The hearts and flowers are gone, the candy aisle and end caps are filled with chocolate rabbits and eggs… It can only mean one thing: Easter is nearly upon us.
While the world wants to fill our children’s heads with visions of Easter egg hunts, bunnies and candy, Easter presents a wonderful opportunity to continue to share the gospel with our children. But what’s the best way to start?
While there are a lot of excellent books available, here are three I’d encourage you to read with your children:
The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul
Geared toward kids four and up, this book provides an excellent introduction to the doctrine of the atonement—that Jesus willingly endured the curse of our sin in order to rescue His people from spiritual death:
When Ella gets sick and has to take yucky medicine, she wonders why something that will help her get well has to taste so bad. When she puts the question to Grandpa, he tells her the story of a great King and His subjects who enjoyed wonderful times together—until the people rebelled against the King and drank from a forbidden well. To their horror, they found that the beautiful water in the well made their hearts turn to stone. To reclaim His people, the King asks His Son, the Prince, to drink from a well of horrid poison. The poison will surely kill the Prince—but He is willing to drink it to please His Father and help His people.
We’ve been reading this one with our kids from the time they were very small (that is even small than they are now) and it’s been fascinating to see the wheels turning in their minds as they begin to grasp the message of this terrific little book, especially when we dig into the questions provided in the “For Parents” section.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Yes, I realize pretty much everyone loves The Jesus Storybook Bible, but there’s a reason for that: It’s really well done. Our oldest daughter wanted to read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion over and over and over and… She couldn’t get enough of it, it seems. If by some chance you’re unfamiliar with this one, here’s a quick description:
The Moonbeam Award Gold Medal Winner in the religion category, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.
The Donkey Who Carried a King by R.C. Sproul
The second book by Sproul on this list, The Donkey Who Carried a King focuses heavily on Jesus’ role as the Suffering Servant who carried the sins of His people to the cross from a very unique perspective:
Davey was a young donkey who was bored and unhappy because he was never given anything to do. Then one day, some strangers came to the gate—and Davey’s master picked him for a very special task. Davey carried the King, Jesus, into Jerusalem. A few days later, Davey saw some angry people making the King carry a heavy beam of wood. Davey could not understand it—until another donkey helped him see that the King was being a Servant on behalf of His people.
The Donkey Who Carried a King offers a unique perspective on the events of Jesus’ Passion Week and calls all believers, both young and old, to follow in the footsteps of the Suffering Servant for the glory of God. Jesus was willing to leave the glories of heaven to suffer and die in this world on our behalf, so we should serve Him with all our hearts.
Again, this is another one our kids really enjoy. We’ve not read it as many times as some of the others we have (mostly because it’s newer to the house), but it’s fun to see them considering the story once they’ve heard it. You can view the opening pages here.
These are a few of the books we’ve found particularly useful in helping our kids understand the events of Easter. What books would you recommend?