The gospel story is the most important story that has ever been told. For this reason, God has called Christian parents to rehearse the gospel story with their families. The gospel must be taught and lived out in the home. Scripture reminds us to tell our children about what God has done “as you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 6:7, ESV). One great way to rehearse the gospel message to children is through a storybook. Children love to be read to, and what better story to share than the true story of God’s love. In his new storybook Jesus Rose For Me: The True Story of Easter, published by New Growth Press, author Jared Kennedy provides an excellent resource for telling the story of Easter. 

Written on a toddler level, Jared shares the story of Easter from the triumphal entry to the resurrection of Jesus. The story is broken up into four sections with a question at the end of each. This allows space for parents to dialogue with their children about the Easter story and how it applies to them. This feature in the book is a great discipling tool for young children. Each section of the book lists the scripture references for that part of the story. This feature provides space for families with older children to be able to read the story from the Bible on a level more appropriate for older readers. It is a great tool to incorporate into family devotions.

Section one retells the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and asks the question “why is it important to praise Jesus?” The second section tells the story of the last supper and briefly retells the story of the Passover. It shares the significance of communion as a way to remember what Jesus has done and asks the question “what helps you remember your family?” Section three recounts the story of the crucifixion and the fact that it was important for Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty of sin. It asks the question “have you ever asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins?” The final section of the book tells the story of Jesus’ resurrection and how the disciples discovered the empty tomb. It asks the question “why do we celebrate Easter?” 

Jesus Rose For Me is a great discipleship tool for toddlers, but it also provides space for including the entire family while reading the story. Jared Kennedy’s text and storyline is written on an appropriate level for toddlers to follow and understand. The illustrations by Trish Mahoney are very colorful and age appropriate. Both Kennedy and Mahoney do a great job of being faithful to the story of Scripture. The one critique we would give the book is that the story ends abruptly and should have incorporated the story of Jesus appearing to his disciples after his resurrection. Throughout the book it mentions Jesus with his friends. By ending the book with Jesus reuniting with his friends it would have brought the book to a better ending. However, we would still recommend Jesus Rose For Me to families with toddlers as a good resource for sharing the story of Easter with them. There is no more important story to share than to teach children what Jesus has done for them through his death and resurrection.

Editor’s Note: This review was first published in April 2020 at Servants of Grace

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