External Resources

The resources we love and are excited to share with you.

Connected Families has many fantastic parenting books and e-courses. If you've never checked out those resources, take a look. However, from time to time, we also suggest the resources of the other amazing individuals and organizations that are helping parents lead their families with grace.

This page includes some of the parenting resources we like to recommend.* It's a bit of a hodgepodge. We've got children's books to read on growing in empathy, to help deepen their faith, and learning to understand people who are different. We've also got books for you to read yourself, as you learn to accept the grace that you want to give to your kids.

And, just for fun, we've got our team's favorite podcasts. They're pretty random, but we hope you enjoy them! Scroll through and see what resources might support your family's journey or bring a bit of joy into your life.

*Most of the links on this page are affiliate links and we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on the link we've provided. Thank you for supporting our work here at Connected Families! 

Books that support the framework

If you are not familiar with Connected Family's parenting framework (and the messages it teaches), you can download this free ebook. These four messages will transform how you discipline.

Here are several of the books we love that support building a foundation of safety in your home. These are great books to read as you focus on sending a consistent message to your kids, "You are safe with me."

Here are several of the books we love that help parents focus on demonstrating both their love and their "like" toward their kids.

Here are several books we love that will help you guide your kids in wisdom and prepare them for good decision-making. These books all aim toward teaching you to instill the message of being called and capable in your children.

These books are to help you learn to be effective correcter when your kids misbehave. Because kids do misbehave!

FOR KIDS: Building up the framework messages with more resources!

My No, No, No Day

Author: Rebecca Patterson

Ages: 2-5

Description: Bella has a terrible day, and she's not very nice about it. She yells about her egg and how her friend wants to play. She screams through the grocery store, hates her bath, and tantrums over bedtime. But her mother remains steady. She doesn't lose it, and she patiently reminds Bella that maybe tomorrow will be a better day. She demonstrates safety and loving a child at her worst! Every child will relate to Bella's day and find reassurance in the kind words of Bella's mother.

Mama, Do You Love Me?

Author: Barbara M. Joosse

Ages: 2-7

Description: With beautiful paintings depicting an Arctic landscape, this book both puts Inuit culture on display and shows the love between a mother and her child. The child starts by asking if and how much her mother loves her. But then she moves into questions, such as "What if I turn into a walrus?" or even misbehaves. Still, her mother affirms she will love her just the same. 

Pretend

Author: Jennifer Plecas

Ages: 3-7

Description: Jimmy and his dad spend the day pretending together, first on a boat/couch, then climbing the mountain of a deserted island/the stairs, and finally building a fort together. In the end, they decide what's not pretend is their enjoyment of each other.

Sidney and Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs

Author: Phil Vischer

Ages: 6-10

Description: Sidney and Norman are next-door neighbors, but they couldn't be more different. Norman's always on time, looking neat, and following every rule. Sidney's a mess, disheveled, and always late. Norman looks down on those like Sidney, and Sidney cowers in shame. Then God asks to meet with each of them. And a message of deep, deep grace and love for every person, regardless of their behavior, is brought to life.

Inspire your kids with what they can do and how. Whether stories, visuals, or apps, these resources help your children feel empowered to succeed behaviorally.

Superflex Takes on Glassman and the Team of Unthinkables

Authors: Stephanie Madrigal & Michelle Garcia Winner

Ages: 5-10

Description: Help your child gain a new vocabulary for mastery flexibility. If your child loses every time plans change or things don't go his way, introduce him to Superflex (the hero) and Glassman (the villain that makes people fall apart like glass). Expect great conversations and a chance to refer to the book at those moments when you ask your child to show extra flexibility. Key Message: You are called and capable of going with the flow.

The Treasure Tree

Authors: John Trent & Gary Smalley

Ages: 4-8

Description: A lion, an otter, a golden retriever, and a beaver must set out on a journey to find the golden keys to the treasure tree. The book invites your kids to discover their own personality strengths and to appreciate the personalities of those different than themselves. Key Message: You are called and capable of problem-solving as a team. 

You Are a Social Detective

Authors: Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke

Ages: 5-11
Description: If you've got a young child that struggles with social skills, this funny comic book can help. The book goes through the social clues that all of us can use to figure out what other people are thinking or about to do.  Key Message: You are called and capable of noticing other people's feelings.
 

 

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It

Author: JoAnne Deak, PhD

Ages: 4-8

Description: Just like your other muscles develop with exercise, so does your brain! And what's one of the best ways of strengthening and stretching your brain? Making mistakes.

