Tag: carl laferton (page 1 of 1)

The God Contest

This week, our middle two daughters competed in their first spelling bee: a circumscribed affair, thanks to Covid, of course. But leading up to the Bee, our dinner hour turned into Spelling Bee Practice, with Mitch and I taking turns tossing the girls words to spell while we ate our meal (and occasionally tried to stump each other).

Why it’s so funny to misspell words, I can’t say, but it is. By the end of each of these dinners, at least one of us laughed so hard we cried and the rest of us had succumbed to various stages of helpless giggles. When I asked our first grader to spell “sting,” she stood up beside her chair and said, cheerfully, “Sting! B-E-E, sting!”

Or when Mitch playfully asked Josie (almost five) to spell her name? “J-O-something-something-E!”

The God Contest, by Carl Lafteron | Little Book, Big Story

But, hilarity aside, this was their first time competing, and excited as they were I know they were nervous, too. What if they lost? What if they won, and had to go on to face the next round of the competition? Standing up in front of your own class is daunting enough. What if they got up there and then forgot the “a” in “each”?

Carl Laferton’s new book, The God Contest, explores a different contest: that between Elijah and the priests of Baal (or, really, between God and Baal). This contest asked the question, “Who is the true God?” In the delightful tradition of the rest of the Tales That Tell the Truth series, The God Contest shares a favorite biblical story, but rather than treat that story as a complete entity, separate from the rest of Scripture, this book shows how the story of Elijah and the prophets points toward Jesus. The Israelites weren’t the only ones to wonder who was the true God, after all, and God settled the question once and for all not in a blaze of fire, but in a blaze of life at Jesus’s resurrection.

The God Contest, by Carl Lafteron | Little Book, Big Story

Alas, my daughters did not win their spelling bees, though it sounds like they each lasted a while and they sure worked hard. But God’s contest is settled: he is the victor. Yet rather than keep the prize for himself, he has given it—lavishly, abundantly—to those who trust in him. May this book point those young readers to the One who loves them so.

The God Contest: The True Story of Elijah, Jesus, and the Greatest Victory
Carl Laferton; Catalina Echeverri (2021)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

7 Books That Tell the Big Story of Easter

If we spent last Lent reading books with a fresh take on the Easter story, this year, I want to focus on stories that tell not just what happened during Holy Week but why it mattered. Why did Jesus die? Why do we celebrate Good Friday with somber songs and Easter Sunday with joyous ones? I set out to find Easter books that fit the Resurrection into context, that showed it beginning and ending with the gospel.

But I couldn’t find them. Not in the Easter section, anyway. All the Easter books we had and all the ones I borrowed from the library told (beautifully, most of them) what happened, but none of them gave us the gospel.

So I went looking elsewhere. I dug out books from our everyday shelves that tell the story of Jesus’ life in full, that tell God’s redemptive story from beginning to end, that show God’s tenderness toward his people, that invite us to the view the gospel through allegory.

7 Books That Tell the Big Story of Easter | Little Book, Big Story

This is a list of books to read during Lent, but they aren’t specifically Easter books. I hope you enjoy them.

The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross, by Carl Laferton

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross, by Carl Laferton | Little Book, Big Story

This book tells the story of God’s redemptive plan from Genesis to Revelation. Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection are covered here, but they’re fit within their broader context, and Laferton explains perfectly why they matter in a way that even the youngest readers can follow. (Read the full review.)

The Light of the World, by Katherine Paterson

The Light of the World, by Katherine Paterson | Little Book, Big Story

Newbery-winning author Katerine Paterson tells the story of Jesus’ life here on earth in a way that reminds us that Jesus was God, but he was also a warm, approachable man. His gentleness and strength are both evident here. (Read the full review.)

The World Jesus Knew, by Marc Olson

The World Jesus Knew, by Marc Olson | Little Book, Big Story

This book was a new find, one that made me deeply happy. The World Jesus Knew provides a different sort of context for Jesus’ story: Marc Olson has written a fascinating reference book for kids that, with the help of Jem Maybank’s illustrations, brings the first century to life to kids. What did Jesus eat? What was the temple like when he lived? What the heck is a centurion? Olson answers all those things (and more!) in this, my new favorite picture book.

The Prince’s Poison Cup, by R. C. Sproul

The Prince's Poison Cup (Review) | Little Book, Big Story

R. C. Sproul had a knack for sharing the gospel through allegory, and The Prince’s Poison Cup is one of his best. Through the story of a prince whose people have strayed, Sproul illustrates grace in a fresh and powerful way. (Read the full review.)

Found, by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Found, by Sally Lloyd-Jones | Little Book, Big Story

Psalm 23 gets a sweet retelling in this board book. The picture of a shepherd—shown both in Lloyd-Jones’ poetry and Jago’s illustrations—searching for his lost sheep is beautiful, and it’s perfect for sharing the story of Easter with little readers. (Read the full review.)

The Biggest Story, by Kevin DeYoung

The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung and Don Clark | Little Book, Big Story

In this not-quite-story-Bible, Kevin DeYoung traces the Big Story of Scripture from beginning to end. This is like The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross, but for older readers. This would be a great book to read throughout Lent. For younger readers, The Biggest Story ABC is beautiful, too. (Read the full review.)

Miracle Man, by John Hendrix

Miracle Man, by John Hendrix | Little Book, Big Story

And, of course: Miracle Man. John Hendrix’s book on the life of Jesus is perfect, and ends with a breath-catching moment of anticipation. (Read the full review.)