You know you want a good Bible storybook for your child. But whether you’re shopping in a Christian bookstore or online, the options can feel overwhelming. How do you decide? Here are 5 tips to help you sort through the possibilities.
1. Match the format to your child’s age and interest. Babies and toddlers enjoy board books because they can turn the pages themselves. Books with long stories and more text than illustration are best for older children. Most Bible storybooks for preschoolers and beginning readers fall somewhere in between.
Consider illustration too. Most children respond well to bright colors and a range of contemporary art styles–but contemporary doesn’t have to mean inaccurate. Older children can appreciate more realistic portrayals of Bible times.
2. Look at the Contents page. Are both Old and New Testament stories well represented? Do the stories present the overall story arc of the whole Bible?
3. Read a story or two aloud. Does the writing flow well, with interesting rhythms? Is the writing style appropriate for your child’s age and attention span? You’ll be reading from this Bible storybook often. The experience should be a pleasant one for your child and for you too.
Do you want a straightforward retelling of the stories or a freer style with more embellishments? Both exist and both can be done with excellence.
4. Check out how the author handles hard topics, such as the devastation of the flood, the destruction of Jericho, or Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. The Bible addresses some realities beyond the understanding of young children. Choose a Bible storybook that presents truths in age-appropriate ways.
5. Choose the right “hook” for your child or your family. Some Bible storybooks, like My Favorite Bible (Revell), feature activity ideas or talking points to go along with each story–especially helpful to busy parents and parents unfamiliar with the Bible. New or beginning readers can read The Young Reader’s Bible (Standard) with little or no help.
The Jesus Storybook Bible (Zondervan) emphasizes God’s love and the ways we can see Jesus throughout the Old Testament. My own Rumble! Zap! Pow! (Tyndale) and The Sweetest Story Bible (Zondervan) focus on the aspects of God’s character that we see in each story.
Sometimes the hook might be application, or “life lessons.” But be careful here. When Bible stories become stories about how to behave, children often determine that good behavior is the way to find acceptance with God.
Now that you know what to look for, I hope you’ll enjoy reading a new Bible storybook with your child soon!
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4, NLT).
Question: Does your child have a favorite Bible storybook?
What features make it a favorite?