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Religion: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about religion is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Refuge to Holi Colors there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about religion? Let us know!

Refuge book
#1
Refuge
Written by Anne Booth and illustrated by Sam Usher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A timely rendition of the nativity follows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus as they travel in a strange land, hoping to find refuge in the kindness of strangers. $1 from the sale of each print book sold until October 2017 will go to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Everyone knows the story of how Jesus was humbly born in a manger when was no room at the inn. But here is a lyrical depiction of what came next: the new family's travels through the desert, fleeing Herod's soldiers in order to find a safe place to welcome their son into the world. A refreshing look at the classic Christmas story that's never been more relevant, Refuge asks readers to consider the modern day implications of being forced to flee your home country.

The Nativity book
#2
The Nativity
Written by and illustrated by Julie Vivas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Illustrates the story of the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the wise men and shepherds at the manger.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey book
#3
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
Written by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by P. J. Lynch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The spirit of Christmas heals a sorrowing woodcarver's heart in this splendid reissue of a Candlewick holiday classic, dressed in a radiant new cover. The spirit of Christmas heals a sorrowing woodcarver's heart in this splendid edition of a holiday classic, complete with a CD masterfully narrated by James Earl Jones.

You Are Special book
#4
You Are Special
Written by Max Lucado and illustrated by Sergio Martinez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones―those with smooth wood and fine paint―always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello. In this heartwarming children's tale from best-selling author Max Lucado, Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is―no matter what other Wemmicks may think. It's a vital message for children everywhere: that regardless of how the world evaluates them, God cherishes each of them, just as they are. This tale originally appeared within one of the chapters in the award-winning children's bestseller Tell Me the Secrets.

Christmas Tapestry book
#5
Christmas Tapestry
Written by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A tapestry that is being used to cover a hole in a church wall at Christmas brings together an elderly couple who were separated during World War II.

  1. The Legend of the Poinsettia - When Lucida is unable to finish her gift for the Baby Jesus in time for the Christmas procession, a miracle enables her to offer the beautiful flower we now call the poinsettia.

  2. Manjhi Moves a Mountain - Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if your heart is big enough.

  3. If I Had a Gryphon - Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring ... he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, hippogriffs scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet ... or is he? If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations--and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them.

  4. Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale - That cold winter's night, beneath the star's light... ...a Little One came for the world.

Wombat Divine book
#10
Wombat Divine
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Kerry Argent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Wombat auditions for the Nativity play, but has trouble finding the right part.

The Legend of Old Befana book
#11
The Legend of Old Befana
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this beloved classic picture book, Tomie dePaola retells and illustrates an Italian Christmas folk tale, breathing warmth and humanity into the character of the lonely Old Befana and her endless search for the Christ Child. Every morning and every afternoon, Old Befana sweeps with her broom. “Cranky old lady,” the children say. “She is always sweeping!” Sweep, sweep, sweep. But when a brilliant star glows in the eastern sky one night, and Old Befana encounters the glorious procession of three kings on their way to Bethlehem, her little world will never be the same.

Rapunzel book
#12
Rapunzel
Written by Chloe Perkins and illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

The classic story of Rapunzel gets a fresh twist in this vibrant Indian spin on the beloved fairy tale! Once upon a time, there was a girl with long, long hair, who lived in a tall, tall tower... The classic tale of Rapunzel gets a fresh twist in this third book of a brand-new board book series, Once Upon a World. With India as the backdrop, and vibrant artwork from illustrator Archana Sreenivasan, Rapunzel is still the same girl who lets down her beautiful hair—but she’s totally reimagined. Once Upon a World offers a multicultural take on the fairy tales we all know and love. Because these tales are for everyone, everywhere.

Stories Jesus Told Us book
#13
Stories Jesus Told Us
Written and illustrated by Su Box
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

The perfect introduction to Jesus’ stories, six much-loved parables from the New Testament are re-told simply and clearly and accompanied by beautiful picture-book style illustrations. Each story can be read to the child but can also be enjoyed by children on their own as their reading skills develop. Next Steps are included at the back of the book to encourage further discussion and there’s a rhyme for children to join in with and lots to spot throughout the books.

When God Made Light book
#14
When God Made Light
Written by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the creators of the bestselling "When God Made You" comes a new illuminating message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. Full color.

  1. The Selfish Giant - A beloved tale that has lasted for generations, The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, one of the world’s greatest writers, tells the tale of a very selfish giant, his wonderful garden, the curious and playful village children, and, of course, the little child who changes the giant’s heart. A beloved classic in English literature, The Selfish Giant may be Oscar Wilde’s greatest story of redemption and forgiveness. Newly illustrated by renowned artist Jeanne Bowman, this fantastic edition of this famous tale showcases Wilde’s story in a pallet and composition that will delight and inspire both young and old and will become a family treasure to be read again and again.

