith builders

Four Christian picture books

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer

Danielle Hitchen

This board book introduces babies and toddlers to basic Christian truths. Unlike other books that count Bible characters or animals on the ark, Hitchen numbers gospel accounts, fruits of the Spirit, and the like. Short Bible verses appear on many pages, helping little ones become familiar with God’s Word. Young children might not understand all the text or symbolic illustrations, but they can enjoy the bold colors, simple shapes, and linguistic repetition. Parents of toddlers may want to talk about the pictures using the text as a springboard rather than reading it outright. A well-designed first catechism. (Ages 0-4)

Found: Psalm 23

Sally Lloyd-Jones

Ten years after the first edition of The Jesus Storybook Bible, illustrator Jago breathes new life into the Shepherd’s Psalm chapter—this time presenting it in board book format. With warm, sunny tones, he brings a new level of emotion and complexity to the text both parents and children can appreciate. Lloyd-Jones’ words aren’t literal Bible translations (e.g., she replaces “valley of the shadow of death” with “dark, scary, lonely places”). But fans of her style will find this to be another engaging presentation of God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” (Ages 0-4)

When God Made You

Matthew Paul Turner

A current bestseller at Amazon.com, When God Made You celebrates God’s creation of “you” (the reader) with unique gifts and dreams. The language soars at times, but at other times feels clunky. Turner occasionally goes too far in portraying God’s pleasure in us (“You being you is God’s dream coming true”) without noting our flaws. While the book conveys important truths, the plot remains thin and the ending less than satisfying. Families may still enjoy the overall presentation—especially David Catrow’s buoyant, rainbow-colored illustrations. A winsome African-American heroine invites young readers to think about life from her perspective. (Ages 4-8)

Peter Martyr Vermigli

Simonetta Carr

Simonetta Carr’s Christian Biographies for Young Readers fill an important niche—serious portrayals of Christian heroes in picture book form. Here, Carr describes Protestant Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli in a straightforward, substantive way. Despite Vermigli’s exciting life (including escapes from Roman Catholic authorities), the book isn’t very dramatic, but Carr makes Vermigli’s theological battles understandable. Rich, earthy illustrations by Joel Spector, numerous woodcut maps, and a timeline add historical context. Overall, an informative look at a lesser-known Reformer from Italy. (Ages 10-up)

Afterword

WORLD named the final book in Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather series its 2014 Children’s Book of the Year. A new book set in the same world, Wingfeather Tales (edited by Andrew Peterson, Rabbit Room Press, 2016), fails to live up to the four original offerings: Peterson’s own contribution sings, but not his collaborators’ poem, novella, and short stories.

Handout

Nathan and Sally Clarkson. (Handout)

A more successful collaboration, Different (Tyndale, 2017) by Sally Clarkson and her son, Nathan, tells of a strained relationship. Nathan’s mental challenges, including obsessive compulsive disorder and a combative personality, make everyday life difficult. The book touches on practical helps for those with similar burdens, but mother and son focus more on how God meets and changes them in their struggles. Different testifies to God’s love working through human weakness: A brush with pornography makes this best suited for teens and adults. —E.W.