In this book, your child learns a bit of brain anatomy and is introduced to a growth mindset (ie. the idea that if you're not good at something now, you might be later with enough perseverance).

A great book for kids afraid of making mistakes or prone to beating themselves up over what they're not good at. Key Message: You are called and capable of learning new things.

Riley the Brave

Author: Jessica Sinarski

Ages: 3-7

Description:  Riley the Brave is the story of a little bear with big emotions. With the help of his friends he learns healthy ways to navigate his emotions, ask for help, and learn more about letting someone into his heart.

Zones of Regulation, app or chart

The Zones of Regulation uses a systematic, cognitive-behavioral approach to teach self-regulation. If your child struggles with self-regulation (and most little children do), this system can be a great support for teaching self awareness.

Eric Says Sorry

Author: Dai Hankey

Ages: 4-7

Description: Eric gives a powerful kick to his soccer ball, sending it over the hedge and smashing into his neighbor's pansy pots. At first he does what many kids will do: hiding his mistake, shifting the blame, lying, etc. When he gets around to confessing, his father offers grace and a plan to make things right again. It's a great lesson for kids still struggling with how to apologize and take responsibility well. 

How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends?

Author: Jane Yolen

Ages: 3-5

Description: "Even though friends may occasionally fight, there's always a way of making everything right." The book starts with a bunch of humorous anti-examples of things a child might do after a fight, but tells us those are not what dinosaurs do. Instead, dinosaurs work at reconciling and we're given all sorts of ideas for what that might look like: writing a nice note, giving gifts, hugging their friend. This book sets a great standard for kids that they can make things right again, even after a big fight.

FOR KIDS: Empathy-Building Books

Books are a great place to stretch your child's empathy muscles. Invite them into another character's perspective, and let them practice thinking how others might feel. The key to great empathy-building books, however, is to pick books with a variety life experiences, some of which will feel very different to your child. That's good. You want your child to learn to empathize with people different than themselves.

The Beggar's Blessing

Author: Mark Hamby

Ages: 6-10

Description: A true story from the 1800s about a little girl who sacrificed her savings for a starving beggar. It is the timeless story of kindness and sacrifice that laid the foundation of a child’s character and a nation's future. Full-color illustrations will capture the hearts of children as they learn that sacrifice is the cornerstone for surprising blessings.

Horton Hears a Who

Author: Dr. Seuss

Ages: 4-9

Description: Horton hears a tiny voice coming from a speck of dust. Does a voice so small really matter? Should he care if that speck of dust falls in the water? Should he attempt to save it, at great cost to himself, when others are sure the speck is just a speck of dust? This classic Dr. Seuss book inspires fantastic conversations with children about caring for others and how you know right from wrong.

The Rabbit Listened

Author: Cori Doerrfeld

Ages: 3-5

Description: When Taylor's block construction gets knocked down, he doesn't know what do with all his sadness. Several animals come and make suggestions: the chicken to talk about it, the bear to yell about it, the hyena to laugh about it, and so forth. Finally, the rabbit comes, cuddles, and listens, and Taylor feels better. It's a profound statement that showing empathy doesn't always mean solving, fixing, or distracting: just listening and being present. Great lesson for grownups too!

The Sandwich Swap

Author: Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

Ages: 3-7

Description: Every child will relate to thinking another child's food looks yucky... and the instinct to tell them, even when those words are hurtful. Unfortunately when Lily and Salma do exactly this about each other's sandwiches (PB&J and hummus pita, respectively), it starts a school-wide battle in the diverse school. The book offers a gentle story in forgiveness and openness to different cultures for young children.

You want your kids to care about more than their own needs. If you're looking to raise Kingdom-centered world-changers, books are a great place to start inspiring. Here are some of our favorites!

Amazing Grace

Author: Mary Hoffman

Ages: 4-8

Description: Beautiful watercolor illustrations bring to life the little girl who loves stories and can't wait to be Peter Pan in her class play. She's discouraged when a classmate tells her she can't because she's a girl, and another because she's black. Her mom and grandma encourage her that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. With the inspiration of a role model, she perseveres, auditions, and in the end, feels like she could fly!

This book provides a great opportunity to discuss and graciously challenge biases our kids (and we) may have. It also encourages kids to not give up, to use their gifts, and to be confident in the skin they are in!

