Children's Bibles vs, Children's Bible Story books, Compare Kid's Bibles, Sunday School Teacher Bibles

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Children's Bibles
Having bought Children's Bibles and Bible storybooks, plus taught and written curriculum for more than 20 years as a Director of Christian Education, I have built a personal library of the best children's Bibles and Bible storybooks which I do and don't recommend to you for use in Sunday School, at home Bible time, or gifts for children.

The Difference between Bibles and Bible Storybooks

Recommendations and Reviews: Children's Bibles and Children's Bible Storybooks


What is the difference between a Children's Bible and a Children's Bible storybook?
This is my view:

A true children's Bible, is one with complete text from any of the recognized translations of the Bible. Of the most popular Bible versions, the top easiest to read Bibles for grade 3 and up may be The Good News Bible. Next would be the NIV, NIrV, and NRSV. For churches preferring the KJV, the NKJV is the better choice for children. It may include extra information, and pictures.

A children's Bible storybook, (Sometimes titled as a Children's Bible) however, usually does not have every story found in a true Children's Bible, and the stories are paraphrased to either a great or lesser extent. In Bible storybooks for the youngest children, the stories are shortened and/or may specifically exclude killings. David and Goliath will be used as the comparative story in the information for each Bible. For smaller children, certain stories may be omitted entirely.

At what grade do children adapt to reading a true children's Bible rather than a children's Bible storybook?

Over the long haul, I have found children in third grade can begin to read the modern translations. There are some Bible storybooks however for third through 5th graders, that add excitement through the paraphrasing, and have visually stimulating pictures. These serve a good purpose if each child does not have their own Bible to use in Sunday School, or to inspire them to read Bible stories at home.

Recommended Children's Bibles and Bible Storybooks
& Children's Gift Bible Suggestions

Whether you are looking for a Children's Bible to use in your Sunday School classroom, or for children's gift Bible, I offer these insights into the appropriateness and usefulness of the following:
(growing into age or grade) target ages or grades (growing out of age or grade)
OT = Old Testament NT = New Testament
The comparative story is David and Goliath with reference to how it is written.

Read with Me Bible
My classification: Children's Bible storybook based on NIrV
20088: NIrV Read with Me Bible, Revised and Updated Hardcover

Age 5 to 8 (9)
Versatile grow-into book that you can read to children now, and they can read by themselves later on. Moderately paraphrased stories. Each story has the Bible passages referenced at the beginning.
David kills Goliath
These are bold and fun pictures which encourage children to pick up the book to browse. They make me smile! And there's no harm in that! The stories are a bit thin for 9 year olds, but boys particularly still love the pictures as they are exciting. There are plenty of pictures.
Great book to particularly interest boys!
Has a separate OT and NT Table of Contents, a Topical Index and Words You Should Know - which younger kid's need for words like birthright, decree and miracle, for example.


The Beginner's Bible
My classification: Children's Bible storybook
709628: The Beginner"s Bible: Timeless Children"s Stories

Age (2) 3 to 5 (6)
Paraphrased to be short, simple stories, but they do express the idea.
David hits the giant with a stone, but it is not stated that he killed him. The story includes words like "sling" and "armor", which probably aren't in their vocabulary yet, but could be explained and somewhat understood through the pictures and implementing my Tips for Reading to Children.
The pictures show little detail to go with the story, and are flat, cartoonish, but that's ok for this age group. Chocked full of pictures. (see my notes on reading with pictures)
Good book to read aloud to a young Sunday School class and discuss the pictures, or give as a gift to a small child.
Has 90+ OT and NT stories, Table of Contents and Index of Favorite Characters and Stories.

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The Beginners Bible for Toddlers
My classification: Children's Bible storybook
714087: The Beginner"s Bible for Toddlers

Age 2- 3
Stories very paraphrased to be very short, matching the usually short attention span of toddlers. I absolutely recommend you implement my Tips for Reading to Children. with this age group.
David fought Goliath. No mention of killing. A good beginning to the story, but the child would have to figure out how God let David win- what happened. The story includes words like "sling" and "salves", which probably aren't in their vocabulary yet, and would not necessarily be easy to explain to them. Most stories start out well for the age level, but then either use unfamiliar words, or concepts rather than concrete explanations.You can see my notes on Customizing and Manually Editing a book.
The pictures show minimum detail to go with the story, and are flat, cartoonish, but that's ok for this age group. It has lots of pictures in proportion to text
Take a closer look at The Beginners Bible for age (2) 3 to 5 (6)

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The Golden Children's Bible
My classification: Children's Bible storybook
65205: The Golden Children"s Bible

Age (7) 8-12
I really wish this one wasn't named "Golden" which too often is associated with the little books for small children. This is a Bible storybook for older children. It is nicely written for this age group and had an editorial advisory board made up of professors and theologians, which gives it accuracy without being "stuffy". It has some direct Bible quotes in places where they seem to fit appropriately. This book includes many, many OT and NT Bible stories (over 500 pages) and it is organized not only by story, but identifies story groups such as The creation and the Patriarchs. Once in a while it lapses into archaic language, but not very often.
This is a good alternative to reading directly from a Bible in a classroom situation. It is also a very good book for parents to read with children and to discuss the pictures.
David cut off Goliath's head and killed him, then returns from the slaughter of the Philistines. It does not soft sell the story.
The illustrations are detailed and realistic. Many are exciting, dramatic and bold. They are not modernized, which I think adds a sense of history.

