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Give a book this Christmas!

I thought it might be helpful to share some suggestions for good books to give as Christmas gifts. Someone has asked me to do before, and this seems like a good place to post this kind of thing.  My hope it to help parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters to maybe get some help finding a good book for a child in your life.

The Ology, by Marty Machowski - This is an adventure story that teaches systematic theology in a fun way. No, really.  You might recognize the author's name from the family devotionals we have given out over the years, Old Story New and Long Story Short. The target age is 6 years old through teens, with questions and adaptations suggested for the older kids.  There is a copy on the Parent Resource Table if you want to look at it (unless it has been checked out).  I also like Marty Machowski's The Gospel Story Bible.

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher brings us back to the Garden, by Kevin DeYoung and Don Clark. Just the title ought to make you smile! While this would not be the only Bible story book I would want to own, I do like it because it comes at the narratives of the Bible in a fresh way. The illustrations are definitely striking too.

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is my favorite story Bible. "Every story whispers His name" sums it up. I also like The Big Picture Story Bible, by David Helm and Gail Schoonmaker a lot, and it has less writing and bigger pictures on each page, which is appealing to younger children.

Ten boys who....., Ten girls who...., by Irene Howat  These are series of books about real people (Brother Andrew, Nicky Cruz, Joni Eareckson, Mary Slesson, etc) when they were children.  They are recommended for ages 9 and up but could be read aloud to younger children.

Dangerous Journey, the story of Pilgrim's Progress, by Oliver Hunkin is a great adaptation of Pilgrim's Progress for 8-9 year olds and up.

Big Truths for Little Kids by Susan and Ritchie Hunt is a collection of stories about Cassie and Caleb the Catechism Kids. Corny, but preschoolers and younger elementary children never seem to tire of the stories. We have read them over and over in Joyful Noise over the years, and even though the children say "Oh we have that book! We've read that chapter!", they still want to hear it again.

One Year of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters, by Nancy Guthrie  We can all use help getting family devotions and discussions going at the dinner table.  Let Nancy help you out!  And, by the way, I like anything written by Nancy Guthrie if you are looking for books for grown-ups.

Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, and Comforting  Hearts, Teaching Minds, both by Starr Meade. These are family devotions based on the Shorter Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism, respectively.  Great especially for older children and teens.

ESV Journaling Bible, from Crossway  Now I know we give Bibles out to your children, but this one is kind of special.  It has wide margins designed for those who journal while reading their Bibles. It even has lines in the margins so it keeps your writing neat and straight.  I know we all have many Bibles on our shelves, but this one is a bit different. It is available at many price levels, depending on the binding. I also LOVE my Women's Devotional Bible from Crossway, and there is a new Men's Devotional Bible available. Be sure to get the Devotional Bibles that are from Crossway - there are other devotional Bibles that I have not found to be as helpful. 

So, those are some ideas for children and parents.  I'd like to end with a plug for some books I have read this year that have had a big impact on me.  Hopefully they will bless you as well.

Because He Loves Me, by Elyse Fitzpatrick   I have now read this book through at least twice, maybe three times. Every time I read it I find something new to remind me of who I am in Christ, and how that impacts everyday life.  Not a book to be skimmed or read quickly, it needs chewing on and time to sink in.  But worth the time.

Any other book by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  She has  way of making the truths of Scripture real in everyday life. A particular recommendation that has blessed a number of women at ECC is Good News for Weary Women.

Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, by Tim Keller  I know, not the most cheerful topic for a Christmas gift, but really, really a great source of encouragement to anyone dealing with pain and suffering. The first half covers how other religions and worldviews deal with suffering and shows that only a relationship with God through Jesus Christ offers meaning and reason to our suffering.

All of these are available on Amazon.com.  Happy reading everyone.  And Merry Christmas!



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