Recognized in A Reading Rainbow Selection, An ALA Notable Book, A Booklist Editors' Choice, A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book, Horn Book Fanfare, and A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls

Author: Dorothy Sterling

Ages: 11+

Description: Born as a slave in South Carolina, Robert Smalls became a hero in the Civil War. He became the best ship pilot in Charleston but was still “boy” until Fort Sumter fell and he decided to escape to freedom. With great courage and daring, he coolly piloted the Planter- a paddle wheel steamer ship capable of transporting a thousand men- past the guns of Sumter.

Then he became a man. A man who fought for freedom in the United States Navy. A man who talked for freedom in the meeting halls and churches of the North. A man who finally went to Congress and continued the fight through the hopes and bitter disillusionment of Reconstruction.

This riveting true story of Robert Small’s life would be a great book for middle school to high school readers who want to hear what life was like for a slave in the South during and after the Civil War.

Juneteenth for Mazie

Author: Floyd Cooper

Ages: 6-10

Description: Mazie doesn't like to hear the word "no." So, as she gets ready for her community's Juneteenth celebration, her father tells her all the times her ancestors unfairly heard the word "no." She learns the stories, struggles, and triumphs from the time of slavery to the present day.

With beautiful illustrations, we watch Mazie's growing understanding of why she celebrates, and the reader remembers with her.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author: Doreen Rappaport

Ages: 6-8**

Description:

This powerful, but simple, picture book biography tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. The author, using her words, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, weaves the story of a boy who grew up in the segregated south, being raised in the church, who grew up to become a minister and use the big words his parents had taught him. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and for the next 10 years, black Americans peacefully protested for equal rights. Despite being “jailed and beaten and murdered,” they remained peaceful and refused to stop. It took 10 years, but the “White Only” signs finally came down. He cared about all people and was admired all over the world. In 1968, while helping others, he was shot and died.

This book is an impactful book and way to discuss the Civil Rights Movement and the message and life of Martin Luther King, Jr. The end of the book includes a list of important dates and a list of additional books and websites.

**This book addresses violence in racism as it mentions the protesters being jailed, beaten, and murdered. It says that MLK was hated, some threatened to kill him and his family; his house was bombed (and his brother's house), and eventually he was shot dead.

A Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, Child Magazine Best Book and 2001 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book

Preaching to the Chickens

Author: Jabari Asim

Ages: 5-11

Description: Young John Lewis would grow up to join the Freedom Riders and become one of the most well-known Civil Rights leaders. But, first, he was a boy who wanted to be a preacher, so he practiced among his only flock: the chickens he raised.

The Story of Ruby Bridges

Author: Robert Coles

Ages: 6-10

Description: The year is 1960, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in search of a better life. When a judge orders Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school, Ruby must face angry mobs of parents who refuse to send their children to school with her. Told with Robert Coles' powerful narrative and dramatically illustrated by George Ford, Ruby's story of courage, faith, and hope is now available in this special 50th anniversary edition with an updated afterword!

There are some scarier moments in this book as Ruby is walking through the mobs to get into school each day. But these moments are balanced with her faith and kindness towards the people who are angry. This story is also filled with the faith of Ruby’s family and how it guided them through this tough situation.

Welcome

Author: Barroux

Ages: 4-8

Description: Three polar bears, enjoying their home, are suddenly separated when they drift to sea. They're scared and want help and to find a new home, but the animals they ask find all kinds of reasons they can't stay. Their ice is shrinking and time is running out when they come to an empty island they can finally call home. When some monkeys come, looking for a new home, the polar bears extend their welcome.
This story was inspired by the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and is a wonderful way to begin the discussion on the trouble migrants face. The illustrations and humor incorporated throughout keeps otherwise heavy topics lighter.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist

Author: Cynthia Levinson

Ages: 5-10

Description:

Meet the youngest known child to be arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963, in this moving picture book that proves you’re never too little to make a difference.

Nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks heard church leaders talking about civil rights and marching. She decided she wanted to picket as well. She figured she'd just go to jail with all the grownups.

This is a remarkable story about the role one child played during the Civil Rights Movement.

These are some of our favorite books told from non-white or Hispanic perspectives.

NOTE: This section doesn't include many of the wonderful books on Civil Rights leaders, even though they include a non-white perspective. You can find those fantastic books in the section above, titled "Stories that cultivate a heart for social justice issues." Instead, this section focuses primarily on the real and fictional lives of non-white characters living life well.

