Read through the Bible—Week 9

wgrb17textWe finish up Luke this week. Knowing what lies ahead, Jesus enters Jerusalem with much acclaim. As we begin the book of Numbers, the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land.

Day 1     Luke 13-15
Day 2     Luke 16-18
Day 3     Luke 19-21
Day 4     Luke 22-24
Day 5     Numbers 1-3
Day 6     Numbers 4-6
Day 7     Numbers 7-9

– Diane

How to Choose Bible Storybooks Kids Will Love

One of my grandsons reading Words to Dream On two years ago

One of my grandsons reading Words to Dream On two years ago

A friend wrote this weekend with stories about her grandkids and their love for their story Bibles.

Whenever she’s visiting at night, my friend wrote, she takes part in the nightly bedtime story routine of her three young grandsons. Sometimes she listens in, usually she does the reading.

“Their routine is to read one secular book and then from Rumble! Zap! Pow!” she wrote.The kids know all the stories, and I love that.”

Valentine treat bags for her granddaughters included Bible action figures of David and Moses my friend had found at Dollar Tree.

“The oldest got Moses,” my friend’s email continued. “She ran upstairs to get her Sweetest Story Bible, opened it to the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, and read it aloud (she knew right where it was), with character voice inflections and all.”

This young girl keeps her Bible storybook by her bed and reads it at night when she has trouble falling asleep.

Rumble! Zap! Pow! and The Sweetest Story Bible are books I wrote, but that’s not what makes these simple stories precious and important. Instead, they represent

  • a grandmother who gives her grandchildren books that communicate God’s Word,
  • believing parents who value teaching their children to have faith in God,
  • children who are hearing the Scriptures that are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

Yes, these children love their story Bibles. More important, they’re learning to know and love the One all the stories are about—and to know that He loves them!

Do you need help choosing the right Bible storybook for a child? Here are five tips:

1. Match the format to your child’s age and interest. Babies and toddlers enjoy board books
because they can turn the pages themselves. Books with long stories and more text than
illustration are best for older children. Most Bible storybooks for preschoolers and beginning
readers fall somewhere in between. Consider illustration too. Most children respond well to bright colors and a range of contemporary art styles—but contemporary doesn’t have to mean inaccurate. Older children can appreciate more realistic portrayals of Bible times.

2. Look at the Contents page. Are both Old and New Testament stories well represented? Do
the stories present the overall story arc of the whole Bible?

3. Read a story or two aloud. Does the writing flow well, with interesting rhythms? Is the
writing style appropriate for your child’s age and attention span? You’ll be reading from this
Bible storybook often. The experience should be a pleasant one for your child and for you too.
Do you want a straightforward retelling of the stories or a freer style with more
embellishments? Both exist and both can be done with excellence.

4. Check out how the author handles hard topics, such as the devastation of the flood, the destruction of Jericho, or Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. The Bible addresses some realities beyond the understanding of young children. Choose a Bible storybook that presents truths in
age-appropriate ways.

5. Choose the right “hook” for your child or your family. Some Bible storybooks feature activity ideas or talking points to go along with each story—especially helpful to busy parents and parents unfamiliar with the Bible. New or beginning readers might want stories they can read with little or no help.Sometimes the hook might be application, or “life lessons.” But be careful! When Bible stories become stories about how to behave, children often determine that good behavior is the way to find acceptance with God, or decide that God couldn’t really love them because they aren’t good enough.

Would you like a printout of these tips? Download the free PDF “How to Choose a Bible Storybook.

– Diane

Read through the Bible—Week 8

wgrb17textLeviticus finishes up with a focus on holiness in personal conduct, first for individuals and then for Israel’s priests. Then we turn to Luke’s Gospel, much of which reports Jesus’ teaching and miracles.

