Episode 139: Celebrating Easter with Books from Our Friends

In this episode we look at some great Easter books written by our friends who have been on our show in the past. We share books for our youngest little ones to our older elementary readers. All of them are filled with the greatest story of all: Jesus’ story of His death and resurrection and new life in Christ. 

Books Discussed in this Episode:

Transcript with Links:

Welcome to “Books That Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship every day, sparking important conversations with our children. We’re coming up on the Easter season, and we’ve been in Lent now for a few weeks. Each year I try to do something special for our Easter broadcast. This year, I thought it would be fun, since this is our third year, to review some of the books that the authors who’ve been on our podcast have published. There are so many Easter books that they’ve written. Some of them are really special, and I wanted to share some of those with you today.

I want to start with Glenys Nellist, she’s been on our podcast several times and she has several Easter books because she has several series of books that she’s written in her Snuggle Time series, she has Snuggle Time Easter Stories, and this is a very cute board book for little children. She also has in her Good News series, Good News! It’s Easter!, and this one focuses on new beginnings in the Spring and with Easter it says, “‘Good news!’ cheers the tulip, springing from the ground. ‘I once was lost in darkness, but now the Sun, I’ve found.’ ‘Good news!’ croaks the froggy, jumping from the pond. ‘From teeny tiny tadpole, I’ve grown to super strong.’ ‘Good news!’ Jesus shouts out, stepping from the cave. ‘I was dead, but now I’m back to live, and love, and save.'” So that’s what this board book is like. Then one of my favorites of hers is Twas The Morning of Easter, and it follows kind of the pattern of the traditional Twas the Night before Christmas story and has that kind of rhythm to it, but tells the story of Easter through the eyes of Mary who went to the tomb and found it empty. The illustrations in this book are just beautiful. Then in her Love Letters series, she has one, Easter Love Letters from God. What she does in these books is tell the story and has a little place where you can write the child’s name on a card that is a message from God to them saying something that relates to the story. All of those books are really beautifully illustrated. You know Glenys’ style if you’ve read any of her books. She rhymes in most of her books, and does just a beautiful job of that and tells the Gospel story.

Now, Laura Sassi has been on our podcast a couple times, and she has this adorable little book, Bunny Finds Easter, and it’s where this little bunny is finding the true meaning of Easter and what it’s all about, and I love it that she made her own hat to match the bunny and the story. When she goes to share this book with schools or churches, she wears that hat and it’s just adorable.

Nancy I. Sanders was on our podcast quite a long time ago. The reviews are very positive about her biography in the Get to Know Jesus series about Jesus, and this tells His life story. It has a lot of graphics, photographs and information in there, so it’s telling a lot about the culture and about Jesus’ life on earth as well as the message of the gospel. The gospel message is carried through the entire story and this is part of a series. There’s a couple other biographies she’s written and each of them also tells the gospel story. So I love that about Nancy, she’s really serious about sharing the gospel with children and helping them to know the truth of God’s word. So this one, just from the looks of it and from the reviews, I think it would be appropriate for your little bit older elementary children. I think they would really enjoy it, and it is a biography which I think is really wonderful.

And then we go to Josie Siler. She has this wonderful book that she wrote called Howie’s Broken Hee-Haw. This is the story of the donkey that Jesus wrote into Jerusalem on for Palm Sunday and it’s just an adorable book about this little donkey who has a broken hee-haw and he doesn’t think he’s as good as other donkeys yet God chooses to use him. So, it’s really a beautiful story.

Then Valerie Fentress was on our program not too long ago and she has a book called An Easter Bunny’s Tale, and this is about a bunny also who is trying to find the true meaning of Easter. This one is not a board book though, this is a picture book. The other one is a board book and more appropriate for really young children. This one is more appropriate for our middle grade elementary children, a little bit older children and is just a really special book.

Now, one for the very young children and there are quite a few board books in the program today, but this one I have talked about before and really do love this series of books and it’s the Baby Believer series of books and Danielle Hitchen was on our program a couple years ago. This one is called Holy Week and Emotions Primer and this goes through the whole week of Jesus’ trial and His crucifixion and resurrection and it deals with the emotions that we feel as we go through this and it is written for very young children, so it is not overly traumatic in talking about the crucifixion, but it is very good in dealing with the gospel story and it’s really great in exposing our little ones to the gospel and to the stories in the Bible. This whole series is really great for that, to start with day one of our child’s life, reading to them and helping them to start to learn what the Bible says. I just think this is a great series.

