Name of Book: Children of God Storybook Bible
Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Publisher: Zondervan; ZonderKids
Audience: Ages 3 and up
Summary: This book is a paraphrase of 56 Bible stories. Each story is illustrated by an artist from around the world. Stories in the Bible Storybook include: Creation, Ruth, Naboth’s Vineyard, Christ’s birth, miracle stories, Transfiguration, Last Supper, Resurrection, Revelation, and many more. Stories are paraphrased by Tutu and each story ends with a prayer for the reader that relates to the theme and lesson of the story told.
Literary elements at work in the story: This paraphrase storybook is told from a third person omniscient point of view. The book takes larger stories and breaks them down into shorter, personal adaptations appropriate for younger children and adults alike. Each story is set according to their original Biblical settings. The story plots have not been changed, although the stories have been greatly shortened.
The book shares valuable Biblical and theological themes, like: care for creation, forgiveness and repentance, love, Imago Dei, prayer, trusting God, Christian sacrifice, etc.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability make a difference to the story? The storybook was purposely illustrated by 20 artists from around the world to create “the first truly global Bible for children.” All races, ethnicities, genders and abilities are portrayed in the book through the multi-cultural illustrations and through the author’s inclusive language. Each story is told from a third person perspective, but each story’s prayer is first person in order to invite the reader to participate in the story and into fellowship with God. The stories are labeled with headings inclusive of all people, regularly using the term “us” in theme descriptions. Children and adults alike will find a refreshing, new perspective on favorite and even not-so-well-known Bible stories.
Scripture: Each story shares the corresponding Scriptural references for the reader. The storybook contains 24 Old Testament stories, 27 gospel stories and five additional New Testament stories to total 56 stories.
Theology: While each story contains a unique theological theme, the overall theological tone of the storybook from the author is “we are all children of God.” The storybook is written as “the Gift of God’s love for children everywhere.” Readers are constantly told they are children of God and encouraged to live into that understanding through story and prayer.
Faith Talk Questions
- Who does God say that you are?
- What do you say to God when you speak to God in prayer?
- What is your favorite Bible story? Why?
- Did you see yourself or people who look like you in the Bible story pictures? Where?
- What does it mean to be a child of God?
- How does it feel to know that God loves you and says that you are special?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Todd