Tie those loves together and you can give kids . . . the 2015 ECPA Christian Book Award for children’s books! My Bible Animals Storybook is published by Tyndale Kids. (The ECPA is the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.)
Books entered by their publishers in the Christian Book Award competition are first judged by a panel of two retailers, two authors, and two experts related to the specific category. Books must include explicit Christian content, an overtly Christian message, and/or a distinctively Christian world view. Each category also has its own judging criteria.
The five top-scoring books in each category are announced as finalists, and the top scoring book receives the award for that category.
The children’s category includes fiction and nonfiction and all types of books–from board books to Bible storybooks to devotionals and everything in between–for preschool and elementary ages. It’s broad … and that makes it very hard to call one book the best.
But My Bible Animals Storybook is a very deserving book!
Every story features a different animal … and the tie-ins aren’t forced. Some choices would be obvious, of course, like the dove on Noah’s ark, Daniel’s den of lions, or the donkey Jesus rode into Jerusalem. But Dandi included examples you might not think of right away, like Jacob’s spotted and speckled goats, the ants in Solomon’s proverbs, and the moths in Jesus’ teaching about money. So readers get to enjoy some stories not always included in Bible storybooks.
Dandi writes with a wonderful voice that will engage children right away–taking the stories seriously but still having fun. Each story covers two pages, followed by a page of Amazing Facts about the animal featured in the story and an application page called What It Means to Me—with a short devotion, a related Bible verse, and a prayer. These brief lessons focus either on God’s character as revealed by the story or on how we should respond to the teaching the story presents.
Illustrations by Heather Heyworth add fun and interest from beginning to end. The contemporary children on the application pages are ethnically diverse, and the Bible characters share a variety of darker skin tones.
I would have liked some kind of parent helps or parent-child activities at the back of the book instead of the four big ads for some of Dandi’s other books.
But otherwise, My Bible Animals Storybook is a great choice as an introduction to the Bible or as an add-on choice for kids who already know Bible stories well.
Each month I buy a book to support retailers and other authors and to recommend to my readers. You can find this year’s picks for January, February, March and April at those links and find a roundup of the books I bought for 2014 here.