Gather the little children and their publishers for a look at Bibles and other sacred texts new and forthcoming for kids.
Already showing up on Bible bestseller lists in the evangelical Christian market are The Story (Teen Edition) and The Story for Kids. Both are part of the house’s The Story line of products featuring popular pastor Max Lucado; The Story retells in chronological order events in the Bible. In other lines, expect the NIV Youth Quest Study Bible (Dec.), with 4,000 questions kids ages 11–14 might have about the Bible, and the answers. The text is part of the Quest Study Bible family. Next March, the NIV Faithgirlz Bible and NIV Boys Bible aim at 9-to-12-year-olds. The all-new boy’s version promises “gross and gory stuff”; Faithgirlz is a revised edition. “Our sales of children’s and teen Bibles have remained very strong even in this challenging economic climate,” says Annette Bourland, v-p and publisher of Zonderkidz.
My First Hands-On Bible (July) is a preschooler version of the popular Hands-On Bible, which has sold more than 600,000 copies. It contains stories and activities, illustrations, prayers, and a “Jesus Connection.” The Hands-On series has been developed in partnership with Group Publishing. For teens, The Metal Bible NLT: 4GVN: comes with a metal license plate on its cover. It uses Tyndale’s New Living Translation.
“Many of our top-selling children’s titles are Bibles,” says Laura Minchew, v-p and publisher, children’s and gift books. Like adults, kids like to have multiple Bibles for different purposes, she says. “If they are reading to see how the Bible applies to life, they want a cover that feels contemporary and relevant.” To meet that need, Nelson has developed a new line of Shiny Sequin Bibles: pink, teal, and, for tween girls, a black and bright pink one, with more shades to come. Guys get a skateboard-themed Bible releasing in December, which sports a full-size skateboard decal.
Lion Children's/ Candle
The Lion Classic Bible (Dec.) includes retellings by Andrea Skevington and illustrations by Sophy Williams. Candle Bible for Toddlers (Candle Library) (Dec.) extends the popular toddler Bible line with a slipcase edition of six small board books. The two U.K. lines are distributed in the U.S. by Kregel. Spanish-language children’s Bibles are also meeting an “enthusiastic” response, says Noelle Pedersen, Lion Hudson distribution manager at Kregel. La Biblia ilustrada para niños (Sept.) and Mi pequeña Biblia (Sept.) are both from Kregel’s Spanish-language Editorial Portavoz imprint.
The ESV Grow! Bible (Oct.) uses Crossway’s English Standard Version translation. Designed for 8-to-12-year-olds, the text is studded with who-what-why “4U” and “Cross Connection” information boxes and bars that enrich and explain.
The Story Bible: 130 Stories of God’s Love, edited by Edward A. Engelbrecht and Gail Pawlitz (June) contains 130 Bible stories with wording drawn from the Bible using the ESV translation. The hefty book, designed for ages 3–up, is adorned with brightly colored realistic illustrations by a team of artists. The first print run sold out, and a second print run might, too, publisher Paul McCain says on his blog, Cyberbrethren.
Catholic Book Publishing
With changes to the Mass coming in November and the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) approved for publication earlier this year, Catholic Book Publishing has been hustling to keep up. Its 11 children’s picture Bibles aren’t affected by the Bible text changes. My Catholic Book of Bible Stories by Thomas J. Donaghy (Mar.), for ages 3-5, is doing well after a spring debut, says senior editor Maria Maggi. The NABRE is used in the St. Joseph New American Bible Student Edition; the house’s trademarked St. Joseph edition features a popular readable typeface.
The Jewish interest specialty house in Minneapolis offers the eco-smart Green Bible Stories by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, with illustrations by Durga Yael Bernhard (Sept.). Lehman-Wilzig is a regular Kar-Ben author, and the house’s Bible storybook line includes several Sydney Taylor Award winners and notables.
Digital? Not App-ening Yet
Digital may be the wave to ride in publishing Bibles and sacred texts for adults, but it’s just coming ashore for children. My First Bible Stories is a free app from Copenhagen Publishing House; Children’s Bible from Barcelona Multimedia is another free app, and the book is also available for e-readers. Muslim Kids Series: Quran was released in August by Yufid. David C. Cook’s award-winning Action Bible, illustrated by DC and Marvel Comics artist Sergio Cariello, is an app for iPhone and iPad. But app development is expensive, and children’s books are not. Look for them to be developed in connection with popular lines. Zondervan’s NIV Adventure Bible has an app to help kids memorize Bible verses. Could be an app-ortunity here.