In This World

Year B, Peace Sunday, Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22; Lectionary for October 24, 2021

Nine years ago, I broke my wrist just as the school year began. It was rotten luck and I needed a lot of help getting my classroom ready, but I survived. Eight years ago, I broke my ankle. This time, I needed a lot more help– I needed surgery and couldn’t bear any weight on my ankle for three months, and even then, I had a long rehabilitation ahead. No amount of prayer knit my bones back together. No amount of faith took away the pain when the cast came off, when I could feel the metal scraping against my muscles and skin during physiotherapy.

I have to admit, I really struggle when I read the Psalms of praise. The psalmist paints a rosy picture of the life of a believer; a little too rosy. After all, many of the poor have called out to God, but how many have been saved from all their troubles (Psalm 34:6)? It’s difficult to read these glorious praises and promises when you can find hungry, hurting, and homeless people in any community. Would God help them if only they prayed more or believed harder? Why would a loving God put conditions on God’s mercy in the first place?

How do we make sense of the suffering of the world when the bible tells us of God’s great mercy for his people? This is one of the greatest theological questions, one I can’t hope to fully answer in a blog post, but I can give you my thoughts and perhaps they will be a useful way to talk with the children in your ministry about God’s promises and the reality of suffering.

I believe that God is always with us, just a breath away. God is with us when we have a great day and everything goes our way, and God is with us when nothing works out. God is with us when our bones break, when cancer cells wreak havok on our bodies, and when natural disasters strike. God never leaves our side, but is also not of “This World.”

In this world, we will have trouble, pain, depression, homelessness, poverty, violence… and God is there, waiting, waiting for us to close our eyes, take a breath, and remember that God’s kingdom of peace and plenty is right there within us. Sinking into God’s presence won’t make the psalmist’s promises literally come true, but the more we practice paying attention to the kingdom within us, the easier it gets to face the troubles of this world. When we know, really know that we are not alone, that is God’s mercy at work. When we take the time to notice God’s presence, we are delivered, if only for a moment, from our troubles.

Children are naturally concrete thinkers, so it can be tough helping them to understand something they can’t touch or see, like God. Matters are even more complicated by the media images of God as a bearded man in the sky. How do we teach children that God isn’t just over there, but everywhere? God Knows All About Me, by Claire Page can work as a conversation starter on this topic. It’s a fun rhyming book with bouncy illustrations that describe how God knows everything about us, no matter what. With guidance, children can take this idea from “God knows all about me” to “God is always with me.”

This book does not explicitly say that God is always with us, so as a worship leader or Sunday School teacher, you’ll still have some work to do, but this is the closest I’ve found to a book that can help kids understand that God’s kingdom is right here with us, only a breath away.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • How do you get to know someone?
  • Do you know EVERYTHING about your best friend?
  • Do your parents know everything about you?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • Can God be with you all the time, if God is already with me all the time?
  • Does God stop being with you if you do something bad?
  • Is God with some people more than others?

Thanks for reading! I hope this post sparks some interesting conversations with the kids in your care, and maybe even the adults in your circle of faith.

An apology to my regular readers for the lack of posts lately. Life has been a bit busier than usual, and it’s taking some time to adjust to the different demands on my time. I should be back up to 2 posts a week soon!

Storybook Ministry is reader supported, so if you are able, please consider supporting this work with a small monthly donation at

Courage to Speak

Year B, Creation Time 3, Lectionary reading for September 26, 2021: Esther 7:1-6

Most Sunday school children know the story of Queen Esther. Her great beauty made her Queen, and her great courage saved the Jews in Persia. The Book of Esther explains why Jews celebrate Purim by chronicling Esther’s rise from ordinary Jewish exile to Queen—and to deliverer of her people.

As I reread the book to prepare for this post, I noticed something for the first time. In chapter 5, King Xerxes asks Esther twice for her request, promising to grant her whatever she desires. Both times, she asks him to attend a banquet. It isn’t until he asks her again, in chapter 7, that she has the courage to ask him for the deliverance of her people.

Why does she procrastinate? She knows that all the Jews in King Xerxes’ kingdom will be slaughtered soon, and her cousin and guardian Mordecai already convinced her to act, so why request banquets rather than peace?

She’s afraid.

Remember how Esther became queen? King Xerxes had a queen, but when she refused to parade herself (naked, according to sources in the Midrash) in front of Xerxes’ friends, her disobedience resulted in losing her position at court, and most likely she was also banished or executed. Esther knew the king had an unpredictable temper, and she was afraid of what he might do when she revealed her ethnicity and asked him to overturn his previous edict to slaughter the Jews.

