This article has been updated from a earlier version posted 31 July, 2014.
The book slowly opens and two small people snuggle close and peer at the opened page.
“Start, Nan,” encourages Dakotah impatiently. Her sister just blinks her big, dark eyes and waits quietly. I smile. “Rosie the hen went for a walk.” The small heads bend closer and look intently at the picture on the page.
I love picture storybooks. I think that most people do, not just kids. I love the small number of carefully chosen words, condensed language, that create a simple story that draws in the reader. I love the wonderful illustrations that add so much to the narrative and provide feelings, atmosphere and humour without a word.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
‘Rosie’s Walk’ is certainly one of my favourites along with many others: Hairy Maclary, Where is the Green Sheep? Edwina the Emu, Harriet, You'll Drive me Wild and many others.
It’s helpful that some of these wonderful picture storybooks, like ‘You’re in the Wrong Book’ are now available at iTunes as storybook apps.
But what about Bible and faith-based picture storybooks? Well.. you'll be pleased to know that there is a growing range of wonderful Bible storybooks for different ages.
So... what do you need to consider when purchasing a Bible storybook for your kids or grandkids?
1. Truth matters. Yes, they are only little but, as parents or grandparents, we are still teaching God's truths to these little ones. These are not just stories. That doesn't mean that we need books that go into great detail and expound concepts and knowledge that are beyond the understanding of small children. The Bible stories still need to be biblically accurate, but age-appropriate .
2. Keep it short and simple. The words in the Bible storybook should be predominantly short, one-syllable words. They should be the sort of words we would use at home when we talk with our small children. The sentences need to be short. And the Bible story itself should be short.
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that these little ones have a short attention span. As a general rule of thumb, think in terms of one minute for each year of age. If your toddler is 2 years old, he'll probably focus on something for 2 minutes, if you're lucky; 3 years old, you might manage to keep them seated and listening for 3 minutes. Keep it short. :) As your child grows, then the length of the Bible stories can grow, too.
3. Expect, even look, for questions. I know when my children, and my son in particular, were small they constantly asked questions. It was a constant refrain of "Why?" "Why?" "But why?" Questions are good. They need to understand, so they'll ask questions. Some Bible storybooks actually include simple questions with each Bible story. They are a great way to start your kids thinking through the stories. But add your own questions, too, after you've finished reading.
4. Kids love repetition. If your children enjoy the Bible storybooks you're reading, then expect to have to read it again... and again. And that's good! Repetition reinforces both the story itself and the Bible point that is taught through the story. A good picture storybook will often incorporate elements of repetition within the story.
5. Add some variety. A good Bible storybook is great. But a variety of great Bible storybooks is even better, especially as your kids learn and grow. While kids thrive on repetition (I forget how many times I've read 'Where is the Green Sheep') both your kids, and you, will appreciate having a change instead of reading the same Bible storybook over and over again.
Check out some of the quality choices below and check out the movie clips that follow. I'll be adding more book reviews or listing them in my newsletter as I find them. You'll also find reviews on Coffee Stories.
1. Read-Aloud Bible Stories.
This series is probably my favourite and wonderful for children 2 years and up. I know some people will choose a Bible Storybook based on colourful, detailed illustrations and sure- that is important when it's a picture story book. The pictures in this book are big, bright and bold. But it's more than just the illustrations. The stories in these volumes are very well written. There are just a few words on each page- perfect for little ones. Each story ends with a 'What did you learn?' page with just a question or two and a sentence to reinforce the Bible truth from the story.
The illustrations are great for young ones, too. But don't limit these books to the very young. I've read these stories to older kids and they enjoy them, too. And as they grow older they will read the books again for themselves.
Check out the start of one of these Bible stories.
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten men were very sick. They were so sick the doctor couldn't make them better."
You'll find more information in the video clips below.
I'd encourage every family with young children to include these Bible storybooks in their libraries and read them often to their little ones.
2. The Read-with-Me Bible
I really love the Bible picture storybooks by Dennis Jones. The ‘See With Me Bible’ (prequel to the Read with Me Bible series) is lovely. The Bible stories are told entirely with pictures. The expressions on the faces of the characters are a more graphic portrayal of what's happening in the story and the feelings and emotions of the characters than any words. Children love them- even your very little ones. So do I. I particularly love the story of the Lost Sheep. His character, emotions and personality shine through the each page.
I've spent many hours with my grandchildren looking at the pictures and telling the stories. As they've grown older, they tell me the stories. Unfortunately, The See with Me Bible is no longer in print (although you might find a second-hand one) but you can also enjoy the Read with Me Bible... equally good with simple text and wonderful illustrations by Dennis Jones. This book would probably suit your 3-5 year olds.
