Bible Story Gift Ideas for Kids
So you want to give a child in your life a book about Jesus? Head to the kids section of a Christian book store and you are bound to find a plethora of options. But are they any good? Are they faithful to God & his word? They look nice for adults, but do they actually appeal to kids? These questions can be impossible to answer without sitting down to read each and every book. Luckily for you I have, well kind of. As a School Chaplain I work with kids of all ages, and my team and I (with the help of our students) have road tested practically every kids Bible and Bible Storybook on the market. To help you with your shopping this year, here is a list of our favourites divided by age group.
The Beginners Gospel Story Bible by Jared Kennedy, illustrated by Trish Mahoney.
This is my goto Bible for any child under the age of five. Not only does it cover a wide range of Bible stories as it moves through from Genesis to Revelation (including ones about women which sometimes don’t make the cut in kids Bibles) but it also has bright and interesting illustrations. More importantly, it is written in a way to help you discuss the stories with the kids you are reading it to, with questions that prompt both thought and reflection. The stories are just the right length for little people to listen and engage with.
Tim Thornborough Series These books, which include “A Very Noisy Christmas” and “Jonah and the Very Big Fish”, are super fun to read aloud. The illustrations are cute and costing about $10 a book they make an easy gift.
Little Me, Big God Series by Steph Williams. Williams does a great job of making stories about Jesus come alive for little people. And at $6 a book, these could even be stocking stuffers.
Tales that Tell the Truth various authors, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. This series covers a range of Old and New Testament stories as well as themes from the Bible (my favourite is “The Prisoners, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song”, my colleague is particularly fond of “The Storm that Stopped”). All the books in this series are delightful reads and are able to connect the ideas into a broader gospel overview (which sounds like it might be too much for kids, but these books do it so well!). Most of the books in this series also have activity books that you can buy to help engage kids deeper in the story.
Tiny Truths and Wonder & Wisdom by Joanna Rivard, illustrated by Tim Penner. These books are CUTE. But more than that Rivard (who has a PhD in French Existentialism) has done the really hard work of taking big truths in the Bible and putting them in terms little people can understand. I recommend following Tiny Truths on Instagram (@tinytruthsbible) for updates on the awesome free crafts that they release regularly (and head to their website to download the free Wonder & Wisdom journal which could be a gift in and of itself).
Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones, illustrated by Jago. I hesitate to add this one to the list, because it is no secret that this is an excellent book. Both the words and illustrations draw hearts (no matter the age) closer to God’s love (I have teared up while reading this to classes). But because this book is so well known and loved, I would do a sneaky check that the kid you are buying for doesn’t own it before you buy.
Bob Hartman’s Rhyming Bible by Bob Hartmann, illustrated by Mark Beech. Looks like a Roald Dahl book and it is SO fun to read. Kids love to listen to these.
Diary of a Disciple by Gemma Willis. These books are just the best. They are very very faithful to the books of Luke/Acts which they retell from the perspective of Luke. The writing is clear, easy to read & engaging. They stop to explore and explain tricky theological points (including one of the best explanations of the Trinity I have found in a kids book (or even a non-kids book)). The Luke version also has a fun activity book you can buy which some kids will delight in.
Link it Up Bible by Bob Hartman. This book shows kids how both chronologically and thematically Bible stories fit together to tell one story of God and his love. It retells stories that kids often know at this age in a thoughtful and fun way. With similar visuals to Diary of a Disciple it is also clear & engaging to read.
100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls by Jean Fischer. Although somewhat biased toward Americans this book introduces young people to 100 Biblical, historical and contemporary ladies who have made a difference because of their deep faith. This book shows that God uses all kinds of people in all kinds of ways.
The Story of God’s Love for You by Sally Lloyd Jones. This book is the same text as the Jesus Storybook Bible, but without the illustrations. For Primary children who are not confident readers this makes a delightful chapter book that reminds them of the truths of God’s word.
Best News Ever by Chris Morphew. For kids who want to start reading the Bible for themselves this is an excellent guide. Morphew’s writing is able to help kids understand what is going on in the Gospel of Mark, apply it to their lives and prompts them to respond in prayer.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. This book, which is a true account of ten Boom’s experiences in pre-war Holland and during World War Two, definitely has some more mature themes. It is a great read for upper primary kids who will be fascinated and inspired by her story of faith and testament to God’s care and protection.
Matthew Paul Turner books. These ones are in strays because they are not readily available in Australia (but easy to order online) and, although they are designed for infants kids, they are long for little ears to listen to. The series which includes “When God Made Light”, “When God Made You” and “What I Pray for You” are gorgeously illustrated and the language is warm and a delight to read. You can vibe these books by checking out Turner’s YouTube channel.
Storymakers by MockingBird. Even harder to get in Australia and technically a Sunday School curriculum, nonetheless, if you can get your hands on these you should. These are a delightful combination of zines, activity books and scripts which will engage particularly lower primary (but also younger and older kids) in thinking about who God is and what he has done.
Fiona is a School Chaplain who is also passionate about physics, fanfiction and feminism. She studied at Fuller Theological Seminary in California.