12 Christ-Centered Children’s Books to Gift This Christmas
Caring adults want to develop literacy in children and nurture connections and relationships with the kiddos in their lives—and books do just that! But many don’t realize that a book is far more than just the pages of paper in their hands. Books give children internal resources, develop resilience, and empower their critical thinking. Kids need high-quality books right now. So I’m going to share 12 Christ-Centered children’s books to buy your kids this Christmas season. I’ll also include some creative ways for gifting them.
Studies show how impactful a story is on the human brain. Engaging stories light up the brain as though the person is living and experiencing the story being received. I’ll spare you all the details since I talk about this in my TEDx talk called, “How Story Empowers Kids to Shape Our World.” The important takeaway is that stories matter more than we realize and we need to steward them well.
Why Books Make a Great Gift for Kids Right Now (And Always)
Knowing the impact of a story on the brain gives us a responsibility to both write and give stories intentionally. If a book can give a child’s brain a life experience with a topic, and develop resiliency as a result, then the kinds of books we purchase matter.
Our children are being raised in a pandemic by parents who’ve never experienced one. The world is scary—current issues have divided homes, families, cities, and nations. Adults are struggling to navigate this time in history, let alone the kids! Many well-meaning adults have felt better with the false belief that “kids are so resilient.”
Resilience is built from life experience and children have had very little. Kids aren’t resilient in the way we like to think, but they do have incredible survival skills. Those survival skills can look like resilience, but really, they’re grasping at what little life they’ve lived to guide them through each new hard thing. These survival skills can become disruptive and less helpful as they age and mature. This is why knowing that stories can give kids vital experiences from the safety of your lap is incredible!
The books we give and the stories we tell matter now more than ever. We can gift stories of hope, overcoming, inspiration, belief, and unity. We can empower a child’s nervous system to integrate possibility and give them a grounding that the world around them isn’t offering. Stories are incredibly important right now, and books are an excellent way of providing them.
Why Christian Books Matter
Knowing we live in a world full of fear and division, and knowing how story’s impact a person’s brain and body, we need to be intentional with the stories we choose for the children in our care. While there are many wonderful books that aren’t distinctly Christian, the value and impact of a biblically-based message goes even further. A non-Christian book can say, “You are safe; you matter; you have value,” and that’s great! But there’s no substantial foundation to support it. It’s simply a belief we hope kids will carry around just because we say so. Unfortunately, though, children are being raised in a world where lots of people give conflicting messages. Whom do you believe? Why? Our messaging for children has become psychologically confusing.
Christian books have the most solid foundation. Their message isn’t based on feeling, hope, or trends. As believers, our message is based on the truth of God’s Word, His compassionate and merciful nature, and the hope we have in His promised return.
So who says “You are safe; you matter; you have value”? God says. And that’s impossible to argue. Christian books based on biblical principles instill an unshakeable foundation for which our kids can develop lifelong resilience and a strong sense of self as image-bearers of our loving Father.
Best Christ-Centered Children’s Books
- Late author, Joni Harsh left a powerful legacy in her two books, Chasing Butterflies for girls and Chasing Frogs for boys. Originally written for her two grandchildren, these books now speak the truth of our God-given value to kids around the world.
- A Gift to Remember by powerful author and illustrator duo Merideth Tullous and Ylber Cervadiku is a gorgeous reminder of the true purpose of Christmas—Jesus. Based on a real-life 7-year-old’s letter to Santa, this book needs to be in every home.
- Educator and author Shirley Lynn Rees brings the story of the nativity alive through the eyes of the local shepherds, in A Child is Born: The Shepherd’s Story. This book gives all humans an experience with the deep, deep love of God for every single person, no matter their life circumstance.
- Baby Hippomus Discovers Her Strength and its sequel, Baby Hippomus Hears the Christmas Story, are beautifully illustrated stories written by early childhood educator, Abigail Puzzler. Baby Hippoums discovers where her strength really lies in these coming-of-age stories for young children on their own path of self-discovery.