  2. Lift Every Voice and Sing - First written by a schoolteacher and activist in 1900 and then declared the official African American National Anthem by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1919, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has been a cornerstone hymn chronicling the black experience for more than one hundred years. Lyrics to this moving history are paired with the linocuts of Elizabeth Catlett, a Harlem Renaissance artist best known for her unique representations of the struggles and triumphs of black men, women, and children. Newly back in print and updated with a fresh design as well as an introduction from beloved author and illustrator Ashley Bryan, Lift Every Voice and Sing is a more relevant than ever celebration of black lives.

  3. Mini Myths: Be Careful, Icarus! - After little Icarus and his dad make a bird-shaped kite, Dad warns Icarus to hold on to the string and not let it fly too high. But Icarus disobeys, and soon the kite gets caught in the trees! Dad helps him repair the kite so they can play with it again, and Icarus learns the importance of being careful. Joan Holub’s carefully crafted text is brought to life by Leslie Patricelli’s famously humorous illustrations. Includes a summary of the original Icarus myth.

  4. Viking Myths: Volume Two - Journey to the frozen north for this second spellbinding anthology of Viking myths! Enter the world of Norse mythology, where you'll find sea monsters, shape-changers, dark forests, and cunning, gold-hoarding underground dwarves. This second volume of Viking tales features more fantastical, entrancing adventures, including Thor's journey in the land of the giants, and Ragnarok, the apocalyptic battle of the gods, retold in a way that will engage very young readers. Different illustrators bring their distinctive styles to each story.

Mini Myths: Make a Wish, Midas! book
#19
Mini Myths: Make a Wish, Midas!
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Midas wants everything to be his favorite color—yellow! He chooses yellow clothes, eats yellow foods, and uses only the yellow paint at his easel. But when he impulsively paints his beloved green Dinoboo, Midas discovers that too much of a good thing is a big mess! Joan Holub’s carefully crafted text is brought to life by Leslie Patricelli’s famously humorous illustrations. Includes a summary of the original Midas’s Wish myth at the end.

Good Job, Athena! book
#20
Good Job, Athena!
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

After Athena ties Arachne's shoes for her, Arachne takes the credit for Athena's hard work. But when their friends ask Arachne to teach them how to tie their shoes, Arachne must admit the truth. So Athena comes to the rescue and teaches everybody this important skill. All is forgiven, and the girls are friends again. Conceived and crafted by Greek-mythology expert Joan Holub and illustrated by the bestselling Leslie Patricelli, this book also includes a summary of the original Arachne myth.

Who Is Coming to Our House? book
#21
Who Is Coming to Our House?
Written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A modern Christmas classic about how the animals prepare a cozy welcome for the baby Jesus. “Who is coming to our house? Someone, someone,” says Mouse. As Pig makes room, Lamb cleans up, Goose stacks the hay, and Duck lines the crib with eiderdown, Mary and Joseph are on their way by donkey. All the animals are eager to welcome the baby Jesus to their home.

The Memory Box book
#22
The Memory Box
Written by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by Thea Baker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Grieving over the death of a special person, a young child creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of the loved one. Includes a guide for parents with information from a Christian perspective on helping manage the complex and difficult emotions children feel when they lose someone they love, as well as suggestions on how to create their own memory box.

Don't Get Lost, Odysseus! book
#23
Don't Get Lost, Odysseus!
Written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

When Odysseus goes shopping with his mom, she tells him to stay close, and he does--until he is tempted by The Odyssey-inspired play area in the mall and wanders off. He has fun at first, but when he can't find Mom, he gets scared. Not to worry: Mom was always close behind, and, reunited, they make their way home together. Conceived and crafted by Greek-mythology expert Joan Holub and illustrated by the bestselling Leslie Patricelli, this book also includes a summary of the original journey of Odysseus.

  1. Dragons Are Real! - This Mythical Creatures board book offers babies and toddlers a glimpse into the colorful, whimsical world of dragons. Discover what makes them so magical! Moonlight and courage and sparks, oh my! That's what dragons are made of. Did you know that dragons don't just breathe fire...they sneeze it? Or that they love to barbecue--even their vegetables? Fantasy lovers will be tickled to learn all sorts of "facts" about these Mythical Creatures in Holly Hatam's (#1 New York Times bestselling illustrator) unique new series. Look for Unicorns are Real, too!

  2. The Gifts They Gave - A gently illustrated adaptation of a beloved Christmas song depicts the baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by a flock of admiring animals who impart their own special gifts, from sheep who donate wool for a warm blanket to doves that coo a lullaby.

