While we all know the Gospel is fundamental to our Christian faith, we may still have difficulty explaining it as clearly and concisely as we’d like to our kiddos.
Sometimes, all you need is a really good story to pull ideas together for your children.
Even though my kids are 8 and 11 now, they still enjoy a good picture book. There’s something special about piling together on the couch with a great story.
And the Gospel is the best story of all.
These 10 picture books will help you teach Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem His rebellious people, while building some awesome memories with your kids!
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1. The Priest with Dirty Clothes
This is one of my favorite books to read with my children. The Priest with Dirty Clothes wonderfully and simply teaches the concept of imputation (Jesus’ righteousness being attributed to sinners).
Using the story of Joshua the high priest from Zechariah 3:1–5 as his jumping–off point, the late Dr. R.C. Sproul weaves a classic tale about a young priest who is invited to preach his first sermon before the king and his court, but gets his clothes hopelessly muddy on the way. A “For the Parents” section at the end helps you bring out the truths of this book for your kids.
2. The Garden The Curtain and the Cross
This book makes an amazing connection between the garden of Eden, the Temple, and Heaven for kids. Beautifully illustrated, The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross takes children on a journey from the garden of Eden to God’s perfect new creation.
Retelling the Easter story through a Bible overview, children will discover that “because of our sin, we can’t go in” but because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, an even better garden awaits us!
3. Goodbye to Goodbyes
In this vivid, moving and exciting retelling of the story of Lazarus, Lauren Chandler helps children understand how Jesus makes all the difference to death.
Kids see that because Jesus rose from death, He has power over it and all who believe in Him will also rise, just as Lazarus did. This book reassures them with the amazing truth that Jesus came to say goodbye to goodbyes – forever.
4. The Donkey Who Carried A King
The Donkey Who Carried a King offers a unique perspective on the events of Passion Week through the story of Davey, a young donkey who was bored and unhappy until he was picked to carry Jesus into Jerusalem.
The biblical teaching that Jesus was the Suffering Servant who carried the sins of His people when He went to the cross is vividly brought home to children in this delightful book.
5. The Big God Story
In this fast-paced journey through the Old and New Testaments, kids are taught about God’s promise of a Redeemer through the classic stories of the Garden of Eden, the Flood, the Promised Land, the kings of Israel, the baby born in a stable, and some unlikely friends who started a new church.
This beautiful picture book makes insightful connections back to the person of Jesus on almost every page with the visual portrayal of a glowing star.
6. The Greatest Day Ever: The Truth About the Gospel and the Ten Commandments
This second book in the Big Bible Answers series covers a child’s response to the Gospel and the Ten Commandments. Each chapter provides catechism questions to learn, stories to read, and study questions to discuss.
Kids will explore how people in the Old Testament came to faith through the story of Zerubbabel, follow a despairing Charles Spurgeon, and see what it means to love Jesus more than anything as they read of Jerome’s struggle over his love for language and books.
7. The World Created, Fallen, Redeemed, and Restored
This compelling book explains the overarching narrative of God’s plan for salvation from Scripture, divided into four “sections”: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. It does a great job of helping kids understand why there are things like fear, sadness, hatred, sickness, pain, and death in the world.
Much more dense than a typical picture book, The World Created, Fallen, Redeemed, and Restored provides a really helpful way to guide your older children through the story of redemption.
8. The Biggest Story
With powerful illustrations, this imaginative retelling of the Bible’s core message- how the Snake Crusher brings us back to the garden- connects the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth. It’s ideal for 5 to 11-year-olds, to either read on their own, or enjoy having you read it to them!
9. The Bible’s Big Story: Salvation History For Kids
Perfect for 4-7 year olds, The Bible’s Big Story takes kids from the Creation to Consummation, teaching the grand narrative of Scripture in a rhyming fashion. The memorable rhymes implant core truths in little minds: “On the cross he paid for sin, Jesus, Savior of all men. From the grave he rose again, Conquering death and hell and sin.”
The Scripture references included make this a nice guide to use in family devotions with young children and helps them see the bigger picture in one sitting. I think that a great sermon series could be created from simply following the outline of this book!
10. The Very First Easter
As a historian, Paul L. Maier always adds interesting detail to his stories and tends to write longer narratives as well, so this is perfect for your older elementary school-aged kids. A boy named Christopher is told by his parents about the sorrow and joy of Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection in this poignant story about the most important moment in history.