- Senior Pastor of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, husband, and father, Sunny Kang decided that children should be able to do school and church in the same book—and it’s a hit! The ABCs of Bible Characters help young kids learn their alphabet and biblical heroes at the same time.
- Have an older child? Jesus, Superpowers, and the Bully by homeschooling mama, T.M. Barton is a middle-grade fiction novel following a child with special needs as he discovers Jesus, the gifts of the Spirit, and the spiritual armor that equips him against every circumstance.
- Wanting to give simple answers to the big questions young Christians ask, author Betsy Adams created Saved! Now What?: A 20 Day Devotional for Kids. A retired educator and now grandma, Betsy fills the gaps in children’s literature with this wonderful devotional for kids just navigating their faith with important questions. Every home should have this book!
- The Giftlands book series by Vangi Pantazis is another wonderful set of stories for early chapter book readers. Each book in the series (Finding Hens and Their Eggs, Sheep Dancing and Dario Prancing: Wisdom and Faithfulness, and Americans on Farm, Gang be Calm) is full of biblical wisdom for kids dealing with friendship circles, decision-making, mistakes and failures, priorities, following rules, and other childhood related struggles. And, they’re funny!
- Eat God’s Food: A Kid’s Guide to Healthy Eating will help your child understand which foods are healthy and ones are not. They will no longer look at food the same, but understand that the nutrients in food help them grow. The activities will keep them busy and the simple recipes provide time for the parent to bond with their child.
- The devotional, Our Daily Bread for Kids: 365 Meaningful Moments with God, helps the child to learn and grow spiritually without being too preachy or boring. It includes engaging devotions, easy-to-remember Bible verses, and exciting facts that encourage kids to spend time with God.
- Dream Big, My Precious One will help your child imagine all the incredible things the child could become. This upbeat and playful book will inspire children to passionately pursue their dreams, knowing that God will be with them.
- I Will Not Be Afraid addresses children’s fears and explains that God is in full control. This is a book children need to help them deal with the world’s current events. The reader learns that even though bad things happen in our world, God will always guide and comfort them through his Word.
Creative Ways to Gift Books to Kids
Here are a few examples of some creative ways that books can be gifted to children during the holiday season.
- Consider a book countdown to Christmas! Let your child unwrap a book every day during December. Read it together for some snuggle time.
- Books of advent are a creative way to recognize the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Choose a book based on the themes of Advent (hope, faith, joy, peace) and talk about this season of remembering.
- Does your family open a gift on Christmas Eve? Why not gift a book with new pajamas or a stuffed toy? It’s cuddle time begging to happen.
- Host a simple Christmas party for your children and their friends. Have each child bring a book to regift. Make it a game, like a White Elephant exchange, and let each child take a new-to-them book home.
- Write a book for your kids! Many children’s authors find themselves inspired by the children they’ve taught, counseled, or raised. Some of our favorite books come from real-life interactions with kiddos. Self-publishing makes it easy for independent authors of all kinds to get stories into the hands of kids. With so many indie authors sharing gems from their experience in independent publishing, you’re bound to have an incredible book to offer your child. Can’t get it published by Christmas? No worries. Share a book dummy with your kids with a “coming soon” coupon.
I’ve shared my favorite books, but we would love to know yours! Comment below on some of your favorite Christian books for children. Do you have other creative ways of giving books to kids this Christmas season? Leave ideas below too!
About the Author
Marcy Pusey, CRC, CTRP-C loves her family, exploring the world, reading, and looking for castles to visit. She also loves the giggles of kids who see themselves in her pages and the tearful nods of adults who realize they’re not alone by her words. Marcy is an international speaker, Story and Publishing Coach, and best-selling, multiple award-winning author, of books for adults and children. Watch her TEDx talks and learn more about her work, writing, and other resources at www.marcypusey.com and miramarepontepress.com