  3. God Gave Us Christmas - Mama Bear explains to Baby Cub how God gave Christmas to the world.

  4. Your Magnificent Chooser - We all have choices to make every day, even the youngest children. The choices we make play a large part in forming who we grow to be as adults. For kids, those choices can include whether to be obedient or disobedient, to share or be selfish, to have a good attitude or not, and more. John Ortberg addresses the ability to choose in a whimsical way by inviting children to use their "magnificent chooser" that God gave them to make right choices daily. Parents will love reading this book to their kids, and kids will enjoy the content while learning lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Little Thor Gets Mad book
#28
Little Thor Gets Mad
Written by Victoria Watson Nguyen and illustrated by Rubin Pingk
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Little Thor is MAD and he doesn’t know what to do about it. Little Thor is very strong. He can lift very heavy things. But when Loki knocks over the city of blocks Little Thor has worked very hard to build, Thor gets very, VERY mad. Should Little Thor use his hammer to destroy everything around him—or should he take a moment, think about why he’s angry, and talk about it? This board book about coping with emotions is perfect for any kid who knows what it’s like to feel mad.

Perseus and the Monstrous Medusa book
#29
Perseus and the Monstrous Medusa
Written by Suzanne Williams, Joan Holub and illustrated by Craig Phillips
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Perseus and the Olympians face off against the evil, nasty Medusa, who can turn them all to stone with just one look.

Shoemaker Martin book
#30
Shoemaker Martin
Written by Leo Tolstoy and illustrated by Bernadette Watts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This beautiful story about sharing is a joy to read at Christmas or anytime throughout the year! Re-designed in celebration of 50 years of working with Bernadette Watts—one of Europe’s most recognized and beloved fairy-tale artists, this story is sure to win new fans as well as pleasing existing ones! Martin, a Russian shoemaker, wishes to meet Jesus. Instead he finds three strangers in need. After showing kindness towards each one, Martin learns that it was Jesus who visited him three times. Written by Leo Tolstoy and illustrated by one of Europe's most beloved illustrators, Bernadette Watts, this story of compassion is as relevant today as when it was first conceived. Praise for Bernadette Watts Little Red Riding Hood, “My what big talent she has!” — Kirkus Reviews The Three Little Pigs, “A marvelous offering that begs to be added to everyone’s storytelling repertoire.” — School Library Journal

Mary's Little Donkey book
#31
Mary's Little Donkey
Written by Gunhild Sehlin and illustrated by Helene Muller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"Muller's richly detailed illustrations emphasize Mary's humility and serenity."-Publisher's Weekly A long time ago in the Holy Land lived a scruffy little donkey who hated hard work. And then he met gentle, kind Mary, and his world changed forever. When Mary and Joseph have to travel the long journey to Bethlehem, who can they rely on to get them there safely? This is a unique version of the traditional nativity story, told from the child-friendly perspective of the little donkey, who grows in confidence and pride as Mary and Joseph place their trust in him. The story ends with the wonder of the birth of Jesus, and the little donkey's promise to keep looking after his new family. Adapted for younger children from Gunhild Sehlin's classic chapter book, this Christmas story is sumptuously illustrated by Hélène Muller, with marvellous details of the Holy Land.

Zeus's Eagle book
#32
Zeus's Eagle
Written by Lucy Coats and illustrated by Brett Bean
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Will Demon's latest quest bring down the wrath of Zeus? Demon's life on Mount Olympus has never been busier. Thanks to the awful heroes down on Earth, he has a whole slew of injured beasts to care for. And worse still, the goddess Psyche wants Demon to "borrow" Zeus's prized eagle for an urgent mission. But is her task worth the risk of offending the king of the gods?

  1. Centaur School - Demon has always counted on his magical medicine box to help him cure the sick beasts on Mount Olympus. But Chiron, his new healing master, insists Demon learn to find the cures on his own. Demon's new skills are soon put to the test when he must save an ailing phoenix--or face the wrath of its fiery guards!

  2. Mini Myths: Brush Your Hair, Medusa! - Medusa refuses to care for her hair, her long locks getting knottier and dirtier with each passing page. Her hair rebellion elicits frozen expressions of shock from her family, but nothing will convince Medusa to brush. Only her hairdresser approaches Medusa with bravery and a blade, successfully solving the problem . . . with a short haircut! All are pleased with this drastic yet adorable solution. Leslie Patricelli’s depictions of this physical comedy bring a lively visual narrative to Joan Holub’s expertly focused text. Includes a summary of the original Medusa’s Wild Hair myth at the end.

  3. 100 First Words for Little Geeks - There's a TARDIS cookie jar in our kitchen. A Picard air freshener in our car. And we won't even mention Harry Potter in the bathroom. We're geeks and proud of it! But is there nothing for baby? Inconceivable! Introducing 100 First Words for Little Geeks, a deliciously nerdy primer for kids learning their first words! Forget apple and dog. Little geeks are ready for holy grail, warp core, and intergalactic catastrophe (okay, forget that last one, but they'll learn tribble and that's about the same thing). Packed with hilarious illustrations and 100 words every geek baby should know (before any others, of course), 100 First Words for Little Geeks is the perfect board book for geek families everywhere. Great Scott!