It’s easy to imagine our heroes as unbreakable and beyond fear, but everyone has fears, doubts, and setbacks. What would Superman be without kryptonite? I think we look to heroes not just for inspiration, but also reassurance that we can overcome our struggles and succeed, even if just in ordinary ways. Bernard Waber’s lovely book features all kinds of courageous moments, from the awesome to the everyday.

This humble little book portrays the many different kinds of courage we experience. Few of us will end up in a royal court pleading for the lives of thousands, but we all have chances to show courage in other ways. The book showcases examples like riding a bike without training wheels, having two candy bars and saving one for tomorrow, and being the first to make up after an argument. The children in your ministry will recognize themselves in the pages of this book, and will understand that everyone has fears… and everyone has courage.

Questions to ask before reading:

  • Tell about a time you were afraid to do something.
  • Do heroes ever feel afraid?
  • What does it mean to have courage?

Questions to ask after reading:

  • What kinds of courage have you shown from this book?
  • Are there other kinds of courage?
  • How do you think Queen Esther felt before and after making her request?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope these posts make planning for your children’s ministry a little easier. The books I select are usually available at your library, and don’t forget to check with the elementary school teachers in your congregations if you are looking for a specific title. I’m not the only one with hundreds of books in the basement!

Storybook Ministry is reader supported, so if you are able, please consider making a small monthly donation at so I can keep the website afloat. You can also support us by sharing this post with your colleagues in children’s ministry, and to everyone who loves the Good Book and good books.

Together, We are a Forest

Creation Time 2, Lectionary Reading for September 19, 2021; Psalm 1

My favourite place in the world is the Giant Cedars Boardwalk in Revelstoke National Park. I’m a bit of a tree nut (ha ha), so walking that short path through the ancient trees is a highlight every time we drive through the mountain parks. Right off the highway, it’s a place of wonder: 500-year-old trees towering overhead, the keystone in a precious ecosystem. Walking in this place feels sacred.

European colonialists saw the forests of the Americas, Africa, and Australia as a commodity. Capitalism asks, “how much money can I make by turning these trees into toilet paper?” But I think even the most hardened capitalist might soften after a quiet half-hour spent under the giant cedars. It’s impossible not to see the connections between living things if you spend time in a forest. At first, you might only notice that a certain kind of fern prefers to live at the base of the younger trees, and that another kind of moss thrives on fallen trees. But the more you look, the more you see. Scientists in the past decade or so have made stunning discoveries about trees and how they communicate, support and protect each other, and interact with other organisms in the forest. Indigenous people in many parts of the world have long understood the importance and sanctity of trees, and western science is just now catching up.

The writer of Psalm 1 compares the righteous to a tree planted by streams of water, and the comparison is fitting. When a tree has a generous water source, it thrives and grows strong and fruitful. What’s more, that strong and fruitful tree can share nutrients with other trees further from the stream, via a network of fungal strands in the soil. As children of God, we live and grow near streams of living water. The psalmist encourages us to meditate on the Lord’s law day and night so we may prosper.

If we loved our neighbours like trees love theirs, if we lived as a forest and not just as individual trees looking out for number 1, how would our communities change? Maria Gianferrari’s book Be a Tree shows that we have much to learn from our woody neighbours. We can protect each other, take care of one another, and support the natural world in which we live. This beautiful book teaches readers about the many fascinating things science has discovered about trees and draws parallels to our human lives. It’s a great opportunity to talk about how everything in God’s world is connected to everything else. When we love our neighbour, we nurture those connections and strengthen us all.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What are some things you know about trees?
  • What are trees good for?
  • What do trees need to be healthy?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • How are people like trees?
  • How are families like forests? How are churches like forests?
  • What do you think it means for people to be planted near streams of water?

Thanks for visiting Storybook Ministry!

Storybook ministry is reader supported. If you would like to support me as I connect the lectionary to quality children’s literature, please visit me at and consider making a donation. Thank you, and God bless your ministry!

Dance! (But keep your clothes on)

Year B, Seventh after Pentecost, Lectionary reading for July 11, 2021: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19

Last night, I spent way too much time reading arguments about David’s apocryphal state of undress. We know he wore an ephod (a kind of ceremonial apron), but other than that… no one’s really sure. His disgruntled ex-wife accuses him of being vulgar and uncovered, but as king, standards would have been pretty high. Perhaps he wasn’t wearing his usual kingly attire, or perhaps there wasn’t anything at all under that ephod; we’ll never know.

