This is a bit of a different post from my normal weekly book review, instead of giving a bigger review of one book, I decided to give three shorter reviews of three great children’s books. If you don’t have children, don’t stop reading! These books are great ideas for gifts for families and children for Christmas and beyond.
As an avid reader one of the things I always encourage folks to do is to start reading whenever you can and as early as you can, that goes for children too. As adults we have the responsibility to teach children about God; If you are a parent you do this by talking and reading to children about God, and as friends of families we can do this by talking and reading to them about God, but also by gifting them good and solid resources about God.
I hope that this review and these books will help you serve your children well and encourage you to keep an eye out of good materials to buy for families that you know.
A very noisy Christmas – Tim Thornborough
The last thing that comes into my mind when I think about Christmas is quiet. People rushing around buying gifts, families laughing at silly Christmas games, families arguing over who would have won that game of monopoly. Quiet doesn’t really feature.
Yet we sing silent night, we go to candlelight carol services that are quiet and reflective and we ponder the birth of the baby Jesus who slept so silently… Aye right!
The first Christmas was the noisiest day that Bethlehem has ever seen (or heard?).
Tim Thornborough tells the story of Jesus’ birth in a new and exciting way full of noise and rejoicing. As I don’t have any children I read this book in the quietness of my living room, sipping a cup of tea. However, the sheer volume that jumps from these pages put a smile on my face.
Thornborough retells the Christmas story in a fun way, allowing parents to really get into the story and the drama that we do often don’t think about. That first Christmas was full of shouting and singing, it definitely was not a silent night.
The Christmas story should leave people shouting for joy because Jesus the Son of God was born! This is the reason for the season, this is the reason to rejoice and this is the truth that children should be reminded of. Forget Santa, forget gifts, forget the good Christmas food… Jesus is a far better gift than anything or anyone in the world and the celebration of his birth should not be silent.
A Jesus Christmas – Barbara Reaoch
Christmas isn’t always the easiest time of the year for parents; children can get caught up in the ideas of Santa Claus and an extreme sense of materialism that grips our country which is quickly followed by a lack of interest in the gifts. So, how do Christian parents teach their children about Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas? How do you do this as a family?
Barbara Reaoch has written a tremendous little advent devotional book designed for the whole family to learn together and enjoy.
There are four elements to each study that you do in this devotional, Reaoch calls them explore, explain, engage and enter in.
Each day you will read a passage and have two questions based on the text, these questions help the whole famile understand the main points of the passage and help them see how the whole of the Bible has been building up to the birth of Jesus, the Son of God.
Then there is a very short explanation as to the importance of the text, and how that points to the glory of God and the person of Jesus. These explanations are simple and written really well to accommodate all ages.
Then there are four questions, two for older children and two for younger children. This has to be one of my favourite elements of this advent devotional; these questions are worded well and can be used as bouncing boards for broader conversations. These questions are about how the truths of the Bible affect the whole family in their own personal lives and they encourage the conversation to go beyond where the study can take you.
- Enter in
Then there is a short prayer that will help the whole family think about how to pray the truths of the passage, and how to give thanks for God’s plan that brought about that first Christmas. These short prayers can be a great way of teaching young children how to pray and to encourage them to keep God as the focus of our prayers. God should be the focus, would that we all know this a little bit more through this book.
On the last page of each short study is a page for colouring that Reaoch calls the ‘Family journaling space’ at the top of the page is a statement about Jesus. This page gives children the opportunity to be creative with their thoughts, to put their imagination into picture and to put their knowledge of God into pictures. If you get this book, which I highly recommend you do, do not think of this page simply as a creative activity but use it as an opportunity to talk about the drawing and to let the truths about God and Jesus influence the creativity.
This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend you buy if you want to grow together with your whole family in your understanding of God, His plans and His Son. If you don’t have children, like myself, then buy this book and give it to a family that you know to encourage them this year.
Goodbye to goodbyes -Lauren Chandler
We all know what it is like to say goodbye, sometimes it’s a short while until we will be reunited with our loved ones after a holiday, but sometimes it feel that it is the final goodbye.
Nobody likes to talk about death and nobody likes to think about the pain and struggles of saying goodbye to a loved one once they die. But is it the end? Is that the final goodbye?
For those who believe in Jesus the answer is a triumphant NO!
Lauren Chandler in her book goodbye to goodbyes writes the wonderful story of Lazarus and his sisters. Many children’s books simplify the Bible and cut the edges off some of the difficult passages, but not this book. Chandler writes in such a way that will grab any child’s imagination and draw them into the truth of the Bible. Death is ugly, Jesus has a plan and Jesus is powerful.
How does this effect our goodbyes? Well it shows that our goodbyes, as painful as they may be, are only temporary. This little story book for children tells the wonderful story of how death is defeated and Jesus is victorious. This book will give children a big and lasting view of the greatness of God and a realistic view of the glorious eternity that awaits His people.
Chandler doesn’t shy away from talking about the pain of death and she brings out how Jesus too cried and suffered, yet not without hope. Jesus mourned and it is ok for us to mourn to, but we do not mourn as those without hope.
Our eternity is secured for us in heaven and there will be a day when Jesus and all of his people will say goodbye to goodbyes. That is the wonderful truth that this book expounds and that is the truth that will give children a hope of the future to come. What better way to prepare children for pain and death than to give them the hope of eternal love for those who have faith in Jesus.
This book made me rejoice in the greatness of our heavenly inheritance, and I look forward to seeing this book light up little faces across the world!
I’m sorry but this book is only available from February 1st 2019