Jen Robertson | Children’s Resources Manager
This is often the time of year when we start to think of giving gifts to the young people and children in our church families and communities.
In days gone by, we may have labelled this as a “Sunday School Prize Giving” but we are now more motivated not to reward the young people in our churches, but to take an opportunity to give them a gift that will help them in their Christian growth and engagement with the Bible.
Wonderfully, choices of quality Christian books to give to younger children are vast, but when looking for books for older children or teenagers which encourage Bible engagement the choice can become more limited.
When we carried out research with children and young people across Scotland in 2019, one of the key findings was that illustrations helped them to engage with the Bible. These illustrations and images brought the stories in the Bible to life for them, helping them to understand it better and to delve deeper into its meaning for their lives. Illustration can be seen as a form of translation, allowing a young person in contemporary Scotland to read the Bible in their heart language.
We have two brilliant books that we have created in response to this research. Both are particularly suitable for ages 10 to 14 (but are not limited to this age group) – Joseph and the Triumph of Grace, and Dear Theo.
Both books have been illustrated by the incredibly talented Jason Ramasami, who cleverly uses illustration to guide the reader through the narrative and while also prompting them to ask questions about what is going on and why.
Dear Theo, Jason’s artwork is paired with text from the Books of Luke and Acts in the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) – a translation that is designed be read and understood easily.
In Joseph and the Triumph of Grace, Jason’s illustrations tell the whole story of Joseph in the first half of the book, while the second half contains the whole story of Genesis also in the NIrV translation. There are also helpful illustrations at the front and back that show a Bible timeline of what happened before and after Joseph. Each book comes with a free Journal to help the reader engage with Joseph’s story and to consider the relevance of it for their life.
Illustration is a hugely helpful tool for engaging young people with the Bible. Take a look at these books and see how they can impact the lives of the young people in your church this Summer.