I know some of our customers are looking for gifts for Easter baskets, for grandkids, nephews and nieces, for neighbors or Sunday school classes. Heck, some of you just like children’s books for their beauty and interest. You can check some previous BookNotes here or here, of course, and if the books are still available we can send them to you. Below are a few special ones, a few are brand new; most are recent. All are 20% off. Scroll to the bottom to see the link to our secure order form page — or call. We love to chat.
Thanks for caring.
God’s Holy Darkness Sharen Green & Beckah Selznick, illustrated by Nikki Faison (Beaming Books) $17.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39
This is one we promoted in the dark days of Advent as it just seemed to capture that season of longing and lament. It is, as we said, one of the most amazing children’s books in many a year, powerful, aesthetically stunning, exceptionally well done. I highly recommend that you get it out if you had purchased in last season and if not, now truly is the time, even though it is not a Lenten title, per se.
There are two important threads of import in this striking picture book. Firstly, it is (obviously) about darkness. That in itself resonates with themes of Lent, doesn’t it? We really appreciate how artfully it shows this and how vital and captivating this book is, inviting us to “celebrate the beauty of God’s holy darkness.” (Perhaps you recall the wonderfully written memoir exploring this by the exquisite Barbara Brown Taylor called Learning to Walk In the Dark: Because Sometimes God Shows Up at Night; this children’s book is a good companion for that.)
The second theme is wanting to redeem the notion of blackness. Too often we hear, or assume subconsciously, that black is bad, that dark times are irredeemably bad, that night and dark are scary and troubling. We needn’t overstate the case but some black friends have said this can be hurtful or confusing, so we need to think this through. God’s Holy Darkness is, in a sense, an anti-racism book.
As it says on the back cover of God’s Holy Darkness:
From the darkness at the beginning of creation to the blackness of the sky on the night when Christ’s birth was announced, this captivating picture book deconstructs anti-Blackness in Christian theology by exploring instances in the story of God’s people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy.
We often talk about how the liturgical calandar draws us into the flow of the unfolding drama of the history of redemption. That is, we should frame our seasons by the whole story of God as portrayed in the big story of Scripture. This artful book does just that allusively, simply, walking us through the pages of Scripture. This is redemptive, nearly subversive, Biblical theology for children and I could imagine it being used during Holy Week and certainly on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Khoa Le (Waterbrook) $15.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79
We highlighted this as one of our favorite picture books last year at this time and for those who missed it, it is a gem. Creative, lyrical, honest, the palm trees tell Little Wind that the Real King is coming. But who is this Quiet Man he sees instead? Perkins is a National Book Award nominee and a splendid writer. The art is both creatively and aesthetically pleasing while just a touch whimsical. Look for the pair to reunite for a Christmas book later this fall to be called Holy Night and Little Star: A Story for Christmas.
Darkest Night/Brightest Day: A Family Devotional for the Easter Season Marty Machowski, illustrated by Phil Schorr (New Growth Press) $21.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $16.80
I love this idea and the execution is fabulous — it’s one of these fun books that you read from front to back but halfway through you turn it around and upside down and read a different book through. The first half offers seven devotionals about the darkest days of Jesus’s last week (starting with Psalm Sunday) while the second half is the glory of the resurrection, offering seven lessons from Thomas’s doubts through breakfast on the beach to Ascension and Pentecost — there are fourteen Bible stories (again, seven in each “side” of the book.) Each side has a big die-cut hole showing some of the vivid art underneath. Cool!
There is a lot of text, gospel-centered content, good Bible discussion questions, and intense, modern, clear pictures. This is informative and passionate, serious, glorious.
They say the reading and comprehension level if for families with kids maybe as young as 5 up to about 11. It’s 64 pages.
Twas the Morning of Easter Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Elena Selivanova (Zonderkidz) $17.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39
I love the good art in this one, the playful rhyming that isn’t too cheesy — Glenys Nellist should be well known as she has done a number of excellent children’s books — and find this to be a splendid telling of the good news of resurrection. (You may know the companion one called Twas the Evening of Christmas.) I was glad for the “whole creation” rejoicing and struck by how the artist portrayed Mary as so very young. Brings tears to my eyes…
The Garden, The Curtain, and the Cross: The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again Carl Laferton (The Good Book Company) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
There are nearly a dozen of these very playful, interesting, and theologically robust stories in the “Tales That Tell the Truth” line, most connecting an Old Testament story with a New Testament one; they wonderfully show the gospel in all of the Scripture and the broad vision of the redemption of all thing, through Christ alone. The artist for almost all of them is Catalina Echeverri and she is energetic and whimsical, vivid, but with drawings all over the page that are often small. Sometimes the printing is sideways, even. What fun!)