While there’s no consensus about what he was wearing, this passage from 2 Samuel makes it clear that this was a party, and nothing could stop David from dancing! He brought the ark back to Jerusalem, and despite a setback that delayed the ark’s arrival by three months, King David danced for the Lord without caring about what anyone thought.

“Dance like no one is watching.”

-King David

I never planned to share two giraffe books in a row. But if King David can dance with abandon before the Lord, then you have to meet Gerald the giraffe!

In this book, jungle animals play the part of King David’s judgemental ex-wife, and they tell Gerald that he’s clumsy, weird, and can’t dance. Gerald goes off to sulk while the rest of the animals party at the Jungle Dance. He meets a wise cricket who suspects Gerald isn’t the problem, rather, Gerald needs a different song. Gerald listens to the song of the moon, the grass, and the trees, and his body starts to move until he’s dancing like no one has ever seen!

David danced to praise God, and Gerald, by listening to the music of creation and trusting himself is doing the same. Now break out the craft supplies, make some instruments, and have a dance party!

Storybook Ministry is reader supported! Please share this post with your friends in children’s ministry, and consider supporting my work at Patreon. Thanks for visiting!

Discerning What’s Right

Year B, Seventh after Pentecost, Lectionary reading for July 11, 2021: Mark 6:14-29

The story of John the Baptist’s death should break your heart. King Herod had a chance to do the right thing. He knew John was a righteous, holy man. He knew killing him was wrong. But, under pressure from the people around him, he did it anyway.

Ground penetrating radar found the remains of 751 children on the grounds of the Marieval Residential school, just a little to the east of where I live. I doubt very much that all the people who worked there were genuinely evil. It only takes one strong, persuasive leader to convince others that they have no personal responsibility for what happened at the school. Good people have done terrible things because someone told them to and they didn’t have the courage to disagree. What is the difference between beheading John the Baptist and marching Jews into the gas chambers? What is the difference between the gas chambers and the electric chairs that were used to ‘discipline’ students in residential schools? Over and over through history, ordinary people participated in horrific actions because someone told them to.

Would you?

It’s easy to say “of course not!” It’s easy to believe we are better than those people; more moral, more righteous, more courageous. This story reminds us that if even a king, the most powerful person in a community, can be swayed from what he knows is right, then we all must guard against slipping under the influence of evil.

Reuben doesn’t have a bike. All his friends have bikes, and he really, really wants one. But his family doesn’t have enough money for groceries, so how could they ever afford a bike? Then one day, Reuben picks up a $1 bill (remember those?) that fell out of a woman’s purse, and can’t wait to spend it on a treat. But that night at home, he realizes it isn’t $1, but $100. That’s enough for a new bike.

Reuben faces a tough dilemma for any kid. Use the money to buy a bike? Or find the lady in the blue coat that dropped it at the store? Reuben wants a bike so much, he even visits the bike store and sits on one just like Sergio’s, but silver.

While there isn’t anyone in this book telling Reuben to do the wrong thing, the pressure of seeing all his friends riding along the streets while he has to run serves the same purpose. He wants to fit in. He wants to have what his friends have. He doesn’t want his friends to know how poor his family is. The $100 would solve all those problems, but would it be the right thing to do?

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What is something you really, really wanted, but couldn’t have?
  • Have you ever found something really valuable? What did you do with it?
  • What would you do if you found $100?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • Do you think Reuben made the right choice? Why?
  • What would have happened if Reuben didn’t know who had dropped the money?
  • Do you think Reuben should get a reward for doing the right thing?

Thanks for visiting! Storybook Ministry is reader supported, so please share this post with your friends in children’s ministry. If you can, please consider supporting my work at and receive bonus book lists each month!

Perfect Weakness

Year B, Sixth after Pentecost, reading for July 4th, 2021: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

I think this a foundational paradox of our faith. God uses weak people, broken people, and imperfect people to bring God’s kingdom to earth. Sure, we have stories of heroism and conquest in the bible, but we also have Jesus. Before we could get to the resurrection, he had to endure the weakness of his humanity right up to the moment of death.

Our weaknesses and faults give God room to work miracles in our lives. When it seems like we just can’t go on, when it seems that the odds are impossible; that’s when grace does God’s work. Grace doesn’t save us from pain, but it gives us endurance and perspective when we need it most. God uses our imperfections not just to move our own lives in unexpected ways, but also to help others.

