Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible is one of so many children’s Bibles. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety and unsure which is best for your bookshelf. So, here at ICM, we’ve compiled our thoughts in this blog series where we’ll be reviewing some of today’s most popular children’s Bibles. Once you find your fave children’s Bible, check out our post on ways of reading scripture with your kids to get the most out of it!
Quick Facts about Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible
- Editors: Elizabeth F. Caldwell and Carol A. Wehrheim
- 360 Pages
- Age Range: 4-8 years old
- Storybook format (a retelling of some of the Bible)
- Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 9 inches
- Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (2018)
A Closer Look
There’s no perfect choice for all children everywhere or even for your own child. Each children’s Bible is a mix of aspects to love as well as those that invite palm to forehead moments. In this series of reviews, we’ll always include what we believe to be the pros and cons of each Bible and whether or not we’d recommend it to our friends. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at Growing in God’s Love: A Story Bible.
Pros of Growing in God’s Love
Engaging Illustrations: Twenty-one illustrators, all listed near the back of the Bible, created illustrations in a wide range of styles. They’re vibrant and dynamic and most are large enough to make for effective storytelling to a group.
Appropriately Illustrated Characters: Figures are shown with olive skin and dark hair, honoring the Bible’s Middle Eastern context.
Table of Contents Included: Having a table of contents is a plus, especially if a child has favorites they like to return to repeatedly. The stories are grouped by theme, making for connections that may not be obvious when reading canonically ordered Bible stories.
Digestible Story Length: The stories, which are retold compilations of several verses or chapters, are short. This aspect makes it easy to hold the attention of young readers.
Classic Stories and Beyond Included: All the classic stories you’d hope for from a children’s Bible are included here. This exposes children to the foundational texts of the faith. Additionally, texts not usually seen in children’s Bibles are here, too. Special attention is paid to include stories about women.
Non-Gendered Language: Throughout the stories, the editor refers to the Divine as God, neither male nor female. Children can then imagine God more expansively and are more likely to understand that, no matter their sex, they are made in God’s image.
Nameplate Included: A nameplate page is included for gifting the bible to a child. A parent, children’s director, teacher or family member would appreciate this.
Reflection Questions Included: At the end of most stories, Hear, See and Act questions encourage the children to explore. These neither moralize or editorialize the story but simply invite participation.
Cons of Growing in God’s Love
Unfamiliar Story Titles: Story titles are different than those children will almost always hear and see in Bibles. This can make it difficult for them to transition between Bibles.
Medium Font Size: The font size is on the small side for children new to reading, making it difficult for them to read it on their own. This will likely require parents to read until children are confident readers.
Grouped Stories by Theme: While this quality is also listed as a pro, it may make it somewhat difficult to locate a particular story you’re searching for.
Children’s Bibles are all different, each with good qualities. Growing in God’s Love has a lot going for it. Stories are a digestible length and illustrated beautifully and with attention to cultural context. Stories both classic and less frequently read to children are there, including more stories about women than usual. A nameplate makes for a personal touch. Reflection questions and non-gendered language for the Divine help challenge children to reflect on God, scripture and their own lives.
On the other hand, the unfamiliar story titles, medium font size, and the way stories are grouped by theme may detract from Growing in God’s Love. However, the pros far outweigh the cons of this children’s story Bible.
On the whole, this is a fantastic resource for anyone raising or serving children. We’d definitely recommend it to our friends.
We hope this review has been helpful and has given some food for thought. Share what children’s Bibles you have and love in the comments below!