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My First Bible in Pictures
My classification: Children's Bible storybook
46309: My First Bible in Pictures w/handle

Age 18 months to 30 months (3-4)
This is a better picture book than storybook, and it seems that's what it was intended to be. It covers stories like Creation, Adam & Eve, Noah, and Jesus. Following a very, very brief story, it includes a question... something like I recommend in my Tips for Reading to Children. It is a very good book to just sit together and talk about the pictures. For new age 2's, the story is about as much as they can absorb, understand or follow. For the 3's and 4's the stories are too lightweight, but you could still use the book's pictures.
The Hooks did the artwork. I love the softness and tenderness of the Hook's drawings. There are one or two pictures that seem out-of-place in this book, but by and large they are great.
This is a little red book with a blue handle. The handle is such a treat! At story time you can ask a toddler to bring the "Bible" to read, and they can just grab it by the handle!


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Recommended Sunday School Teacher's Bibles

Children's Ministry Resource Bible
My Classification: Bible (NKJV)
0842: NKJV Children"s Ministry Resource Bible, Hardcover

This is a New King James Version Bible, but don't let that throw you off if you don't necessarily use this version of the Bible. If you want to have a resource to draw on for spontaneous kid's questions, or to help yourself prepare for Sunday with the class, this Bible has lots of additional information.
- The footnotes alone explain certain words, situations, phrases and more.
- The maps point out travels and routes of Bible people
- Books end with a nice 4 part review, points to think and talk about, conclusions and challenges.

- A couple of good pages on the Methods of the Master Teacher
- A song or so with music
- Lots of lists and charts
- A pronunciation guide (who doesn't need that?)
- Subject indexes (really nice to help you find stories, people, etc. )
- Concordance (where do you find passages about certain topics)
- And a whole lot more.

Some people emphasize a difference between "saved" and "unsaved" children, and this book does. I do not make this class distinction. I am in the hope of resurrection for all who believe and aim to aid children in this path, and bypass these specific words.


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Customizing and Manually Editing a Book
Customizing your own book is not a crime! It can be helpful. We just don't think about doing it. Often I have neatly ruled out a line in a book I provided to my Sunday School teachers. I have overwritten a word with a different word children would understand. A book that overall has good stories, messages or pictures shouldn't be overlooked for a few flaws. Fix them to suit you. If it's not your own book, use a tiny bit of post-it note to cover a printed word with a different one.

Tips for Reading to Children
Get the most out of your books! Too often a book is just shown and read aloud to children because it just seems the right thing to do. But there's more. Illustrators usually do well to make the picture match the story. Sometimes the pictures are simple and sometimes they are complex, but they are all worth stopping and talking about after you have read the text on a page.

STOP! Ask at least 3 questions about each picture.
This will clarify what is going on, and get the brain reviewing what has been heard.
Depending on the story and picture, here are some examples of what to ask:

Ask (when appropriate)
Who is in the picture (Identify everyone)
What is he/she doing?
How does he/she feel?
What has he/she done?
Where has he/she come from?
Where do you think he/she is going?
What is this? (Identify all objects and or animals in the picture)
What's this for? Identify use of items in a picture - like a shepherd's staff, manger
Should ____ watch out for something? (If there's some potential danger in the picture)
Are they going fast or slow? (Is someone walking or running?)
What do you think will happen?
Did this ever happen to you? (likely not) How would you feel? (agree if appropriate)
- Reassure the children God will help and everything will be ok.

Point out:
Look at what they are wearing (if it is something special or unusual)
Look at the faces (if there is an expression, ask what they think the person feels like)

Instead of saying "He/she" , repeat the main characters name in your discussion and the name of the person (or other identification - like soldier) they are interacting with.

Simple Review:
When you're done, have the class (in Sunday School Environment) or your child (at home) tell you the story. It can be fun to let the children be the storytellers. If something is omitted, just ask, "what about....?" Be sure to praise a job well done after the story has been retold.

Did they get the message?
As a teacher,what was your objective in sharing the story with the children?
It is a little harder to tell you what to ask the children because it depends entirely on the story:
How did God help...whoever?
How did Jesus show his love and that he cares for us?
Reassure that God and Jesus take care of us.

Hope this has helped you with how to read a story to children!

Bible and Bible Storybook Supplier
The link for individual Bibles and books goes to You will be buying directly from them. They do offer many discounted Bible prices, and a have a large variety of children's Bibles and books; teen Bibles and books; and adult teaching aids, Bibles, music, videos and best sellers.

I am not responsible if a book has been edited, or revised after the time of this web review posting. Christianbook offers page close-ups with actual text.

Christian Calendars
If your looking for a religious calendar for your Sunday School room or home - one that speaks to the spirit, or a Christmas calendar, have a look at America's Favorite Calendars, Christian categories.

Sunday School Resources FOR KIDS
from the Sunday School Director of Christian Education of Faith Congregational Church, Mount Prospect, Illinois

©Jo Dibbern

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