Tag: the story of easter

5 Books to Read Together During Lent

This post originally appeared on this blog in March of 2015.

Our church celebrates Ash Wednesday with a simple liturgy read in a shadowy room. We light candles, draw the sanctuary’s chairs into a circle around our pastor, the table, and the ashes, and at the end of the service, file up to our pastor and wait for our turn with the ashes. As he draws a cross in black ash on each brow, the only sound is his voice saying, musically, “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” to each of us. Even the children—and a high percentage of our small church body is under the age of five—fall silent for this.

5 Books to Read Together During Lent | Little Book, Big Story

Ash Wednesday leads us into Lent gently but decisively, just as Lent leads us toward Easter with the patience of a farmer sowing seeds. I love Ash Wednesday, though it tends to sneak up on me each year, coming as it does almost on the heels of Christmas. But this year, I got the jump on it: while planning posts for this blog, I saw it on the calendar and thought, “A ha! Not this year, my friend!” This year, I was ready for it. I dug out the Easter books and photographed them for you; I considered Lent with prayer for an entire week before Ash Wednesday.

And I gave thought to how our family would celebrate, which led me to think about how you might like to celebrate with your family. I suspect that, for both of us, a good celebration begins with good books, and with that in mind, I compiled a short list of books for Lent that our family has loved from year to year.

1 | Petookby Caryll Houselander

5 Book to Read Together During Lent | Little Book, Big Story

Houselander tells the story of Easter through a parallel story of a rooster named Petook; Tomie dePaola weaves little details into the illustrations that will surprise you and your little readers. (Read the full review.)

2 | Peter’s First Easterby Walter Wangerin, Jr.

5 Book to Read Together During Lent | Little Book, Big Story

Through the chapters of this picture book, Wangerin puts the reader right in Peter’s shoes, describing his love for Jesus, and his grief as he walks through the events of Holy Week. (Read the full review.)

3 | The Story of Easterby Aileen Fisher

5 Book to Read Together During Lent | Little Book, Big Story

The Story of Easter goes beyond telling the story of Holy Week (though it does that, too) and explains a bit about the traditions and symbols linked to Easter. This is one of my favorites. (Read the full review.)

4 | The Light of the Worldby Katherine Paterson

Though not strictly an Easter book, I love Katherine Paterson’s telling of Jesus’ life and think it perfectly fitting for Lenten reading, as it places Holy Week in a larger context and reminds us of what Christ accomplished on the Cross. (Read the full review.)

5 | The Donkey who Carried a Kingby R.C. Sproul

5 Beautiful Books for Easter | Little Book, Big Story

R.C. Sproul nests the story of the crucifixion within the story of a donkey named Davey. That story is nested, in turn, within the story of a young boy who is picked last for the team. It sounds confusing, but Sproul executes the story-within-a-story trick beautifully. (Read the full review.)

5 Beautiful Books for Easter | Little Book, Big Story

Lastly

These are my top five Easter favorites, but they are not the only Easter books featured on Little Book, Big Story. You can read the other reviews in the Easter section of the blog. I’ll share still more with you during the next few weeks, as a bookish way to observe Lent.

The Story of Easter | Aileen Fisher

We like to give books for every possible occasion. In fact, we like to buy books for every possible occasion. Or really, I should drop the pretense and say that I like to buy books for everything, all the time, but now I find sneaky ways to do it.

For example, we (alright, I) give each of our daughters a hand-chosen, excellent book every birthday, Christmas and Easter. But now, I also sneak a holiday-appropriate book onto the kitchen table each Sunday of Lent and Advent. Sometimes, I unveil a new book, but more often than not it’s an old favorite, smuggled down from the attic and presented for rediscovery. Either way, it gives us the opportunity to prepare for the coming holiday book by book, and to savor each addition to our library before introducing another. And so our library grows.

The Story of Easter | Little Book, Big Story

One of the first books to hit the table was Aileen Fisher’s The Story of Easter. For a minimally researched Amazon buy, it delivers admirably, and has quickly become one of the first books to reappear each Lent.

Now you might think, like I did, that “the story” the title refers to is that of Holy Week. But you (like me) would be mistaken. The Story of Easter refers to the story of Easter, with all its varied traditions. Fisher begins with Jesus, his death and resurrection, and goes on to give the history behind our many different Easter traditions, even delving into other cultures to do show where the bunny, eggs and pastels come from. She even introduced us to some traditions that we hadn’t yet met, like walks after church and the idea of intentionally wearing something new on Easter morning.

The Story of Easter | Little Book, Big Story

Fisher’s telling is clear and illuminating (for adults as well as children), and helps equip families with Easter’s back story without losing sight of its primary plot line.

Stefano Vitale’s artwork, too, is illuminating. Vitale deftly portrays everything from Jesus’s walk through Jerusalem to Eastern European egg designs to a modern day family in a style that is brings ancient art to mind while utilizing a gorgeous, modern palette.

The Story of Easter | Little Book, Big Story

But the fun doesn’t stop there! In addition to the story, the history and the illustrations, The Story of Easter also includes a recipe for hot cross buns and an Easter activity or two. This book has become my go-to book for explaining not only what we celebrate on Easter, but how we celebrate it, and why Easter can look so different from family to family.


The Story of Easter
Aileen Fisher, Stefano Vitale (1998)