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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Children's Bible Review: Bibles for Older Children

When older children are ready for a "real" Bible, complete with chapters, verses, and less illustrations, there are a lot of options available.   I had the opportunity to review three Bibles for older children.  Read on for a giveaway, too!!

I think one of the first things a parent needs to be aware of when choosing a Bible for a child is what translation or version it is.  Each translation reads at a different reading level.  As a former teacher, including in Christian schools, I was well aware of different children's needs for Bibles.  To view an example of different reading levels, you can go to Christian Book Distributors or which also includes what type of translation (word for word or phrase for phrase).  I'm sure there are plenty of additional resources available, and I find that is a good place to go to learn about different translations of the Bible, as well as reading the Bible right there!  (I especially find this helpful when completing a Bible study that has me looking up verses in different books of the Bible.)   A parent may want to read a Bible to their children for many years to be certain the child understands what he or she is reading.  A child may be past the "storybook" stage, but not quite ready for a regular Bible yet.

Illustrated Study Bible for KidsThe Illustrated Bible for Kids is a HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) translation is a fairly easy to read translation. Like many Bibles, it has two columns of text per page.  Though this Bible is called a study Bible, it doesn't have notes on each page to help a child understand what they are reading, but it does have bullet notes.  HCSB bullet notes are in the text.  Often a word  has a bullet before it.  If it does, the reader can reference the bullet notes to learn more.  (For example *asleep- a term used in reference to those who have died.)  The HCSB Illustrated Bible for Kids has many additional features, and some are listed below.  It is approximately a 7th-8th grade reading level.
Amazon price: $13.59, published by Holman Bible Publishers.
Outstanding feature: Easier to read/comprehend, "regular" text appearance, bullet notes, Bible dictionary, "reconstructions"  (some of these are listed below)

KJV Illustrated Study Bible for KidsThe KJV Illustrated Bible for Kids is very similar to the Illustrated Bible for Kids and is also published by Holman Bible Publishers.  This would be a very good choice for families whose choice of translation is the King James Version.  This Bible also has two columns of text on each page.  The KJV Illustrated Bible for Kids does have a special feature.  At the beginning of the Bible it has a lengthy list of "Favorite Bible Stories" to help the reader find a specific story they may wish to read.  It is approximately a 12th grade reading level, so it may not be ideal of young readers' comprehension.  It has many additional features, listed below.
Amazon price: $14.99, published by Holman Bible Publishers.
Outstanding feature: KJV but appropriate additional features for kids, "regular" text appearance with chapters and verses, Bible dictionary, and really cool "reconstructions" and items listed below.
The features of the KJV Illustrated Study Bible for Kids and the Illustrated Bible for Kids listed below are identical.
  • Bible study helps- These are colorful pages found in between the regular pages of Scripture.  Included here are many maps, charts, and lists.  The reader will find family trees, suggestions for how to have a quiet time, how to study your Bible, Names of God, and "reconstructions" of what some buildings may have looked like in Bible times.  
  • Plan of salvation- The style used at the beginning of the Bible is the ABC's of Becoming a Christian, and it includes several verses.  (Admit you are a sinner and turn away from your sin.  Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness.  Confess your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.)
  • Topical concordance for kids
  • Bible dictionary for kids
  • Expanded outline-This is an extensive chart that has each event in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and tells you where you can find each event in those books of the Bible.
  • Parables of Jesus chart- This gives each parable name, reference(s), occasion, and lesson taught.  It's thorough and easy to read!
  • History of the Bible- At just two pages in length, this is a brief history of the Bible.  It is a good summary of how the Bible came to be.  I think this is a good feature, but when it says, "The Bible was written by about forty different men over about sixteen hundred years." I wish it had explained in the next sentence (instead of later) that each book was inspired by God since that can be confusing for children since we call it God's Word.  Later it does explain that God directed men to arrange the many books of the Bible into one book.
Though the back of each Bible states a feature as "The Ten Commandments for Kids," there is a list of the 10 Commandments in the Bible study helps, but it was only a list, and not elaborated on or reworded for children.   It is nice for the kids to be able to read them in list form, but I would prefer some explanations and life applications for this section.  That is the only drawback to these Bibles.

Overall, I think these are both a good choice for an older child who is ready for a Bible with chapters and verses instead of storybook format, and I like that there are two translations of the same Bible so parents can choose which is best for their family, or use it as a family Bible.  I really do think the bullet notes would be helpful for a child for further explanations of terms though, which are only available in The Illustrated Bible for Kids.. 

Hands-On Bible NLT (Updated Edition)I also had the opportunity to review the Hands-On Bible.  This Bible is in the New Living Translation is approximately at the 6th grade reading level and uses the traditional chapters and verses combined with extra pages of explanations, suggestions, and illustrations.    The Hands-On Bible tries to give children many opportunities to learn the lessons of the Bible through hands-on experience, which would benefit many readers.  Each book of the Bible has a child-friendly introduction and throughout the Bible there are 52 key verses with a related activity.  I really like this feature, but would have liked to have an index of these special verses.  This Bible's font is black, with illustrations and headings in blue.  The text font is quite small.  Throughout the Bible there are full color page inserts which highlight a Bible hero and give additional ideas for activities.  At the back of the Bible is a dictionary/concordance along with a very nice "Did You Know" feature that answers frequently asked questions about the Bible that I think are excellent.  Another nice feature is the "Where to Turn in My Bible," that helps a person know where to go when they are in a situation.  I think this would be a good family Bible.
Amazon price: $16.49, published by Tyndale.
Outstanding feature: The activities make this a good Bible for a hands-on learner.  The activities combined with the "Did You Know" and "Where to Turn in My Bible" help a child to understand the Bible.

We would like to share one of these Bibles with you!  
To enter:
You must be a follower of Live, Learn, Love, new or old, through Google Friends Connect.  Then just leave a comment saying which Bible described above you would like to have.  Make sure I have a way to contact you through email or your blog profile, if you have one.
Additional entries:
Leave a second comment if you are a regular commenter on non-giveaway posts.

Giveaway ends Sunday, August 15th, at 7pm.  Winner will be chosen by

These Bibles were provided by the publishers, Holman Bible and Tyndale for review purposes.


Ticia said...

This must be the post that randomly disappeared from my browser while I was trying to do stuff.

The Hands-On-Bible (it's be awesome for my Sunday School class).

Carrie said...

Great descriptions and comparisons here. I'm curious about both of the first two you've mentioned here. I think I would go with the Illustrated Bible for Kids though. (Although seriously! The KJV one sounds fascinating.) I did a comparison of children's Bibles a few years back but haven't seen any new releases. These sound intriguing.

Thanks for the chance!

Carrie said...

And here's my second comment!

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