Day 1     Leviticus 19-21
Day 2     Leviticus 22-24
Day 3     Leviticus 25-27
Day 4     Luke 1-3
Day 5     Luke 4-6
Day 6     Luke 7-9
Day 7     Luke 10-12

– Diane

Fun Facts and Books about the Presidents

Did you know that
• Thomas Jefferson invented the first chair that could spin around?
• John Quincy Adams kept his pet alligator in a bathtub in the White House?
• Theodore Roosevelt’s children once gave a pony a ride in the White House elevator?
• William Howard Taft was the first president to throw out the ball on baseball’s Opening Day?
• When he was a boy, George W. Bush dreamed of playing major league baseball?
61Jfhu+W2PLI discovered all this and more in Grover Cleveland, Again!: A Treasury of American Presidents, by Ken Burns (Knopf Books for Young Readers). The title comes from the response of the author’s young daughters as they played a memory game with their dad. Grover Cleveland is the only one of the presidents who served two nonconsecutive terms of office.

In the introduction, Ken Burns says,

In this book, in addition to describing the important things that the presidents did when they were in office, I talk about who they were as people. After all, presidents have birthdays and brothers and sisters and even pets, just like everybody else! There are also fascinating stories of things that happened to them on their road to the presidency—stories that tell us a lot about their times.

Richly illustrated, this is a book to pour over again and again.

5803cb51-277b-4235-bb9b-b54d75847d5a.jpg._CB284907560_Add this one to your family’s library or check it out at the library for a new way to celebrate President’s Day, coming up next week.

Look for these two also: I am Abraham Lincoln and I am George Washington, by Brad Meltzer (Dial Books).

81hJEqgqoqL     61qc-1gVrYL

Part of Meltzer’s series “Ordinary People Change the World,” the books let us see these two great leaders as children and show us that anyone can grow up to make a big difference.

Books like these three help our kids and grandkids develop respect for the office of president, along with the understanding that all leaders are ordinary people in need of wisdom and prayer.

That’s something we grownups could think about as President’s Day approaches too.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV).


– Diane

Read through the Bible—Week 7

wgrb17textThis is the week to trip you up—mostly spent in Leviticus! Permission granted to skim if this is your first time through. Don’t skip it entirely, though. The practices in Leviticus can sound odd or even harsh. But they illustrated to the ancient Israelites (and us) the cost of atonement and forgiveness.

Day 1     Mark 13-16
Day 2     Leviticus 1-3
Day 3     Leviticus 4-6
Day 4     Leviticus 7-9
Day 5     Leviticus 10-12
Day 6     Leviticus 13-15
Day 7     Leviticus 16-18

– Diane

How to Read to Toddlers on the Move—10 Tips

child runningSitting in a high chair, on your lap, or on the floor, your baby found books fascinating and fun. But once he or she was mobile, reading to your toddler became a challenge.

Don’t give up! Just try some workarounds to keep an interest in books alive until your child’s drive to explore his physical environment settles down and interest in reading picks up again.

Remember that reading is good for your child’s development on every level—physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual. (Children who love reading may be more open to Bible reading as they grow.)

Here are ten tried-and-true tips for reading to on-the-go toddlers from moms who are doing it.

  1. Read aloud while your child plays nearby. Comment on the pictures. Sometimes children will come over to look, then go back to playing. Even if not, they’re listening.
  2. Choose books with flaps to lift, touch-and-feel effects, or something to search for in the pictures. Let children turn the pages.
  3. Don’t insist on sitting still. Wiggles are OK.
  4. Read while your child eats a snack or plays in the bathtub.
  5. Do active finger plays, songs, and rhymes together.
  6. Let a puppet “read.”
  7. Keep books in the car to read during waiting times.
  8. Use audio books during drive times.
  9. Keep a few books in every toy bin throughout your house. Read just a little, often.
  10. Include books in nap-time and bedtime snuggles.

Happy reading!

518GhRcp7qLHere’s a new book for toddlers and young preschoolers to check out. First Feelings, by Mary Manz Simon (B&H Kids), is a padded hardcover book with 12 different rhyming stories about emotions like feeling happy, mad, afraid, or worried. Each story features a parent page with tips for helping little ones deal with their often overwhelming emotions. You’ll find a list of short memory verses at the back of the book too. And the illustrations are adorable! Want to peek inside? Go here.



– Diane

Read through the Bible—Week 6

wgrb17textThis week we’ll finish Exodus and read most of the Gospel of Mark. Hang on to your hat—Mark’s account moves fast! Mark focuses on Jesus as teacher, healer, miracle worker, and Savior King.