Amazing Grace

Author: Mary Hoffman

Ages: 4-8

Description: Beautiful watercolor illustrations bring to life the little girl who loves stories and can't wait to be Peter Pan in her class play. She's discouraged when a classmate tells her she can't because she's a girl, and another because she's black. Her mom and grandma encourage her that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. With the inspiration of a role model, she perseveres, auditions, and in the end, feels like she could fly!

This book provides a great opportunity to discuss and graciously challenge biases our kids (and we) may have. It also encourages kids to not give up, to use their gifts, and to be confident in the skin they are in!

The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story

Author: Aya Khalil

Ages: 6-10

Description: When Kanzi's family comes to America from Egypt, she just wants to fit in. She does little things to try to avoid looking different, but when her mom shows up at school wearing a hijab and using Arabic, the teasing begins. The teacher then assigns a creative class project to learn the beauty of bilingualism. This is a great book for every child who will be exposed to a bilingual classmate—which is probably every child.

The Book Itch 

Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Ages: 6-10*

Description: Lewis's father, Lewis Michaux Sr, opened a very unusual bookstore in a very unusual time: the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem during the 1930's. Young Lewis tells of meeting famous Civil Rights leaders like Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X and the ways his father's bookstore fostered new ideas.

*Parents should be aware Malcolm X's death features in the book. This is an opportunity for conversation about racially targeted violence.

ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us

Author: Dorena Williamson

Ages: 4-8

Description: Two siblings and their neighbor discover the beauty of God's creation and the variety of colors He used. What a different world it would be with no color! Granny Mac helps the kids appreciate the world around them, and leads them in a discussion about the beauty in how God created the variety of colors people come in as well! The book shares a gracious challenge to the colorblind approach to race and invites children to celebrate God's design in creating people with different skin colors.

Includes a Parent Connection page at the end of the book with Bible passages to read and discuss along with six thoughtful questions to help you engage your children in discussion about the story.

The Colors of Us

Author: Karen Katz

Ages: 4-8

Description: Lena, a 7 year old, walks with her mom throughout their neighborhood and she discovers that brown isn't just brown when it comes to skin. The people in her life are all different shades of brown. Lena describes the browns using comparisons kids can relate to like cinnamon, peachy and tan, fall leaves, honey, chocolate, and more. She gets out her paints and creates “the colors of us!”

This book does a great job of celebrating diversity, and giving language to help kids describe skin colors, appreciating the beauty of all the shades we come in.

Drawn Together

Author: Minh Lê

Ages: 3-8

Description: An endearing story of a Thai grandfather and his Thai-American grandson and the struggle to connect across language barriers. Minh Lê's minimalist language allows Dan Santat's gorgeous artwork to carry the story. Even young pre-readers will be able to independently "read" this story to each other. Great book for any budding artists or children facing language barriers in their relationships.

Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist

Author: Susan Wood

Ages: 6-10

Description: Esquivel, from the time he was a child, was a musically-gifted experimenter. He learned to play the piano, when he disassembled his family's piano player. And he never stopped.

He experimented with unusual instruments and unusual styles, creating the "space age" lounge music popular in the 50s and 60s. This mesmerizing and inspiring book will make you search out his music, and find yourself lost in his unique style.

God Painted Me

Author: Carol Bauman

Ages: 4-8

Description: Mason, a boy with brown skin, was adopted by white parents. Mason asks his mom about why their skin doesn't match and they engage in a discussion on how God paints each person all kinds of different colors. It makes us special and unique. 

This short story can introduce discussion on skin color, adoption, and families who may not match in appearance.

Grandfather's Journey 

Author: Allen Say

Ages: 4-8

Description: Parents who have grown up cross-culturally may shed a few tears reading this story to their children. It is the true story of Allen Say's grandfather who lived his life back-and-forth between Japan and the United States. In few words, it aptly describes how it feels to be at home in two places, and yet always homesick for the other place you love.

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Author: Margo Lee Shetterly

Ages: 4-8

Description: The incredibly inspiring and true story of four Black women, with an amazing gift in math. These women worked at NASA and helped put the first men into outspace at a time when being female and being Black should have prevented them from getting into NASA. But these brilliant women worked hard and changed the world, and NASA. Expect both boys and girls to take a new interest in mathematics after reading this book!

Juneteenth for Mazie

Author: Floyd Cooper

Ages: 6-10

Description: Mazie doesn't like to hear the word "no." So, as she gets ready for her community's Juneteenth celebration, her father tells her all the times her ancestors unfairly heard the word "no." She learns the stories, struggles, and triumphs from the time of slavery to the present day.

