by Dana Kennamer, Ph.D.
These books are not new, but they are still among my favorite Bible story books for young children, so I could not resist including them in my recommendations. Ella K. Lindvall provides child-accessible retellings of many of the most loved Bible stories. The language is simple and engaging, but maintains the integrity of the text. The stories are written in ways that invite the children to engage actively in the reading of the story. Ken Puckett’s illustrations are bold and large enough to see when used with groups of children – though they work well for lap reading in a one-on-one context as well.
While these books are written with children ages 2-5 in mind, I have used them for children throughout elementary. At times, as I gather around the story with my kindergarten and first grade friends on Sunday mornings, we will read the story first from the Read-Aloud Bible Stories and then read it from the Bible itself. I ask the children to listen for new details that they hear in the Bible and then we write words and draw pictures to remember this additional information about the story.
When we use this structure, I am always surprised by what the children hear when we read it straight from the Bible. Recently, we live in the story of Zacchaeus, first in Lindvall’s retelling in Volume I, The Man Who Was Too Little, and then from the Bible. One kindergarten friend commented, “Wow! Teacher Dana, I think we should always try to read it from the real Bible too!” Not a bad lesson for a Sunday morning.
Each volume includes 5 stories, both Old and New Testament. Volume II includes the story entitled, A Sad Day and a Happy Day, one of the most sensitive retellings of the crucifixion and resurrection for young children I have ever read.
If you do not have these in your children’s ministry library, I strongly recommend adding them to your collection. They are wonderful resources for parents who want to share God’s story with their children at home. Below is a list of stories in each volume.
The Man Who Was Too Little
The Man Who Couldn’t See
The Boys and Girls and Jesus
The Wind That Obeyed
The Man Who Said, “Thank You”
Simon and His Boat
The Boy Who Went Away
The Boy Who Shared His Lunch
The Man Who Helped
A Sad Day and a Happy Day (Crucifixion and Resurrection)
How God Made the World
Noah’s Big Boat
God Gives His People Bread to Eat
Daniel and the Lions
Baby Jesus and the Good News
Joseph and His Brothers The Baby in the Basket Joshua and the Big Wall David and the Biggest Man Jonah and the Big Fish
The Foolish Farmer The Sheep That Was Lost The People Helper Who Wouldn't Help Two Men Who Talked to God Two Men and Their Houses.
Contributed by Dana Kennamer, PhD. Dana directs the nationally recognized teacher education program at Abilene Christian University. While a passionate researcher on children's spiritual development, she is "Teacher Dana" to the children (and young adults) at her home church.