Monday, October 31, 2016

A Godparent's Guide to Books for Children

Several years ago I began to collect a list of books that godparents can give to their godchildren. Most importantly, I wanted to tag each book with a minimum age. I've decided finally to share a version of that list online, though I will keep tweaking my list as people bring ideas to me. Ideally, I'd like the list never to run more than two pages long, with better books always replacing others.

Some of these books are "sacred," and some are "secular." Especially for young kids, I like to blur this distinction. For older kids, it's important to talk about why we make a distinction. Some books that aren't explicitly Christian, like To Kill a Mockingbird, nevertheless make strong statements about what it means to be a Christian in the world.

For the sake of time, I'm not linking all these books to Amazon. Besides, it's always better to buy books in person or through a vendor that needs your money more than Amazon does. In Seattle, we have both the Episcopal Bookstore and the St. Mark's Cathedral Shop. You may have equivalent vendors in your context.

A Godparent’s Guide to Giving Books to Children
Compiled by Josh Hosler; please send additions, corrections, comments to Feel free to quibble with me about minimum ages, and keep recommending more books, especially for older kids and teens.

For yourself:
Elaine Ramshaw, The Godparent Book: Ideas and Activities for Godparents and Their Godchildren

Web Resources

Books, Religious and Otherwise
Sophie Piper, My Baptism Book (age 2+)
Sam McBratney, Guess How Much I Love You (age 2+)
Margaret Wise Brown, The Runaway Bunny (age 2+)
Peter Spier, People (age 2+)
Angela Elwell Hunt, The Tale of Three Trees (age 2+)
Marie-Helene Delval, Images of God for Young Children (age 2+)
Robert Munsch, Love You Forever (age 2+)
Joan Sauro, Does God Ever Sleep? (age 2+)
Walter Wangerin, Jr., Water, Come Down! The Day You Were Baptized (age 2+)
Phyllis Root, Big Mama Makes the World (age 2+)
Desmond Tutu, God’s Dream (age 3+)
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, In God’s Name (age 3+)
Lisa Tawn Bergren, God Gave Us … (series) (age 3+)
Nancy Tillman, On the Night You Were Born (age 3+)
Tomie diPaola, The Legend of Old Befana (age 3+)
Tomie diPaola, The Song of St. Francis (age 3+)
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree (age 3+)
Dav Pilkey, God Bless the Gargoyles (age 4+)
Douglas Wood, Old Turtle (age 4+)
Jane G. Meier, When God Made You (age 4+)
William Steig, The Magic Pebble (age 4+)
Tomie DiPaolo, The Clown of God (age 4+)
Walter Wangerin, Jr. – Water, Come Down! (The Day You Were Baptized) (age 4+)
Max Lucado – You Are Special (age 4+)
Marcia Brown, Stone Soup (age 5+)
Patricia Polacco, The Keeping Quilt (age 5+)
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit (age 5+)
C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (age 6+)
Dr. Seuss, The Butter Battle Book (age 6+)
Madeleine L’Engle, The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas (age 6+)
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series (age 7+)
Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince (age 8+)
Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet (age 9+)
Deborah Wiles, Each Little Bird That Sings (age 9+)
Lois Lowry, Number the Stars (age 9+)
Lois Lowry, The Giver (age 10+)
Enid Blyton, The Land of Far Beyond (age 10+)
Kim Moss, Leaving Nelson (age 11+)
Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terebithia (age 11+)
Madeleine L’Engle, Meet the Austins; The Moon by Night; A Ring of Endless Light (age 11+)
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (age 12+)
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (age 12+)
Mark Yaconelli, Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers (age 13+)
C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (age 14+)
Jennifer Gamber & Sharon Ely Pearson, Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People (age 14+)
The Book of Common Prayer (age 14+/confirmation)

Tomie diPaola, The Illustrated Children’s Bible (age 3+)
Marie-Hélène Delval, The Bible for Young Children (age 3+)
Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (age 4+)
Eugene Peterson, My First Message (age 4+)
Desmond Tutu, Children of God Bible (age 5+)
Ralph Milton, The Family Story Bible (age 5+)
Brendan Powell Smith, The Brick Bible: The Complete Set (age 9+)
Christopher Miko, The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters: A Children’s Guide to the Old and New Testament (age 9+)
Siku, The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation (age 12+)

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