With beautiful illustrations, we watch Mazie's growing understanding of why she celebrates, and the reader remembers with her.

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay

Author: Cari Best

Ages: 4-8

Description: First grader Zulay goes to her school with her three best friends. But there's something different about Zulay: she's blind. When their teacher asks the students what they want to do for Field Day, Zulay says she wants to run a race. The story documents the things she learns as she achieves her goal. It's a great story to demonstrate both a growth mindset ("You are called and capable!"and to help non-blind kids understand their blind peers.

The Name Jar 

Author: Yangsook Choi

Ages: 4-8

Description: Unhei is the new girl at her school. She likes her Korean name, but nobody knows how to say it, so she asks her class to help her find a new American name. The Name Jar reminds us of the power of taking the time to learn someone's name, and the joy of retaining one's own culture and name.

The Sandwich Swap

Author: Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah

Ages: 3-7

Description: Every child will relate to thinking another child's food looks yucky... and the instinct to tell them, even when those words are hurtful. Unfortunately when Lily and Salma do exactly this about each other's sandwiches (PB&J and hummus pita, respectively), it starts a school-wide battle in the diverse school. The book offers a gentle story in forgiveness and openness to different cultures for young children. 

Uncle Jed's Barbershop

Author: Margaree King Mitchell

Ages: 4-8

Description: Sarah Jean's favorite relative was Uncle Jed. We watch from Sarah's perspective as he lives life as the only Black barber in the segregated Southern county and pursues his dreams.

Giraffes Can't Dance

Author: Giles Andreae

Ages: 3-8

Description: Every year all the animals compete in the Jungle Dance. The only problem is Gerald the Giraffe can't dance. Or so he thinks, and so does everyone else. The book perfectly captures how it feels to be bullied and mocked for what you can't do. However, it also shows the kindness and inspiration of one lone cricket who suggests that maybe he just needs a different kind of music. Though not explicitly about special needs, many children with special needs will relate to this book. However, it's a great book to read to kids without special needs and discuss the actions of the cricket versus the animals that laughed at Gerald.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

Author: Julia Finley Mosca

Ages: 5-10

Description: Told in rhyme, Temple Grandin's story unfolds in a positive light. We see her strengths and her abilities, though, she doesn't like loud noises or big hugs, and it takes her longer than others to learn to speak. Every child can relate to feeling different, and so Temple Gradin's story will be relatable. However, they will end the book with a little more empathy for autism. Children with autism will likewise be encouraged by such a great example of success and using their "differentness" for good. 

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay

Author: Cari Best

Ages: 4-8

Description: First grader Zulay goes to her school with her three best friends. But there's something different about Zulay: she's blind. When their teacher asks the students what they want to do for Field Day, Zulay says she wants to run a race. The story documents the things she learns as she achieves her goal. It's a great story to demonstrate both a growth mindset ("You are called and capable!"and to help non-blind kids understand their blind peers.

Not Your Typical Dragon

Author: Dan Bar-El

Ages: 3-7

Description: Other dragons breathe fire; Crispin breathes... well, anything but fire: whipped cream, band-aids, beach balls, and other things. When his parents' efforts to fix him don't work, he runs away and befriends a knight that's supposed to fight a fire-breathing dragon. This ode to celebrating what your child is actually good at, not what they're supposed to be good at, will resonate with many children with special needs. It will also remind more neurotypical children to see the strengths in their peers with special needs.

The Patch

Author: Justina Chen Headley

Ages: 4-8

Description: Becca needs to wear a patch and glasses to school, because she has amblyopia. However, when her classmates ask her about it, she's not ready to tell them the truth. She feels shy and embarrassed, and instead tells her friends she's a "pirate ballerina." And thus begin her imaginative adventures. In the end, when she tells the truth, it turns out it's not a big deal. Great story to build confidence in kids needing the patch or empathy in kids without a patch.

Give your children the world! Few things can strike the imagination of a child like a book about somewhere else. Besides, you never know in this small world when your child will meet someone from these other cultures. The dividends in empathetic understanding will pay off throughout their life.

Along the Tapajós

Author: Fernando Vilela

Ages: 4-8

Description: Brother and sister, Cauã and Inaê, live in a village on stilts, along the Tapajós River in Brazil. Every year, when the rains come and the river swells, they must move inland. One year they forget their pet turtle. This is the story of their dangerous trip to rescue their turtle. It's a fascinating look at a very different way of living for most American kids.

