Review: Sparkle and Change Bible

I still remember my first “real” Bible. It was a Precious Moments illustrated version, either with a white or pink cover. I loved having what felt like a grown-up Bible. The only downside was that the translation was the New King James Version and as a young reader, it was hard to connect with this language.

In this past year, Bea has become an avid and independent reader. Not only can she read the words in her favorite chapter books but she understands the story and themes. I’d been wanting to find a new Bible that would better fit her reading level but was having trouble finding a kid-friendly cover that wasn’t the New King James Version.

Enter: The Sequin Sparkle and Change Bible not only is the cover that fun “mermaid sequin” that is on everything but the translation is the International Children’s Bible – specifically translated with young readers in mind. I love that it isn’t a paraphrase but the actual Bible, just in language that is slightly simpler. In fact, at first glance through some of my favorite verses, I had trouble distinguishing the differences between “adult” translations.

But my 6-year-old notices the difference! She loves reading the verses, especially those highlighted for memorization. We’ve had the Bible just over a week and the pages are already dogeared. She sleeps with it at night at reads it first thing in the morning.

I love that this translation is building her confidence as a reader and in turn, building a love for reading the Bible. If you have a young, independent reader in your life, I’d highly recommend this translation!

Do you have any favorite Bibles for young readers?

I received this book free from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

Review: Let There Be Light by Desmond Tutu

One of my favorite books that I read last year was God Has a Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It was a beautifully written, challenging book and I loved his honest and grace-filled style of writing. When I saw that he had written a book for children, I was intrigued. I had read mixed reviews about its age-level appropriateness, but I thought we’d give it a try.

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Taken from the first chapter of the book of Genesis, Tutu tells the creation story in a poetic yet kid-friendly language. Bea loved snuggling in and listening to the words of the earth being formed. Nancy Tillman is the illustrator and did an amazing job of bringing the poetry to life. Bea especially loves spotting the animals on various pages.

I read some criticism of the last pages, when God creates people. Tutu paraphrases,

Then God said, “I will make people, and I’ll make them like me so they can enjoy the earth and take care of it.”

The accompanying illustration is of a group of children standing with animals, holding fruits and vegetables. The criticism is that it should be “man and woman,” not “people.” However, Bea loves this page most of all. It reminds her that God created all humans and that children can care for this world, as well. She also loves picking out the colors of their robes and talking about each individual child. I’m not sure she would have connected as much with a page showing a man and a woman.

We’ve read this book every day since receiving it and Bea, at 2.5 years old, easily sits through it and interacts with the story. I highly recommend Let There Be Light for any young child’s library.

What are some of your favorite Bible story books?

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Five Favorite Children’s Books

We have a lot of friends who have just had babies or who are due in the next couple months. I love giving books as part of the shower gift, so thought I’d highlight some we’re reading in our house at this moment.

Bea’s taste in favorite books changes nearly weekly, though we have a few lasting favorites that stay for months on end. Her favorites range from classics to something we randomly picked up at the library once.

Night Song by Ari Berk
This beautifully illustrated book is about Chiro, a little bat who goes on an adventure, following his song. When we first moved into our new house, Bea needed this book read to her every night before bed and often in the middle of the night, when she woke up disoriented.

The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter
(Closely followed by The Tale of Peter Rabbit)
Of course we have the entire collection of Beatrix Potter stories and Bea has Peter Rabbit nearly memorized. Her current favorite, though is the story of Benjamin Bunny’s children, who are just as mischievous as Peter and Benjamin.

Bea with Old Kick Cow
Bea with Old Kick Cow

Thundercake by Patricia Polacco
Bea has adored Thundercake since this summer. When we took our road trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone, she dubbed our French press “Old Kick Cow” and kept it by her side for the entire ride. On our drive to Oklahoma in November, I found an audio version of the story and we listened to it on repeat the entire 10 hours. It’s a memoir of Polacco and her babushka making a cake before the thunderstorm arrives. Polocco’s storytelling is unparalleled and I’m thrilled that she is already a family favorite.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This classic has become our go-to “last story” at bedtime. It’s another one Bea has nearly memorized and she loved pretending to eat all of the yummy foods. My only criticism of the story is that Carle says the caterpillar builds a cocoon around himself. I explained that it’s actually a chrysalis, and now we have to edit the story. (Frank didn’t get that memo and Bea made sure he knew it was not a cocoon!)

The Magic Flute by Margaret Graves
Frank and I saw the Magic Flute in New York when we got engaged (and are going again in May!) Bea was taken by this version of the story when we were visiting family over Thanksgiving. Frank’s aunt sent it as a Christmas present and we’ve read it everyday. It’s on the longer side, so we haven’t completed the book each day, but Bea loves pretending to be Pamina or Papageno, which is fun to overhear. This book is a good reminder of stocking our shelves with a range of levels – you never know what will capture the imagination.

What about you? What was a favorite book from your childhood? Or, what are some of your kids’ favorites?