For many of us, Veggie Tales didn’t exist in childhood. Neither did picture books by Max Lucado or Matthew Paul Turner that explore God’s love for us. Thankfully, we now have many more kid-friendly picture books to help young readers grow in their faith. This fall is no exception because seven great Christian faith-based children’s books await!
But first, let’s get nostalgic for a moment. All of us have stories from our childhood that meant the world to us. They are the very titles that pop into our head as soon as someone asks: “What was the best book ever as a kid?” (Did you just think of your favorite? Mine was The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.)
In my mind, another category of “Best Books from Childhood” exists. They are the ones that were pivotal to my Christian faith. For example, my copy of the classic by Marjorie Newman entitled The Children’s Bible still has dates above each story, painstakingly recording when I read or reread it with one of my parents. As a child, I found some of the illustrations to be so intense that I had to skip over a few until I was older. A lesser-known book called One Hundred Bible Stories by Concordia Publishing House belonged to my mother when she was growing up. While the stories were rather lengthy, I was captivated by the illustrations (like “Creation” above) from page one.
Now in the present, I’m thrilled to share new faith-based picture books publishing this fall of 2023, including one of my own titled ONE PERFECT PLAN.
Christian Faith-Based Children’s Picture Books
CORY and the SEVENTH STORY (Convergent) by Brian D McLaren and Gareth Higgins, illustrated by Anita Schmidt.
Based on their adult non-fiction work entitled The Seventh Story: Us, Them, and the End of Violence comes McLaren and Higgins’ first picture book together. The lesser-known “seventh story” can open up a conversation that leads to peace instead of war. This conceit, found in their adult non-fiction book, is woven throughout Cory and the Seventh Story as well. In a peaceful Old Village, we discover sweet Cory, a raccoon, and his good friend, Owl. All is well until new neighbors move in and bring strife. Soon the bullies are driving away friendly critters just because of their appearance. While Cory and Owl feel unequipped to find familiar solutions or stories to help. They are at a loss! That’s until a new visitor gallops into town and brings wisdom and hope anew to their storytelling. A strong lesson-oriented tale, this is a good book for a classroom or Sunday school discussion. Pub Date: October 17, 2023
A MESSAGE IN THE MOON (Penguin/WaterBrook) written by Roma Downey, illustrated by Holly Hatam.
It turns out Roma Downey is not only an amazing actress (best known for her role as Monica in Touched By an Angel), she’s quite the author as well. This is a story based on her own childhood after her mother passed away. That’s when her father reassured her that, though miles apart, they could feel one another’s love by looking up at the moon’s glow. In this story, Downey imagines various instances when children must be away from their loved ones for a time, and how they might sense unconditional love through the moon, even when miles apart. In the end, one child thanks God for “creating the moon as a reminder of Your love.” Pub Date: October 10, 2023
Your love is all around me, God,
and it will always be.
The moon reminds me every night
just how much You love me.
SOMETHING: ONE SMALL THING CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE (Hachette/WorthyKids) written by Natalee Creech, illustrated by Pablo Pino.
Following in the footsteps of Creech’s previous story, Nothing: Nothing Can Separate You From God’s Love, her next book is Something: One Small Thing Can Make a Difference. This book encourages children at any age to take action to help out when they see a need. Whether through a kind act or listening to those “God whispers” or Holy Spirit prompts, we can all take the time to help an someone get their mail or to clean out Grandma’s garage for her rummage sale. After all, one small thing really can make a difference. Pub Date: January 24, 2023
WHEN WORRY WHISPERS (Hachette/WorthyKids) written by Joyce Meyer, illustrated by Marcin Piwowarski.
We all worry sometimes. Those “worry whispers” can interrupt our thoughts and make us fret. If only “Worry” could look as adorable as Piwowarski’s dark cloud, we might not be as concerned by it. Known for her Joyce Meyer’s Ministries and her Battlefield of the Mind books, it seems natural for Meyer to create a book which equips young minds to turn to God’s strength at these times. After all, “What should you do when Worry starts whispering to you?” According to Meyer, “Talk to God! And remember all the ways He’s promised to take care of you.” Can’t go wrong there! Even parents need reassurance that worry is “No Match for God.” Amen to that. Pub Date: June 6, 2023
ONE PERFECT PLAN: THE BIBLE’S BIG STORIES IN TINY POEMS (Penguin/Waterbrook) written by Nancy Tupper Ling, illustrated by Alina Chau.
The Bible is a BIG book! Did you know inside the King James Version alone there are 783,137 words and 66 books. That’s A LOT of reading! Through ONE PERFECT PLAN, a child can explore key Bible stories in one sitting. That means while eating breakfast or swinging on a swing or before bedtime, young readers can dive into God’s Word. This includes favorite stories like David and Goliath and Queen Esther too. Sometimes one word, one choice, one life can make a world of difference. Through poems paired with chronological Bible passages, children will learn these traditional stories in a new and easy-to-memorize way. Tiny poems can lead to big conversations about God. Pub Date: October 17, 2023
then light breaks into darkness;
the sky, the seas, and life—how wondrous!
AND FOR CHRISTMAS . . .
HOLY NIGHT AND LITTLE STAR: A STORY FOR CHRISTMAS (Penguin/WaterBrook) written by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Khoa Le.
On this Holy Night, when the world awaits the birth of a Savior, even the skies are busy making preparations. Maker has a job for the planets and the “big, brilliant stars.” But Little Star hangs back, happiest in her wee role, glowing low and softly over the Bethlehem hills. How could Maker ever use someone small like her on this amazing night? Young readers will definitely root for Little Star as she discovers that she can serve in ways she never thought possible. Pub Date: September 5, 2023
LULLABY FOR THE KING (Beaming Books) written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Michelle Carlos.
It’s no surprise that Grimes has masterfully written a lyrical love song about King Jesus and his birth. Here, diverse and colorful animals, creatures from far and wide, each bring a unique gift to their King, the newborn babe in the manger. It’s a true celebration, with rare treasures such as ebony wood and apricot cakes carried by deer and peacock, sparrow and jackal as homage to the one who brings hope to their world. Combined with Carlos’ vibrant and exquisite illustrations, this is bound to be a book that families gather around for many Christmases to come. Pub Date: October 10, 2023
The caravan traveled through wilderness, uphill and down, for hours that spun into days.
Then at last, glittering diamond-bright, Bethlehem appeared through the haze.