Short, faith-based content that can be approached one day at a time is a winning combination for young readers, according to religion publishers. For the reluctant reader or a distracted listener, the devotional format can offer convenient, easy-to-understand lessons about the Bible.
“In children’s publishing, we’re always talking about how to make big ideas and rich content accessible to kids,” says Laura Helweg, senior editor at HarperCollins Christian Publishing’s Tommy Nelson imprint. “By their nature, devotionals are a highly accessible format.”
Helweg adds that daily readings allow readers to sit with the content all day. As a result, the format can encourage prayer and introspection “at a kid’s own pace.”
Coming from Tommy Nelson in September, Marvel at the Moon: 90 Devotions: You’re Never Alone in God’s Majestic Universe, by pastor and bestselling author Levi Lusko, aims to demonstrate God’s power to readers ages six to 10. The entries comprise stories, biblical teachings, and facts about space and astronomy, or “God’s creative cosmos,” according to the publisher.
For readers interested in activism, Only Light Can Do That: 60 Days of MLK is based on the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and written by Lisa A. Crayton and Sharifa Stevens (Tommy Nelson, Dec.). The illustrated devotional for ages eight to 12 examines King’s faith and how it impacted his civil rights work. “I hope that kids who encounter this book will understand that God’s vision for the world is one of respect, kindness, and community and that they can push our society closer to that vision,” says Bri Gallagher, acquisitions editor at HCCP.
For ages four to eight, Zonderkidz is publishing Tiny Truths Little Lights Devotional—Shining God’s Light in the World by Joanna Rivard and Tim Penner (Nov.). More than 60 devotions explore who God is and how to be a Christian. And for ages 13 and up, Zondervan YA is offering what it calls “mood-boosting” readings in Sunny Days Ahead: 150 Devotionals for Health and Happiness by Lindsay Franklin.
At Tyndale, Pawverbs for Kids by Jennifer Bleakley (Sept.) combines concepts from the Bible’s Book of Proverbs with 30 short stories about kids and animals. The book was inspired by Bleakley’s Pawverbs series of devotionals for adults, including Pawverbs: 100 Inspirations to Delight an Animal Lover’s Heart.
Bethany House has two children’s devotionals. For ages eight to 12, The Bible Recap Kids’ Devotional: 365 Reflections and Activities for Children and Families (Nov.), by The Bible Recap podcaster Tara-Leigh Cobble, examines and explains key verses in the Bible. Each day in the yearlong devotional also features a bulleted list of truths and facts, explorations of God’s character, and activities “to reinforce what [readers] learned and spark conversations,” according to the publisher.
Finally, The Bedtime Family Devotional: 90 Devotions to Help Your Family Love and Live for God by Ruth Schwenk and Patrick Schwenk (Bethany House, Mar. 2024) places an emphasis on basic theology. Each entry features a verse from scripture, a key truth, an action step, and a prayer intended to help parents root their children in faith.