Jory John has a knack for capturing the nuances of childhood, and I’m sure I’ll be featuring other books of his here. Giraffe Problems starts with a Edward the giraffe explaining how awful it is to have a neck like his. Too bendy, too narrow, too stretchy, too lofty… too necky! Everyone stares, and he can’t even hide it behind trees or disguise it with scarves. I think we can all relate. I mean, I have the most unruly head of hair you’ve ever seen, and I’m sure you have a physical characteristic or personality trait that you just CAN’T stand! We’ve all been there.


Edward meets Cyrus, a turtle similarly disappointed with his neck. Cyrus’ neck problems have left him hungry and frustrated, staring up at a banana for a week as it ripens on the tree. It turns out Edward’s bendy, narrow, stretchy, lofty, necky neck is just perfect for helping his hungry new friend. Edward’s neck is still too long, and Cyrus’ is still too short. But grace brings the two together in a way that helps them both.

I would like to mention that no one came up to Edward and said “God has a plan for your neck,” and no one told Cyrus “there’s a reason for everything, even your hunger.” Statements like that are cruel, and I wish they would be abandoned. I know we mean them to be encouraging, but despite what I believe about God using our pain for greater purposes, when someone is hurting, these sentiments don’t help. If your friend is in pain, sweep their floor and make them a meal instead of pointing to a future in which their suffering makes sense.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What don’t you like about yourself?
  • Do you try to hide that characteristic?
  • Do you think everyone has something about themselves they don’t like?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • Edward helped Cyrus get a banana. Did Cyrus help Edward?
  • Did God give Edward a long neck just so he could help Edward?
  • How might God use the things you don’t like about yourself?

Thanks for dropping by! I hope Giraffe Problems makes children’s ministry a little easier for you and more engaging for your little ones! Storybook Ministry is reader supported, so please share this post with others and if you can, consider supporting the blog at Patreon.

A Million Metaphors

Sixth after Pentecost, Reading for June 27, 2021, Psalm 48

I read a lot of books in preparation for writing this blog. I regularly pick up dozens of new storybooks I’ve requested from our local library, and I’m constantly on the lookout for more to request. It’s important to me that I’ve held a book in my hands before I recommend it. There’s some toxic theology in some so-called “religious” children’s books. Before any book appears here, it’s been through my request-read-take notes-return routine.

A few months ago, during my usual search for more books that might be featured here, I heard about What is God Like? and something told me this was a book that needed a permanent spot on my shelf and not just borrowed from the library, so I put my name on the pre-orders list and waited. I was right.

I love this book. It answers a child’s question about God, but it does something else even more important—it teaches children that there is more than one way to think about God. On the very first page, this book acknowledges that no one has ever seen all of God, since God’s just too big for any of us to see fully. Instead, every colourful page points to something familiar to children, like a candle, an artist, or the wind, and helps children know God through metaphors.

And then Psalm 48 appeared in the lectionary! Coincidence? I think not! Many of the Psalms try to answer the same question as this book. Psalm 48 compares God to a mountain, a city, a defense, a temple, and a wind. The psalmist wants us to understand the power and might of God through these heavy comparisons, but something beautiful happens in the very last verse. The psalmist reassures us that, despite the militant metaphors of the psalm, God is our guide. God is our guide forever!

The psalm commands us to tell future generations about God, but when God hides behind the cloud of unknowing, it’s difficult to answer a question like “what is God like?” This book, by Rachel Held Evans and Matthew Paul Turner, gives you page after page of beautiful comparisons and metaphors with which to talk about God with your children. This isn’t a book you’ll read once every three years when Psalm 48 comes around in the lectionary; this is a book your children will turn to over and over again.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What does God look like? How do you know?
  • What does God sound like? How do you know?
  • Does anyone know these things for sure?

Questions to ask before you read:

  • Which comparison did you like the best? Why?
  • Were there some comparisons that made you uncomfortable?
  • What other comparisons might describe what God is like?

Thanks for visiting Storybook Ministry! Please share these posts with your friends and colleagues in children’s ministry so we can make Sunday mornings a little easier for more faith communities.

Storybook Ministry is reader supported. Please consider supporting the ministry at Patreon so I can keep this site ad-free (and buy the occasional book like I did for this post)!

