ROUND-UP: 5 Must-Read Children’s Books About God

As the mother of a 1-year old, I’m always on the lookout for books that promote healthy images of God for my daughter. The following books are some great recommendations from Rachel Stott, M.Div., a friend and mother of 3. Be on the lookout tomorrow for another round-up of more children’s books to add to your library!

Here’s some food for thought (taken from the publisher’s description for What Does God Look Like?):

Much has been written about the importance of reading simple, beautiful books to babies and preschoolers to stimulate brain development. But perhaps even more important, what you read begins to shape your child’s world, and creates the images that will remain with him or her throughout life. We read books to our children about letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and safety, but do we give their minds the early food they need to think about life’s bigger questions?

As spiritual development experts now tell us, each child develops an image of God by age 5, with or without religious instruction.

Hopefully, these books can provide you great sources of conversation for you and your growing child. And for those of you who are in ministry with adults, children’s books are still a great way of sparking conversations about God!

#1) Give Me Grace by Cynthia Rylant (2005)

  • Ages 2 to 5 years
  • Click here to order from Amazon.

The perfect way to begin or end a child’s busy day, these prayers for kindness, for love, for gratitude, and for guidance offer a new special thanks for each day of the week.

#2) The Parables of Jesus by Tomie de Paola (1987)

An illustrated retelling of seventeen parables used by Jesus Christ in his teachings. Includes “The Good Samaritan,” “The Lost Sheep,” The Laborers in the Vineyard,” and “The Prodigal Son.”

#3) God’s Paintbrush by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (2004)

  • Ages 4 and up
  • Click here to order from Amazon.
  • An adaptation of this book for younger children (ages 1-4) is also available from the same author: I Am God’s Paintbrush (2009)

Description from publisher, Jewish Lights Publishing:

Children speak about God in ways that are different from adults. They ask many questions about God, questions that can be startlingly direct. Oftentimes adults—parents, grandparents, and teachers—feel uncomfortable answering them.

Through fantasy, involvement, and imagination, Sandy Sasso and Annette Compton invite children of all faiths and backgrounds to encounter God openly through moments in their own lives—and help the adults who love them to be a part of that encounter. This book provides a gift of images that nurtures and encourages children in making meaning of their world.

With over 100,000 copies in print, God’s Paintbrush remains one of the most popular spiritual books for children of all faiths, all backgrounds. This special anniversary edition includes new ideas for interaction between adults and children, and an important new message from the author.

#4) Because Nothing Looks Like God by Lawrence and Karen Kushner (2000)

Description from publisher, Jewish Lights Publishing:

With the help of Because Nothing Looks Like God you can encourage children to develop their own personal relationship with God. Remember, whatever children say about God is true for them. There are no wrong answers. What is God like?

Mixing sparks of curiosity and spiritual imagination, this wondrous book lights children’s creativity and shows how God is with us everyday in every way.

In this, their first collaborative book, husband-and-wife team Lawrence and Karen Kushner combine their expertise to help introduce children to the possibilities of spiritual life. Real-life examples of happiness and sadness—from goodnight stories, to the hope and fear felt the first time at bat, to the closing moments of someone’s life—invite parents and children to explore, together, the questions we all have about God, no matter what our age.

#5) The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones (2007)

The Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner in the religion category, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.

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