Then Crystal Bowman has so many books, but she has a couple books that focus on Easter and one is Lily’s Easter Party, and so this is a more modern day story. It says that Lily’s mom and dad plan an Easter egg hunt that goes beyond chocolate bunnies, and you can too. Based on the bestselling teaching tool from Family Life. This special neighborhood egg hunt leads Lily, her friends, and young readers on a search for the greatest prize of all: the miraculous story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. So it’s using the symbols from the resurrection eggs. If you’ve seen those, they’re really great. It’s a whole little dozen eggs and it takes you through the story of the gospel of Jesus’ death and burial and resurrection, and has those symbols and this book takes you through that whole process. So it uses a story to then also go along with the resurrection eggs, so it’s just great. I think that’s really good cause then you can read this story together with your kids while they look at the eggs and I think that would be very meaningful. She also has one called An Easter Gift for Me. This is a board book and this was just really cute and just really pretty. She has this one called, This is Easter: Our Daily Bread for Little Hearts, it tells the Easter story. First of all, it is a board book. Let me just read a little excerpt from this one for you as well. “This is Jesus who came to Earth. God sent Him from above. He came to take away our sins and show us God’s great love. These are the men He wants as friends. They’re fishing by the sea. Then Jesus tells the fishermen, please come and follow me.” So you can see the rhyming is really well done. The illustrations are cartoonish but very cute and it goes through the entire story of Jesus’ life and His death and resurrection, and the triumphal entry, and talks about how Jesus came to show us God’s love and to help us to be reconciled to Him.

Now we’re going to look at Kathleen Long Bostrom, she has so many books as well. Some of these writers are so prolific, they have just so many books and so many wonderful books but this one is called Easter, Easter Almost Here! and it’s a board book and just a rhyming, fun telling of Easter and what it’s all about, the Biblical Easter. Then she has Rufus and Ryan Celebrate Easter, and this is also a board book and is just really cute. Rufus and Ryan, it’s a little boy with his stuffed toy monkey, and they learn about Easter. Then we have Little Blessings: Easter Stories and Prayers. This is more of like a devotional type book and is just really beautiful. If you’ve read any of the little blessings books, these are devotionals meant for very young children. So this is like a board book as well. Then another board book she has that is really wonderful is called Why Is There a Cross?, and I love this and you can read it on Kindle Unlimited right now. I’ve read it, it’s just a lovely book and answers those questions a young child might have who’s trying to understand the gospel, trying to understand why Jesus came and why there was a cross. So it’s very well done, but I have to share with you my favorite of all of her books on Easter. It’s not a board book, it’s a picture book and it’s a longer picture book, so it would be really appropriate for a little bit older elementary child. It’s called Sunrise Hill: An Easter Story of Faith, Inspiration and Courage, and again, these are by Kathleen Long Bostrom, and she’s going to be on our podcast again in a few weeks and I’m excited to talk with her again, she’s been great as a guest. She’s been on twice before I believe, but anyway, this story, Sunrise Hill is a beautiful story. It’s almost like a novel except super short, like a really short novella, but it tells a wonderful story set in the pioneer days, Old West type of time period. Everyone’s on horses or in buggies, kind of like Little House on The Prairie, and just is a beautiful, beautiful story of redemption, salvation, Easter celebration, and the importance of worshiping together, and that we are the church. So there’s just so much in this book that is special and the story is written so beautifully, the illustrations are gorgeous. I highly recommend this book. Of all the ones I’m sharing today, I think this one and probably the Baby Believer one are my two favorites because they just have so much to dig into and to share with our children, and I love that because I feel like anytime a book can spark some great conversations, that’s what we want. Well, you know, I say that I also love Valerie’s book about the bunny finding the true meaning of Easter. They’re just some cute, creative, wonderful resources from these great people who’ve been on our podcast, and I appreciate them so much being our guest.

Okay, so let’s move along to the next person. The next two people are Todd R. Hains and Natasha Kennedy. And I told you I would be talking about this one again, and that’s The King of Easter. It just came out in January and the subtitle is Jesus Searches for All God’s Children. This one is such a fun story, such a good recounting of the biblical story of Easter, and it has the fun part of, with every picture, another person is added to the story, to the illustration, and at the end of the book, of course you have everybody that’s been in the story in this final spread in the book and throughout the book we have our little fat cat who is on each page as well, and there’s several other things that the children will just have so much fun looking into the illustrations and finding certain objects and characters from the book. And it’s just a fun, beautiful, wonderful book. As we talked to Todd and Natasha on our podcast, two different episodes, got to know them a little bit and their hearts for helping children to be discipled, and that’s really at the core of Todd’s heart is to help children be discipled and to grow in their faith. I just really enjoyed talking with them and I think this is such a beautiful book. So I can’t really say which ones are my favorite, I like too many of these.