What is Given From the Heart

Year B, Fifth after Pentecost. Lectionary reading for June 27, 2021: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15

Have you ever received a gift so small, you knew it was the biggest thing someone could give? As an early years teacher, I have been the lucky recipient of countless handfuls of dandelions, and you better believe I make a fuss over them every time. Once, a little girl stopped eating her cookie halfway through and gave it to me. We weren’t in a global pandemic back then, and I decided she needed to see me eat the cookie more than I needed to worry about germs.

One Christmas about 6 years ago, my little loves were giving me little gifts before the holiday began. Most of my students came from homes that struggled to make ends meet; some were just plain poor. I tried to find a delicate balance between making the children who brought gifts feel appreciated while not making those who had no gifts feel bad. “Your smile is all I need for Christmas,” I would tell them.

Little E had no gift, no lunch, no backpack, and nobody to watch him sing in the Christmas concert. As much as I tried to reassure him, I could see it bothered him that he hadn’t brought a gift. Right around the end of the day, as everyone was packing up for the break, he brought me this gift:

While I treasure any gift, be it a fistful of dandelions or a box of chocolates, E’s drawing will be a gift I never forget. At the beginning of the day, he felt left out because he had nothing to give, but by the end of the day, he gave me a work of art I will always cherish.

As adults, we all know the parable of the widow’s offering, but the children in your ministry might not. Consider reading it to them (Mark 12:41-44), especially if you have a good story bible. The thing about being a little kid though, is sometimes they don’t even have two pennies to give. Today’s book is a beautiful tale of generosity that can teach little ones they always have something to give if it comes from the heart.

In Patricia McKissack’s story What is Given From the Heart, James Otis and his mama have nothing. It has been a difficult year: Daddy died, they lost the farm, and the dog disappeared. When Reverend Dennis tells his flock that Sarah and her mother lost everything in a fire, James Otis can’t imagine what he could possibly add to the ‘love box’ the church will give them on Valentine’s Day. He keeps thinking of the Reverend’s words: “what is given from the heart reaches the heart.”

Mama finds a way to help Sarah’s mother, and James Otis has a great idea too—but I won’t spoil it for you. Let’s just say that you might need tissues to get through this book. Even when it seems we have nothing to give, if we look in our hearts, there’s something we can offer. Wildflowers, a drawing, even a smile are precious gifts when given in eagerness.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What is the best present you’ve ever given someone?
  • Do presents need to cost a lot of money?
  • What could you give someone if you didn’t have any money at all?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • Did James Otis and his Mama know they were going to get a love box?
  • Do you think they might have given differently if they had known?
  • What would you put in the love box for James Otis and his Mama?

Special note: this book portrays an obviously poor Black American family and community. This is an opportunity to talk about the systems that kept Black people poor and marginalized in Canada and the United States, in terms that are meaningful to the age group you teach. I think it is also important to specifically tell your kiddos that not all Black people are poor, as sadly, many books focus on Black struggles rather than Black successes. This book is a gem and a great conversation starter, but please make sure you have other books that feature Black characters outside the poverty, trauma, and slavery tropes. Contact me if you need some more suggestions!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you add this great book to your ministry library. Be sure to check your library and local bookstores first, but it is available on Amazon as well.

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Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway?

Fourth after Pentecost, Lectionary reading for June 20, 2021; Job 38:1-11

Call me crazy, but I love the book of Job. Do I really believe that God ruined a man’s life to settle a bet with Satan? No. But we all suffer: Job, Jesus, every one of us. How we react and respond to our suffering and to the suffering of others is up to us, but there is no way to avoid suffering. Job and his friends spend most of the book arguing about why we suffer, but to me, that’s not the important part (other than offering us lessons in how NOT to help a grieving friend).

The book of Job shows us it is perfectly acceptable to cry out to God. We can pour out all our anger, frustration, bitterness, and pain in our prayers and still be loved by God. In the midst of our suffering, we can scream and cry and question, and God is big enough to bear it all and still love us.

My other takeaway from the Book of Job is that we will never fully understand the mystery of God. While modern science has answered some of the questions God asks Job in chapters 38-41, the message remains pertinent: we will never understand the mind of our Creator or the full glories of creation. Assuming we know God’s plans or God’s thoughts is hugely arrogant. We have clues in the Bible and in creation (what the Franciscans call the first bible), but we need to accept and even embrace the mystery in which we live.

