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Children's Books

Devotions and delights

Books to quiet the soul and frame a new year

Seekers by C.S. Fritz: Seekers leads families on an interactive adventure of discovering “who God is, how He works, and what He calls us to do.” It contains 20 cases—each with riddles, codes, puzzles, art, and clues—that families can solve together. Fritz chooses various themes from Scripture, such as God’s presence, power, and provision and the grace and new life we have in Christ. The colorful book’s drawings and notes resemble a sketchpad. Endnotes (for parents) include theme explanations, answers to riddles, and discussion questions. (Ages 8-12)

Defend Your Faith by Jesse Florea: This book contains 100 devotions aimed at helping kids answer the question “Why do I believe in God?” With simple and relatable writing, Florea emphasizes that having questions about God and the Bible is good, and truth is found in God’s Word and the person of Jesus Christ. The devotions fall under seven categories, some that help kids dig deeper into the Bible and others that explore science and historical figures who defended (or defamed) the faith. This book includes selected Scriptures and could complement a child’s Bible reading, but should not replace it. (Ages 8-12)

Exploring the Bible Together by David Murray: Murray likens Bible reading to an expedition into new territory. His 52-week devotional provides families a compass: Each week includes a theme, six daily Scripture readings (usually about five verses), discussion questions, a key verse to memorize, and suggested prayers. On Sundays, it provides questions to prompt discussion and reflection on the day’s sermon. In the course of a year, families will touch on major themes from the Biblical metanarrative. Murray gives parents a simple, doable structure to incorporate Bible reading as a habit into their children’s lives. (Ages 6-12)

Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey: This book teaches readers that moments are sacred, helping them to train their minds and hearts to recognize God’s tangible presence in their everyday lives. It includes rich, Biblically based prayers on topics including table blessings, mundane chores, recreational activities, celebratory events, and sorrowful moments. McKelvey wrote some liturgies for routine personal recitation, while others include leader and group responses intended for memorable or difficult occasions. McKelvey releases his second volume in February, a book of liturgies on death, grief, and eternal hope. (Ages 12 and up)

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Children's Books

This and that

Books for preteens and teens

Mr. Tiger, Betsy, and the Blue Moon by Sally Gardner: Betsy lives with her ice-cream-making father and mermaid mother on an island that was left off world maps. One day, she and her father meet a princess who has been turned into a toad. Together with Mr. Tiger and his circus troupe of tiny Gongalongs, Betsy and her parents set out to find a wish that can save the princess. This fun, whimsical story could appeal to young teens—and since the villain, giantess Princess Olaf, is more comical than scary, it is suitable for younger children as well. (Ages 8-12)

The Summer We Found the Baby by Amy Hest: Three children—Julie, Martha, and Bruno—are spending the summer at Belle Beach, Long Island. One day sisters Julie and Martha find a basket on the library steps with a baby inside. The girls take the basket, and their neighbor Bruno follows them. Chapters rotate between each child’s perspective: The book requires focused attention because the story is told out of chronological order. Each child has suffered—Julie and Martha lost their mother, and Bruno’s older brother is fighting in World War II—but love between families and neighbors gives the story warmth. (Ages 11-14)

All Thirteen by Christina Soontornvat: In July 2018, 12 boys and their soccer coach entered a cave in Thailand to explore. The monsoon rains came early, though, trapping the team and prompting a dramatic search and rescue. This book tells the true story with colorful details, interesting characters, and plenty of pictures and diagrams. Parents should be aware the book contains sidebars with an evolutionary perspective on things like cave formation. It also explains some Buddhist ideas and practices. These asides could provide opportunities for discussing worldviews while learning more about the incredible rescue. (Ages 10-14)

Cry of the Raven by Morgan Busse: In this exciting conclusion to the Ravenwood Saga, the Empire’s army marches against the alliance of Great Houses. Lord Damien and his wife Selene believe all seven houses united can defeat the enemy, but only five committ. Meanwhile, Selene’s hones her dream-walking gift to support the Empire. As the characters prepare for the final war, Selene’s allegiance to the Light and her relationship with Damien face their own tests. Themes of forgiveness and using powers for good despite temptation run throughout the plot. (Ages 13-16)

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Children's Books

Faith cultivators

New books with Biblical truths

WonderFull: Ancient Psalms Ever New by Marty Machowski: This book will help children use the Psalms as a guide to worship and prayer. It follows a young boy, Oliver, as he finds comfort and strength through the Psalms. Soft illustrations, short devotionals, and journaling prompts accompany each Psalm. Similarly to The Ology, Machowski masterfully helps children connect with deep truths and relate them to their life in light of Christ’s redemptive work. The book includes verses from all 150 psalms, “written by those who trust God in the midst of real-life struggles.” (Ages 8-12)

Arlo and the Great Big Cover-Up by Betsy Childs Howard: Arlo ventures off his bed during quiet rest time, even though it is against the rules. One naughty act leads to another, and Arlo devises a clever plan to hide his deeds—but not clever enough to fool Mom. As Arlo’s actions come to light, he experiences his mother’s loving restoration and the peace that follows confession, mercy, and forgiveness. “Cleaned up is much, much better than covered up,” Arlo tells his mother. Parents and children will come back to this story numerous times for its simple, real-life application of Scriptural truths. (Ages 3-7)

We Believe: An Alphabet Primer by Danielle Hitchen: This latest installment in Hitchen’s Baby Believer series combines two things little ones should learn—the alphabet and Biblical truths. Hitchen exposes little children to central tenets of the Christian faith using words—such as church, baptism, incarnation, Trinity, and Eucharist—and short descriptions primarily from Scripture and the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. K is for Kyrie eleison, a Greek phrase meaning “Lord, have mercy” and used in Christian worship since the fourth century. Children might not grasp some terms, but parents could use this book as a springboard for discussion. (Ages 2-5)

Meeting With Jesus by David Murray: Murray invites children to meet with the most awesome person they will ever encounter. Each “meeting” includes weekly entries centered on Jesus’ life and teachings. It includes space for Sunday sermon notes, prayer needs, memory verses, and short daily Scripture readings with application questions. Like Murray’s Exploring the Bible, a chronological Bible reading plan, this book will gently encourage and guide children who are just beginning spiritual disciplines. (Ages 6-12) 

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