Please welcome my friend Laura Sassi to the blog today! Laura is the author of two delightful children’s picture books, GOODNIGHT, ARK (a staple in our bookshelf) and the new GOODNIGHT, MANGER—a whimsical rhyming tale of baby Jesus in the stable as Mary, Joseph and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep. Between itchy hay, angels singing, and three kings bearing gifts, it’s too noisy! My five-year-old loves sitting on my lap to read this new take on a timeless tale. Be sure to read through to the end of this post for a chance to win your own copy of GOODNIGHT, MANGER! But first let’s hear from Laura as she highlights her top picks for children’s books that build your child’s faith.
Thank you for having me here today, Becky, as part of my GOODNIGHT, MANGER blog tour and for giving me the opportunity to share with your readers a few of the faith-based books that I have found helpful in sharing my faith with kids—both as a parent and religious education teacher. The books I’ve chosen to highlight today are books that have I found to be really good “conversation starters.” Because leading our young on the journey of faith is a process, I am always on the lookout for new titles to inspire conversation.
Who is Coming to Our House? written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers; Board book edition, 2001)
This little Christmas little board book is an adorable peek into what that first night in the stable might have been like, told from the perspective of the animals. As a parent, I found this book to be a great way introduce the real meaning of Christmas with my kids when they were still toddlers. (Goodnight, Manger can also be used in this way, at Christmas time, or any time of the year.)
Someday Heaven written by Larry Libby and illustrated by Wayne McLoughlin (Zondervan, 2001)
Written in question and answer format, this thoughtful book explores the mysteries of heaven from a biblical point of view. Included are questions like: “How long does it take to get to heaven?” and “Will my grandpa still be old in heaven?” All the kids I have read this to have loved the Q&A format, and I have loved the conversations their interest has sparked. If you like this, you might also enjoy Libby’s Somewhere Angels and Someone Awesome.
Tell Me the Secrets: Treasures for Eternity written by Max Lucado and illustrated by Ron DiCianni (Crossway, 1993)
As author Max Lucado states in his preface, this book is meant to be used as a “launch pad” for impassioned discussion of each chapter, which delves into a different “secret” of the faith such as forgiveness, peace, and growth. It truly has been a “launch pad” for great faith-building conversations both at our house and at the Christian school I once taught at.
Love Letters from God written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp (Zonderkidz, 2014)
This is a new book. I love how the author captures the beautiful essence of so many of the great foundational stories from the Bible with kid-friendly language. Each stories wraps up with a “love letter from God” that is neatly tucked in a fetching envelope on each spread. I think this be a new favorite at our house and one that I will also be using for Sunday School.
Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs written by Melody Carlson and illustrated by Jack Stockman (Zonderkidz, 2008)
I still have the 1990’s edition of this book, which is getting worn because I use every Easter—both at home and in Sunday School. It’s a beautiful, engaging retelling of the days leading up to Easter told from the point of view of a young boy, Benjamin.
The Case for Christ for Kids written by Lee Strobel (Zonderkidz, 2006)
Geared to tweens and young teens, this was a great book to read with my son. We read it aloud each night over the course of a couple of weeks and it sparked great, deep conversation. He and I enjoyed it so much that we ordered and then devoured the other books in Strobel’s series for kids: The Case for Faith for Kids and The Case for a Creator for Kids.
What other titles would you add to the list?
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Laura Sassi, author of GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, 2014) and GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, 2015), has a passion for telling humorous stories in prose and rhyme. She writes daily from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo names Sophie. In addition to picture books, Laura writes poetry, stories, articles and crafts for kids. Her work has appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.
Visit Laura Sassi at www.laurasassitales.wordpress.com.