Easter is a holiday associated with scavenger hunts, decorating eggs, eating chocolate bunnies, and spending time with your family. This year, we created a list of three beautiful picture books about this special holiday to add to your children’s library.
The Easter Story
In clear, reverent language and shining gold- toned paintings, award-winning author/illustrator Brian Wildsmith creates this companion book to his earlier A Christmas Story. With an enchantingly simple perspective that will engage even the very youngest child, Wildsmith offers a splendid new version of the greatest story ever told.
Parent Council, Ltd., Selected as Outstanding (2000)
“The text is involving and child-friendly. Yet it is Wildsmith’s sumptuous paintings that steal the show. Combining a bright palette with generous gold accents, the art is warm and reverent — almost radiantly joyful.”
“Wildsmith’s own passion for the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection is unmistakable in his glorious, metallic-gold-hued illustrations, which tell the story more vividly than words ever could. . . Lush jewel tones capture the richness of the narrative, and mesh in a strangely beautiful way with the simple paintings of Jesus, the angels, Mary Magdalene, and others in the biblical cast of characters. The Easter Story will make a gorgeous addition to any Easter basket.”
“Wildsmith relates key events surrounding the crucifixion in some detail; but the glory of this book . . . is its illustrations. . . . A richly complex visual feast, masterfully integrated into a reverent, unusual interpretation: Wildsmith at his best.“”
“The text gracefully handles the crucifixion, which can be difficult for young children to understand, and strategically includes relevant Bible verses with which a child might be familiar. The memorable illustrations with their color washes and gold tones are far from standard fare.”
“Wildsmith offers an opulent and symbol-laden visual re-creation of Jesus’ last days. The actual retelling is simplified, yet faithful to the biblical account. But it is the artwork, not the text that conveys the passion of the story, which Wildsmith treats ‘like grand opera.’ . . . A first choice for the Easter collection.”
At Jerusalem’s Gate
Poems of Easter
I angle for
a glimpse of him
whose touch unlocks
a blind man’s sight,
a deaf man’s hearing.
A man in the crowd at Jerusalem vies to see Jesus; a disciple recounts details of the Last Supper; Pilate’s wife fears her husband’s decision. Beginning with Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, Nikki Grimes explores the first Easter through the voices of those who witnessed it.
The author’s introductions provide a thoughtful framework, and David Frampton’s beautifully intricate and expressive woodcuts illuminate each poem. At Jerusalem’s Gate offers readers of all ages insight into the most important moments in Christian history.
Booklist, Top Ten Religion Books for Youth (2005)
Cleveland Public Library, Celebrate with Books (2005)
National Council of Teachers of English, Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children to Nikki Grimes (2006)
“Poetry is gentle yet thoughtful, alluding to the brutality of the execution while providing an almost prayer-like personal reflection. . . . A handsome, well-designed offering for middle readers and families.”
“Grimes and Frampton have produced an elegant banquet of poems and visuals about the Easter story. . . . Praises and hosannas for this title.”
“Bold, handsome woodcuts reinforce the powerful drama depicted in poetry. An outstanding effort worthy of inclusion in most collections. “
“In this series of simple, straightforward poems preceded by explanatory paragraphs, Grimes retells the Easter story from Jesus’ triumphant arrival at Jerusalem’s Gate to the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Grimes’ clever wordplay . . . will hold readers’ attention, and her poems ask some important theological questions. . . . Frampton’s woodcuts, which recall Byzantine artwork, especially in the wide-eyed, angular faces, are extraordinarily compelling. The bold colors and thoughtful, intricate patterning demand a second look. . . . An arresting rendition.”
“An extraordinary collection. . . . Frampton’s elegant woodcut to illustrate the treatment of Christ shows a dove flying through curling barbed branches. These images in words and pictures will keep readers thinking about the book — and the Passion — long after the covers are closed.”
“This handsomely presented collection should win a following among readers seeking deeply reverent materials for Holy Week.”
“A sequence of spare, hard-hitting, yet profoundly respectful poems reanimates the well-worn story of Christ’s passion and resurrection. . . . The traditional, iconographic look of Frampton’s woodcuts hides an unexpected visual wit.”
This graceful retelling of the life of Jesus takes readers back over two thousand years ago to Nazareth, a young girl named Mary, and a miraculous virgin birth. The story continues through the years as Jesus grows up, learns among the great teachers of his day, calls his disciples, preaches, and performs miracles. The book concludes with Jesus’ last Passover meal, betrayal, crucifixion, and glorious resurrection.
Anselm Grün’s accessible descriptions, along with warm, inviting paintings from Giuliano Ferri, together create a beautiful picture of the life of Jesus.
“Would be a cherished home library addition and a wonderful way to encourage children to revisit and remember these timeless stories.”
“Children will be drawn in to the story of Jesus of Nazareth with this offering. . . . Its warm-toned illustrations and accessible storytelling bring to life Jesus’ journey from a humble manger to his glorious resurrection.”
“This book does an admirable job of simply telling the gospel story. . . . Grn’s text uses ordinary, not elevated language, but it is always nimble and never clunky. Ferri’s illustrations offer an appealing and coherent visual context for the telling.”