All right, and then the final author I wanted to share with you is Bonnie Rose. You can find all these other books on Amazon, but her books are on her website because most of them are homeschool lessons. And so she’s got these little packets of lessons and some of them are free, all of them are very inexpensive, and of course I will have her link to her website in our show notes. But for Easter, she has lots of workbooks. She has a “Draw and Explore the Bible for Kids: The Easter Story (Part 1).” It’s different drawing exercises and puzzle games for children, and then she has “Draw and Explore Bible for Kids. The Easter Story, Parts One and Two,” and this one combines art and Bible. The other one was also drawing and exploring, it’s the same. This one’s just the parts one and two. The other one I mentioned was just part one. So you can either buy part one by itself for $2 or you can buy part one and two together for $3. So you save a dollar if you get this one. And then she has “Easter Poetry Copy Work.” So these are poems by George Herbert and Christina Georgina Rosetti and others. So you have traceable copy for those children who are still learning to form their letters, and then you have blank lines for children to write out the poetry in their own writing. So it’s to practice your handwriting and to practice copying copy work. And we’ve gotten away from this in a lot of schools, but it is a valuable activity for our children to do. I don’t think it’s something we want to overdo, but it is something very valuable for them and especially to practice their handwriting and to learn to pay attention to what they’re doing, and there’s just a lot of good things that this can help build in a child’s life. It helps, but mostly it’s for penmanship and then also for memorizing and learning poetry or Bible verses or good quotes. Then she has just an “Easter Activity Pack,” and this is only $1.49, and it’s hands-on activities, puzzles, and more, and it’s for ages five to seven, so this is available. Then she has another “Good Friday Poetry” and this one includes poetry analysis and copy work, which I love, I think that’s great, and the poem called “Good Friday” by Christina Rossetti. If you’ve ever read that poem, that’s what this lesson plan is about. Then this one is really great. This is “Prophecies of Easter.” It is copy work, and it’s prophecies about the suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and it’s copy work from the King James version of the Bible. There are more than 300 prophecies that point to Jesus and what’s going to happen in His life that were fulfilled in His life. So this I think is such a powerful lesson to share with our little bit older children, even up through probably middle school this would be really valuable. And then there’s a coloring book with copy work that’s “The Easter Story.” And this one, the scripture’s from the ESV, the English Standard Version of the Bible. You choose which handwriting style you want, you can either have cursive or print. This one is free, so if you are interested in getting that one, it is free right now. It talks about Palm Sunday through the Great Commission. So this one I highly recommend getting. I mean, you can’t beat that deal, right? So that one is free, so please take advantage of that and use that in your homeschooling, or even if you’re not homeschooling while your children are on Spring break, what a great way to spend some time during Spring break, copying God’s word and seeing God’s plan unfolded in scripture.

One last thing I would love to share with you is from my own website. One of the things I just love to do is to write monologues and dialogues at times when we have two people doing a skit, but these are skits that you are free to use in your churches, and I have Adam and Eve and they talk about the sin and the fall, how faithful God is. We have Thomas who doubted and he comes to understand fully who Jesus is, Judas and his grief over betraying Jesus. The two Marys as they find the empty tomb, Zacchaeus before the death of Jesus and Jesus invites Himself to his house, and the change that is brought there, and I have David and Peter and John, and all of these can be used for Easter and leading up to Easter. I just hope they bless you. They’re free to download from my website and I’ll have the link in the show notes. It’s on TerrieHellardBrown.com/writing, and these, like I said, are free for you to download and use in your worship services or special services during the Easter week, so I hope these resources will bless you. It was kind of fun to look back at the wonderful authors that God has brought into my life that they have been willing to share on this podcast. They’re just such wonderful people to get to know and to see their hearts and oh my goodness, we have so many interviews coming up with some new people and I can’t wait to introduce you to them. And then we also have, like I said, Kathleen Bostrom, we’ll be back on our podcast again soon and we’ll be talking with her. I’m excited to share with you all the different books that these lovely people have written that we have available for us to share with our children, with all the crazy things that are out in our world, when we come especially to Easter times, you have a choice you can read about bunny farts or Easter egg hunts. Seriously, there is a book called …that, or you can really use this time to disciple our kids and help them find the true meaning of Easter and the joy of salvation and redemption in Christ Jesus, so I hope these bless you and your family.

Thank you for joining us for “Books That Spark,” where we encourage each other to live out everyday discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share on social media so people know we’re here and leave a review if you can, we truly appreciate you. If you would like to connect with me, you can join my mailing list or comment on TerrieHellardBrown.com. We love to hear from you and we respond to every comment and question, and when you join my mailing list, you have access to extra freebies other than the ones that are just available on my website. I’m just here wanting to bless you and to help you as a parent who wants to disciple their kids and who may be homeschooling their kids. So I hope these resources do bless you and that you take advantage of those. We pray. You feel empowered as a parent or caregiver to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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