As a mother and Christian educator I am always looking for resources and books to teach children about faith with theological integrity and engaging narrative. Advent is a season where children are getting lots of messages from Santa to Elf on the Shelf to the manger, I always find this time of the year a good one search for resources that can create a balance for my kids and help the old stories of faith come alive in new ways. Here a a few books that I am adding to our Advent calendar this year:
Who Built the Stable: A Nativity Poem by Ashley Bryan
Nativity by Cynthia Rylant
Nativity (Bookshop | Amazon) starts with the angels who tell the shepherds the good news and takes readers through Mary’s experience of that news. Transitioning with ease the author connects the good news heard by the angels and Mary and the good news of Christ’s arrival to the teaching of the Beatitudes. This is a book that connects the story of Christmas to the teachings of Jesus seamlessly and without overworking it. Nativity is a resource I will use year round to teach about the Beatitudes and Jesus’s ministry of compassion and love. This is an excellent book for teaching that Christmas is beyond a season, but a larger way of living in the world
Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne
We use wrapped books for our Advent calendar each year and it is nice to have a book that reflects a hymn to break up our nightly reading. Silent Night (Bookshop | Amazon) is a illustrated telling of the classic hymn with gorgeous illustrations that make the telling of the Christmas story told in the hymn vibrant. This one has become an instant family favorite the way that the pictures draw you in and because we all love a family sing along!
Home by Another Way: A Christmas Story by Barbara Brown Taylor
Theologian and pastor Barbara Brown Taylor brings to life the story of the wise persons as they follow the star, encounter Herod and meet the Christ Child. Home by Another Way (Bookshop | Amazon) is a lovely and imaginative telling that gives storytellers entry points to ask wondering questions with the readers and reflect on what it was like to be the wise people, Mary and Herod.