In this case the “garden” in the story is the Garden of Eden and it describes the goodness of creation, the fall and sorrow that came about, and the long hope for some answer to their mess. Jesus shows up, the story of the cross is very well told (with a bit of a side story of the curtain in the temple tearing) and the happy news that we can be one with God again as all things are being transformed. It is solid and Biblically astute, yet really, really engaging. I love all of the books in this “Tales That Tell the Truth” series. This is one of the best Easter books we know for ages 3 – 7 or 8.
Most have been made into board books, smaller and a bit cheaper but I think they are abridged a bit… The board book sells for $9.99; OUR SALE PRICE = $7.99.
Goodbye to Goodbyes: The True Story of Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb Lauren Chandler, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri (The Good Book Company) $16.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59
By the way, this one in the “Tales That Tell the Truth” series is really useful, too, for yet another way into the Easter story, for young or old. Again, this series is playful and smart, creative and passionate about the gospel. They say it is for ages 3 – 6 but it is so interesting and Biblically astute that I’d say old little kids would be interested.
Goodbye to Goodbyes is about Jesus rolling the stone away from the grave of his friend Lazarus and saying goodbye, an allusive way to explain death. It shows how we all have to say goodbye sometimes. But then when his own death and resurrection are explained (with the disciples sad about saying goodbye) we learn wonderfully about Christ’s defeat of death — and the celebration that great news causes. They have Jesus saying, “There is a day coming when we will say goodbye to saying goodbyes forever. Do you believe that?” Goodbye to Goodbyes: The True Story of Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb is just wonderful.
(This one does not come in a board book edition.)
Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, and Resurrection: Simple Ways to Create Meaning for the Season Traci Smith (Chalice Press) $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39
I appreciate that Tracie is an ordained PC(USA) pastor and is published, here, on the Disciples of Christ publishing house. This is upbeat and clear with bunches of ideas, somewhat framed by her mainline denominational Protestant orientation (even as she draws on ecumenically liturgical insights and points us towards some very nifty rituals and experiences.)
Everyone who helps children grow in faith will appreciate this hands-on resource designed to help children through the Lenten season, full of ideas, suggestions, prayers and blessings (Faithful Families: Creatine Sacred Moments at Home is the more general book; she has yet another called Faithful Families for Advent and Christmas: 100 Ways to Make the Season Sacred and one about praying as families. She has a colorful, small-sized book for little ones, too, published by Beaming Books called Little Prayers for Everyday Life; $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39.) This is handy, holy stuff.
A Jesus Easter: Explore God’s Amazing Rescue Plan Barbara Reaoch (Good Book Company) $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39
As many who know her have said, Barbara Reaoch (who served with Bible Study Fellowship for many years as the Director of their Children’s Division) is a master-teacher. She knows how to engage the imaginations of littles and she knows how to be clear about the gospel. This book — not unlike the A Jesus Christmas which we mentioned in December — is rich and thoughtful and easily able to be adapted to a range of ages and needs.
There are 30 fun, thought-provoking devotionals covering Old and New Testament passages. There are miniature drawings throughout, clever and interesting — and even space for family journalling.
BOARD BOOK: Make Space for Jesus: Learning About Lent and Easter Laura Alary, illustrated by Ann Boyajian (Paraclete Press) $11.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $9.59
This is the adapted small sized board book with chunky pages of Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter which is a lovely paperback picture book that we also carry. I really like how Laura (who lives in Toronto) described Make Room — she explains that
the book has two aims. The first is to re-interpret the three traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and alms giving in a way that is meaningful, practical and accessible for children. The second is to root those practices in the larger story of the life and ministry of Jesus, so they aren’t just activities or more things to do, but a part of a life of discipleship. Make Room is a positive presentation of Lent as a special time for following Jesus along his path of openness, hospitality, and of making known the expansive love of God.
BOARD BOOK Holy Week: An Emotions Primer Danielle Hitchen, art by Jessica Blanchard (Harvest House Publishers) $12.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39
I love these “Baby Believer” primer on central tenants of the Christian faith (from Let There Be Light which uses notions of opposites; Psalms of Praise, which uses ideas of movements, or From Eden to Bethlehem which shows various animals, and several more. This one is remarkable, naming various emotions that people might have when hearing the story of Jesus.
