How do you select a Catholic Children’s Bible? Which children’s bible is best for my kids? Those are questions I get asked all the time. Searching in my house I discovered almost a dozen different Catholic Bibles for kids or youth on our shelves. Many of them I’ve also used teaching the faith at my parish.
When looking for a children’s bible or book of bible stories for children, there are several things to take into consideration. How old is the child? Do you want something easy to read in story form or a bible with scripture text? How big or heavy is the book? Is the children’s bible a keepsake to commemorate a special event like a baptism, first communion or confirmation? And the answers to these questions might change as the child grows and develops or you have multiple children.
With those questions in mind, I’ll delve into the Catholic Children’s Bibles and Bible Stories we like best of those in our home.
My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories
|My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories|
Compiled by Heidi Hess Saxton
Tommy Nelson Publishers
This is a book of bible stories based on the New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV) text. First, let me say this is really a quality and beautiful book. It is hard cover with thick, slick pages. The illustrations by Natalie Carabetta are wonderfully done in a soft almost watercolor effect.
This not a story book really, but a story bible for young readers. Each of the more than 175 bible stories have an introduction, the scripture verse of the story, a prayer and more. This book of bible stories was created for children in elementary school to early adolescents. After each story there is a section called, “Going Deeper” that gives references to scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read more on the topic and an action item to complete with family members. The last section on each story is a quote of the day or “did you know” section.
What I love about My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories is that it is a cross between a bible storybook and a children’s story bible. There is quality storytelling but it also includes a deeper explanation that doesn’t take away from the story.
The edition my children have is still available to purchase, however there is also a newer version available from the publisher here.
|First Communion Bible|
Saint Joseph Edition
New American Bible
We have this First Communion Bible in both the pink and the blue edge covers. They were received as gifts by my older two children on their respective First Communions. The cover is a vinyl over paper flex material that is stiff, but not heavy or as hard as a hard cover. This bible is a complete bible with introductions before each book and a “how to read your bible” section in the beginning. There are footnotes and some black and white illustrations and maps throughout the book. There are thicker colored pages in the beginning and in the middle with prayers, and a place to memorialize the child’s First Communion. The end contains a dictionary, the list of Sunday readings and an index.
The pages are thin, but not whisper thin like many adult bibles which allows my daughter to mark her favorite scriptures easily. The type is a good size for reading and the bible itself is 8.5 inches tall. It has a nice looking cover for a gift bible, but it is readable and sturdy.
This is my teen daughter’s “go to” daily reading bible even now.
Here is the link to the First Communion Bible in Blue.
|Bible for Young Catholics|
Anne Eileen Heffernan, FSP
Pauline Books & Media
This is a large (11 in tall) hardback book with thick, slick pages. It is important to note that this Bible contains paraphrased books of the bible in story form rather than exact scripture or simply a few bible stories. The Bible for Young Catholics includes stories from every book of the bible with short introductions at the beginning of each book. The language is easy to read and understand for elementary age children and up with colored illustrations and maps throughout the Bible.
The end of the bible includes a glossary, timelines, charts and a bit on biblical history. There is even a section at the end for parents and teachers on the background of the bible to help understand and explain the bible to children. It is a nice looking book that can be read and shared as a family.
|Illustrated Children’s Bible|
Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM
Catholic Book Publishing
In my opinion, this is a traditional Catholic children’s bible or book of popular biblical stories. It reminds me of the type of hardback Bible story books I had growing up. The stories are succinct and well told and the hardback cover and paper pages give it a sturdy feel. There are full color illustrations of each story, but they have an older look to them. Again, like they were in a storybook or children’s bible I might have owned in the 1970’s.
My kids have spent much time with this Children’s Bible over the years and have even added paper flags to note their favorite stories they want to read again and again. I’ve also taken this one with me to my faith formation classes to help share bible stories when I don’t want to read it in scripture form.
|Break Through! Bible for Young Catholics|
Break Through! The Bible for Young Catholics
St. Mary’s Press
Good News Translation Catholic Edition
The Catholic Youth Bible
St. Mary’s Press
New American Bible Revised Edition
These two Catholic youth bibles are basically the same, but written for different ages. The Break Through Bible is for older elementary age through young teens with the Good News Translation Catholic Edition being a bit easier to read for tween aged readers. The Catholic Youth Bible is geared toward those older teens written in the New American Bible Revised Edition.
|The Catholic Youth Bible|
Both of these Catholic Youth Bibles are what I call study bibles. St. Mary’s Press took the time to include introductions to each book, “Connection” sections connecting scripture to Catholic beliefs or teachings, questions probing the reader to make connections within the story, footnotes, inserts talking about biblical persons of faith, articles to help the reader understand God’s message, a timeline, glossary, maps and prayers. The pages are visually appealing with their use of illustrations, subheadings, text blocks, and more.
The tag line on these Bibles is “Pray it, Study it, Live it” which is exactly what St. Mary’s Press is attempting to
accomplish in these Youth Bibles.
|The Catholic Children’s Bible|
St. Mary’s Press
Good News Translation Catholic Edition
St. Mary’s Press also has a version of their Catholic “Pray it, Study it, Live it” Bibles for elementary age children called The Catholic Children’s Bible. This is a Catholic Bible for children, not a book of bible stories. St. Mary’s has done a good job including intentional design elements to help early readers not feel overwhelmed and be encouraged to fall in love with reading the Bible.
The Bible uses lots of color with their introductions, illustrations and explanations to make it pleasing for children.They also feature well known stories to break open the Word for better comprehension of God’s message. With larger fonts and color coded navigation, it can also be a good bible for teaching kids how to find scripture by book, chapter and verse.
This is a soft cover big book, roughly 6.8 x 10 inches, 2 in thick and a bit heavy for smaller hands. The Catholic Children’s Bible is a nice transition into a full bible for those children who are wanting to move on from bible stories. This is a favorite of my nine year old daughter.
Those are just a few of the children’s bibles we have in our home, but some of our favorites. Do you have a favorite Catholic Children’s Bible not mentioned? What is it and why is it your (or your child’s) favorite?
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