Who doesn’t love a book recommendation? A new monthly episode of book recs is coming to Verity and we’re starting with children’s faith based books and bibles! Phy shares her top seven books for discipling her own kids, ages 2, 5, and 7.
Welcome to Verity. I’m your host, Phylicia Masonheimer, an author, speaker, and Bible teacher. This podcast will help you embrace the history and depth of the Christian faith. Ask questions, seek answers, and devote yourself to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to settle for watered-down Christian teaching. And if you’re ready to go deeper, God is just as ready to take you there. This is Verity, where every woman is a theologian.
Hi, friends, and welcome back to Verity podcast. Today’s episode is a little different than usual. I know that so many of you have enjoyed my book recommendations, and the reviews that I have posted on the blog. Full disclosure, I have not been writing a ton on the blog lately, hoping to get back to that. But in the meantime, I thought why not bring my book recommendations and reviews to the podcast. So, I’m thinking once a month or every six weeks, I will do a book recommendation episode and that’s what this one is all about.
Now, in this episode, I’m talking about books for children, books about God, scripture, the Bible, in children’s Bibles. I realized that not everyone listening has children. So, if you do listen to this, here are some ways this may be helpful to you. If you have friends who are having kids, these would make great gifts for a baby shower. If you are involved at your church and want to donate a book to their nursery, or recommend these books, or this podcast episode, that would be another way that you can use it or if you’re just planning ahead and just want to know what these are, or how to even share them with foster or adoptive families that would like to use these resources, or are able to use these resources, all of those would be ways to use the information in this podcast episode.
I only have a few. I made myself only pick seven books and Bibles, but you know that I could easily talk for hours about all of the different children’s books and Bibles that I love. I have restrained myself, so we will talk about seven that I’ve picked.
We’re going to start with the most famous one. I’m just going to jump right in. Many of you already know about this Bible because it has sold, I think over two million copies, probably more than that by now. And this is The Jesus Storybook Bible, it is written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and illustrated by Jago. And this is the quintessential classic story book Bible for children. We have done this Bible three times. So, our oldest is seven and this Bible has been read by us three times, but what I really love about it is you can actually pick and choose chapters based on what you’re studying or what you want to focus on. So, for instance, you can read certain chapters during the Advent season, to focus your kids on the coming Messiah, or in one of the products that I’m currently working on is a mini curriculum on the Bible and Bibliology for parents to go through with their kids. I have used some reading selections from The Jesus Storybook Bible for that curriculum. So, you can pick and choose chapters in here to read, but I also love reading through the whole thing, because when you get that whole big, overarching story, it’s just so beautiful. I have cried multiple times reading this book to my children and we have really enjoyed it.
I do want to make one note, I have seen some articles going around about Sally Lloyd-Jones and maybe some changes to her theology since the writing of this Bible, things that are more in the world of progressive Christianity. I have not researched that extensively and her current opinions on theology, but I can tell you that having read through this Bible three times, there is nothing unbiblical or unorthodox in this Bible. I have not seen anything concerning, I do not see any progressive leanings in this particular Bible. But again, I recommend using more than one children’s Bible, just like I recommend reading from more than one Bible translation. And if you want to know more about Bible translations, you can go all the way back to the second season of the podcast in the Canon series, where I talk about English translations.
The first Bible is The Jesus Storybook Bible. Fantastic. The second one is The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible, and I was sent this probably three or four years ago. I had never heard of it before. It’s written by Doris Wynbeek Rikkers and illustrated by Fernando Juarez. I really enjoyed this Bible. I think this is a fantastic resource for kids that don’t really understand the Holy Spirit. And I think that’s a lot of Christian kids. If you’re like me, I grew up not really understanding what the Holy Spirit did or who he was, and this Bible highlights all of the passages in scripture where the Holy Spirit is found, and it takes you from Genesis all the way to Revelation. It’s a lighter, shorter Jesus Storybook Bible focused on the Holy Spirit.