This week’s reading from Job is a great opportunity to marvel at creation, and ABCs From Space is a perfect book to gawk over. It isn’t a storybook in the traditional sense, but as you browse its pages, you can’t help but wonder at the beauty, diversity, and mystery of God’s creation. Little kids will enjoy finding the letters and tracing them on each page, and older kids will enjoy reading the explanations in the back pages. This book is a real conversation starter and you’ll enjoy looking through it over and over again.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What is something people used to think about the world that we know is wrong now?
  • How did we find out?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • Do you think we will ever know everything about the world?
  • Why do you think God made some things so hard to figure out?

Well folks, I’ve been kicked out of the Amazon Associates program because of a lack of sales, so I no longer have clickable links on my page. You can find this book on Amazon, but check your local library first, and if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that still has a physical bookstore, go support it!

NEW! Storybook Ministry is reader supported, and to keep it ad-free, I’ve started a Patreon page. Check out the exclusive patron perks at

Voiland, Adam. ABCs From Space. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017.

Let Your Faith Grow

Year B, Third after Pentecost; Mark 4:26-34, Lectionary reading for June 13, 2021

It’s spring here in Saskatchewan, and everywhere you look, seeds are sprouting. Maybe it’s my childish heart, but to me, every spring feels like the miracle of resurrection. I have a difficult relationship with winter (ok, I hate it), so those cold days in March feel like the end of the world, like this is the year winter will last forever and I’ll never see green grass again. Then, slowly (really slowly this year) the miracle begins. The days get longer. The temperature warms. The snowbanks shrink. The buds swell on the trees, and if you squint at them in the right light, you can almost see a sheen of green in the treetops.

Spring is slow in Saskatchewan. We will have a +30C day when the grass is still brown, then a dump of snow during which we all nod and repeat “the farmers need the moisture,” then a few more warm days when you think it’s safe to plant the tomatoes (go back, it’s a trap!) and then an ice storm.

No matter the hairpin turns and unexpected valleys, spring progresses. We had our first thunderstorm of the year a few nights ago, and for me, that seals the deal. Spring has taken hold and I will have a reprieve from winter for a few months. We will have a few more nights of frost (guard those tomatoes), but God kept the promise, and life returns.

Maybe I love the seed parables because my faith is so small. Call it Seasonal Affective Depression, but there’s a part of me that, every winter, doesn’t really think spring will come. I’ve lived through enough winter/spring transitions to know better, but my faith is no bigger than a mustard seed. I watch the willows for catkins and listen for the chickadee’s love song because I’m afraid God has abandoned me.

But if I go to my spice drawer, I can see a mustard seed. It really is quite small (but hadn’t Jesus seen all the smaller seeds? I digress), and can’t I have that much faith? Can’t I muster up enough faith to fit in that tiny brown ball one more time? Surely. And when I do, when I breathe and pray and trust, the resurrection begins, even before the first thunderstorm. My body calms, my heartbeat slows, and the seed pushes out roots and a stem and the Kingdom is within me again.

Please plant some seeds with the kids in your ministry. I don’t care what time of year you happen upon this post; just plant some seeds. And when they sprout, lower your adult defenses and let yourself feel the same wonder the children feel. Something as still and cold as a stone has come to life before your very eyes!

But you’re here for the book, and since I made you read all that, I’ll give you two!

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss does not pass my usual test for diversity, and there’s even an illustration of a man smoking a pipe (ah, the 1940s), but this little book is irresistible nevertheless. A little boy plants a seed, everyone in his family expresses their doubt, but the little boy has faith. He waits, he waters, he pulls the weeds, and eventually, a carrot the size of the mustard shrub in the parable pops out of the soil.

Another great choice for this passage of scripture is Elly MacKay’s If You Hold a Seed. Part of the beauty of this book is the passage of time. A boy plants a seed in this book too—but it’s a tree seed. No one discourages this boy, but trees take a long time to grow, and the illustrations point that out. If you go with this book, I’d recommend bringing in some seeds from the trees in your area for kids to look at. Break open a pine cone and look at those tiny seeds that will grow into a pine tree! If a tree can put its faith in a tiny seed to secure its future, maybe I can believe that winter will come, even if it hasn’t been above -30C for a week.

Storybook Ministry is reader supported! If you click the book images and buy a book, I may receive a small commission to support the site. Please share this blog with your friends, and consider subscribing so you’ll always have a great book up your sleeve.

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Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed: 75th Anniversary. Harper Collins, 2020.

MacKay, Elly. If You Hold a Seed. Running Press Kids, 2013.