Sharing Easter stories with your family is a sweet tradition and here is a list of some excellent titles.
We excitedly awaited Grandma’s gray carton of colorful eggs every Easter. The tiny items inside, from the thorn to the rope, were visible reminders of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. I don’t quite remember if Grandma told the Easter story or if we all participated in the telling, but I know that to us cousins those eggs and their treasures were a huge part of our Easter traditions. And even though we knew what the eggs held, every year it was special to open up to the cracker, the stone, and the “empty tomb.”
While other Easter activities like the Sunrise Service and eating the breakfast casserole together are also sweet memories to me, Grandma’s eggs are my favorite Easter tradition. I made up my own carton of Resurrection Eggs years ago, and have used them in Sunday School classes as well as elementary school settings. I’m excited to share this tradition with our children, as we encourage them to ponder the events of Holy Week.
This year I was positively thrilled to discover Benjamin’s Box, a book meant to be read alongside Resurrection Eggs. And while my new find is definitely a favorite on my list, the other Easter stories I’ve shared below are also great ones to enjoy at Easter time (as well as throughout the rest of the year!).
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Biblical Retellings of Easter
Easter ABCs by Isabel Anders
Starting with the good news of an empty tomb, this ABC book speaks of the angels, disciples, and women involved in the exciting story of the resurrection. Each page includes four lines, with sweet pictures illustrating Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, as well as children doing such activities as reading with Grandma and singing joyfully.
Benjamin’s Box by Melody Carlson
Benjamin happens to be near many of the events leading up to and including the Resurrection. Benjamin carefully places a tuft of donkey hair, a strip of the leather whip, a piece of the grave cloth, and other small treasures into his wooden box as he contemplates the important events around him. Although the Bible mentions no Benjamin, the biblical account of the Resurrection is otherwise honored in this book. Benjamin’s Box is meant to be read as a companion book to Resurrection Eggs. Whether you choose to create your own eggs or purchase them from FamilyLife, I’d encourage you to put those tangible reminders of Jesus into the hands of your little ones. They’ll remember this Easter tradition for many years, if my personal experience is any evidence!
The Story of Easter (Eyewitness Animals) by Robin Currie
This creative telling of Holy Week is written as seen through the eyes of seven animals, including a dove that watches Jesus praying and then being arrested in the garden. While it seems natural to use the donkey Jesus rode as a narrator, the author’s use of a hound dog and a digger mole as narrators were a fun twist on the story. But despite the addition of these animals as witnesses, The Story of Easter stays true to the main biblical facts.
The Story of Easter by Juliet David
I was impressed with this board book; unlike many board books that only have a few words on each page, The Story of Easter actually tells the complete story of Easter from Palm Sunday through Jesus’ ascension after his resurrection. Such details as Pilate’s trial of Jesus and Joseph taking care of Jesus’ body are included here, in simple yet poignant language.
Easter A to Z: Every Letter Tells a Story by Lisa Flinn and Barbara Younger
Each page spread of this abecedarius story contains one or more sentences, with a biblical passage to expound the basic concepts shared. Starting with “A is for Apostles who gathered in the room” clear through “Z is for the Zeal of those who were there and of Easter people everywhere,” this book presents the Easter story in a slightly different structure while staying true to the story. (The illustrations were a bit on the somber side, but as it was indeed a somber week in the life of Jesus, this is understandable.)
The Easter Story by Tracy Harrast
This sweet lift-the-flap book surprised me with the number of details it includes about Holy Week. From the definition of “Hosanna!” to the reason why Jesus had to die, The Easter Story is thorough in its teaching about these important events in Jesus’ life. And the flaps on each page made this an instant favorite to my daughter!
The Very First Easter by Paul Maier
Dad and Mom guide their son, Chris, to an understanding of who Jesus is by first presenting His miracles and time with the disciples before moving on to the events of Holy Week. I especially appreciated how although Chris and his family were dying Easter eggs in the beginning of the story, they quickly focused on the true meaning of Easter. Mom comments, “The true story about the very first Easter…it’s much more important than the Easter bunny, colored eggs, or even jelly beans” when her son states his love for the edible treats. (I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of how Jesus was pictured in this book; He is a bit too pale and almost angry looking for me.)
Amon’s Adventure by Arnold Ytreeide
I had heard much about Arnold Ytreeide’s advent and Easter stories, as they were a family tradition during my husband’s childhood. Despite the hype (or maybe because of it), I was not prepared for how Amon’s story would grip me. This extremely well-written account follows Amon, a young man who thinks of Jesus as just another false messiah. When Amon’s father is unjustly accused and sentenced to death by the High Priest, Amon works hard to rescue his father and comes face to face with the truth of Jesus. Suddenly, Amon’s belief that his father’s “head is sick” is dispelled, and the stories Amon has heard for years take on a different quality. (Amon’s parents previously appeared in the advent stories Jotham’s Journey and Tabitha’s Travels.)
