bible, book, children, religion, philosophy
November 18, 2008 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend a good Bible for children.

My daughter has become interested in Christianity, and would like to have a Bible. Please recommend a good Bible for children.

By good, I mean:
1. It must be well-written.
2. The illustrations (if it is illustrated) should be somewhat "historically accurate." Meaning, Mary and Jesus should not look Anglo, etc.

For example, this makes me cringe. This one, on the other hand, looks more promising.

Thanks in advance.
posted by jujube to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Jujube, this question has several suggestions. I remember liking "Children's Stories of the Bible from the Old and New Testaments," which was ecumenical and nicely illustrated.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:09 AM on November 18, 2008

How old is your child?
posted by Stynxno at 7:29 AM on November 18, 2008

My primary school (=ages 5 to 11) went for the good news bible, which I gather is a popular basic translation.
posted by Mike1024 at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2008

Try the NIV Study Bible from Zondervan.
posted by RussHy at 9:35 AM on November 18, 2008

Seconding the NIV study bible.
posted by DWRoelands at 10:03 AM on November 18, 2008

I'm not sure what would be age-appropriate if you're looking at those illustrated books. If she's young enough for picture books, I'd recommend getting lots of shorter story books on individual Bible stories (I'm sure staff at a Christian bookstore or online store can help you find culturally inoffensive illustrations) and pairing them with one of the translations mentioned above, or whatever translation you prefer. In other words, rather than presenting her with, say, the Children's Bible from the second link and saying "here's the Bible" about a book that omits the difficult or non-kid-friendly parts of the Bible, you give her the age-appropriate story books and read the corresponding passages from the real Bible.

If she's older than I've assumed, then maybe this: I haven't seen/read it, but I heard about the Manga Bible a while ago. I think it's in black and white for the most part, and the drawings are stylized enough that perhaps skin color and ethnicity wouldn't be overtly Anglo.
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2008

I can't recall at which blog I read about this, but I read about a father who gave his child a regular Bible in a clear translation where he had underlined verses and added notes in the margins himself. Of course, this is ideal for a situation where the parent is a believer, rather than agnostic or atheist (not sure where you are coming from).

However, if you are going to get a "regular" and not children's illustration Bible, I would highly recommend the English Standard Version (ESV). It's a recent translation that is highly readable and well-thought of, and my personal favourite among all the translations that I've tried. In fact, they just came out with a new Study Bible that's chock full of maps, commentary, and whatnot.
posted by fantine at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2008

The Beginner's Bible you linked to as cringe-worthy is actually pretty good. My 7-year-old has it; he picked it because a good friend of his had it. It does have strangely cheerful cartoon illustrations throughout, which I understand is not good for you, but it is very comprehensive--covers more of the real Bible than most collections of kids' "Bible stories" in a fairly straightforward "tell the story" kind of way. I'm not a Christian but have not had to redact on the fly or hide my discomfort when reading it to the kids, because I've been comfortable with the content.

The Children's Illustrated Bible by Victoria Parker (the author is important since there are a lot of them called that), though, is excellent. I wouldn't call the illustrations 100% satisfying from a historical/racial perspective--nobody looks really Middle Eastern to me--but they're not cringe-inducing either. Nobody is blonde or blue-eyed, people have dark or ambiguous skin tones, and so on.

The Parker Bible has historical notes, vocabulary notes, maps, reproductions of actual art works. It gives cultural and economic contexts for the stories. We chose it originally because we thought it would be a good introduction to Christianity and its cultural import for a child growing up in a non-Christian home.
posted by not that girl at 4:37 PM on November 18, 2008

I'd also like to know what the age is of the child you're thinking of? Also, are you looking for a Bible just for the stories (Noah, David & Goliath, etc.) or for Bible study?

If you want an actual Bible, then I would recommend the Kid's Study Bible for elementary through middle school kids. It uses the New International Readers Version (NIrV), so it's easy to read and it includes a bunch of neat trivia sections, and illustrations. My little sisters used that when they were younger. It's also made by the same folks who publish the NIV Study Bible, which was and still is my preferred Bible for its in-depth commentary and notes.

If you're looking for illustrated Bible stories, The Children's Illustrated Bible looks like it meets your criteria. Good luck!
posted by sambosambo at 2:56 AM on November 19, 2008

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