Parent note: This story is, without question, an adventure that takes place when Cauã and Inaê disobey their parents. It can be a great conversation starter about obedience and danger, or it could just look like they got away with disobeying, depending on how you frame it.

Grandfather's Journey 

Author: Allen Say

Ages: 4-8

Description: Parents who have grown up cross-culturally may shed a few tears reading this story to their children. It is the true story of Allen Say's grandfather who lived his life back-and-forth between Japan and the United States. In few words, it aptly describes how it feels to be at home in two places, and yet always homesick for the other place you love.

Hush: A Thai Lullaby

Author: Mingfong Ho

Ages: 2-7

Description: This sweet, rhythmic book transports a child into the sights, sounds, and animals of a Thai village. Let your child's imagination explore what it would be like to fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle.

Forever Families: God's Gift of Adoption

Author: Natalie Sutyak

Ages: 4-10

Description: If your family has grown via adoption, then this book can be helpful. In a loving way, it shows God's heart for adoption and shows other transracial adoptive families.

God Found Us You

Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren

Ages: 4-8

Description: This book will resonate with many adopted children as well as their adoptive parents. The story is presented as a cherished and much-repeated bit of bedtime conversation between Mama Fox and Little Fox. Asked about “the day I came home,” Mama talks about how long she dreamed about and waited for Little Fox. Little Fox asks, “You were lonely for me?” and Mama’s affirmative response, for which several spreads of illustrations are provided, makes them cuddle all the closer: her pain is simultaneously shared and assuaged by Little Fox.

Little Fox also asks about why he couldn’t stay “with the mother who had me,” and Mama responds in a warm and assuring tone. Bryant’s appealing images, mostly gentle pastels, are sweet but not saccharine, portraying these anthropomorphous animals as intelligent, loving, and wonderfully matched. A nice introduction to adoption for any child, adopted or not.

God Painted Me

Author: Carol Bauman

Ages: 4-8

Description: 

Mason, a boy with brown skin, was adopted by white parents. Mason asks his mom about why their skin doesn't match and they engage in a discussion on how God paints each person all kinds of different colors. It makes us special and unique. 

This short story can introduce discussion on skin color, adoption, and families who may not match in appearance.

A Mother for Choco

Author: Keiko Kasza

Ages: 2-6

Description: Choco embarks on an endearing journey to find his mother. He does not ask Mrs. Bear if she is mother, but she does things for him a mother does. When she finally brings him home, he discovers Mrs. Bear's other children. Spoiler alert: None of them are bears! 

A great story to introduce the topic of adoption to your kids. 

Twice as Tight

Author: Kendall & Tamara Schmitke

Ages: 4-8

Description: A sparrow’s nest is broken but her egg is hatching! She hurries to choose a new home for her baby before it hatches. What will she do when she finds the best nest?

This story is a touching and realistic look at the love of a mother for her child. It explores the complexity of adoption in a way a child can understand.

Riley the Brave

Author: Jessica Sinarski

Ages: 3-7

Description:  Riley the Brave is the story of a little bear with big emotions. With the help of his friends he learns healthy ways to navigate his emotions, ask for help, and learn more about letting someone into his heart.

Black is Brown is Tan

Author: Arnold Adoff

Ages: 3-8

Description: This ground-breaking book in 1973 featured the first biracial family in children's literature. Today the beautiful poetry and sweet pictures still shows this all American family celebrating all the shades of their skin and ways of living.

ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us

Author: Dorena Williamson

Ages: 4-8

Description: Two siblings and their neighbor discover the beauty of God's creation and the variety of colors He used. What a different world it would be with no color! Granny Mac helps the kids appreciate the world around them, and leads them in a discussion about the beauty in how God created the variety of colors people come in as well! The book shares a gracious challenge to the colorblind approach to race and invites children to celebrate God's design in creating people with different skin colors.

Includes a Parent Connection page at the end of the book with Bible passages to read and discuss along with six thoughtful questions to help you engage your children in discussion about the story.

The Colors of Us

Author: Karen Katz

Ages: 4-8

Description: Lena, a 7 year old, walks with her mom throughout their neighborhood and she discovers that brown isn't just brown when it comes to skin. The people in her life are all different shades of brown. Lena describes the browns using comparisons kids can relate to like cinnamon, peachy and tan, fall leaves, honey, chocolate, and more. She gets out her paints and creates “the colors of us!”

