Just as we put together a basket of Advent book which serves as a sort of Advent calendar, so too we have a Lent basket of books. I haven’t been able to find quite enough books to provide us with one a day for our bedtime reading throughout Lent, so we did add some more secular books to round it out. Another option is to fill in with Bible stories on the days that you don’t have something specifically Lenten in theme. Whatever your decide to do, this list of Lent and Easter Book Recommendations for Kids is one that has been curated over many years of use both in our home and in my classroom when I was a Catholic school teacher.
Important note: I think it’s really crucial with young children that we never end the story of Jesus with his death, even if only for a day or two. Even when doing the Stations of the Cross or attending Good Friday services, I always followed up and continued the story through to His resurrection. I use this same philosophy with any books that we read, even if it means adding to the story beyond the last page.
- The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt – This book packs a powerful punch with its message about God’s special plan for each of us. Three trees have dreams of being something important when they grow up. Each of their dreams come true but in somewhat unexpected, yet beautiful ways. This was my students’ favourite and has always been a family favourite too. We read it every Lent and every Advent.
- Easter Eggs for Anya by Virginia L Kroll – Anya’s family is too poor to buy eggs for their annual tradition of exchanging Ukrainian Pysanky eggs. But Anya finds a nest of goose eggs and plans to surprise her family with their tradition after all. God however has an even bigger and better surprise in store. Includes instructions on making your own Pysanky eggs.
- Petook, an Easter Story by Caryll Houselander – Petook, the father of some brand new baby chicks, has an encounter with Jesus when he was a boy. Many years later, he sees Jesus again, this time on a hill outside of Jerusalem.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – We usually read this book, with its message of unconditional love and giving, at the very beginning of Lent.
- On That Easter Morning by Mary Joslin – This book beautifully tells the story of Holy Week.
- The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith – There are quite a few versions of the Easter story out there. Brian Wildsmith’s illustrations make his version my favourite.
- The Easter Cave by Carol Wedeven – This is perfect for young children because it’s based on the same type of repeating pattern as The House that Jack Built.
- The Bread and The Wine by Denise Ahern – As you might expect, this is the story of the Last Supper. We always had a home communion service with juice and our own unleavened bread that we baked together.
- God Gave Us Easter by Lisa Tawn Bergren – Little Cub is celebrating Easter with her family. She has some questions about the holiday and Papa explains while taking her on a special walk through their Arctic environment.
- Lily’s Easter Party by Crystal Bowman – Crystal’s mom and dad plan a special Easter egg hunt. This is the perfect tie-in to making/hunting for Resurrection eggs.
- The Legend of the Sand Dollar by Chris Auer– This story uses the sand dollar to talk about Jesus. According to the legend, the five slits in a sand dollar represent the wounds Christ received while on the cross. The star in the middle symbolizes the Easter lily and the design on the back represents a poinsettia.
- Benjamin’s Box by Melody Carlson – This story is a different version of a Resurrection egg type story. Benjamin is a young child wanting to learn more about Jesus so he follows Him around. As he does, he collects mementos and keeps them in a box as special treasures.
- Easter in the Garden by Pamela Kennedy – A retelling of the Easter story from the viewpoint of a child living in Jesus’ time.
- Amon’s Adventure by Arnold Ytreeide – A chapter book for older children. A man is accused of a crime and his 13 year old son Amon is trying to save him. As he does, he joins the crowds on Palm Sunday, witnesses Judas’s betrayal, and observes Jesus’s crucifixion.
- Simon and the Easter Miracle by Mary Joslin – This tells the story of Simon of Cyrene, the man ordered to carry Jesus’ cross.
- The Miracles of Jesus by Tomie de Paola – Beginning with the wedding at Cana, this book takes the reader through the stories of Jesus’s miracles.
- Through the Eyes of John by Chad Daybell – The story of Jesus’s last days on earth as told by His beloved disciple John.
- Passover Journey by Barbara Goldin – We like to include books about Passover in our selection as well. After all, Jesus was celebrating Passover at the Last Supper and we hold a Seder every year.
- Family Haggadah by Ellen Schecter – This book goes through the Seder sequence.
- Miriam’s Cup: A Passover Story by Fran Manushkin – I especially love this Passover book because it focuses on Miriam as the strong female role model of the story.
What are your favourite Lent and Easter story books to share with your children?