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The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children

Author, illustrator: Katherine Paterson
Illustrator: Francois Roca
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008

Just right for Lent and Easter, children ages 3 and up will enjoy this beautifully simple chronological retelling of Jesus’ life. Each spread contains one page of gentle text by Newbery Medal-winner and former missionary Katherine Paterson, as well as one page of illustration by Francois Roca.  Roca’s warmly lit illustrations of Jesus show the artist’s conception of Jesus as a baby. But he portrays Jesus as an older child and as an adult from a distance or from behind, perhaps so children can imagine what they think Jesus may have looked like.

Here is an excerpt about Jesus’ parables from Paterson’s text:

When the people looked at all the sadness and evil in the world, they had trouble believing that God was in charge. "God’s kingdom," said Jesus, "is as tiny as the smallest of seeds, but when it is planted it grows into such a huge tree that the birds make their nests in its branches."

On the flyleaf, Paterson explains how she writes about faith:  “The challenge for those of us who care about our faith and about a hurting world is to tell stories which will carry the words of grace and hope in their bones and sinews, and not wear them like fancy dress.”

This 45-page picture book is an excellent resource for relating Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection in a deep and compassionate way to help young children (or people of any age) understand the good news of God’s love.

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