Great Books to Give Kids
A crop of new children's books teaches religious. spiritual, and moral lessons to kids of all ages.
BY: Sherry Huang
| A Sky Full of Praise
By Karen Hill; Illus. Vincent Nguyen
Little Simon Inspirations
This book in verse will help kids celebrate "God's creativity" from daytime to nighttime. Beginner readers who delight in peek-a-boo will enjoy lifting the 'What am I' flaps and discovering the wonders of the sky, such as a "fluffy and white" cloud and stars that gleam like "a million tiny lights." Hill's quatrains ("God made me bright and sunny. / I look just like a big, orange tummy! / When summer comes, I work extra hard. / So you can play out in the yard.") and Nguyen's simple pastel illustrations will also entertain any child. There is also a note to grown-ups at the end to remind them that God's glory isn't just for kids.
| The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story
By Uma Krishnaswami; Illus. Ruth Jeyaveeran
Lee and Low Books
Meena is excited to be in the school's production of "Little Red Riding Hood," but her clumsiness has her worried. How can she act as a serene tree when her most natural moves are tripping and falling? Krishnaswami's funny story and Jeyaveeran's vibrant illustrations make a great read for active children who can't sit still or those who are prone to clumsiness. A brief guide to pronunciation and yoga postures at the end will help both parents and children. Children will learn how practicing yoga can help calm even the most excitable energy, which is good news for kids and parents alike.
| Um, Like...Om:
A Girl Goddess's Guide to Yoga
By Evan Cooper
"What's it like to be a teenager?" Yoga instructor Evan Cooper knows--and she has composed an in-depth explanation to yoga for teen girls. Personal anecdotes, breathing techniques, a wide range of yoga poses, and mantras will help teenage girls deal with the stress and pressures common to their lives, from tests to boys to family. Girls will warm up to Cooper's breezy, understanding voice as she shows how a butterfly pose can help ease fear and sun salutations can help deal with PMS. The best part about this book is the easy-to-follow directions and sassy illustrations to guide even the most insecure yoga beginner.
| Girlfriend You Are
by Andrea Stephens
Every teen girl needs a personal cheerleader to make them feel like a B.A.B.E: Beautiful, Acceptable, Blessed, and Eternally Significant. A former model employed by a prestigious modeling agency, Stephens knows what it's like to conform to the beauty standards of popular media and culture. She boldly and enthusiastically guides girls to find their beauty within. Brimming with Bible verses, quizzes, relevant pop culture references, and inspiring personal stories from Christian celebrities to regular teens, this magazine-style book is sure to make every teenage girl feel confident.
| In the Beginning
By Dandi Daley Mackall; Illus. James Kandt
Mackall masterfully retells the Bible's creation story in jovial, limerick-like rhyme: "A hot ball of fire, God flung into space, / A silvery moon shining down on this place, / And millions of stars, flowing out of His grace..." Children will love the silvery pages and Kandt's bold, earthy colors illustrating God's masterpieces on Earth, from the creation of light to cresting dolphins to Adam and Eve. Bible verses from Genesis, John, and Colossians serve as bookends to remind children not only of God's creation, but his love and sacrifices as well.
| Under the Overpass
By Mike Yankoski
Age: 15 and older
In this incredible non-fiction story, college student Mike Yankoski and his friend Sam test their faith in God by living as homeless men. For five months, both young men travel throughout five cities, from Washington DC to San Diego, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, flip-flops bound by tape, and two acoustic guitars. Yankoski chronicles his amazing journey and shares his experiences of panhandling, singing worship songs for money, sleeping in sewage, and encountering both the openness and hardness of strangers and his fellow Christians. This book will challenge teens to think about issues that are often ignored in religious culture, from homelessness to hypocrisy.
| Lotsa de Casha
By Madonna; Illus. Rui Paes
The fifth and final book in pop star Madonna's Kabbalah-themed series takes place in an old-world Italy inhabited by animals. When Lotsa de Casha, a wealthy but unhappy greyhound, is told to share what he has and put others first, he scoffs at the idea. Only until a kind stranger helps him after he is robbed does Lotsa learn the secret to happiness. Paes's fantastic illustrations are filled with rich, life-like details. Children will learn what it means to be charitable and to 'help thy neighbor,' along with the lesson that having "lotsa de casha" (or, lots of cash) can never make anyone happy until one delights in giving.