As a pastor I am often asked by parents what books or resources I would recommend for helping their children grow in their faith. There are two books I recommend above all others. One of them is a fictional story of a child searching for a King to help him get rid of the stains all over his body, while the other covers the storyline of the Bible from Genesis all the way through Revelation. Both are all about the gospel, and together give children (and their parents) a clear, engaging picture of who Jesus Christ is and what he’s done to save us.
Blotch, by Andy Addis, Pastor of CrossPoint Church in Hutchinson, KS, is a story of a young boy named Blotch who lives in kingdom where everyone has blemishes and spots all over their skin. A new blemish appears every time someone does something wrong. One night Blotch is eating dinner with his family when he begins to despair about the stains all over his body. Unfortunately his parents don’t know how to get rid of the spots. They do, however, encourage Blotch to go on a journey to find the King of the Kingdom. Maybe he knows how to get rid of the stains!
So Blotch sets out to find the King. Along the way he comes upon communities where people try to cover up their stains, pretend they don’t have any, or blame others for the spots all over their bodies. Finally he meets the King, who shares the good news that he himself can take Blotch’s blemishes away. There is a wonderful picture of Jesus’ death on the cross, as the spotless King takes Blotch’s spots upon himself, freeing Blotch from his stains. The story ends with Blotch running back to his family and the communities he had visited on his journey, sharing the good news.
The Biggest Story, by Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, NC, is a richly illustrated, ten-chapter overview of the Bible’s one great story about Jesus Christ. Children in particular often focus on the amazing stories in the Bible without understanding how they connect, or how they relate to Jesus. DeYoung aims to connect the dots from the Garden of Eden to the new heavens and the new earth.
The first seven chapters cover events in Israel’s history such as creation and the fall, Noah and the flood, Abraham’s covenant, the Exodus, the Conquest, and the Monarchy. Each of these chapters ends on a forward note, anticipating the promised Savior or the one these events point towards. The last three chapters deal specifically with how Jesus fulfilled the promises of the Old Testament and accomplished salvation through his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. The book ends with a focus on the return of Jesus and how Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfills all of the promises of God on our behalf.
Both of these books are intended to be read to children between the ages of 4-8, and read by children from the ages of 8-12. They each have notes for parents on how to use the books to have gospel conversations with their children. Perhaps best of all, both books are ones your kids will want to read again and again. Blotch focuses on leading a child to Jesus, while The Biggest Story focuses on the gospel as the main theme of Scripture. Together they are resources parents can use to give their children a firm foundation in the Christian faith and lead them into reading the Bible for themselves.
Addis, Andy. Blotch: A Tale of Forgiveness and Grace. Nashville: B&H, 2016. 64 pages. $9.99.
DeYoung, Kevin. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015. 129 pages. $17.99.