I know, I know...there are so many children's Bible story books to choose from! It's hard to know which is worth your time and is going to be a good fit for your family. We have a nice little collection of our own going, but the one that we have been most excited about of late is a new release by Crossway Books, by Starr Meade. It's called Mighty Acts of God and is exceptionally well done.
I am a huge fan of this one for multiple reasons. Remember, I'm writing from the perspective of parenting a 3 1/2 year old and who has started to really start asking questions about the world around him. He is in prime "Tell Me Everything About That Which I Do Not Know" mode and I feel like Mighty Acts of God was written just for him.
My son is a lover of all things that live in the ocean and if I would let him, the only story we would be reading (and that one over and over again!) from this book would be Jonah and the Whale. However, it is laid out in "chapters" (which are numbered and are all of 2 page spreads in length - max.) I told him we would have to read TO Jonah and the Whale and not just about Jonah. I also told him that this book was a chapter book and that made it super cool to read in sequence! When we cracked open Mighty Acts of God we began at the beginning, in Genesis.
Now, we're introduced Bookworm1 to lots of Bible stories and he knows the gist of them. However, we haven't ever presented them in order of sequence and event so I suppose our method has been driven by interest rather than by order and design. In other words, we read the stories that involve things we like: Daniel and the Lion's Den, Jonah and the Whale (are you catching the animal theme?) We've read about Creation and all of the animals that God created. Bookworm1 enjoys these stories. But our method of learning the stories has left some understandable gaps. WHY was Baby Jesus born? It's not just a cute story we read at Christmas but we haven't understood that. (Part of our lack of understanding has to do with age, I do realize.)
Meade however, lays things out in an understandable manner for those at the cusp of being able to connect dots. She asks questions of her readers and I was surprised that Bookworm1 has been paying close enough attention as I read aloud to answer the question as I read them off the page. Meade nicely blends her stories with interesting thoughts to spark brain activity in the youngest of us. (And I have to say that reading the Bible stories in order of sequence is a good exercise for the adult reader as well!) To give something of an example of how this book connects the dots in scripture for the reader - here are some basic thoughts we've walked away with:
"When we made chocolate chip cookies, who do they belong to? Well, they belong to us, right? They are ours. We made them. God made Adam and Eve. They belonged to Him. But they were disobedient. When God first made the earth, it was perfect, beautiful and fun! You could swim with sharks and not get hurt! But after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they had to suffer the consequences of their disobedience. No longer can man swim with sharks without becoming hurt.
God was very sad about Adam and Eve's choice. But! He provided a way for them to enter back into fellowship with Him. He LOVED them and so He sent His son Jesus to come."
More or less, that's how we connected the dots from the beginning to the cross. This book made sense to Bookworm1 and therefore I am a huge fan of it. There are some aspects of it that we don't quite comprehend just yet but that's ok. It's a start and I think it's quite an amazing and useful tool for introducing children to the Gospel message in particular. Really, that's what it is. It ties the entire Gospel message together in each story so that individual stories and descriptions do not feel so disconnected. Starr Meade has done a beautiful job of weaving together stories to make the Bible's history clearer to young readers.
Thanks, Crossway Books, for your generosity!
Because this is a book that we consistently read aloud, I'm linking this book up to this week's Read Aloud Thursday post which is faithfully hosted by Hope is in the Word.
This post was originally posted as a giveaway but the contest is now closed.