12 Children’s Books of Bible Stories, Prayers, and Reflections on God

This booklist includes my favorite bible stories from both the old and new testaments, prayers, and a couple books that touch on what God is and how God makes things happen. As with all of the books I recommend, please read these yourself and decide which you would like to share with your children.

My Book of Thanks by B.G. Hennessy and Hiroe Nakata. My favorite perfect prayer book. My Book of Thanks is easy to understand, meaningful, and beautifully illustrated. It introduces kids to a lovely form of prayer that they can emulate. On each page, the narrator thanks God for something and asks God for help. E.g. “Thank you God for my friends. Help me to comfort those who are lonely.” Ages 2+

I Will Rejoice: Celebrating Psalm 118 by Karma Wilson and Amy Bates. Based on Psalm 118: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” As a girl goes through her day, she celebrates a morning hug, food to eat, story time with mom, etc. I like that this book encourages kids to be thankful for simple blessings that are often taken for granted. This book is not for readers who cringe at sap or the depiction of a traditional family (i.e. stay-at-home mom, dad returning home after work). Ages 2+

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson. Kadir Nelson — one of my all time favorite illustrators — has illustrated the traditional spiritual He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. ‘Nough said. This book is worth taking a look at. Ages 3+

Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier. There are so many wonderful picture books that tell the story of Noah’s Ark that it is impossible for me to choose a favorite. Peter Spier’s wordless version of the Noah’s Ark story is neat. Spier’s illustrations of Noah working hard to care for the animals, looking weary as the flood drags on, hugging his wife with relief when they discover dry land and more bring this story to life. Other fantastic versions of the Noah’s Ark story include those by Jerry Pinkney, Andrew Clements, Jan Brett, Christopher Wormell, and Ann Jonas. Ages 4+

A Prayer for the Earth: The Story of Naamah, Noah’s Wife by Sandy Sasso. Noah’s wife is only mentioned briefly in the bible. In A Prayer for the Earth, Sasso has imagined what Noah’s wife Naamah may have been up to while Noah was working to save all of the animals on earth. In A Prayer for the Earth, God calls on Naamah to save each plant on earth and, like Noah, Naamah does what God calls her to do. Ages 4+

The Moses Basket by Jenny Koralek and Pauline Baynes. The story of how baby Moses was saved from Pharoh by being hid in a floating basket of reeds. Koralek has included just the right details and snippets of dialog to draw you into this already suspenseful story. Baynes’ illustrations are lovely. Ages 4+

In God’s Hands by Lawrence Kushner. A humorous and moving story about how God makes things happen. In God’s Hands is based on a traditional Jewish fable. Another book to consider reading about the same theme is Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco, a true story from Polacco’s childhood. Ages 4+


Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories by Tomie dePaola. In Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories, dePaola tells traditional bible stories with the sure pen of an expert storyteller. The stories of Jesus’ birth and death are perfect first renditions of these stories to share with young children. Jesus’ crusifixtion is portrayed from a distance and without blood. For those who would like more stories of Jesus’ life, see also The Miracles of Jesus and The Parables of Jesus by Tomie dePaola. Ages 4+

Parables: Stories Jesus Told by Mary Hoffman and Jackie Morris. I love Mary Hoffman’s commentary in this book. For each parable, Mary Hoffman includes a short introduction to pique kids’ interest in the parable they are about to read and a short conclusion in which she helps kids begin to connect the parable to their own lives. Mary Hoffman avoids preaching to children and leaves room for children to continue to interpret the parables further for themselves. Ages 4+

Images of God for Young Children by Marie-Helene Delval. This is a really neat book of reflections on what God is. While we cannot see God, the Bible describes God in a variety of ways: light, the word, a rock, etc. In Images of God, Marie-Helene Delvan fleshes out what might be meant by the various ways God is described. Ages 5+

Exodus by Brian Wildsmith. This story of Moses’ tumultuous life is told with grand, detailed illustrations for kids to pour over. Wildsmith’s prose is fairly succinct and clear. Wildsmith has written and illustrated several other books based on biblical stories, including Mary and Jesus. Ages 6+


The Story of Easter by Aileen Fisher and Stefano Vitale. A straightforward telling of the Easter story as well as explanations of the symbols and traditions surrounding Easter. While this rendition of the Easter story lacks emotion, I like the fact that it is very informative, explaining the meaning of the cross, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, easter eggs, hot cross buns, etc. Another wonderful moving Easter story is Petook: An Easter Story by Tomie dePaola. Ages 7+

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