Today Lydia and I read all the books on her bookshelf that had to do with Jesus’ death and resurrection (aka “easter”). I know at 3 years old she can’t understand it. She doesn’t even know what death is. She’s never experienced it or known someone who died. But today, as I held her in my arms and read 5 or 6 versions of the greatest story ever told, I got tears in my eyes. I know that the truth of Jesus’ love for us will be planted in her heart.
The book I love the most for “easter” is The Parable Of The Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs. This is part of a series that gives a meaningful parable (aren’t all parables meaningful?) to common holiday items (like my favorite Christmas book, The Parable of the Christmas Tree).
The Parable of the Lily is about a little girl, Maggie who gets a surprise package in the mail—a box of dirt! She is disappointed and places it on a shelf. One day she accidentally knocks it over and out of the dirt pops a flower bulb. She is aggravated at her plant and throws it into the yard. Early Easter morning, she walks out into the garden to see that her dirty ugly boring bulb has blossomed into a beautiful lily!
The parable-ness comes in when you read the scriptures on the bottom of each page. Higgs uses scriptures to compare Jesus to this flower—an unimpressive man, hated and rejected by his people, dead in the ground for three days, bursts forth with new life for everyone. She also ties in Maggie’s father as the giver of the gift…just like God’s indescribable gift of Jesus to us.
It’s a beautiful book. I read it to Lydia once, then again with the scriptures. I wish I had thought of it earlier and we would have planted a lily, too. What an object lesson for her to see growing in her own front yard!
We also read The Easter Story by Tracy Harrast. It’s part of the Peek-a-Bible series, a fun lift-the-flap series. I like this one because it tells all the important parts of the story—Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the resurrection, Jesus’ appearance to the disciples and his ascension.
The very last page does have a picture of some modern day kids holding Easter baskets, but at least it doesn’t talk about eggs or bunnies.
Then we “read” my new favorite version of the Resurrection story from the See With Me Bible: The Bible Told in Pictures by Dennis Jones.
There are no words. Just pictures. And it is breathtaking. Jones absolutely captures the emotion of the story. It is the only book of all our books that actually showed Jesus in pain and with wounds (cartoon-ish, but still…). I couldn’t find any online to share with you but I highly recommend this book!
The last book you could probably see coming a mile away since I have probably blogged about it 80 times. Yes, its the The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd Jones.
There are about six different stories surrounding Jesus’ passion–Mary anointing Jesus’ feet, Jesus washing the disciples’ feet at the last supper, the garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the resurrection, Jesus appearing to the disciples & ascension. Here’s the best part…
“If you were really the Son of God, you could just climb down off that cross!” they said.
And of course they were right…But Jesus stayed. You see, they didn’t understand. It wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus there. It was love.
“Papa?” Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. “Papa? Where are you? Don’t leave me!”
And for the first time–and the last–when he spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible endless silence. God didn’t answer. He turned away from his Boy.
Tears rolled down Jesus’ face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye…
The full force of the storm of God’s fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.
Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, “It is finished!”
And it was. He had done it. Jesus had rescued the whole world.
:: :: :: :: ::
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to impress your kids’ heart with God’s ultimate story this easter season. Grab these books and give them in (or in place of) an easter basket. Then, make them a part of your book rotation, not just at easter-time—this is the story that should be central to your kids’ lives…and to yours!
Do you have a favorite easter book to share?