Easter Related Stories
Sunrise Hill by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Caleb’s pioneer town lacks a church building, but Uncle Josh has arrived to remedy that problem. As both preacher and builder, Uncle Josh brings lots of energy and excitement. But when a terrible thunderstorm burns down the almost completed church, Uncle Josh’s zest for life departs. Caleb’s plan to encourage his uncle comes to fruition Easter morning, as the townspeople gather to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. The side story of Big George, whose parents died when he was a child, is an example of how Jesus brings healing and new life to each of us.
God Bless Our Easter by Hannah Hall
This rhyming board book is a celebration of life, “God gave us spring and all it brings. God bless our Easter Day!” From the piglet splashing in a puddle to the goats who love daffodils, and the wobbly colt dancing in the sun this is a delightful look at the jubilee that we often feel in the springtime.
The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs
Maggie is excited to receive a letter about a special gift. But much to her dismay when the gift arrives it’s a box of dirt with “a growing thing” inside. After the box lives in the cellar for months, one day Maggie accidentally breaks it and spills dirt everywhere. In anger she tosses the flower bulb outside, forgetting about it until Easter morning brings a beautiful surprise. I’m a newcomer to the parable stories by Liz Higgs, but my husband’s copy of The Sunflower Parable is a treasure from his childhood. The way that biblical truths are woven throughout Liz Higgs’ parables make these books ones that can be used to teach various important lessons.
Always Plenty by Caroline Rose Kraft
Eddie and her family may wear patched, hand-me-down clothes and sometimes have to skip a meal because of a lack of food, but they focus on their many blessings in life. One spring their pastor announces a special offering for a poor family in the church, and Eddie’s family enthusiastically scrimps and saves, while working all kinds of extra odd jobs. Unfortunately, they’re in for an unpleasant surprise when Easter finally rolls around. Based on a true story, Always Plenty is a sweet testimony to the fact that our outlook on life is so important. As Eddie and her sister so aptly explained, “Money doesn’t make you rich. Riches are your mom and dad, your brothers and sisters, friends and good times…and Jesus!”
Miz Fannie Mae’s Fine New Easter Hat by Melissa Milich
Tandy and her daddy set out to buy the best Easter hat possible for her mommy, visiting a fancy millinery shop in the big city. Mama is concerned their beautiful purchase is more than they can afford, but Daddy comes up with a creative way to convince Mama to wear the hat. Then on Easter morning, they witness a surprising miracle in the middle of church service, and suddenly Mama’s hat has a different destiny than most hats.
Good News! It’s Easter! by Glenys Nellist
It’s springtime and the tulip, the oak leaf, and the chick all have good news, but it’s nothing compared to the Good News that Jesus brings at the end of this short and simple book. The excitement of the springtime creatures and plants, combined with the sweet illustrations build to the dramatic close as Jesus proclaims, “I was dead but now I’m back, to live and love and save.”
An Easter Prayer by Amy Parker
This sweet prayer of thankfulness has darling illustrations and is a great reminder of all we can thank the Lord for. From the rain to the sunshine, as well as the myriad of springtime colors, and most importantly Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are so blessed! (And did I mention the sweet illustrations? I loved the tiny chick’s adorable purple boots with white spots as well as her tiny eggshell umbrella!)
Bible Stories for Little Ears: The New Testament (Lamplighter Theatre: You are There)
This audio recording of Bible stories is one my daughter frequently requests, then listens to with rapt attention. While not specifically focusing on Holy Week, these stories lay the foundation so that young children can better understand the meaning of Easter. Starting with the birth of John the Baptist, and ending with a story description of heaven, the 80 minutes of dramatic narration are another fabulous tool to introduce our children to biblical concepts in a straightforward way. I would highly recommend this for any child, from the littlest ears up until they’re ready for longer, deeper stories and concepts.
Life of Jesus and Passion of Jesus (Your Story Hour)
I completed Bible quiz after Bible quiz, carefully mailing them to Your Story Hour, and then excitedly watching the mail for the cassette tapes I’d earned. And while it’s been years since I’ve heard those dramatically narrated Bible stories, they are still so familiar from the hours and hours I spent listening. (We no longer have to listen to cassette tapes, though, as Your Story Hour has been converted to MP3 and is even available on Audible!) The high-quality Bible stories that Your Story Hour has recorded truly make each episode, from Creation to the Acts of the Apostles, come alive.
Both Life of Jesus and the shorter collection Passion of Jesus are a beautiful audio journey through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I would recommend these Easter stories for slightly older listeners, as the dramatic narration could be scary at times for little ones. (The same stories are also available in longer Audible collections: The Bible Comes Alive Part 4 and The Bible Comes Alive Part 5.)
What other Easter activities does your family participate in? How do you encourage even your littlest ones to focus on the tragedy of Jesus’ death and the joy of Jesus’ resurrection?
Off to the library,
Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books, music, or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration. Our hope is that you will find something new and wonderful on this list of recommended resources!
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women
Originally from Oregon, Jennifer Church relocated to North Carolina with her husband Tyler to serve with Trans World Radio. Previously Jennifer taught missionary kids with Africa Inland Mission in Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, and Chad. These days Jennifer is loving life as a stay at home wife and mother to Natalie, Seth, and Noah. She enjoys reading, gardening, and sewing when she has a spare moment. Follow Jennifer on Goodreads.