This series surveys some of the best picture books for children, Christian and non-Christian alike. We pray these roundups would offer opportunities for conversations with children, stir faith in Christ, and point to the things that are good, true, and beautiful.
In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky points out that beauty can be used for good or evil: “God and the devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.”
Anyone visiting the children’s section of her local public library lately has probably seen that battle playing out on the shelves. The past year, though, was an excellent one for lovely stories that win hearts and bring glory to God at the same time. Here are five picture books full of truth and beauty to offer to young hearts this winter.
Meg Is Not Alone
God lovingly gathers his people into a wonderful community―the church. The local church is made up of individuals who respond to God’s love by worshiping him together and caring for one another.
In this picture book, Meg’s parents accidentally leave her at church after the morning service, which makes her feel scared. But Meg is not alone. Various people in the church stay with her until her dad returns. These church friends care for her by giving her things like tissues, cookies, and storybooks, and she learns how to be a church friend to others. With easy-to-understand language and colorful illustrations, this children’s book highlights Jesus’s command to “love one another,” showing kids ages 3–7 that God has provided the local church to be their loving community.
1. Meg Is Not Alone by Megan Hill, illustrated by Samara Hardy (Crossway/TGC)
Meg Is Not Alone is the semiautobiographical account of a little girl who both experiences and participates in the love of her local church family when she’s accidentally left behind after a Sunday service. Meg is welcomed and protected by the church members who help her find her parents and pass the time as she waits. Even though Meg is a young child, she has the opportunity to provide love and care to an even younger child, showing her role as a giver as well as a receiver of God’s blessings through the people of his church.
Meg Is Not Alone is the newest release from TGC Kids in their series of story-driven picture books that teach biblical truths and principles through relatable stories.
2. The Creator in You by Jordan Raynor, illustrated by Jonathan David (WaterBrook)
The first half of this book is a brief telling of the creation story, with illustrations of swirling planets, leaping deer, and a breaching whale. When it reaches the final day of creation, “you might think that our story is ending, but in fact this is just the beginning,” and the book transitions to a story about our role as creators made in God’s image.
In just a few words, it urges kids to draw a picture, to write a book or a song, to design lemonade stands or tree forts, and to “someday build cities and towers and ports.” The pictures show kids painting, dreaming, planting, “showing the world what [their] Father is like—A God who creates to bring people delight.” There have been several new books about our role as subcreators under the Great Creator, but this one intentionally brings glory to God first while also showing kids (and adults) the excitement and joy of creating to glorify him.
3. The Story of God Our King by Kenneth Padgett and Shay Gregorie, illustrated by Aedan Peterson (Wolfbane Books)
This new release tells the entire biblical narrative in a unified story easily read aloud in one sitting. It’s the second book in a series where each telling works like a stone skipping over the pages of the Bible, touching down on places that illustrate or exemplify one major scriptural theme. The theme of this book is kingship, and each page reflects the splendor of God’s sovereignty as his plan unfolds through Scripture.
God bestows on Adam and Eve authority to reign over creation, but they give away that authority to a menacing serpentine enemy when they sin. God promises a royal son who will come to free his people from the serpent, who pursues them through the pages of history. Jesus fulfills that promise, and his life on earth gives the Enemy a fatal blow. Now, the book says, we once again have the opportunity to reign with God as we participate in his “unfolding victory over evil” and wait for his glorious kingdom to come.
The book is told as a single narrative, but it drives home the theology of the theme in a simple, repeated refrain: “He’s a King like no other, defender and friend. Always and forever, world without end!”
4. The King of Easter: Jesus Searches for All God’s Children by Todd R. Hains, illustrated by Natasha Kennedy (Lexham Press)
From the authors of The Apostles’ Creed: For All God’s Children, this book tells the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ by bringing special attention to some of the people he came to save—both before his death and up to modern times.
The text moves quickly and works well as a read-aloud, but the detailed illustrations had my kids asking me to slow down because the pages are packed with biblical references, repeated themes, and hidden characters. It ends with a note that “families are little churches,” along with a responsive prayer to read together and questions for discussing the Easter story while contextualizing it into the larger story of Scripture.
5. The King and the Dragon by James W. Shrimpton, illustrated by Helena Perez Garcia (Crossway)
James Shrimpton says he was inspired to write this book by a summary that simply said, “Kill the dragon. Get the girl.” In The King and the Dragon, Shrimpton sets out to tell the whole story of the Bible as one metaphorical narrative about a knight who fights and defeats a dragon in the service of his father, the king. The king then invites the book’s readers into his kingdom, urging us to follow the knight and be like him.
Shrimpton’s “Note to Parents” concludes, “The story ends with Jesus’ bride, the church, round the throne and with the dragon defeated. The King and the Dragon was written to help you teach your children that story.” It reads like a bedtime adventure tale—told in a flowing rhyme (Shrimpton is a Scottish hymn writer) and illustrated in a folk style that makes the big story of the Bible accessible to even very small listeners.