This year has some really lovely titles for children from faith-based publishers. I am also excited to see even more books that do not have specific faith teachings that can be used to teach theological ideas. Stories play such a vital role in shaping the imagination of children for their lives, what is possible and what God is doing in the world.
Here are some of the titles I am most looking forward to in 2020:
When God Made the World by Matthew Paul Turner
My family loves Matthew Paul Turner’s previous books, When God Made You, When God Made Light and When I Pray for You. I love to use these titles to teach preschoolers and early elementary in a church setting. When I consult I recommend these titles for churches that are updating their church nurseries. When God Made the World delivers the thoughtful, inclusive and nurturing look at creation and our place in it.
Little Mole Finds Hope by Glenys Nellist
Little Mole is struggling with sadness in his dark hole until his mother shows him how to look for new life and hope in his underground hole. I love Little Mole Finds Hope for the way that it talks about how hope emerges even from dark places and how to keep an eye out for hope in our world no matter how small.
This is the Church by Sarah Raymond Cunningham
A highly anticipated title from a trusted publisher in progressive faith, This is the Church looks at who makes up the church and how we relate. A great book for pre-schoolers and early elementary to explore community and what we do when we gather and go from the church.
By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, The Father of Gospel Music by Carole Boston Weatherford
Late at night, Charles Tindley taught himself to read from scraps of newspapers. From those small scraps, young Charles raised himself to become a founding father of American gospel music. Offering a look at the history of gospel music and its impact on the church and history By and By is a unique book for children and adults to look more closely at the music that influences their faith.
Prayers for Faithful Families: Everyday Prayers for Everyday Life by Traci Smith
I loved Traci Smith’s debut book Faithful Families so when I was contacted about her follow up book of prayers I literally squealed with delight at my inbox. Faithful Families is a book I pass out, recommend and give away all the time. Prayers for Faithful Families delivers the same lovely, thoughtful engagement for families in the form of prayers for the everyday. I love it and can’t wait to use it at the dinner table and with the littles at church. It would make a great gift for new parents or a baby dedication.
All of a Sudden and Forever: Hope and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing by Chris Barton
Fifteen miles from the Alfred P Murrah Building in Oklahoma City my seventh grade English class shook once, and then twice with the aftershocks of the bombing. As a child affected by the Oklahoma City bombing and its aftermath I anticipate the release of All of a Sudden and Forever this year for deeply personal reasons. Tackling the themes of tragedy, hope and healing through the stories of that day, this book will be an excellent resource to pastors to talk about tragedy with young readers.
The Cat Man of Aleppo by Karim Shamsi-Basha
When war comes to Aala’s neighborhood, many of his friends flee to safety leaving their pets behind. Aala starts to care for the pets but as their numbers grow, he realizes he needs help. The Cat Man of Aleppo is an excellent story to illustrate the abstract concepts of the beatitudes–giving a modern story of what it means to be someone who thirst for righteousness, makes peace, shows mercy and mourn brokenness in the world.
Babbit and Joan, A Rabbit and a Phone by Denise Turu
I wanted to hide this book when I received it in the mail. I did not want my kids to read it because it was convicting for me as a parent. Babbit and Joan, A Rabbit and A Phone is about taking a break from phones and technology–think the day the crayon quit but with a phones on strike and a convicting message about setting down digital devices to create real connection.
Binkle’s Time to Fly by Sharmila Collins
Binkle is a caterpillar that cannot wait to be a butterfly, only to discover once he grows his wings that it’s going to take some adapting and innovation to finally fly. Binkle’s Time to Fly is a sweet story about overcoming challenges that would be an excellent resource for talking about how we work together to overcome obstacles (think of the scripture where the friends lower their sick friend through the roof).
If you are interested in other books to shape the faith of the kids in your life you can read my list of 20 Children’s Books to Enrich Young Faith or 11 More Books to Enrich Young Faith. I also have a list of books to help children with grief and emotional intelligence you can check out. What can I say, we love to connect storytelling to the stories and values of our faith!
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