What Makes a Good Children’s Bible?
Every child has individual needs, and no children’s bible will engage every child perfectly, but here are four elements to consider when looking at children’s bible:
Most children’s bibles have illustrations, but it is something to check for. Pictures are not a dumbing-down of the story, but can help a child understand what’s going on when they can’t yet read, as well as stimulate their imagination.
In the Bible there are examples of stories that champion men and women, boys and girls, those who are ‘in’ and those who are outsiders. Whilst some of these feature more frequently than others, all are present, and having a children’s bible that acknowledges this is a great way of helping a child learn that God’s call is for everyone, not just particular people. If the children’s bible only has selected stories rather than the full text (almost always the case), make sure that those selected are a reflection of all of God’s people. Keep an eye on the illustrations too – if all the characters are white and male, this is neither helpful nor accurate!
The days of the Bible only being available in Latin are long past! If we want our children to read their bibles, they need to be ones that use words children understand. Large text in a friendly typeface can help with this too.
The finer points of Trinitarian theology might be hard to convey, but some children’s bibles are dreadful at being faithful to the original text and its theology. Whilst it might not be appropriate to read the entire book cover-to-cover in the shop, have a glance at stories like Noah’s ark and Jesus’s death. Has anything been left out? How does the story end? Sad moments are hard but often key to the story, as well as being helpful for relating to our own lives.
Bibles for Children and Young People that we recommend:
The Lion Storyteller Bible
A brilliant children’s bible for reading out loud.
The Barnabas Family Bible
A great interactive bible for the family to use together which includes follow-up questions, activities and prayer ideas.
The Jesus Storybook Bible
A marvellous story bible for all ages that puts Jesus at the centre of every story.
Children of God Storybook Bible
A beautiful story bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, illustrated by people from all over the world.
Good News Bible: The Youth Edition
A wonderful youth bible with space for journaling, follow-up ideas, and video links.
NIrV New Testament: Accessible Version
A fantastic New Testament which has been designed for those with learning disabilities, moderate sight loss, lower levels of literacy, and English as a second language.