Day 1     Exodus 31-33
Day 2     Exodus 34-36
Day 3     Exodus 37-40
Day 4     Mark 1-3
Day 5     Mark 4-6
Day 6     Mark 7-9
Day 7     Mark 10-12

– Diane

5 Children’s Books to Brighten Winter

Weather prognosticating groundhog Punxsutawney Phil makes his annual prediction on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on the 123rd Groundhog Day, February 2, 2009. Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. REUTERS/Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES)

When Punxsutawney Phil looks around tomorrow morning, will we know how much longer winter plans to stick around?

Well, probably not. But whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not, a few good books can warm up winter days and help children learn more about our good God. Here are five to consider.

The Wonderful Gifts of Winter, by Dandi Daley Mackall (B&H Kids), part of the Dandi’s Seasons picture book series.

616e-8+JFULGod Made You Special, by Jennifer Holder (Tyndale Kids). Includes stickers for completing the illustrations and related activity pages too.

9166P72PVVLPrayers for All Seasons, compiled by Sophie Piper (Lion Hudson).

61eo3RIrqKL._SX405_BO1,204,203,200_The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (Puffin Books). Not a Christian book, but a classic. (If you haven’t seen the Christmas-themed video based on the book, you’ve missed something sweet.)

51jvfaRNFYLTiny Blessings for All Seasons, by Amy Parker (Running Press). Board book for ages 1-3. Debuts April 4, so we’ll have to wait for spring for this one, but you can preorder now.

61-09g+qwULPhoto, Alessandro M., Creative Commons license




– Diane

Read through the Bible—Week 5

wgrb17textSome amazing and exciting events in these chapters. Try to imagine yourself as one of the Israelites leaving Egypt and traveling in the wilderness … it’s humbling!

Day 1     Exodus 10-12
Day 2     Exodus 13-15
Day 3     Exodus 16-18
Day 4     Exodus 19-21
Day 5     Exodus 22-24
Day 6     Exodus 25-27
Day 7     Exodus 28-30

small WomansGuideBibleThis reading plan is from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year, published by Bethany House, on sale throughout January at major online retailers.

– Diane

15 Children’s Books for Valentine’s Day

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Why not include a children’s book in your Valentine’s Day plans and purchases this year? The right book can help your child or grandchild understand more about God’s love!

Here’s a list of 15 new and classic books for kids for Valentine’s Day for you to check out. And now’s a good time—you’ll find a number of them on sale.

Good FatherGood, Good Father, by Chris Tomlin and Pat Barrett (Tommy Nelson). For the picture book set, ages 3-8.

St ValSaint Valentine, by Robert Sabuda (Atheneum). This one comes close to historians’ limited knowledge of the real man named Valentine. For ages 6-10.

BBearsValentine Blessings, by Mike Berenstain (Zonderkidz).

Love HideWhere Does Love Hide? by Mary Manz Simon (Tyndale Kidz). With large lift-the-flaps that uncover ways we can all give love away to others.

LoveLettersThe “Love Letters From” series by Glynis Nellist (Zonderkidz) helps children realize that the Bible is like a love letter from God to us.

GodGaveLoveGod Gave Us Love, by Lisa Tawn Bergren (WaterBrook).

Love LetterA Love Letter from God, by P.K. Halliman (Ideals).

Board books for littler ones

StoryOfThe Story of Valentine’s Day, by Nancy J. Skarmeas (Ideals).

ValentineForJesusBBMy Valentine for Jesus, by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton (Zonderkidz).

Big LoveHow Big Is Love? by Amy Parker (B&H Kids).

Just BecauseI Love You Just Because, by Donna Keith (Tommy Nelson).

LotsLoveLots of Love, by Kim Washburn (Zonderkidz).

Love You PrayerAn “I Love You” Prayer, by Amy Parker (Tommy Nelson).

ValStoryKindleOnlyMy Valentine Story, by Crystal Bowman (Zonderkidz), Kindle only.

baby-baby-cover-768x768My own Baby, Baby! (Worthy Kids/Ideals) features a high-quality mirror on the last spread so babies can see the answer to the question “Who does God love?”

Have I left out your favorite love-themed book for Valentine’s Day for kids? Let me know in the comments!

– Diane


You CAN Read the Bible in a Year … Here’s How!