Those of you who know me, know it’s no secret that I have a fondness for children’s books. Really, any book with printed words in it is fair game, but I love reading children’s books. And I am always so glad that I can use my siblings as an excuse for picking up a book directed towards children and diving in :D
I have found, over the years, that finding good, solid books for children that aren’t just pandering away time can be difficult.
Here are four books I’ve read to the children, and my review on them. And, incidentally, some of their thoughts about them.
God Made Me Unique by Joni and Friends
Age: 3 – 8
God’s Kingdom is full of people uniquely made in His image, and “God Made Me Unique” helps children learn how every person is valuable, eliminating fear and misconceptions about those who have special needs. Through this book, Joni and Friends helps children learn to treat all people with kindness and respect.
This fun rhyming poem is a simple way to teach younger children how God made each and every one of us unique — and that we are all created in the image of a loving Creator God who cares for each and every one of us. With plenty of Bible verses throughout its pages, we learn of different ways we are each unique.
I enjoyed the ending, where the author talks about the uniqueness of each member of the church, and how everyone — the silent one who is serving behind the scenes, those who clean the building, and those who teach and preach — contribute in some way to the body of Christ.
The illustrations were large and colourful enough to hold a three year olds attention, while the words were perfect for a slightly older child to understand.
Henry Says Good-Bye by Edward T. Welch
Age: 5 – 10+
Henry the hedgehog loves his pet ladybug. She keeps him company and entertains him, his family, and his friends with her flying tricks. But one day, he has to say good-bye to his ladybug. Henry and his whole family are sad, but they learn to go to Jesus with their sadness and ask him to comfort them.
Is it wrong to admit to crying through a children’s book? I mean . . . seriously.
Okay — so this book was maybe not not a favourite, but the principle of it was pretty good. Henry the Hedgehog has to learn to deal with sadness and grief in a God honoring way — and his Daddy helps him. I loved the family principles and the way the father councils Henry using Scripture.
The many Bible verses dealing with grief added to the book, and were used in a correct, contextual way. And the way Henry goes back to his sister, when he had thoughtlessly hurt her when he was sad was sweet.
The colorful illustrations made the book appealing to even my youngest sibling — in fact, he’s looking at it right now :D
Gus Loses His Grip by David Powlison
Ages: 5 – 10+
This beautifully illustrated book invites children to remember that Jesus helps us when we are tempted. Gus Raccoon who loves all things sweet learns what happens when he wants something too much. After Gus gets caught taking candy from the store, Papa reminds him that temptation might be too strong for us, but it’s not too strong for Jesus. Gus learns that Jesus is his present help.
This book I have mixed feelings about. The message is good and strong — we should want nothing more than Christ. If we do, then we have issues that we need to deal with Scripturally. This book talks about temptation and sin and how Jesus helps us to stand strong in the face of temptations. A good, valuable lesson that we must all learn.
Mixed in with that, Gus learns how stealing is wrong and how to apologize — all good, excellent points.
What I don’t like stems from my personal beliefs. I don’t agree with the mainstream way of celebrating Easter as a holiday where you get candy. Although the resurrection story was read, the focus of the main character was on the basket of candy waiting for him. And it kinda formed a pretty big part of the story. If that kind of celebrating is something you are steering clear of with your children, then I would encourage you to steer clear of this book, for that reason alone.
The Moon is Always Round
Ages: 2 – 8
Even young children want answers to the hard questions about God and suffering. In The Moon Is Always Round, seminary professor and author Jonathan Gibson uses the vivid imagery of the moon to explain to children how God’s goodness is always present, even when it might appear to be obscured by upsetting or difficult circumstances.
In this beautiful, two-color illustrated book, he allows readers to eavesdrop on the conversations he had with his young son in response to his sister’s death. Father and son share a simple liturgy together that reminds them that, just as the moon is always round despite its different phases, so also the goodness of God is always present throughout the different phases of life.
A section in the back of the book offers further biblical help for parents and caregivers in explaining God’s goodness to children. Jonathan Gibson reminds children of all ages that God’s goodness is present in the most difficult of times, even if we can’t always see it.
This is a book that teaches children that God is always good, always there, even when we can’t quite see how He is working — drawing an allegory to the moon, always being round, even when we can’t see all of it.
The fact that this is based on a true experience the author and the authors son went through make this a difficult review to write. I’ll say this: the book has a great concept! The illustrations are engaging, the lesson learned is one that will stick with a child for all time. But I don’t think that it’s quite there, yet. I would have liked to have more of the story from how the book came to be incorporated into the actual story line. As it was, it was simple . . . almost too simple.
The words had a good flow to them, though, although I think a lack of explanation in the text would make it difficult for a younger child to grasp the meaning of what is happening — although it seems to be geared towards younger children.
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I am very thankful to New Growth Press for gifting me with copies of these books to read and review!
I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.