This book does a great job of celebrating diversity, and giving language to help kids describe skin colors, appreciating the beauty of all the shades we come in.

The Day You Begin

Author: Jacqueline Woodson 

Ages: 4-8

Description: "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you." Thus starts the book. Jacqueline Woodson aptly describes the things that make children feel like they stand out: hair or skin color, accents, foreign-sounding names, or different economic standing. But this book is an ode to the moment when children choose to share themselves and their stories, only to discover that there's always someone who can relate a bit. Children will leave this book both more empathetic to the things that others might feel insecure about and more confident in their own areas of "differentness."

God Made Me AND You: Celebrating God's Design for Ethnic Diversity

Author: Shai Linne

Ages: 4-8

Description: This story is filled with color and rhyme that not only catches the eye and ear, but the heart of God in creating diversity among people.

A teacher helps her class see God’s design. From creation, the effects of the Fall, Christ’s work on the cross, all the way to the vision God shared of the nations, tribes, tongues, and every people worshiping God for eternity - this book helps open important discussions. The gospel informs how we see and respond to diversity and invites us to celebrate the beauty of the people He created today, and for all eternity.

The book ends with “Six Ways to Help Your Child Appreciate God’s Design for Ethnic Diversity,” giving parents practical applications to not just close the book, but to continue the conversation.

God Painted Me

Author: Carol Bauman

Ages: 4-8

Description: Mason, a boy with brown skin, was adopted by white parents. Mason asks his mom about why their skin doesn't match and they engage in a discussion on how God paints each person all kinds of different colors. It makes us special and unique. 

This short story can introduce discussion on skin color, adoption, and families who may not match in appearance.

God’s Very Good Idea: A True Story about God’s Delightfully Different Family

Author: Trillia Newbell

Ages: 4-8

Description: We are all God's creation, reflecting His image, even though we may be different from each other. But that was God's design from the very beginning. Though people have differences (gender, interests, appearances, and languages), they are all valuable. Children are introduced to how sin messed up God's design and how we love Him and each other. We all need forgiveness. But that did not surprise God. He had a plan to rescue His Very Good Idea – Jesus! Jesus showed a different way to live and He offers us a chance to live differently too. From creation, to the cross, to Christ's return, this book gives a simple and powerful description of how God made, rescued, and will finish his Very Good Idea. And children are introduced to how they can be a part of it even now!
Great book for introducing discussions on the overarching message of the Bible, the gospel, God's family (the Church), diversity, and salvation.
This book is also available in the series “Tales that Tell the Truth.”

I Love You All the Same

Author: Donna Keith

Ages: 2-6

Description: This sweet rhyming board book tells the story of a bear family with 3 bear cubs who are very different. They have different interests and talents, food preferences, different sounds, and each look different from each other. Their parents celebrate those differences, reassure them that each is loved the same, and that God put their family together for a purpose.
This book is a great discussion starter for topics like sibling relationships, celebrating differences, adoption, families who don't match, unconditional love, and God's creativity.

People

Author: Peter Spier

Ages: 4-8

Description: Author and award-winning illustrator, Peter Spier, created this beautiful book to celebrate people, in all our differentness: different skin, different cultures, and different religions. This book opens the door for great open-ended conversations.

The Skin You Live In

Author: Michael Tyler

Ages: 3-8

Description: Using the rhythm of a nursery rhyme and adorable illustrations, The Skin You Live In celebrates the many shades of our skin. The pictures will provide an opportunity to chat about those colors with your small children.

When God Made You

Author: Matthew Paul Turner

Ages: 3-7

Description: This rhyming story tells of how God had a plan, from the beginning of time, for each person He created. Each person is unique, with a special purpose, special look, voice, and personality. The world would not be the same without you and God delights in you!
This book gives a beautiful and fun look at God's unique design in creating each person and how He delights in the diversity, creativity, and unique place in this world.

We're Different; We're the Same

Author: Bobby Jane Kates

Ages: 3-7

Description:

We're all different – our noses, hair, skin, mouths, eyes, bodies, and feelings. But we're also the same. Our noses all smell, our skin feels warm and cold. We all feel lonely, worried, happy, and loving. Even though there are things different between us, on the inside, we are very much alike. And we are all wonderful.

This Sesame Street book is a simple way to introduce discussions on the differences between people, but also how we are unified and very similar as well. Though not written from a Christian perspective, this story is a way to celebrate God's creative design in the uniqueness and unity when He created people.

