children's books to savour

Whenever I teach narrative preaching I always start with children's stories. Former students will remember my love for the simplicity of Quack, Quack and the power of Love You Forever - which has induced many a tear from older, and embarassed, Kiwi males.

To read them and then to ask "why does this work?" seems to supply so much fodder for the learning process. In recent weeks I have come across two more children storybooks which will adorn my teaching from this time forward.

The first is LeAnne Hardy's, So That's What God is Like (Kregel, 2004). It is the ever-so-tender story of little Temba learning about God from his Grandma. Set in Africa where the author has lived, the book has the most gorgeous illustrations. I loved the way a little Bible verse (proposition) is integrated with story and image all the way through without distraction or detraction; the way the biblical image of God is retold and explained by the Grandma in a way a little boy can understand. I applaud the selection of images chosen for "what God is like" - the wind, a rock, a mother hen, a nursing mother, a shepherd - for the way it creates space for the 'maternal' features of God, even if it may have limited the books marketability in some circles! I am sure the eyes will moisten every single time I reach that final page...

[NB - LeAnne is married to Steve Hardy, Director of Langham Scholars. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a recent visit to the UK which is when I first saw this book].

The second book is Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible (Zondervan, 2007). My niece, Rachael Windsor, told me about it. Again the illustrations are great - but it is the subtitle that grasps its genius: "every story whispers his name". Yes, the writer makes her way through 40+ stories and finds her way to Jesus by the end of each one (including the 20 Old Testament ones). So she commends christocentric preaching in such a natural and compelling manner. The Storybook "tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible and how it takes the whole Bible to tell this Story". As one reviewer expressed it, it is "as theological as it is charming".
The chapter on The Fall is linked on the web here.

It would seem that Sally Lloyd-Jones (no relation to Martyn, as I understand it) is part of the congregation which Tim Keller pastors in New York City. He writes a glowing endorsement of the book: “I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian - from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what it means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God’s revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning - a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned.”

Enough said - these are recent and precious additions to my library. I hope you can enjoy them as well.

nice chatting



Paul said…
We have started reading The Jesus Storybook Bible aloud as a family. Three stories done...and it is just so beautiful. Tender, simple, theologically-profound, tear-jerking.

I cannot imagine anyone not wanting their own copy.

Go get one!!
Anonymous said…

We've made our way as a family through the Storybook Bible. Loved the focus on Jesus. Just wish it was a hundred pages longer!

Sounds like your trip was marvellous!

John Tucker
LeAnne Hardy said…
Thanks for telling people about So That's What God is Like, Paul. I too have enjoyed the Jesus Storybook Bible. I'm teaching a writing workshop in Kenya in a couple weeks and decided to use the idea of The BIG Story we are all a part of as the basis for our daily devotions. My personal story has meaning as I see where it fits in eternity and what God has been doing down through the ages.

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