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Culture Children's Books
Foundations by Ruth Chou Simons and Troy Simons: Ruth and Troy Simons write passionately in Foundations (which releases March 3) about the importance of cultivating family worship in the home: “Everything we desire for our families … begins with heeding the instruction given to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6 to remember and declare the faithful works of God.” With Ruth’s nature-inspired watercolor artwork as the backdrop, Ruth and Troy lead readers through 12 Biblical foundations that they say anchor their family. Each foundation has five short devotionals with discussion questions and a suggested memory verse. This lovely book will inspire families to ponder more deeply what foundations are guiding their homes. (Ages 8 and up)
Puritan Heroes by Glenda Faye Mathes and Joel R. Beeke: This book serves as a Puritan primer, providing older children with an overview of Puritanism and a closer look at 21 Puritan heroes, including Jeremiah Burroughs, Matthew Henry, and Jonathan Edwards. The glossy pages intermingle text with artwork, illustrations, and photographs. The book concludes by summarizing what we can learn from the Puritans’ lives and work. The appendix features a glossary and study questions for each chapter, and the book’s inside cover presents a helpful timeline identifying the lifespans of the 21 Puritan leaders in relation to key rulers and historical events. (Ages 8-14)
Epic Devotions by Aaron Armstrong: This graphic-novel-inspired book offers devotions for 52 Weeks in the Story That Changed the World. The devotional builds upon the Bible storybook Epic and chronologically goes through key Bible stories to show how the whole of God’s Word points us to Jesus and God’s rescue plan. Each entry gives a key Scripture verse, a suggested Scripture reading, thoughts and questions for discussion, action steps to apply the lesson, and a memory verse. The devotional, which families can use together or children can read individually, features bright, appealing illustrations by Heath McPherson. (Ages 8-12)
Jesus and the Lions’ Den by Alison Mitchell: Mitchell opens her latest Tales That Tell the Truth picture book by explaining to children that when we look carefully we can find Jesus moments in Old Testament Bible stories like Daniel in the lions’ den. To help children spot the moments when Daniel “is a little bit like Jesus,” artist Catalina Echeverri incorporates four special lion faces in her illustrations. After telling Daniel’s story, Mitchell then goes back through the plot to identify and explain the significance of the moments when Daniel prefigures Jesus. The endpapers suggest additional Old Testament stories families can read to learn about other Bible figures who point to Jesus. (Ages 4-8)
Far From Home by Sarah Parker Rubio: A young boy’s parents awaken him in the night and tell him they must flee their home immediately. On the long journey the boy complains until a woman tells him a story about another refugee boy, Jesus, who fled with his parents to Egypt. Rubio’s story sensitively handles the plight of modern-day refugee children, showing how hope and comfort can spring even out of deep loss. Two disappointments: The illustrations portray Jesus as older than a toddler when he flees to Egypt, and the text tells how Jesus would grow up to help, heal, and feed people but overlooks His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. (Ages 4-8)
In Jesus and the Very Big Surprise (The Good Book Company, 2020), singer-songwriter Randall Goodgame uses the parable of the master and servants in Luke 12 to help children understand Jesus’ future return and what they can do to be ready while they wait. The story emphasizes the many ways Jesus has surprised us—from His arrival as a baby born in a stable to His death and resurrection: “Like the master in the story, Jesus surprised everyone by using his power to serve.” Catalina Echeverri returns to illustrate this ninth book in the Tales That Tell the Truth series.
Art Rainer’s The Secret Slide Money Club (B&H, 2019) is a zany, early-reader series that teaches kids the key principles of Biblical financial freedom. The Great Lemonade Stand Stand-off addresses giving, The Mad Cash Dash discusses saving, and Trouble at the Toy Store explores wise spending.
Sally Michael’s The World Created, Fallen, Redeemed, and Restored (Truth78, 2019) outlines God’s gospel plan as a framework to help children build a stronger understanding of the Bible’s unified message.
Marc Olson’s The World of the Old Testament (Beaming Books, 2019) looks promising with its offer to help children discover “more about the Bible by exploring the ancient world.” But Olson alleges on pages 6 and 7 that both historical and mythic storytelling are in the Bible: “Many of the stories in the first chapters of Genesis contain mythic elements.” Parents seeking a sound Biblical resource should look elsewhere.