When our children were very little, a friend of ours with children a couple of steps ahead of us in parenting shared their strategy for Christmas morning: to constrain their impulse to buy all the things for their children and to mirror the gifts Jesus received at his birth, each child received a gift they needed, a gift they wanted, and a gift to read. We modified that approach a bit for our kids, and for the most part we’ve tried to stick with a gift they want, a gift they need, a gift to wear, and a gift to read (with some stocking stuffers thrown in).
Books make wonderful gifts for children of all ages at Christmas. Whether you’re buying for your own children, your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or a friend’s child, you can give the gift of God’s love and wonder as captured by these contemporary writers. Here are some of our recommended reads for under the Christmas tree:
For Youngins (Ages 3-7)
What Is God Like? by Rachel Held Evans
Children who have been introduced to God at church inevitably have many questions, including this one. What Is God Like? identifies images that God uses in the Bible to describe who he is and showcases each of these in ways that make God as shepherd, God as star, God as gardener, and more become real for little hearts and minds.
One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall
This sweet story invites our little ones to enter into the nativity story from the perspective of a tiny donkey. In One Small Donkey, beloved children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall shows children that it doesn’t matter how small you are, God can do big things through you.
When God Made the World by Matthew Paul Turner
From the author of another wonderful children’s book, When God Made You, this book creatively and musically captures the magic and mystery of how God created the earth. Illustrated by Gillian Gamble, your children will love the bright and expansive illustrations that capture the spirit of the Creator God. Accept the invitation to explore the world God made!
This I Know: Seeing God in the World He Made (based on Jesus Loves Me) by Clay Anderson
This rhythmic and gorgeous book opens up God’s Creation for children to see just how much Jesus loves us through the world he made. Clay Anderson invites us into the world of wonder and awe so that our children (and us parents) can be reminded over and over of God’s love for us as told by God’s creation all around us.
For Elementary to Middle Grades (Ages 8-14)
Stories of the Saints: Bold and Inspiring Tales of Adventure, Grace, and Courage by Carey Wallace
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, according to Hebrews 12:1, and part of that cloud are the heroes of faith that have preceded us. This brilliantly illustrated and compelling story collection captures the lives and impact made by saints throughout the ages, from Augustine to Mother Theresa.
Brilliant! 25 Catholic Scientists, Mathematicians, and Supersmart People by David Warren
This is a fun and fascinating introduction to scientists who are also followers of God. The book, illustrated by Jacyln Warren, showcases many historical scientists, astronomers, physicists and more who made groundbreaking discoveries, while highlighting their faith in God. Celebrate the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge together in this lovely book.
The Wild World Handbook by Andrea Debbink
This delightful book is perfect for the young nature lover in your life. The Wild World Handbook invites children to discover nine different habitats around the globe and the scientists, artists, and adventurers who used their God-given passion and gifts to protect and preserve those corners of the world. The book includes kid-friendly activities, biographies, and field trips based on each of the habitats explored.
The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture by Sarah M. WellsThe Family Bible Devotional from Our Daily Bread includes 52 entries to help guide families through well known (and some not as well known!) stories of the Bible. Written to help families see the connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament, readers will be immersed in stories directly from Scripture and then engage in fun activities, questions, and interesting tidbits to spur on our love for God and God’s Word! (Full disclosure: I’m the author of this book, so of course I recommend it! The second volume, The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others will be released in February 2022.)