I am often asked for book recommendations, especially for children. My children are aged 7, 4, and 1. If a book is on this list, it means either they have read the book and enjoyed it, or I have read it to them and enjoyed it with them. I have loosely categorized these books under “general interest,” “spiritual/religious,” and “Coptic Orthodox Christian interest.” This list is updated regularly, every time I come upon a new great book, so come back and visit often! Please note that many of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to buy the book through my link, I will receive a small commission of your purchase. You are under no obligation to make your purchase through my link, but if you do, I appreciate your help supporting the cost of maintaining this blog!
I did not know the true story of Aunt Clara Brown until I read this book. It is on the longer side, and so it can work as a longer bedtime story or a fully illustrated chapter book for a second grader. In the process of searching the entire country for her daughter, who was separated from her when she was sold as a slave to a different owner, Clara Brown blazes a new trail as a woman and a pioneer, changing the lives of many others in the process.
Janet Wong, the author of Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club, visited my son’s elementary school and read this book to them. We’ve since read it multiple times. It is fun story that breaks the stereotypes about kids who enjoy and play chess competitively. If you are interested in teaching your kids how to play chess, I have found this No Stress Chess Set very helpful in teaching my kids the rules of chess while actually playing the game.
Practically anything by Dr. Suess is fantastic for children, but my favorite is the lesser-known classic, The King’s Stilts. This book is just as important for adults as it is for children – perhaps more important for adults. It emphasizes the importance of a balanced life, and it is the child in the story who teaches the lesson to the grown-ups. Every time I read it to my children I learn something.
Finding Winnie is the heartwarming, true story of the bear on whom Winnie the Pooh is based. The story within the story is that it is told by the granddaughter of the man who found Winnie as she tells it to her young son before bedtime, and it makes for a great bedtime story book.
Uncle Jed’s Barbershop is a beautiful story that describes love, perseverance, and hope in the face of the challenges of racism and the economy during the Great Recession in the early 1900s. Uncle Jed dreams of owning his own barbershop and takes years to save the money to do so. In the face of major setbacks and obstacles, he achieves his dream in the end, providing wonderful role model not just to the niece who tells the story, but to anyone who confronts obstacles on the way to his or her goals.
The Beginner’s Bible is my favorite Bible for the 0-4 set. The illustrations are colorful, and the ratio of words to each page are just enough to keep a young child’s attention. I have both the paper copy and the ebook version so I can read it to my children on their tablet or on my phone. There is a DVD set that also goes along with the stories in this Bible that my children have enjoyed.
Philo and the SuperHolies is great not only for reading at home, but also for Sunday school classes. It tells the story of a boy named Philo and the “SuperHolies,” which are the Fruit of the Spirit personified in superhero characters. The Superholies help Philo solve a common problem facing children these days: bullying. This is volume 1 in a series I am excited to continue reading. The Coptic Dad & Mom blog has a great interview with the author, Mirielle Mishriky.
The title Why Do We Have to Be So Quiet in Church says it all. This is a beautifully illustrated book that can also be taken to church and looked at by children during a church service. It answers the question of why we have to be quiet, as well as 12 other questions about God in a simple format.
Coptic Orthodox Christian Interest
These books are of a specific interest to Coptic Orthodox Christian readers.
There are two versions of this illustrated, interactive liturgy guide for children. The yellow-colored one (pictured) is for children who know how to read. The light blue one, My First Out of This World Liturgy Guide, is great for younger children (ages 4-6) and full of pictures and photographs to engage them with the Divine Liturgy during the prayers. I also like to use these at home before church to prepare my children. The books were created and designed by Sandra Mattar, a mom herself whose son’s questions about church inspired her. These are wipe-clean books, and I suggest these dry-erase crayons to use with the books.