Christmas Reading Recommendations for Kids


Glory to the newborn King! The Very First Christmas introduces children to one of the most wonderful stories of all time, the birth of Jesus. Using the popular and vibrant artwork from The Beginner’s Bible, children will learn the events leading up to Jesus’ miraculous birth. By the end of the story, children will understand why we celebrate this special day. Recommended for ages 2 to 5.


bearsIn The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.
Recommended for ages 4-7.


Settle in to another heartwarming story about the polar bear family from the author who brought you God Gave Us You, and God Gave Us Two! This time, the bears are getting ready to celebrate the most special day of the year: Christmas. In this enchanting picture book, you can help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, and it offers the perfect opportunity for little ones to discover the awesome truth of how much God loves them.

In the midst of all the Christmas preparations, curious Little Cub asks one day, “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions, like: “Is God more important than Santa?” So Mama decides to take Little Cub on an expedition to discover how God gave them Christmas. As their journey unfolds, the pair finds signs that God is at work all around them. Mama’s gentle guidance helps Little Cub discover that Jesus is the best present of all! Recommended for ages 4 to

Now with a new foreword by Billy Graham! In this heartwarming tale of a little lost boy and the grandmotherly woman who finds him, Ruth Graham spins a unique version of the Christmas story that begins with creation and ends with the resurrection. Richard Watson’s captivating illustrations make it a treasure you’ll cherish for years to come. 72 pages, hardcover from Nelson.

Wishing you and all your little readers a blessed Christmas.

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Heading to the Movies!

Holiday seasons, whether they be Christmas or otherwise, tend to be times when movie makers schedule the release of their new films. It makes sense – families usually have more unstructured time, are eager to find things to amuse the children or teens and may even have more spending money. At our house several family members have been counting down months, then weeks and now days, until the release of certain films. Going to the movies can be fun and extremely rewarding, but it can also be expensive, and as parents it can involve potential risks. Compared to a DVD and home viewing – where a film can be paused mid scene to allow for some explanation, fast forwarded if something unexpected and inappropriate appears, or even have the volume turned down to minimise the impact of a scary scene – movie watching in a theatre does not allow for such tactics. It can end up being an expensive experiment with potentially harmful content.

So how can parents minimise concern when children are eager to attend a newly released movie?

1) Do your homework. 
Pay attention to the build up of momentum for a film your children are keen to see. How is it being advertised? Who is the anticipated market? Does that market match your children? Who else is interested in this film? Why are your children keen to see it? (Is it just because everyone else is going to see it? And why?)
Learn as much as you can about a film, especially one you don’t know much about. One helpful resource I use is the Focus On The Family PluggedIn reviews. Admittedly they reveal LOTS of spoilers, but they are also thorough in giving parents the ‘heads-up’ as to a film’s content, particularly in areas of concern such as language, philosophy, violence etc

2) Read the book.
If a movie is based on a book it might be worth reading the book to get the heads up to any potential content before it screens. My family did this with the Hunger Games Trilogy. I don’t think we would have watched the films if we had not read the books and understood their driving concept first. The other benefit of this tactic is that it promotes discussion, not just about film about issues, but also literacy, family values and culture.

3) Consider the ages, stages AND personalities of your children. 
Some children handle visual and auditory experiences differently to others. In a movie there is no escaping what you see, or the volume of music (which can be emotionally powerful). One of my children is exceptionally sensitive to music and can be reduced to tears by particular types. Another child feels empathy very deeply, even for fictional characters. Although one child may be fine to attend the cinema to view a film, another may be better suited to waiting for the DVD release where these issues can be better contained. This is a strategy we often use.

If you’re still not sure and feeling comfortable about taking children to see a particular film, maybe consider watching it on your own first. Sometimes a film will contain content you are not 100% comfortable with, but you still feel your children can watch it. This is okay too. Remember, anytime we bump into popular culture it gives us an opportunity to talk about how Jesus challenges the culture of the world. In fact, sometimes I think the parenting decisions around anticipated movies should not be whether or not to see a film, but how to support the viewing of it so our children grow up being critical appraisers of the culture around them, rather than absorbers of it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.




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Our Daily Bread for Kids

XG817_ODB for Kids-300Our Daily Bread devotionals have been around for decades. These small monthly booklets have been used for generations and have stood the test of time. The brand name, Our Daily Bread, is taken from the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Just as we need daily food for our bodies, we also need daily food for our souls.

Our Daily Bread for Kids is a brand new release—just in time for Christmas. I had the honor of co-authoring this book with my daughter, Teri McKinley. Rather than a paperback monthly booklet, this product is a hardcover one-year devotional book, and is the first children’s product for Our Daily Bread. The subtitle is: 365 Meaningful Moments with God.

The book is designed for kids ages 7-10, but older children and even adults can enjoy the daily readings, which makes it perfect for a family mealtime devotional. Each day’s reading includes a Scripture verse, a devotion, a “Fun Fact,” and a “Read More” suggestion which directs the reader to look up a short passage of Scripture that ties in with the reading.

Our Daily Bread for Kids is not a children’s Bible or Bible storybook. It is a devotional book that uses Bible characters and Bible stories to reinforce the lesson. For example, to teach lessons on courage we used stories about Esther, Moses, Daniel, and Peter. We also include many readings on God’s character—His greatness, holiness, and power. We told many stories of Jesus’ miracles and His ministry on earth. We enjoyed exploring some lesser known Bible stories that kids would find interesting. At the end of each reading, we help the reader see how the lesson and Scripture verses apply to everyday life—making it personal and practical. A glossary of words is included in the back as well as a topical index, making the book reader-friendly and easy to use.

To say this was a challenging assignment is an understatement. At times I felt like Moses at the burning bush saying, “Choose someone else!” But when God calls us, He also equips us. As I turned on my computer each day, I prayed for God to lead me and guide me—to give me ideas, words, and Scriptures. I prayed for the Holy Spirit’s power because I was powerless on my own. And God answered my prayers.

No matter what God calls us to do—whether it’s raise children, care for the sick, teach a Sunday school lesson, or write a book—God will work in and through us if we allow Him to and ask Him to. As the angel told Mary (December 16 reading), “Nothing is impossible for God!”

As you worship the Savior this Christmas season and all through the year, remember to give thanks to God for His unspeakable gift.


Our Daily Bread for Kids is available through the following links:



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