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Since I’ve started this little blog, just about every week I have someone new asking for Storybook Bible recommendations. I have a list of Our Favorite Bible Resources for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers. However, when the opportunity arised to participate in the Multicultural Kids Blogs: Read Around The World series, I couldn’t wait to share an actual review of one of my favorite Storybook Bibles.
The Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Spanish: Los Hijos de Dios: Historias de la Biblia) does a fantastic job showing that the Bible, and the gospel of Christ is for ALL people, including children. Offering illustrations from artists around the world, and simple prayers that capture the heart of the story, this Storybook Bible has become a favorite in our home.
What I Love
Friends, I love Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and all of his work geared towards children. This Storybook Bible is no exception. It is a beautiful thing when those that have devoted themselves to studying the word, and providing sound theology sit down and choose to share that with little one. This Storybook Bible features 56 stories, summarized for small children, but without loosing the meaning behind the story or watering it down. Instead, Tutu does a phenomenal job of captivating the mind, and sharing the truth of the Bible for a little one’s heart.
Another thing I love about this Storybook Bible is that each story is concluded with a short prayer that really drives home the message. For example, the Prayer from the Jonah story on page 59 reads: ‘Dear God: Please help me to love my enemies.’ The prayer is an application that even the youngest readers can understand and apply to their lives.
Finally, and probably my favorite part of this book is the work of multiple illustrators on this book. If we’re being honest, when it comes to children’s literature, often the pictures are what really tell the story. And when it comes to materials we are using to teach children the Bible, we are setting a foundation for how these children view the characters, and the Gospel as a whole. If we truly believe that Gospel of Christ is for the whole world, this needs to be reflected in our projects that aim to share the Gospel. I so appreciate the diversity of the illustrators chosen for this project. This book has the art of 20 different illustrators, each with their own styles and interpretation of the scripture. I love that, because as a child reads the story, it keeps them from putting the characters (especially Jesus) into a box. For example, in “The Lord’s Prayer” Jesus has white skin, and long red hair. However, when we turn to “The Last Supper” Jesus has black skin, and short curly black hair. Friends, this is so important. If we believe that Jesus came for people, ALL people. That he came to live with us, be with us, and became one of us. If we truly believe that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14, NIV). Then that needs to be reflected in the way we tell these stories to little ones. They should see main characters that look like them, so they can see that the Gospel is for them. And they need to see main character that are different, so thay they can see that everyone of us is an image bearer, made to represent Christ in this world. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s life has preached this message, so this Storybook Bible passes on this message to the next generation.
What The Littles Love
My girls love the variety of illustrations presented in this book. They also love the artful storytelling presented on each page. The stories are simple, which make it easy to start a conversation, and for my girls to remember what they learned. They especially love the story of Esther and Jonah.