For children, summer is a great time to sleep in, play outside, go on vacations, and relax! But summer is also a great time to read! We know that reading increases one’s critical thinking skills and gives children an extra head-start going into the upcoming school year. My hope is that this post guides you towards some edifying and engaging books for non-readers, developing readers, and young readers. And who knows—maybe you will enjoy some of these titles as well!
To make your next step as easy as possible, you will find many of these resources on the church’s bookstall as well as links to buy them online.
Start with the Bible! Even if your children are non-readers, it is not too early to begin reading the Bible (or a storybook Bible) to them! And remember, even a developing reader is not too young to read the Bible! Just like we guide our children towards basic hygiene habits like brushing their teeth and taking a shower, we should also guide our children towards basic habits of Christian discipline. Whether or not your child professes faith in Christ, he or she is not too young or immature to begin daily reading the Bible! God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). For older children, consider purchasing them a simple devotional book like Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids (Murray) or its companion designed to guide family worship: Exploring the Bible Together.
Baby Believer series (Hitchen): First published in 2017, this illustrated series introduces children to various categories of vocabulary words through Bible verses. For example, Psalms of Praise: A Movement Primer uses selected Psalms to teach children what words like kneel, dance, and clap mean. *Board Book
Big Theology for Little Hearts series (Provencher): This new series (published in 2020) unpacks big theological words with simple explanations and visuals. For example, Jesus: A Theological Primer Series defines “Incarnation” by explaining, “Jesus took on a human nature and lived among us” followed by a cartoon image of Jesus pointing to his hair, hands, legs, etc. *Board Book
Get Wisdom: 23 Lessons for Children about Living for Jesus (Younts): Someone introduced Christy and I to this book when Andrew was really little. It has been a “go-to” book for character building. Each wisdom lesson defines a term, presents a Bible verse, and offers practical examples.
The Jesus Storybook Bible (Lloyd-Jones): If you have not read this story Bible, please take the time to do so. Even as a child’s story Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible has helped develop my understanding of the Bible in significant ways. Read it alone or read it to your children. *A great companion story Bible for children, especially children who need to see the pages flipped quicker, is The Big Picture Story Bible (Helm).
Everything a Child Should Know series (various authors): This series includes three books that each dig into a specific aspect of practical theology from a child’s perspective. The books cover the doctrine of God (Everything a Child Should Know about God), church history (Everyone a Child Should Know), and prayer (Everything a Child Should Know about Prayer).
God Made Me series (various authors): This series started around 2018 and addresses a variety of anthropological themes from a Christian worldview. Subjects include ethnic diversity, gender, and human dignity. The books are biblically sound and provide great springboards for parents to ask their children questions and interact with them on important issues in our day.
How Great Is Our God: 100 Indescribable Devotions about God and Science (Giglio) & Indescribable for Little Ones (Giglio): Each of the books are packed with credible science magnifying the glory of God in all creation. The one for little ones is a board book and equally engaging.
Tales that Tell the Truth series (various authors): With its first publication in 2016, this series continues to present biblical stories in an engaging and thought-provoking way that teach the reader how every Bible story sits in the shadow of the cross. Packed with great illustrations, children will find these books both entertaining and captivating. Make sure to check out one of the more recent titles in the series entitled, Jesus and the Lion’s Den.
Bible Infographics for Kids: Giants, Ninja Skills, a Talking Donkey, and What’s the Deal with the Tabernacleand Bible Infographics for Kids, Volume 2: Light and Dark, Heroes and Villains, and Mind-Blowing Bible Facts: If your children enjoy facts and trivia, these two books are must haves! It is almost guaranteed that parents will discover a handful of facts they never knew either! Be sure to check out related products in this series.
Brave Heroes and Bold Defenders: 50 True Stories of Daring Men of God(Redmond) andCourageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God(Redmond): These two books will introduce young readers to 50 men and women of God. Each biography is one page long and covers people over the past four centuries.
God’s Smuggler(Brother Andrew) and The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boon): Many of you are probably familiar with Corrie Ten Boon’s memoir of Nazi Germany and World War II (if not, or if it has been a while, take time to re-read it this summer). In a similar vein, Brother Andrew’s recount of smuggling Bibles past closed boarders will keep children itching for the next chapter and, more importantly, introduce them to a world far different than the United States. Due to the themes, these books are more suitable for a mature audience.
The Imagination Station series (various authors): In each Imagination Station book, cousins Patrick and Beth travel back in time to learn the true story and people of history. These books take children back to biblical stories and other historical events.
The Wingfeather Saga series (Peterson): Written by Andrew Peterson, this series of four fantasy-adventure novels will grab the hearts and minds of children and adults alike. Well written, stirring, and engaging, Peterson’s plot and characters touch on a variety of themes such as love, loyalty, and perseverance. If it takes a video to get you interested, check out the trailer to the books’ forthcoming animated series. Due to the length, these books are more suitable for advanced readers.