Tag: does god know how to tie shoes?

5 Great Books on Theology for Kids

One of the great things about reading robust theological books to my kids is that I get to learn theology along with them. Concepts that seem vast and incomprehensible transform, in the hands of the right author, into something simple, accessible, and yet still mysterious when I read them in a picture book for my daughters.

The Trinity, the theology of the Church, who Jesus is and what he came to do—these are topics that learned theologians spend volumes on, and yet a skillful children’s author can distill them down to their essence in a way that swells this tired mother’s heart to worship even as I rush through the readings and send my kids off to bed. The very best authors distill them but don’t scrub them too clean: they leave the hard questions in, don’t over-handle the mysteries, and avoid the pitfall of making theology “cute.”

5 Great Books on Theology for Kids | Little Book, Big Story

We’ve accumulated a library of books like this, but I thought I’d share a few of my very favorites, the ones that have helped form my own understanding of God and that press me into the works of those learned theologians because I want to know more. But they don’t leave my daughters behind: they whet all of our appetites for more of God, for a better understanding of what he’s done.

3 IN 1, by Joanna Marxhausen

3 in 1: A Picture of God, by Joanna Marxhausen | Little Book, Big Story

This simply illustrated book captures the wonder of the Trinity while explaining it clearly and concisely. Not only that, but it delves into the Gospel as well, giving a picture of the different roles God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit play in our salvation. That is a lot to tackle in a picture book, but Joanna Marxhausen does it gracefully. (Read the full review.)

THE BOY AND THE OCEANby Max Lucado

The Boy and the Ocean, by Max Lucado | Little Book, Big Story

A young boy and his parents discuss the attributes of God while pondering the world around them. This is a beautiful, meditative look at what creation can tell us about God, and the illustrations are some of my favorites in any book anywhere. (Read the full review.)

THE OLOGY, by Marty Machowski

A systematic theology for children? Yes, please! Introducing The Ology, by Marty Machowski | Little Book, Big Story

We recently finished reading The Ology with our girls, and I cannot say enough about how much I love it. Marty Machowski’s systematic theology for children is deep, rich, nourishing—a true feast for readers big and small. He takes immense concepts—the holiness of God, the theology of the end times—and pares them down to the essentials, pulling in metaphors that clicked for our children and for us.

Machowski illuminated verses that I had fought with for years in such a way that I had absolute peace with them when we finished his three-paragraph interpretation, and our daughters asked excellent questions as we read. I’m looking forward to rereading this one again and again as our family grows. (Read the full review.)

WHAT IS THE CHURCH?by Mandy Groce and Bill Bell

What is the Church? | Little Book, Big Story

This is a simple book written in rhyme, but it encourages young readers to see the church not as a building but as a collection of people—not a where, but a who. I loved sharing this little book with my daughters and talking about why we go to church and why our involvement in it doesn’t end begin and end on Sunday mornings. (Read the full review.)

See also: What is the Gospel?, by Mandy Groce

DOES GOD KNOW HOW TO TIE SHOES?by Nancy White Carlstrom

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? | Little Book, Big Story

This book walks through a young girl’s questions about God in a way that many young readers will connect with. She wants to know the sort of things most four year olds want to know: Does God have to clean his room? Is God sad when he doesn’t get mail? Her parents answer thoughtfully from the Psalms and create a dialogue both charming and deep. (Read the full review.)

Plus:

WHAT’S IN THE BIBLE?

What's in the Bible? DVD series | Little Book, Big Story

Okay, this isn’t technically a book. But the DVD series What’s in the Bible? has been one of our favorite ways of introducing our children to the whole of Scripture, and my husband and I have learned a lot about the Bible while watching it with our kids (in fact, he quoted it to me the other day in conversation). Created by Phil Vischer, one of the original minds behind VeggieTales, What’s in the Bible? brings a creative eye and childlike joy to this study of what is, in fact, in the Bible—from Genesis to Revelation. (For more on where to watch it, read the full review.)

QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERSby Songs for Saplings

Questions With Answers, by Dana Dirksen: music and theology for families | Little Book, Big Story

This isn’t a book either. But songwriter Dana Dirksen adapted the Westminster Shorter Catechism and put it to music so that kids can take theology to heart while stuck in a car seat or having a really great dance party. These CDs are among our very favorites. You can download them all for free or very cheap here. (Read the full review.)

See also: Songs for Saplings’ Family Journal

10 Great Books for Preschoolers

Your baby is not such a baby anymore. She’s speaking in clear sentences (though the syntax is often an endearing mess); she’s stopped eating books or throwing them off your shelves, but will instead sit still for stories longer than that of Pajama Time! What then? If you’re looking to bulk up that part of your library dedicated to good reads for the over two set, here are a few of my favorite books for preschoolers:

10 Great Books to Read With Your Preschooler | Little Book, Big Story

1. The Story of Creationby Norman Messenger

The Creation Story | Little Book, Big Story

The detailed (and animal heavy) illustrations are fun to study with small zoologists, and the story is a great one for those little readers to learn. (Read the full review.)

