Even as adults, we all likely remember the saga of The Very Hungry Caterpillar or can recite rhymes from Goodnight Moon. Partly that’s because we asked our parents to read them to us over and over and over again, but it’s also because the things you learn at an early age tend to stick with you.
Although such children’s classics are great, there is an opportunity for your own kids to learn more than just Where the Wild Things Are or why they shouldn’t Hop on Pop. There are many great Christian children’s books that teach truths your kids can then remember and draw from throughout their lives.
We’ve asked the experts—our own Watermark Kids Ministry team—for recommendations of the best Christian kids’ books out there. We’ve divided them into two lists: one for school-aged children, and this list for toddlers, babies, or preschoolers. These are simple picture books you can read to even the littlest kids, no matter how young they are or how short their attention span might be.
Best Christian Books for Toddlers:
- Baby Believer board book series by Danielle Hitchen – We’ve all seen those beginner board books about shapes, animals, opposites, or the alphabet. The Baby Believer series uses a similar concept to teach kids about Bible basics, Holy Week, Creation, Psalms, and more.
- Different Like Me by Xochitl Dixon – This book is a great resource for teaching kids (and adults, too) that the things that make us feel different are also reasons to celebrate how much we have in common! Different Like Me captures what we share with our Kaleidoscope special needs ministry volunteers and parents: that God’s purpose for everyone is for His glory to be seen at work in all of us, regardless of our differences.
- Found, Near, and Loved by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This series of three board books illustrates Psalm 23, Psalm 139, and The Lord’s Prayer, respectively. They are simple, sweet bedtime reads for preschoolers.
- I Prayed for You by Jean Fischer – This book is arguably more for Mama than for the kids. As you read it to your children, the words express how much you care for them and want the best for them. Each page has a little one-sentence prayer for you to pray over your child.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – We debated which list this should go on, because you can get so much out of it at any age (even as an adult). That’s because Sally Lloyd-Jones does such an excellent job of not only telling the stories in the Bible, but also pointing out how all of Scripture points to Jesus. It’s the longest book on this list, but it can be read one short story at a time.
- Tales that Tell the Truth series by multiple authors – Ten books that are beautifully illustrated and tell biblical truths in simple, engaging ways. Our favorites include: The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross by Carl Laferton, which shows how God is writing one big story throughout Scripture; Goodbye to Goodbyes by Lauren Chandler, which uses the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus to talk about the topic of death and loss in a hopeful way; and God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell, which covers diversity and explains how we are all intentionally made in God’s image.
- The Theolaby series by Jennie Allen – This set of five books is designed to help teach big theological concepts in a simple way that young children can understand.
- What Every Child Should Know About Prayer by Nancy Guthrie – What is prayer? How do we pray? What should we pray for? Through dozens of super-short devotionals, this book explains and teaches prayer in a way that any kid can understand.
- Who Sang the First Song? by Ellie Holcomb – Little children are known for their questions, and this book was inspired by a question posed by the author’s daughter. Singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb wrote this lyrical tale about God’s creation, and how He created each of us with a song to sing.
- You Are Special by Max Lucado – This modern fable demonstrates the love of the Father through a tale about living wooden puppets who love to get gold star stickers. Bring your tissues, because this one is a sweet tearjerker.
Toddlers can’t read by themselves; you have to read to them. So, any of these books represent an opportunity to connect with your child and disciple them. There’s no better way you can spend your time than by teaching your children to walk in the truth (3 John 4) and starting them on the right path in life (Proverbs 22:6).