Children's Bibles

I wrote a post about children's bibles in 2008, but we kept discovering more bible storybooks for children, and so I have now created this updated page as a more up-to-date reference.  Please keep in mind that my children are now past the age of children's bibles, so I can include new ones when I come across them. 

There are so many bible storybooks available for children, and of very varying quality. Sadly, we found that most bibles for very young children are very average, as they exclude key parts of accounts, or just ignore them. When I shopped for bibles I had a mental checklist of things I really would like them to include, such as:
  • Genesis 3 - the account of sin. So many ignore this. How can we possibly teach children of their need for a Saviour unless they know that the world needs saving?
  • Abraham and God's promises to him (Genesis 12ff). I am amazed at how many bibles go from Noah straight to the story of Joseph and his coloured coat, skipping over one of the key promises God makes.
  • Some Psalms or Proverbs.
  • Some prophecy.
  • Some details post-ascension: the coming of the Holy Spirit, the growth of the Early Church, Paul and his letters, Revelation.
  • In more detailed bibles, it's good to to check whether the stories are included accurately.  eg. including the account of the plant in Jonah 4, rather than finishing with Jonah saying yes and going to Ninevah.  Or perhaps details of the flood, or the details of the promise to Abraham.

Here are some of the better bibles we have come across:
  • The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible, Jared Kennedy, Ill. Trish Mahoney (New Growth Press, 2017). An excellent bible for the early years firmly grounded in Jesus Christ from beginning to end. It shows how the Old Testament (subtitled Promises Made) continually points to him and the New Testament (Promises Kept) speaks the truth of his life and our response to it.  Each of the 52 stories are about 6 pages, with a question at the end to talk about together, a brief explanation of how Jesus fits into the story and how that relates to our relationship with him. See a more detailed review here.
  • The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers (L. J. Sattgast, ill. Toni Goffe).  The same duo as those who wrote The Rhyme Bible (see below) have created a simplified version for toddlers. Great for 2-4 year olds. Our young ones loved this one.

  •  The Beginner's Bible (Candle Books). Our little ones (~3-4) really liked this one and also often returned to it when reading themselves (~6). The  stories are more detailed, the pictures are engaging (although not entirely realistic - how often do fish smile happily when they are caught?). We used this one from ages 3-5.

  • The Rhyme Bible (L. J. Sattgast, ill. Toni Goffe) We love rhyme in our house, so The Rhyme Bible was a winner. I was always impressed at how Stattgast turned bible accounts into rhyme, still keeping them  quite accurate. It's a fun change between reading other bibles. Good for 3-5 year olds.

  • My First Bible (ill. Andrew Gleeson and Sophie Keen; Parragon).  Appropriate for ages 4-6.  The illustrations are less engaging and colourful, but the stories themselves are good and quite detailed.

  • First Bible Stories (adapted by Jillian Harker and Michael Phipps, ill. by John Dillow) We gave this to Miss 5 on the day she started school. It was great, very appropriate for age 4 onwards. I was impressed with the way the stories were explained, grabbing the salient points with age appropriate language. Only one quibble (and if it's only one it's a good bible!). In the account where Jesus changes the water to wine - Mary tells him the wine has run out, then "Nervously, Jesus began to speak, 'It is not yet my time...' ". I don't think nerves were the issue.

  • The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm, ill. Gail Schoonmaker). A great bible for the 4-7 age group being one of the few children's bibles which really pushes the idea of Biblical Theology - that there is one unifying theme through the whole of the bible, God's people under God's rule in God's place. Our children loved it - the illustrations are vivid and often from odd angles, which they enjoyed. The individual story units are sometimes very long, so we split them at times. 
  • The Jesus Story Book Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Sally Lloyd-Jones, ill. Jago). Appropriate for 5-8 years, this is excellent. Each account shows how Jesus will or does fulfill each part of the bible, Old or New Testament (although sometimes these links are over-stretched). The illustrations are engaging and enjoyable. It doesn't shy away from some details and some emotion. I think this is the only Bible that made Mr 5  pause and realise that what happened to Jesus on the cross was truly awful and very sad.