“What are some Christian stories?”
There are many outstanding picture book versions of Bible stories. Gerald McDermot and Cynthia Rylant each have their own version of the biblical story of creation. Tomie de Paolo and Brian Wildsmith have both written and illustrated several Biblical stories, as well as biographies of Christian saints.
Then there are all the beautiful picture books of spiritual songs and poems. Ashley Bryan’s All Things Bright and Beautiful and Let it Shine. Nancy White Carlstrom’s Glory.
But do people of the Christian faith cease to be Christians on the days when they do not openly speak about their religion? Of course not.
Is speaking about one’s faith the essential characteristic of Christianity? No. The signs of mature faith are clearly listed in Galatians 5.22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. A believer’s actual devotion will be shown by the presence of these qualities. Therefore, any stories that depict the “fruit of the Spirit” can be viewed as depicting “Christian” character.
Of course, they can also be viewed as depicting the values of many religions since those “fruit” are what are often called universal values. Nevertheless, stories that do not openly proclaim allegiance to Jesus Christ are not – as a result – inferior to instructive narratives of Christian faith.
Actually, many writers of children’s books are quietly Christian. Katherine Paterson, winner of the Newbery Award, says that “What you are will shape your book whether you want it to or not. I am Christian, so that conviction will pervade the book even when I make no conscious effort to teach or preach. Grace and hope will inform everything I write.”1
Brian Wildsmith, the award-winning British illustrator who died in 2016, said, “When I look at the most recent so-called religious books for children, I am appalled.”2 I agree. Many books put out by Christian publishing houses are not well-written. The emphasis on encouraging readers to become Christians seems to be more important than the quality of the writing.
Therefore, if you are looking for well-written Christian stories, look for books that are literary masterpieces. Look for stories that depict real people dealing with complicated life situations. Look for fantasy novels that show characters facing moral issues with resolve and integrity. Look for beautiful picture books that provide comfort and reassurance in a world that is too often full of uncertainty. Look for stories that portray hope and courage and goodness.
- “FAQ.” Welcome to the World of Katherine Paterson, www.katherinepaterson.com/faq. Accessed 1 Mar. 2020.
- Wildsmith, Brian. “Open Their Eyes to Beauty.” Questia, www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-72503291/open-their-eyes-to-beauty. Accessed 1 Mar. 2020.