A housing crisis is clamping down on middle-income workers—teachers like Renata Sanchez—in prosperous California
Culture Children's Books
Let There Be Light
Hitchen’s Baby Believer series (First Bible Basics, Psalms of Praise) combines inviting illustrations and simple Bible truths geared for young audiences. Her latest installment, Let There Be Light, reads first as an opposites primer—light and dark, alone and together. Hitchen includes related Scripture verses young children can grow into, helping familiarize them with the actual words of Holy Writ. Jessica Blanchard’s use of earth tones in the illustrations helps ground the book’s playful, angular shapes. A delightful, well-crafted resource for those who want to share God’s truths with young children. (Ages 0-3)
Who Sang the First Song?
Award-winning singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb released her first kids’ album, Sing: Creation Songs, this past September. She continued her celebration of creation with the subsequent release of her first board book, Who Sang the First Song? While reading this book parents may need to clarify for their children that God spoke—rather than sang—the world into creation, but as a Narnia-like metaphor, Holcomb’s imaginative lyrics work. Kayla Harren’s whimsical illustrations portray parents and children of all colors with playful lions, polar bears, raccoons, and other animals before the Fall. The book and album go better together. (Ages 0-3)
The Doctor Who Became a Preacher
One of four selections in the Banner Board Book series, this biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones introduces young children to The Doctor Who Became a Preacher. In simple terms, VanDoodewaard shows the love of God and man that led Lloyd-Jones to leave medicine for the pulpit. Although Blair Bailie’s illustrations occasionally appear inconsistent, she creates a warm, classic feel with her colorful characters. The pages also feel thinner and less substantive than comparable board books, but with so few Christian board book biographies available, this 16-page treatment provides a much-needed first look at a Christian hero. (Ages 1-3)
The Friend Who Forgives
Author Dan DeWitt’s first picture book follows the life of the Apostle Peter. DeWitt grounds our hope for forgiveness in Christ’s resurrection, and he shows that—like Peter—we can learn from our mistakes with God’s help. Catalina Echeverri’s quirky illustrations keep kids chuckling (watch for the plucky rooster!), although she treats Peter’s denial of Jesus and his later restoration with appropriate gravity. This retelling isn’t as original or well-paced as some books in the Tales That Tell the Truth series (e.g., The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross), but this fun read packs a theological punch. (Ages 4-8)
What Every Child Should Know About Prayer by Nancy Guthrie (10Publishing, 2018) effectively introduces early-elementary children to the practice of prayer. In the span of 144 pages, Guthrie walks kids one step at a time through the how, when, where, why, and to Whom of Biblical prayer. Jenny Brake’s imaginative illustrations widen the book’s appeal with children from diverse backgrounds. The text features Bible verses throughout its pages, though some families may not be familiar with the New Living Translation.
For kids ages 9-12, S.D. Smith’s Green Ember series reaches a climax in Ember Rising (Story Warren Books, 2018). Originally begun in 2016, this “new story with an old soul” brings our favorite rabbits with swords into a wider confrontation with Morbin’s wolves, raptors, and other evil servants. Overall Smith’s storytelling satisfies, including a brilliant final chapter that will leave readers longing for the true Mended Wood. —E.W.