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Children's Books


mzmolly
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I am struggling with wanting to teach my daughter about Jesus/God etc. but most of the information available to kids is promoted from a "Conservative Christian" point of view.

 

Are their any good progressive Christian childrens books you all can recommend?

 

And, if not, who wants to help me write some. :P

 

Thanks. ;)

Edited by mzmolly
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You don't mention age...

 

Max Lucado's are good for little kids. Thich Nhat Hanh has 3 or so out also Buddist specifically on 1-2 pages - good, big God mostly. Really for the under 8 crowd unless they just like read aloud books. Bigger concepts, good presentation - but "babyish" :>

 

The chicken Soup for the PreTeen Soul and Teenagers Soul are a big hit. Spirituality, God's influence... not a lot of theology.

 

The Left Behind for Kids, when presented as Science fiction are pretty exciting. Way scary if taken literally!!!!

 

Narnia is awesome, but beyond Aslan = Jesus, they probably won't notice much. He wrote it as a way to incorporate the myth into childhood consciousness.

 

Happy Reading!

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I was in the library today. I found "The Universe Story" (Brian Swimme-- not a kid's book, which I was happy about). Anyway I went to the kid's section, adn I would suggest that. The heavily advertised books are likely to be the conservative ones, but there are other things out there. For that matter you can take any book the kid's are reading (with some exceptions) and talk about it from a Christian standpoint. "The Gospel according to Harry Potter" goes a little far in that respect, but is a nice alternative to the evil amoral view that some fundies have of it.

 

Ok some I saw.

There are a whole set of books one fo them is "Stories of Women in the Bible" by Sanderson (mid elementary?) which uses works of classic art as a backdrop. They aren't liberal or conservative but they are a nice alternative.

 

"What I Believe" Debbie Birdseye (maybe 3-6th or so). Shows Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Native american, Jewish kids going thru daily life and activities related to their faiths, shows the commonalities as well as differences. Just really really nicely done.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/082...8616802-8131308

 

There's a nice little set of ethics books (grades 1-4 maybe)-- not religion exactly. Respect, fairness, etc.

 

"Jesus of Nazareth: Teacher and Prophet" Ramsey Harik (no doesn't really deal with the divinity issues except in passing. Some really nice retelling explanations of things like "rendering to Caeser, etc". Emphasis oon Jesus's life and teachings. Carries Christianity to the present day with nice multicultural stories of Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa's work in India, etc. Looks a little dated. (ages 9-12)

Amazon has some copies that are cheap!

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

 

 

"Let there be Light: Poems and Prayers" (grades 1-5 or so) Zalben. Quotes Koran, Bible, Native American prayers, etc. etc.

 

A couple neat picture books for the younger crowd:

"In God's Image" Brewer Sex ed. in multicultural/ ethical standpoint, very well done.

 

"A Book about God" Fitch.

Emphasis on creation. Very nice illustrations.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

 

 

This is one place that I think the library will be better than the bookstore, which will push the highly popular books (depending on your location via the Bible Belt). I did include amazon descriptions on the ones I liked the best.

 

 

Oh yeah, there's a book I just bought at a used book place. It is really for older kids and wouldn't be bad for non-Presbyterians (USA) called "Being Presbyterian in the Bible Belt"

Foote and Thornburg with chapters like "Are you saved or are you a Presbyterian?" "Are you going to Heaven or Tulsa?" Really a serious attempt to explain moderate to liberal beliefs (maybe a bit moderate for my taste). Even a chapter on the rapture. This book isn't really sophisticated enough for this group, but many on amazon liked it. This is the only theology book I have found but then again this is for older kids and young adults and not little kids.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/066...8616802-8131308

 

I agree that Narnia isn't really likely to be taken religiously by kids, good books, though I prefer Harry! :-)

 

BTW, we have a little lending library at church (UCC) so we might have some books. If I have time I'll take a look. It would help to know the age though.

 

 

 

 

--des

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I sat last night trying to think of what books influenced me most when I was a little girl. I tried to remember if I ever read any books that were "religious" in nature that weren't Jehovah's Witness books.

 

ONE BOOK popped into my mind. It's not a book about the Bible or dogma (although Fulghum is a Unitarian minister), but it impacted me more as a young adult than anything else I can remember.

 

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten - by Robert Fulghum

 

"Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

 

These are the things I learned..

 

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don't take things that aren't yours.

Say sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

 

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder.

 

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

 

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die. So do we.

 

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK. Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.

 

Think of what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap.

 

Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes.

 

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

 

Link to: "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"

 

PS - It's not a child's book, but I remember reading it when I was 8-10 years of age.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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If he is six, then you definitely should check out that prayer picture book.

"A Book about God" Fitch.

 

This got wonderful ratings on Amazon and is really beautifully illustrated.

 

I'll check out the church library on the little kiddies. They have "Old Turtle" that looks awesome.

 

--des

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  • 7 years later...

Thanks for the ideas everyone....I just joined the message boards and am looking for children's books to go along with TCPC "A Joyful Path" curriculum. I have already ordered several of the books listed above and am really looking forward to using them in Sunday school and with my own 7 year old daughter.

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I am just now brought into something of a quandry concerning what to do, say, if anything, as several days ago, someone proudly and excitedly showed me a handfull of little books of children's bible stories they just picked up for their 10, 8, and 5 yr olds, in hopes they will "help them" in some ways they are experiencing some attitude and behavioral problems. It took only the briefest glance through the books to recognize the classic fundamentalist tactic of introducing children to the basic elements of prosperity doctine as a tool for manipulating kids into the behaviors adults desire of them through God's rewards and punishments as the consequence for good and bad behavior, including making sure the kid is made to feel guilty and ashamed of even natural and healthy negative emotions and thoughts about difficulties in life. The basic stuff like, now, be good and do as we say you should, behave yourself and be obedient and do what you are told to, and God promises to always give you good things....misbehave, and God will make bad things happen to you. And, perhaps the most insiduous and damaging of all, since God knows even your thoughts, to even think 'bad things' will bring you trouble, even if you thought the grown-ups didn't see what you did and that you are getting away with it.

All demonstrated, of course, through those simplistic versions of biblical events told in a 'moral of the story' fashion, of how God saved a few good, obedient people while mass murdering everyone else, how God empowered people he liked to murder a lot of other people God didn't like so well and who got in the way of God's favored people getting the good things they needed and wanted....

 

This parent showing me these books isn't a real religious or 'churchly' person, thought I feel is a person of real faith. But she is also not a very educated person, not strongly literate, not a strong critical thinker, and I feel she really doesn't realize just what she's placing into her children hands to read, to take into their minds and hearts. So what do i say, if anything?

Already, unfortunately, I've gained something of a repuation as a godless b%$#% to many of my more traditionally religious

family and other contacts, for me "attacks" on the beliefs about God they take for granted without critical examination and critical thought. When its kids we personally care about, just what do we do when something like this happens? Anything? Or just leave it alone?

Actually, I'm presently thinking of doing some looking into what may be children's bible stories written from a more 'progressive' perspective, giving them to this parent, these kids, without much comment except that, here, I know you are wanting things like this for the kids, and just happended to run across these for you?

 

Jenell

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