10 Must-Have Books for Families

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I thought it would be helpful to share some beneficial books for families to read with their children in 2016. Doctrinally solid, and practically useful children’s books are hard to come by in the Christian publishing world. But in recent years there have been a few very strong books that have come on the scene. I would encourage you to grab at least a couple of these books for your families this Christmas.

1. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is one of the most gifted writers in the church today. He brings his gospel clarity to this book, which tells the story of redemption through a christological lens. My wife and I have read this book at least 10 times to our eight month-old son. We have yet to grow tired of the story. With amazingly creative illustrations and gospel-centered writing, both adults and children will leave The Biggest Story marveling at the Snake Crusher.

2. The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New by Marty Machowski

Whenever a parent asks me for book recommendations for children, Marty Machowski is an author I always point them to. He has written multiple devotionals, and you’ll find two of his works on this list. The Ology is a unique and creative book that teaches doctrinal truths to children in ways they can understand.

3. God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb

I wish this book didn’t have to exist. But because people who harm children do exist, I’m thankful it does. Justin and Lindsey Holcomb do a fantastic job providing parents with a resource to help talk with their children about these sensitive matters. These may be conversations you dread with your children, but the Holcombs help you have them.

4. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Before DeYoung’s The Biggest Story released, this book from Sally Lloyd-Jones was my go to story Bible. It is still an excellent book for walking with your children through the overview of Scripture’s story of redemption.

5. The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm

David Helm, like Lloy-Jones and DeYoung, does an excellent job of simply, yet faithfully painting the picture of God’s redemption of sinners from Genesis to Revelation. I recommend using DeYoung, Lloyd-Jones, Machowski, and Helm throughout the year. Your children will hear the same story in from four creative perspectives. 

6. The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski

Once you read Machowski to your children, you will want to read more Machowski. His story Bible is one you will want on your children’s shelves.

7. PROOF Pirates: Finding the Treasure of God’s Amazing Grace Family Devotional by Timothy Paul Jones, Lindsey Blair, and Tessa Janes

As far as family devotionals go, there are many to choose from, but I personally prefer those with especially creative elements. Your children will love the story in PROOF Pirates. It is an excellent way to teach Reformed theology to your young ones.

8. Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware

Bruce Ware is one of the premiere theologians in America today. His work on the doctrine of God, especially the Trinity, has been a gift to the church. This book is a pure delight for parents and children alike. In fact, this is a book I would recommend to any new believer. Ware simply teaches crucial theological truth in a family-friendly manner.

9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The series and author speak for themselves. I can’t wait to read this classic series to Jude one day. Encourage your older children to read this series themselves. Read it to your younger children. As you read through each story, don’t tell your children all of the christological elements. Help them see for themselves that Aslan is a Christ figure and see their eyes and hearts light up.

10. The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

Much like Narnia, The Wingfeather Saga is a creative fictional series written from a Christian worldview. Andrew Peterson is a gifted author, and your children will fall in love with this four-part story.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

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