It’s a new golden age of children’s books filled to the brim with theology—and imagination.
When InterVarsity Press released Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver, The Celebration Place, and The O in Hope this fall, it became the latest Christian publisher to launch a children’s line.
New offerings from IVP Kids and Good & True Media in 2021, and Lexham Press in 2022, join the movement to introduce children to hefty theological concepts and the depths of Christian history—even in board book format.
Christian children’s books are moving beyond teaching Bible basics and morality to introducing children to theological concepts from the purpose of church to the power of the Holy Spirit. And some of these new releases come from authors who might already be on Mom and Dad’s bookshelves.
“Children’s books are new to us, but talking about issues of biblical justice, spiritual formation, discipleship—that’s not,” said Elissa Schauer, acquiring editor for IVP Kids, whose first titles come from illustrator Ned Bustard, poet Luci Shaw, and children’s authors Ruth Goring and Dorena Williamson.
Faith-based children’s books are on the rise. Kid-oriented Christian titles sold 6.8 million copies in 2019, up from 4 million five years before, according to NPD BookScan. In the past decade, more board books and Bible storybooks have made their way onto the religious bestseller lists. In response, major publishers like David C. Cook, Westminster John Knox, Tyndale, and Harvest House have either started or added to their children’s lines.
Bible stories and morality tales are consistently popular. But Christian publishing houses are expanding the kinds of resources they create for young readers. A new generation of editors and publishers has moved away from stories that tell …