The illustrations are really beautiful, and my girls loved this, Bible. They begged for it every single meal. So, this was a hit almost more than The Jesus storybook Bible was, and it doesn’t take long to read the chapters. So, the second is The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible.
The third Bible, and I am calling this a Bible, even though it’s more like a 10-chapter book is The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark. So, the thing about this particular book is, it’s again, only 10 chapters, but it does take you through the whole gospel story from Genesis to Revelation, so I’m counting as a Bible. And I only have the original book, but they have since come out with the complete Bible, The Biggest Story Book Bible. So, I have not reviewed that one yet, but it looks amazing. And this particular book is, it’s very colorful, it’s very simple, it’s approachable language for a wide range of kids ages. I would say, Jesus’s storybook is accessible to your three to 10-year-olds.
Spirit of God, same thing. The biggest story though, I think the way it’s written, it’s probably more like 5 to 12 almost, but my four-year-old still enjoyed it. The only thing I would say about The Biggest Story, and this is preference, the illustrations– First of all, the illustrator is very talented. Amazingly talented. However, some of his illustrations kind of scared my kids, [laughs] which seems kind of strange, but they’re just very bright, they’re very vivid, they’re creative, and artistic. And so, some of the parts of the illustrations that are talking about sin or talking about the enemy, are a little bit scary to my kids.
There is a movie version of this, it’s 20 minutes long, and you can watch it on RightNow Media, which most churches can offer for free. And so, I would say again, I loved the movie, the girls watched it, but the illustrations are brought to life. So, if they scare your kids in the book, probably going to be even more scary in the movie. So that’s The Biggest Story, that’s the third Bible that we’ve used. I want to pause here and say, we have now read through Jesus Storybook three times, Spirit of God once and The Biggest Story once. And what is so cool about this is, we have layered all of what we’ve taught the girls about scripture in the story of creation, in the story of the gospel so that they really haven’t memorized but they’ve heard it from all these different angles and all these different expressions. And it’s just so cool to see what they’re retaining.
After a three-year hiatus, Verity Conference is back, and it’s coming to Petoskey, Michigan, November 4th and 5th. I’m so thrilled to bring back Verity Conference after our short break of a few years for COVID. And this time, we are much bigger with two amazing speakers joining me, to talk about Apologetics and Evangelism. How do we share our faith effectively in today’s culture, in a way that is both gracious and truthful. You’ll hear from me, Jeremy Jenkins of All Things All People and Pricelis Dominguez, who is going to share with us how to love other people, while also speaking the truth? Jeremy, specializes in world religions and cults and he will be talking about evangelism in that context. I am so excited for this event. I hope you can join us. You can grab the remaining early bird tickets on my website, phyliciamasonheimer.com, if you click the conference tab.
Okay, now moving on from Bibles. I want to highlight a few books that I really love for kids about scripture. The first one is Seek and Find: Old Testament Bible Stories, and this is exactly what it sounds like, Seek and Find. So, I’m opening these here as I’m talking to you. You have a little list of 10 or so things on the page and it says, Genesis 1-2 God’s amazing garden. And it’ll say, “One sleepy sloth two happy people.” And they have to find those things in this picture, kind of like a Where’s Waldo? situation, but it has a little blurb about the passage in scripture and then they can do their seek and find. This would be great for really young kids. I think Ivan would really like this, he’s almost two, but my girls who are five and seven also really enjoy it. This would be a great travel book to bring in the car, or on a plane. This is written by Sarah Parker and illustrated by André Parker. The illustrations are super cute, and it goes through some of the main stories in the Old Testament. I believe they also have a New Testament Bible stories version. But I only bought the Seek and Find: Old Testament when I was at The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference.
The next book I want to highlight is called Bible Infographics for Kids, and this was published by Harvest House Publishers who published my first book Stop Calling Me Beautiful, and they sent this to me, and I had never heard of it before they sent it. I’m so glad they did, because my girls also love this. So, here’s what’s cool about this one.