FOR KIDS: Resources for cultivating faith in children

A good storybook Bible draws a child into the story and prepares them for hearing the real texts, as they grow. These are a few of our team's favorites.

Growing in God's Love: A Story Bible

Editors: Elizabeth F. Caldwell & Carol A. Wehrheim (with 25 author contributors)

Ages: 4-10 

Description: As a collaboration between many diverse theological scholars, writers, and artists, Growing in God's Love is a very thoughtful book. With younger children, it works well as a stand-alone read-aloud, but it's formatted for older children to read the original scriptures along with the condensed "story" version in the storybook bible. Each story ends with three reflection questions categorized as "Hear," "See," and "Act"—allowing children and parents to go deeper in their conversations.

Note: This storybook bible has a special emphasis on justice issues. Scriptures that are often ignored in children's materials feature in this particular storybook bible. That said, a few critical stories (like the Fall in the Garden of Eden) are strangely missing. This is not a problem if you have lots of other children's books featuring these stories and are actively teaching your children about your faith. However, it could be a problem if Growing in God's Love is your only storybook bible.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones

Ages: 4+ (even adults love this book!)

Description: Every story in this Bible comes back to the overarching story of God's never-ending love for his children and the great rescue plan God put into place at the beginning of time. This book reads like great literature, and it engages all ages very well.

If you've got an adolescent who might feel embarrassed by reading a "picture" bible, you might want to give them The Story of God's Love for You, which is the adolescent and adult non-picture version. But Jago's artwork in the Jesus Storybook Bible are gorgeous!

Regardless, this is a great storybook Bible for family read-alouds and conversations.

The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible

Author: Joanna Rivard & Tim Penner

Ages: 4-8

Description: The Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible gives a simple, yet thorough, look at the big story of the Bible. It ties Old Testament stories to Jesus and unfolds classic children’s stories, along with some not usually included, in a way that invites children into the grand story God is writing. The illustrations reflect the ethnicities of the people in the Bible, giving a more accurate picture than many children’s Bibles portray. From Genesis to Revelation, this Bible helps children understand who God is, who He created us to be, and what we’re made for - sharing the love He’s given us with others.

Bible Games Central 

Bible Games Central is all about providing fun and captivating resources to get people excited about the Bible. Christian games for kids' Sunday school, youth groups, adult ministries AND families! This website has games for kids and adults of all ages that make learning the Bible fun.

Heroes Bible Trivia App

Want to learn about the heroes of the Bible in a creative and fun way? This app features amazing 3D animation, lots of exciting new features, and the Bible background of each hero. As you answer trivia questions you'll sharpen your knowledge of these real-life Biblical characters.

These delightful books pair beautiful artwork and great storytelling to bring truths deep into your child's hearts.

The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross

Author: Carl Laferton

Ages: 4-8 years

Description: What does it mean that the veil has been torn? The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross presents a powerful, but simple, retelling of the Biblical story from Genesis to eternity with God, showing us what Jesus did on the cross and why it all matters. Even very small children's hearts will thrill at theological truth in this beautiful book. 

Note: You maybe interested in other books from the Tales that Tell the Truth Series.

The Prince's Poison Cup

Author: R. C. Sproul

Ages: 3-10

Description: This beautiful book takes a story-within-a-story approach. When Ella gets sick and doesn't get why medicine that tastes so bad could be helpful, her grandfather tells her a story.

The story he tells is an allegory for Jesus' atonement. To save a rebellious people that get sick off a forbidden well, the king's good son must drink a cup of poison to save everyone.

Author and theologian, R.C. Sproul wrote many children's books that tell theological truths (see: The Donkey Who Carried a King, The Lightlings, or The Priest with Dirty Clothes).

Mr. Phil TV

Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales, has started a streaming service! We want to bring faith to life for our kids, but it’s hard to make sense of faith until you can make sense of the Bible. So Mr. Phil TV starts with a library of videos that take kids through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Then we meet famous folks from history whose faith shaped the world in amazing ways, to show kids faith in action. And finally we add a library of Bible study videos that take whole families through key books, together!

Yippee TV

Shows for kids ages 2-10. A safe place for your kids to watch new VeggieTales plus 1,000s of hours of faith-filled series where characters are role models and your kids want to watch it again (and again!). No ads, no algorithms, no sassy attitudes. Just good shows your kids will actually want to watch including hand-picked YouTubers reviewed and screened by parents like you.