  4. Gods of the North - Odin, the ruler of the Asgardians, has an important mission for Demon. Goldbristle, the gods' prized shining boar, is losing his light. Now Demon must travel to Asgard in the North to search this cold, snowy land for anything that might cure this beast.

Sif and the Dwarfs’ Treasures book
#37
Sif and the Dwarfs’ Treasures
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the authors of the Goddess Girls series comes the second book in a brand-new series steeped in Norse mythology, magic, adventure, and friendship. Twelve-year-old Sif is goddess of the harvest, with her abilities woven into her long, blonde hair. She also has special prophetic powers—she is a seer—but is reluctant to share them after a mishap years ago caused a big rift in a friendship that meant a lot to her. And Sif is determined to not let that happen again! But when the mischievous Loki cuts her hair in a horrible prank gone wrong, Sif orders Loki to fix it. Without her hair, the crops in the land of Midgard—which supplies the wheat for food in Asgard Academy as well—are in danger of dying off. With Sif and Freya, Loki goes to ask for help from the dwarfs, specifically, the sons of Ivaldi who are all skilled blacksmiths and strikes a bargain with them. They hammer and spin gold into fine golden strands along with a spear and a ship that will grow to full size once in water. On his way back through the cave, Loki gets an idea for how to get more treasures by playing one set of dwarfs off against another. Envious of the work of the sons of Ivaldi, the dwarfs Brokk and Eitri say they can do better. Loki replies that he doesn’t think they can and that, furthermore, he’ll stake his head on it. Is that a bet that Loki will regret? And will Sif be able to restore her magical powers to prevent the drought in Midgard?

The Singing Rock and Other Brand-New Fairy Tales book
#38
The Singing Rock and Other Brand-New Fairy Tales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A genie just wants a chance to grant a wish to the frog who accidentally let him out of his lamp—meanwhile, the frog just wants to be left alone. A witch is tormented by the cheerful (and awful) singing of a persistent bard, but when she finally snaps and turns him into a rock, he just keeps on singing —somehow the power of terrible music overcomes all magic. A wizard wants a pet. An ogre just wants to make beautiful art. Four original, wry, and utterly charming fairy tales comprise this new collection for young readers. With deft, lively text from Nathaniel Lachenmeyer and eye-popping, painterly art by Simini Blocker, The Singing Rock is the perfect read for kids who love a good yarn—and good comics!

Halfway Normal book
#39
Halfway Normal
Written and illustrated by Barbara Dee
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Twelve-year-old cancer survivor Norah struggles to fit in at middle school after two years of treatment, but she finds her voice with the help of new friend Griffin, who shares her love of mythology.

The Night Diary book
#40
The Night Diary
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Dragon Healer book
#41
Dragon Healer
Written by Lucy Coats and illustrated by Brett Bean
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

When the god of war leaves his smelly, unhappy battle dragon with Demon, he must figure out a way to cure the beast without his magic medicine box.

  1. Echo Echo - A new book of unique reversible poems based on Greek myths from the creator of Mirror Mirror What happens when you hold up a mirror to poems about Greek myths? You get a brand-new perspective on the classics! And that is just what happens in Echo Echo, the newest collection of reverso poems from Marilyn Singer. Read one way, each poem tells the story of a familiar myth; but when read in reverse, the poems reveal a new point of view! Readers will delight in uncovering the dual points of view in well-known legends, including the stories of Pandora’s box, King Midas and his golden touch, Perseus and Medusa, Pygmalion, Icarus and Daedalus, Demeter and Persephone, and Echo and Narcissus. These cunning verses combine with beautiful illustrations to create a collection of fourteen reverso poems to treasure.

  2. Norse Myths - Discover Norse mythology through the enthralling exploits of all-powerful Odin, mighty Thor, and the trickster Loki.

  3. Diwali Lights - Every year in October or November people come together to celebrate Diwali. It is the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. The stories woven into the festival of Diwali celebrate the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, and people celebrate this festival of lights by lighting clay lamps and candles, sharing sweets, exchanging gifts, offering prayers to gods and goddesses and watching fireworks. Introduce your little one to the awe of this brilliant festival through dazzling photographs and Singh’s lyrical prose.

  4. Holi Colors - Experience Holi with every color of the rainbow! This Hindu celebration known as the festival of colors and the festival of love signifies the end of winter, the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. A time to laugh, play, visit friends and get messy! Little ones will love exploring the colors of Holi through the vibrant photographs and Singh's playful rhymes in this brilliant concept book.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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