It's quite arbitrary, but it turns out its not all that easy to put together a list of books for kids that has inclusive language, is not too scary or gory re the crucifixion, and introduces a theology that will serve them for a lifetime. As you'll see below, sometimes I included things that did not meet the criteria if it did other good things (example: Everyday Bible.)
I have a feeling I'm going to keep working away that this list, so let me know what you'd suggest that I add or subtract. (One thing I'm still looking for is a book for kids called something like "Why do we go to church anyway?" Ideas? Or maybe I have to write that one...) Email me if you'd like the expanded list, in the the nicer format.
Books to Encourage & Celebrate Your Preschooler’s Spirituality
Does your child’s collection include…
…an illustrated children’s bible or book of bible stories?
The Pilgrim Book of Bible Stories
Published by our own UCC press, first children’s Bible to use inclusive language
Everyday Bible Stories
A passage for every day introduces the spiritual practice of daily Bible reading
…a book about God?
Because Nothing Looks Like God by Lawrence Kushner an Karen Kushner
An exploration of God’s mystery that your child doesn’t have to outgrow. Also available as board books: Where Is God? and What Does God Look Like?
In God’s Name by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and Phoebe Stone
Reminds readers that God can be called by many names. Also available as board book: What is God’s Name?
Big Momma Makes the World Phyllis Root and Helen Oxenbury
Funny, wonderfully illustrated retelling of the creation story
…a book of prayers or songs, or a guide to prayer?
Bless Us All or Give Me Grace by Cynthia Rylant
These books are short, sweet and often funny, without being overly sentimental
Does God Hear My Prayer? by August Gold and Diane Hardy Waller
Photos from around the world accompany text about the purpose of prayer.
Each Breath A Smile by Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Susan, Nguyen Thi Hop, Nguyen Dong
Teaches a practical method of calming, centering prayer
…a book about special days in the church year?
J is for Jesus: An Easter Alphabet by Debbie Trafton Oneil and Jan Bryan-Hunt
Explains the events of Holy Week in a non-scary, straighforward way
The Nativity by Julie Vivas
Just the best illustrated Christmas story out there – full of wonder and humor
Water, Come Down: The Day You Were Baptized by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
All creation rejoices! Has a guide in the back to Bible passages you can read together
…a book celebrating love and diversity?
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
A little girl’s conversation with her mother is a reminder of God’s no-matter-what love
What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
A celebration of the beauty of diversity using the lyrics of the favorite song