Tag: mandy groce (page 1 of 1)

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 & 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.)


Bonus!

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

What is the Gospel?

In a previous post, I reviewed the charming and concise book, What is the Church? I overlooked the rhymed couplets because I was so taken with the well-answered question at the heart of the book; I saw what the authors were trying to do, and as a parent and a Christian, I loved them for tackling a big question in a way that satisfies even the littlest reader (three-year-old Sarah was the one most taken by the book in our home).

What is the Gospel? takes a similar approach to an even bigger and more challenging question, and the result is a deeper, richer book.

What is the Gospel? | Little Book, Big Story

Mandy Groce leaves the rhyme scheme behind and instead uses the narrative of a young boy questioning various family members about the gospel (I love the mother’s response) to reveal various aspects of the gospel before the boy’s conversation with his father brings everything together at the end.

What is the Gospel? | Little Book, Big Story

What is the gospel? This book is small and cheap and worth the cost when it comes to explaining the gospel to children and understanding it better ourselves. With this book, the authors have assured my loyalty: I shall henceforth be on the lookout for any remaining or forthcoming books in the series, so expect to see  more of them reviewed here.


What is the Gospel?
Mandy Groce, Tessa Janes (2012)


Today’s Post Brought to You By:

Mitch’s thirty-fifth birthday! This guy picks water lilies for his girls when he goes kayaking and grows sunflowers nearly twice my height (note the minivan for scale):

2014-08-09 004

It’s not uncommon to find a little girl on or around him, perhaps because he pushes them way higher than I do on the swings and cuddles with them while reading about church history:

_MG_6618
_MG_6820

I have known and loved this guy for a long time now and am a better woman for it, so it is with a certain exuberance that I say, “Happy Birthday, Mitch!”

What is the Church?

What is the church? If church is a place that we visit once a week—to see friends, sing favorite songs and listen—then we don’t need a book to tell us what it is. Even the smallest of us can discern that the church is a physical place that exists to meet our needs—even when our need is, simply, God.

But if the church is a part of something broader, something global that doesn’t terminate at the outer walls of our own church, something that wasn’t given to entertain and serve us but that we are meant to participate in and give ourselves fully to—well. A deeper explanation might be in order.

What is the Church? | Little Book, Big Story

What is the Church? is an unassuming book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, really. It’s rhyme-y and cute, with fun illustrations by Tessa Janes, but at its heart is a deep truth: the church is a family of folks who serve Christ together, who get into each other’s lives and are unified not by our own blood ties, but by our ties to the blood of Christ.

The church is a body of missionaries and servants, who go out into the world or across the street to find folks who need Christ and to share Him with them. The church is full of learners and worshippers. But more than anything the church is a living building. A thriving body of disparate parts brought together and made whole.

What is the Church? | Little Book, Big Story

The church, as this book so aptly puts it, is not a “what” but a “who”: not a building, but a set of believers whose lives are intertwined. That’s the sort of thing that is tricky to explain to little ones, but this book does it so well that I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series, What is the Gospel? and Our Home is Like a Little Church.


What is the Church?
Mandy Groce and Bill Bell, Tessa Janes (2011)