For my older grandchildren, I've now downloaded the Bible picture storybook apps by Dennis Jones. The first, Trouble! On the Road retells the story of the Good Samaritan, with some delightful animations. Joop is travelling to the annual Jericho Arts and Crafts Fair to sell his handmade birdhouses.
There are two versions to choose once you open the app: Read to Me or Read it to Myself. There are colouring pages, too, to involve the kids after the story has been read.
Read these books.. I'm sure you'll enjoy every page.
3. The Jesus Storybook Bible -every story whispers His name.
The stories, the descriptive and almost poetic language used, make this a wonderful book for children who are preschool age to perhaps 6 or 7 years old. Many would say that it's perfect for adults, too, and I wouldn't disagree.
It's been described as 'one of the best resources available to help both children and adults see the Jesus-centered story line of the Bible.' And it does so in a way that encourages children to learn of God's epic love for them and how they are a part of this amazing story, too. Children can understand that each story in the Bible is just a part of the bigger story and God's plan for them.
There are various book editions available as well as online videos of some of the stories. (See below)
4. Friends with God Story Bible I've reviewed the Friends with God Story Bible already here and LifeTree has highlighted part of this article, too. So I've included part of that review below.
“Yes.... another Bible storybook and I guess you're thinking... 'Hey, I have a Bible storybook for my kids or grandkids. Why would I need another one?' So....do your kids need it? I can certainly understand the question. It's one I asked myself initially, too. But then, what if your kids…
1. could actually feel a part of the story? Friends With God Story Bible is written in the first person. So your kids will hear the story from the protagonist's point of view, with all the emotions that go with that. It's not just a story. It's a recount and it will resonate with your kids in a meaningful way. They will feel connected, involved.
2. could hear personal stories of 54+ friends of God? This isn't just a handful of stories. It's enough for a whole year of exciting reading if you read and learn about one friend of God each week. And extra devotional material is included to help you extend each story beyond the pages of a book.
3. could also play Bible games and discover Bible facts? You'll find that this story Bible has an interactive element built in that works in conjunction with an app—IOS or Android. Throughout the story Bible are special icons—a smiling face. Your kids will have fun finding them, too. Simply download the free app. Then scan the page with the icon. You'll come face to face with friends of God plus unlock interactive games.
4. could collect and share digital cards of the friends of God? Not only does this connected app share more information and games, it enables your kids to win virtual collectible character cards. They'll learn even more entertaining facts about these Bible characters. They'll feel they really know them. And they can even add their own image to create their very own card.
5. could grow in their own friendship with God? They'll hear and share in the amazing stories when God stepped into the picture and everything changed. As they read this book they 'face lions, cross rivers, slay giants and stare into a glittering desert sky, awed by God making impossible promises come true.' And they'll realize that this same God wants to be friends with them, too.
So, yes.... my grandkids need this beautifully illustrated, interactive book and maybe yours do, too. :)”
- from article and review posted September 7, 2017.
Related products: Friends with God Devotion -Friends with God Sing-along songs - Friends with God Activity Book
5. The Action Bible This book is suitable for kids aged 9 to 12 years. As you've probably realised, it's not your typical picture storybook. But this is what you get when you combine the trusted English Standard Version Bible with the attention-grabbing illustrations from Marvel comic illustrator Sergio Cariello.
There are 215 fast-paced narratives in chronologial order. So it's not the book you'd encourage your child to bring along to a Bible study class or to follow along with in church scripture reading. But it does bring the scripture to life for this action-seeking age group of kids. If you're wanting to get your child into reading the Bible, this is a great way to do so.
There are also other version available for different age-groups: The Action Bible Storybook Bible- The Action Bible Study Bible - The Action Bible Handbook - The Action Bible Devotional
So.. are you looking for another quality Bible storybook for your kids or maybe your grandkids?
I know I've bought many over the years. Some in my bookcase look bright and vibrant, almost as if I'd just bought them yesterday. Others look battered and warn; some have a few pages hanging from the covers.
Those are the ones that we've read and re-read over and over. Their vibrant illustrations have grabbed my kids' (and grandkids') attention and excited their imagination. The pages have held stories of a loving God who knows and deeply cares about each one of those young, captured readers. And the words have continued to live in their young hearts and minds. Yes, some of these Bible storybooks have been special.
I hope you'll find some of these suggestions will excite the hearts and minds of your kids, too, and make them excited to learn more about the amazing God they have read about in these storybook Bibles.
Please take a moment to review some of the suggestions in the vidoe clips below. I hope it will help you decide which books you will buy for your family.
I really hope you enjoyed this family article and that it helps you choose the Bible picture storybook that best suits your kids and family. Don't forget, there are other reviews, updates, exclusive news plus a library of resources for those who join our VIP group and receive my regular newsletter. I'd love to have you join us. Please sign up below.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself.
If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
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