Wednesday, May 30, 2007

children's bibles

don't get me started on children's bibles... or on flannel-graph for that matter. there is nothing more profoundly uncreative than the way the church has attempted to engage the smaller and illiterate members of the faith community. (the opposite problem is the dogma that once literate, images have no place in the believers faith experience, but that's a whole different post). anyways, reading children's bibles to my son has been painful for both of us. he'd rather read dr. seuss or richard scarry and frankly, so would i. so i found myself a bit caught. it is important to me that my sons know the story of our faith but it is also maybe more important to me that they not reject it some day, simply because of the offensive flatness and absence of mystery with which it has been presented (as i almost did myself). so i set out to see if there was such a thing as a children's bible that honored the story as well as stimulated the imagination without insulting the aesthetic sensibilities of both child and parent. much to my surprise, i discovered this beautiful gift, The Lion Illustrated Bible for Children. the narrative is creative and accurate. the illustrations are absolutely fantastic and whimsical with the characters appearing to be appropriately middle-eastern, rather than bath-robe outfitted norwegians. the illustrator seems to be influenced by Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen or Gustav Klimt in style... categories simply unheard of in christian art for kids. i highly recommend this to you artsy parents who believe the kingdom of God has to do with even the art we wrap His story in to tell it to our kids.

6 comments:

jess said...

i almost laughed out loud when i read this....I was just thinking of this the other day when I was telling Angie about children's Bibles and how cool they could be (or not be) if they had just as much emphasis on the art and reality as some of the fairy tale books that were read to me as a kid. We should have that pint some time soon!

Swift said...

The Lion Bible for Leon - perfect!

Aaron said...

thanks for doing my homework for me... i was afraid to dive into the world of children's bibles for noah and knew that it would take some effort on my behalf to find something that was worth reading. i'll definitely look into that one.

and about flannelgraph... i once had strong opinions about it myself and thought the church was way out of touch for using it until i started taking noah to the library for story time every friday and learned that it is used for storytelling in many places. i think the great disservice of flannelgraph is that we are still using it in churches to teach 10 year olds, rather than keeping it age appropriate. i see the kids at the library (who are between the ages of 2-4) and they are right into the flannelgraph supplement to the stories. also, i think the other tragedy is that our use of flannelgraph as the medium for storytelling rather than a medium is an equal tragedy. just a few thoughts on how flannelgraph has, in fact, brought me closer to God in the past year. :)

elnellis said...

thanks aaron for setting me right on my stance on flannelgraph. i may have to re-think my official position on the issue. very good points made about age appropriateness and variety.
peace.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the great recommendation! I bought 2 for baptism gifts and the parents loved them!!

pedro said...

thanks for this post. I remember reading it shortly after you posted, and have just ordered one for Anna.