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Noteworthy books

Notable Books | Four excellent Christian children's books reviewed by Susan Olasky

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

Content: A collection of Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments selected and told to reinforce the overall narrative of creation, fall, and redemption.

Gist: Although the charming illustrations and simple text announce that this is a collection of Bible stories for children, even adults will benefit as they see God graciously pursuing and saving sinners through Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.

Sometimes Smart Is Good

Content: All people have value because God created them.

Gist: In both English and Spanish, this wise and brightly illustrated book asks what is good. It extols the virtues of being smart, strong, and talented, and then says, "Sometimes we meet people who don't seem to be smart, or big and strong, or talented. They make us wonder what is good. What is always good?" The answers include being kind, being patient, and doing your best.

Erin and Katrina

Content: Erin experiences Hurricane Katrina with her family away from the Gulf Coast. The next day they clean up and head to church with clothes, books, toys, and food for the storm refugees gathered there.

Gist: Children deal with scary events in part by seeing adults responding well. Sugg contrasts Katrina's ferocity with the calm response of Erin's parents. Afterwards, as neighbors help each other clean up and show compassion to the needy, Erin sees Christ's love in action. Some busy pages can make the text hard to read in spots.

Wait Until Then

Content: A grandfather teaches his wheelchair-bound grandson about baseball (the Red Sox) and the joys of heaven.

Gist: A sweet story that emphasizes themes of bonding between generations and coping with sickness, disability, and death. Lush illustrations help to show how granddad and grandson love good things in this world and let those good things build anticipation for heaven. On his deathbed the grandfather says, "Don't forget, one day God will make us what we should be and the whole earth what it should be. We just have to wait."


In Heaven for Kids (Tyndale, 2006), Randy Alcorn begins a conversation with kids about heaven. He goes from the biblically clear (Is heaven a real place?) to the more speculative (Will we learn new things?). He gives biblically grounded answers and states clearly when he's guessing about something, with the goal of helping children develop heavenly anticipation.

Fourteen-year-old homeschooler Nicholas Rider began working on America's True Heroes (Island Time Publishing, 2006) when he was 11 years old and attempting to collect autographs from veterans he met. The project grew into a collection of remembrances. The tales are often told in the veterans' own words. One World War II vet ended his account: "I am sorry I do not want to say anymore. It is an experience I hope you will never have to go through. When I returned to civilian life, I decided to leave my war experience behind. I lost a lot of good friends." We can be thankful for his service and for Nicholas Rider who cared enough to write it down.


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