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Christmas Gift Ideas to Encourage Spiritual Growth in Children
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Posted by Bobette Hatteberg, Cornerstone's Children's Ministry Director

 

As a young mom I often wracked my brain at this time of year for just one more gift idea mom reads to child for my children that wasn’t toys or clothes. I got in the habit of giving them each a book at Christmas. In fact, I still give each member of my family a book for Christmas and this year we even have a book for our soon-to-be born grandchild! In those early years of parenting I had to dig hard to find theologically sound children’s books. I’m thrilled to say that today there’s an abundance of theologically rich books for children that are wonderfully illustrated. I thought I’d share a list of some of the ones I’ve read this past year. These books stand out because they’re grounded in a high view of God and the Scriptures but are written to make those truths come to life for a preschool or elementary-aged child. I’ve divided them into several categories to help you consider what might enrich your family’s library. The books marked with a (P) would be more suited for preschoolers. The rest would be suited to an elementary-aged child (depending on their reading level).

 

Reading to and/or with your children has many benefits including mental stimulation, stress relief, knowledge growth, vocabulary expansion, analytical skill development, memory improvement, increased writing skills…and the list goes on. But one of the greatest spiritual benefits of reading with or to your children is the opportunity to talk about deeply spiritual things in a relaxed atmosphere while spending time building your relationship. The Book of Deuteronomy gives us a picture of teaching our children the depths of God’s Word during the daily routines of life. Reading falls into that category. Sometimes approaching a child’s struggle in a particular area in an indirect way through a book opens up conversation and an opportunity to come alongside them without the same resistance you might meet in the middle of a conflict. It’s kind of like coming in the back door unnoticed. I found that reading books with my children while relating them to God’s Word and real life was one of the richest investments I made when my children were little. Why not consider gifting a book to each of your children this Christmas?!

 

Bible Stories

[* indicates the book is available in Cornerstone’s Resource Center]

Jesus and the Lion Den: A True Story about How Daniel Points us to Jesus, by Alison Mitchell

The Storm that Stopped: A True Story about who Jesus Really Is, by Alison Mitchell

The One O’clock Miracle: A True Story about Trusting the Words of Jesus, by Alison Mitchell

The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story about how Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave, by Alison Mitchell

The Man Who Would Not Be Quiet, by Steph Williams (P)

Never Too Little! By Steph Williams (P)

The Best Thing to Do, by Steph Williams (P)

 

Board Books

God Is Faithful, by Carine Mackenzie (P)

God Knows Everything, by Carine Mackenzie (P)

God Never Changes, by Carine Mackenzie (P)

God is Everywhere, by Carine Mackenzie (P)

God is Kind, by Carine Mackenzie (P)

God has Power, by Carine Mackenzie (P)

 

Books for Fathers and Sons

Time for the Talk: Leading Your Son into True Manhood, by Steve Zollos (older elementary)

Thoughts for Young Men, by J.C. Ryle

Between Us Guys: Life-Changing Conversations for Dads and Sons, by Joel Fitzpatrick

 

Books for Moms and Daughters

Lies Girls Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh

A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe, by Danna Gresh

Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood, by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre

Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters, by Trish Donohue

Growing Little Women: Capturing Teachable Moments with your Daughter, by Donna Miller

 

Children’s Bibles

The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments, by Marty Machowski

The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones

The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, by Jared Kennedy

The Big Picture Story Bible, by David Helm

It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook (Gospel Project)

 

Christmas

When Santa Learned the Gospel, by Wimon Camilleri

The Christmas Promise, by Alison Mitchell

The Best Gift Ever Given: A 25-Day Journey Through Advent from God's Good Gifts to God's Great Son, by Ronnie Martin

 

Disabilities

Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability, by Krista Horning

God Made Me Unique: Helping Children See Value in Every Person, by Joni and Friends

 

Emotions

When I Am Afraid, by Sally Michael

Good News for Little Hearts Series (6 books purchasable alone or as a set)

            Buster’s Ears Trip Him Up (when you fail), edited by Edward Welch*

            Jax’s Tail Twitches (when you are angry), edited by David Powlison

            Gus Loses His Grip (when you want something too much), edited by David Powlison

            Henry Says Good-bye (when you are sad), edited by Edward Welch

            Tori Comes Out of Her Shell (when you are lonely), edited by Jayne Clark

            Zoe’s Hiding Place (when you are anxious), edited by David Powlison*

 

Ethnic Diversity

God Made Me and You: Celebrating God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity, by Shai Linne

God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story about God’s Delightfully Different Family, by Trillia Newbell

 

Family Devotionals

The Big Book of Questions and Answers: A Family Devotional Guide to the Christian Faith, by Sinclair Ferguson

God’s Wisdom: 23 Lessons for Children about Living for Jesus, by Ruth Younts

Small Devotionals Big Beliefs, by David Helm *

Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids, by David Murray*

My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts, by Susan Hunt

 

Friendships

The Big Adventure of Tiny Tom, by Glenn Leinbach (written by one of our very own Cornerstone members!)


Grief/Loss/Death

The Moon Is Always Round, by Jonathan Gibson

Goodbye to Goodbyes: A True Story about Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb, by Lauren Chandler

Let’s Talk About Heaven, by Debby Anderson (P)

Tell Me About Heaven, by Randy Alcorn

Heaven for Kids, by Randy Alcorn

 

Sexuality/Purity/Gender/Marriage

A Child’s First Book about Marriage: God’s Way is Always Best, by Jani Ortlund

Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth, by Danika Cooley

God’s Design, by Sally Michael and Gary Steward

God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies, by Justin Holcomb and Lindsey Holcomb*

God Made Boys and Girls: Helping Children Understand the Gift of Gender, by Marty Machowski

 

Theology (child-size)

Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean, by Marty Machowski

Why God? Big Answers About God and Why We Believe in Him, by Dan Dewitt

Sophie and the Heidelberg Cat, by Andrew Wilson

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross: The true story of why Jesus Died and Rose Again, by Carl Laferton

Jesus Is Most Special, by Sally Michael

What Every Child Should Know About Prayer, by Nancy Guthrie

Everyone A Child Should Know, by Clare Heath-Whyte

Everything A Child Should Know about God, by Kenneth Taylor*

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New, by Marty Machowski

God’s Providence, by Sally Michael

God’s Names, by Sally Michael

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden, by Kevin DeYoung

God’s Great Plan, by Melissa Cutrera

And God Said…, by Andrew Wilson

The Bible’s Big Story, by James Hamilton Jr.

Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers, by Joey Allen (set of 4 books) (P)

            The Gospel

            The Mission

            The Trinity

            The Scripture



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