Liberal Christians and Children's books...I have a question.


So reader, as you know I've been writing these "reviews" of Children's books about faith- for liberal Christians.  I've gotten many out from the library, most of which have been "bad." But many of the ones that I love (seriously I have an AWESOME one coming up) are about creation.

Many, many, many children's books that reflect an image of God that is expansive, creative, non-invested in the gender binary, or white authority are telling only 1 story. The creation story.

There are very few stories about Jesus that retell the story.  There are no stories of the prodigal daughter, most children's bibles leave out the hemorrhaging woman (couldn't we call her sick if we don't want to say why), and Mary and Martha are shown as foolish dimwits.  I have yet to find a children's book that talks about Jesus and his friends not his disciples.  And even worse, the thing that pisses me off the most,  very very very very few pictures of Jesus depict him with beardless disciples. So I cannot even change the words myself and fool my kid because she KNOWs that only men have beards.  WTF!

Finally, the ONLY books that I find that ARE about the life of Jesus are narrated by non-gospel figures. They are narrated by children or donkeys.  Not "Mary Magdelene's version of the gospel" or "Mary and Martha telling a story about Jesus..." They are these outside characters invented- so as to offer some sort of buffer?

Beyond my rage about this- Is a question.  Why?  Why  are we so scared to interpret loosely?  Are we scared that if we call The Prodigal Son- the Prodigal daughter that the story loses meaning? Does it even perhaps?

Are we scared that our children' won't learn the real stories?
And if so, I argue that why would they want to learn the real stories if they aren't allowed in any of them anyway.

So what's the fear folks? What's the theological rub?  What does that do to our faith?  But, moreover what does it do to our kids to never hear stories and see pictures of people who are also girls or also brown?  Is historical accuracy a primary value when it comes to children? Or is something else.

And, beyond that, what would be the gifts of telling the stories differently? What if we took the ideas of the gospel and told the gospel stories in light of those ideas?

I would love your non-aggressive thoughts on this topic.


  1. I think you are destined to write your OWN book!

  2. Hey there- A good friend Brandy Daniels sent me your post. I share your concern. I started a group at Vandy Div School called the Children's Liberation Writing Collective to specifically to start tackling liberatory/anti-racist/post-colonial/environmentally conscious/etc retelling of Bible stories. I also have a list of liberatory spirituality kinds of books for kids... but there's not much... pretty much anything by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso


Post a Comment

Popular Posts