2. The Maggie B., by Irene Haas

The Maggie B. | Little Book, Big Story

I want there to be more books like this in the world. (Read the full review.)

3. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne

While there are families who prefer to save this book until the children are older, we’re a family of re-readers who wanted to get an early start on the wit and rollicking prose of A.A. Milne. Our girls enjoyed this book at four and again at six, and will no doubt get a little more out of it every time we re-read it as a family. (Read the full review.)

4. The Jesus Storybook Bibleby Sally Lloyd-Jones

The Jesus Storybook Bible | Little Book, Big Story

For a while there, we dropped this one out of the rotation. I brought it back as a lunch-time read and, forgetting how moving this book is, found myself weeping awkwardly into my quesadilla while my children waited patiently for me to regain my composure and turn the page. Lloyd-Jones’s powerful rendering of the gospel in simple (but not shallow) language makes this the best of the children’s Bibles. (Read the full review.)

5. The Golden Featherby David and JJ Heller

The Golden Feather | David and JJ Heller

The story is sweet; the illustrations, lovely. The hidden bunnies on each page take Dave and JJ Heller’s first picture book up the level of “Perennial Favorite.”  (Read the full review.)

6. We Are in a Book!, by Mo Willems

We Are in a Book! | Little Book, Big Story

How to describe this book? I can’t do it. But your little reader will love it (you will, too). (Read the full review.)

7. Let the Whole Earth Sing Praiseby Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola illustrates a beautiful hymn of praise in watercolors. Sized for little hands and short attention spans, it’s just right for reading over and over and over and over . . . (Read the full review.)

8. How to Be a Baby, by Me, the Big Sisterby Sally Lloyd-Jones

How to Be a Baby (By Me, the Big Sister) | Little Book, Big Story

What is the life of a baby like? You’ll know by the end of this book.  (Read the full review.)

9. Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?by Nancy Carlstrom

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? | Little Book, Big Story

A young girl asks questions about God, but not catechism-style, “Who are the three persons of God?”-type questions. No, she wants to know if God has to clean his room and if he gets letters. Her parents answer her well and inspire me to step up my game. (Read the full review.)

10. Or, you could write your own stories

On Writing for Your Children | Little Book, Big Story

Sound like a crazy idea? It isn’t. (Read more.)

 Bonus List

Here are our favorite Christmas books to read with our preschooler:

1. The Stable Where Jesus Was Bornby Rhonda Growler Greene

The Stable Where Jesus Was Born | Little Book, Big Story

A gorgeous rhymed poem paired with rich yet cozy illustrations tell the story of Christ’s birth with beauty and grace. Also, there are kittens. (Read the full review.)

2. The Friendly Beastsby Tomie dePaola

The Friendly Beasts | Little Book, Big Story

This lovely book tells the story of Jesus’ birth through the lyrics of an old Christmas carol, and rounds it out with his own distinct illustrations. Tomie dePaola fans, you’ll love this one. (Read the full review.)

 

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? | Nancy White Carlstrom

I’d hazard a guess that anyone who spends time with a child of three or four is familiar with one simple word: “Why?” It is endless in its variations, relentless in its application, and astonishing in its ability to reduce the full-grown human brain to a bowl of quivering mush, capable only of whimpering feebly, “I don’t know! That’s why!”

On good days, I’m quick with my answers, willing to sit at my daughter’s (pick one) level and explore the world of the pill bug/neighbor’s dog/pumpkin vine. On bad days, I . . . well, I wish I could answer as beautifully and quickly as the parents in this book seem to do.

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? | Little Book, Big Story

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? is a series of questions and answers, passed back and forth between a girl named Katrina and her wise, Bible-minded parents. There’s no narrative, only questions (in the voice of spunky, sweet Katrina) and answers (in the voice of her parents, who draw from the Psalms to answer Katrina’s delightfully offbeat—but realistic—inquiries about God).

Mama, does God ever have to clean up His room?

He wakes the dawn and makes sure the seasons change. Yes, He keeps everything in order.

But even in His closet?

The illustrations are beautiful, textured and rich, and they show both the wideness of the creation Katrina contemplates with her parents as well as the intimacy of small moments spent together as a family. For an impulse buy at a secondhand bookstore, Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? delivers. And reading it to an inquisitive child serves as a welcome reprieve from those other questions: the ones not about God, but about paper and laundry and cotton balls . . .


Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?
Nancy White Carlstrom (1996)


 Gratuitous baby photo!

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