Inside, it is literally just entire infographics, just like it says about different biblical topics. So, for instance, there is a pie chart talking about the Old Testament and New Testament books of the Bible, and it shows how much of the New Testament is gospels, how much is letters. In the Old Testament, how much of it is law, how much of it is history. This book would be ideal for older kids. So, I would say 10 and up, based on maturity level. Teenagers could really benefit from this one if they’re doing research for school or a project or homeschooler, I think would love this book.
There’ll be pages like how on earth did it all begin? What was the creation narrative like or how big was Noah’s Ark? And it has just measurements, like how big is a cubit and what size was the Ark compared to a 747-jet plane. Things like that are all in this book. But what’s really neat is in the middle, there is a centerfold that comes out and it has a Bible board game that you can play, and I played it with my girls, and they really liked it. Adeline who’s seven, she thought it was super fun. Basically, you roll a dice and you move anything you want, you can use a penny or a little toy animal or something. You move your character along the road and you earn points based on what spot you land on, or you can lose points.
For instance, Eve is formed from Adam’s rib and created in God’s image, you gain a point but if you land on the serpent spot, which says, “The serpent tempts Eve by lying that the fruit will make her like God,” you lose three points. So, it’s just a fun little game that’s in the middle of this Bible Infographic book. So again, I would say that’s for older kids, not so much for the younger ones.
Okay, the next book I want to recommend is from my friend Hunter Beless, who you may know from, The Journeywomen Podcast. If you’re not familiar with Journeywomen, I highly recommend listening to Hunter. Everything she does in the podcast is fantastic, and she has amazing interviews. Here at Verity, I don’t do interviews because I don’t have the time to schedule with everybody and make that happen but Hunter does it so well. She’s an excellent interviewer and apparently, she’s an excellent children’s book author because she has a children’s book called Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It: Knowing and Loving the Bible, I love this book because it is so upbeat and the rhythm of the poetry when you’re reading it is so much fun for kids to listen to, but it also teaches them about the value of the word. The illustrations are gorgeous. And all throughout it your kids will learn why the Bible matters and why we should care about it, and how to ingest it and remember it. So that’s Read It, See It, Say It, Sing It. This would be a great gift for a new mom, or for a nursery at a church.
Lastly, from another friend of mine and another amazing podcaster is Laura Wifler’s book, Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer: A True Story of How You Can Talk With God. So, Laura is the co-host of Risen Motherhood, another amazing podcast, for those of you who are moms. She and her sister-in-law, Emily Jensen hosts the podcast, but this book is only by Laura, and I love it, because we’re constantly talking to our girls about why we pray and how to pray. And when we pray, we don’t always see a direct answer, or something doesn’t change, and kids can really struggle with that. So, I love the way Laura wrote this, and how the focus is on intimacy with God through prayer, versus just getting what we want. It talks about how in the Bible people didn’t always want to talk to God or didn’t know what to say, or they were just scared to talk with God, but God had given them the opportunity to do that. So, this is Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer.
Okay. Those are the seven books and Bibles I wanted to share with you. I am going to put these on the blog, it will all be in a blog post, and the transcript of this episode will be there as well as soon as we have it. And you can use the links in that blog post to buy it. If you do, we get a small commission or kickback and we use that to pay for Verity podcast, and the fees that go with getting this edited and putting the podcasts out there because at this time, we are not sponsored. So, if you would like to buy these books through our link, we are so grateful, or you can just grab them wherever you would like from Christian book or your local bookstore. I’m a huge fan of supporting your local bookstore, and so if you want to ask them to order these, they can probably do that for you.
I will see you next week, and in a month or so I hope to be back with some more book recommendations.
Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of Verity. You can connect with fellow listeners by following me on Instagram @phyliciamasonheimer or on our Facebook page by the same name. Also visit phyliciamasonheimer.com for links to each episode and the show notes.