Of course it is for the very young and is simple, but may help little ones learn words — “exited” is the first word (for Palm Sunday) and there is “angry” and “loved” and “thankful” and “overwhelmed” and “frustrated” and “sad” and “joyful.” This is really interesting.
BOARD BOOK My Easter Storybook Laura Richie, illustrated by Ian Dale (David C. Cook) $8.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $7.19
This is a small book, illustrated with a fairly realistic style (unlike so many that are just too goofy in my view for this important occasion.) This has some cute questions for babies — point to the sandals, how many animals do you see? Can you say ‘Jesus is alive’?) It has several scenes from Holy Week and, interestingly, the one were the people wanted to “hurt Jesus” shows the cross and crucifixion only in the background with a solider in the foreground saying Jesus is the son of God. Nicely done.
The Easter Fix Steph Williams (The Good Book Company) $4.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $3.99
This is a very colorful colorfully drawn paperback — just 24 pages — that is in this UK publisher’s popular “Little Me – Big God” series. We’ve enjoyed these, each with a unique, playful angle. This is the story of how God sent someone to fix everything. “Yes everything!” They say. That someone was Jesus.
As they say on the back, “Discover what Jesus came to fix, how he did it, and why it makes everything better.” Wow, this is strong. Ages 2, maybe, up to 4 or 5. Short and simple, with some funny pictures alongside the important words.
ADULT BOOKS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST TO FAMILIES WITH OLDER KIDS
The Art of Holy Week and Easter: Meditations on the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Sister Wendy Beckett (IVP) $17.00 OUR SALE PRICE = $13.60
We sold a number of these last year and certainly many have enjoyed the extraordinary Art of Lent. This one has 30 wonderfully reproduced (in a small format, compact) art piece on glossy paper offering both ancient, medieval, and more recent, even modern-era artworks that captures something important of the Biblical story. Some are old and familiar masterpieces and a few are not well-known at all. All are superlative.
As the back cover notes, it is “brimming with Sister Wend’s irrepressible wisdom and enthusiasm.” It offers “a chance to hear again the voice of Sister Wendy as she leads you gently into a deep appreciation of all that these paintings convey to the discerning eye.
An Easter Book of Days: Meeting the Characters of the Cross and Resurrection Gregory Kenneth Cameron (Paraclete Press) $18.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19
We’ve highlighted this before, the daily reader designed to awaken your spirit by way of engaging your imagination this Lent and Easter-time. Gregory Kenneth Cameron offers 25 meditations accompanied by beautiful full color illustrations.
The small paintings here (like his Christmas one, An Advent Book of Days) are made to look somewhat like icons, making them seem weighty and reflective. Cameron is an Anglican Bishop in Wales. This is compact sized with French folded covers, very, very nice.
Poetry of Redemption: An Illustrated Treasury of Good Friday and Easter Poems Leland Ryken (P&R Publisher) $17.99 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39
Dr. Ryken is a well-respected evangelical and Reformed literature prof, with emeritus status at Wheaton College. He has expertly pulled together a number of grand anthologies and is known for his great love of poetry and classic literature, and explaining their value with such gracious vigor. You may recall our celebration of his handsome Crossway hardback that came out a year ago, The Heart in Pilgrimage: A Treasury of Classic Devotionals on the Christian Life ($34.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $27.99) or the important co-authored paperback volume Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: A Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful ($21.99 – OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59.)
In any case, this is about how God’s redemptive plan came to fruition in the events of a tumultuous handful of days. As he notes, “in the two thousand years since, believers have sought to express the horror of Christ’s crucifixion, the joy of his resurrection and the wonder of the personal and eternal implications of both.”
This new one, slightly oversized in paperback, offers words of dozens of poets and hymnists alongside Scripture, full color paintings, strong graphics and a handsome, compelling, modern design. Helpfully, there are informative and devotional reflections on the images in word and painting, helping us take in the work “designed to fix our thoughts on God and the spiritual life and to awaken our religious affections.” What a book!
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Sadly, we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It’s important to be particularly aware of how risks we take might effect the public good. It is complicated for us, so we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family, staff, and customers.) The vaccination rate here in York County is sadly lower than average. Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise.
Please, wherever you are, do your best to be sensitive to those who are most at risk. Many of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregants, and family members may need to be protected since more than half of Americans (it seems) have medical reasons to worry about longer hazards from even seemingly mild COVID infections. Thanks for understanding.
We are doing our famous curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help do if you are in the area, do stop by.
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