I just started teaching kindergarten through second grade Sunday school, a longtime dream. It made me realize it’s been a while since I’ve done a roundup of children’s books to form young faith. There are several really exciting and creative titles out since my last round up. I love including a mix of specifically faith-oriented books as well as books that build character and can tie into a particular theme in faith or make a connection to a Bible story.
Lily is not happy to be moving in with her grandma in boring Iowa but then her grandma challenges her while they are driving to notice ten beautiful things and Lily’s perspective changes. This is a beautifully illustrated book that matches the theme well with its vibrant and detailed images. I would use Ten Beautiful Things to teach mindfulness and noticing practices for elementary age kids. In the spring this would be the perfect book to read and then send kids on a noticing walk outdoors. You could also use Mary Oliver’s instructions for living a life “pay attention, be astonished, tell about it” to guide the practice and it would pair with the book well.
God Made All Your Feelings by Amanda Flinn
Emotional intelligence is faith work. When we teach our children (and ourselves) to listen to what is happening in their feelings and body we teach them how to listen to God. Which is why I was delighted to see God Made All Your Feelings. Spanning different kinds of feelings, each reflection has an accompanying scripture and call to connect to God, which I really love as part of the tool kit kids are building. You can also see my list of books on emotional intelligence and grief in addition to God Made All Your Feelings as a resource for your family.
This is a tender story that addresses the sensitivities of food insecurity and dignity. Molly has never been to a food pantry but it’s different than the grocery story and when Molly runs into a classmate who doesn’t want to be seen, she begins to wonder. Saturday at the Food Pantry would be a great addition to the kids corner of your own food pantry or a way to talk to kids about all the ways that we get food and how to give one another dignity. It’s also a good way to introduce young kids to the idea of food insecurity.
A beautiful and imaginative book that takes the image of God as mother found in scripture and spools it out into everyday images. “God pulls off each tiny sock” and “God is a skillful seamstress.” Weaving in images of motherhood from humans and nature, Mother God is a book that expands the imagination so that kids can see God in more places in their lives. This would be a great resource near Mothers Day to talk about important women in our lives or a opening story to talk about the different kinds of people that God uses to reveal God’s love.
The Inventions of God (and Eva) is the perfect read for your spunky, creative pre-schooler, as you follow Eva along as she invents Mr. Robotreestuff. The author parallels how Eva delights in inventing the way God delights in creating. The illustrations are bright and dynamic and God is not personified but rather is illustrated as a dynamic and messy light. The only drawback on this book is that the author chose to use male pronouns for God. It’s an easy correction to use inclusive pronouns on the fly as you read but be mindful about that adjustment.
A sweet book that follows a child throughout their day—the ups and downs and everything in between—to talk about how God blesses us and keeps us in all kinds of situations. May God Bless You and Keep You has a nice cadence to it that would make a great bed time book for little ones and the perfect way to reflect on where God showed up in your day and in your little one’s day.
As always, I hope that these selections enrich your home library and how you talk about faith with your children. You can see my other lists of children’s books on faith such as 20 Books to Enrich young Faith and 11 Books to Enrich Young Faith and you can always find my full list at Bookshop.org.