Here are some of the newest and best books about our faith for this Christmas season.
The Mansion, 100th Anniversary Edition, by Henry Van Dyke, and gorgeously painted by Dan Burr, is an abridged picture book with the unabridged version found at the back of the book. This story, that was referred to by the Prophet during his Christmas address, is about an older man who has accumulated his wealth and shares it by carefully using his name in order to receive credit. His son wants to utilize his business sense by working for the poor with which his dad doesn’t agree. One night he dreams he has died and gone to a beautiful place where travelers are heading to a city of mansions where they are entrusted to live by how they lived their lives. But he finds his mansion is but a hut. The lessons learned here are a strong reminder about what is truly important and how Christ desires us to live in the service of our fellowman!
Walk With Me, by Greg Olsen, is a compilation of the most beautiful paintings of Christ and landscapes epitomizing all the wondrous blessings we have in this life. There are uplifting quotes, scriptural references and inspirational text all by Olsen. Here is one exquisite and illuminated picture book that should be on every family room table for all to see and read. There will be a better appreciation of all that we have by turning more to our Lord and Savior.
If I Listen With My Heart I Hear The Savior’s Voice, by Sally DeFord, and gloriously painted by Greg Olsen and Liz Swindle, is a picture book based on DeFord’s wonderful song found at the back of the book. The pictures go right along with the text and almost jump off the pages in song. This book is an inspiration for Primary children of all ages.
My First Book of Mormon Stories, retold by Deanna Draper Buck, and colorfully painted by Jerry Harston, is the perfect companion for little ones to learn about the Book of Mormon while parents study this book during next year. Each of the 19 stories in this board book is simple and easy to understand. It begins with “Lehi Was a Prophet” and ends with “Joseph Smith” receiving the golden plates from the Angel Moroni.
My First Book of the Latter-day Prophets, also by Deanna Draper Buck, and brightly illustrated by Casey Nelson, has a similar format at the previously mentioned board book but with concise and inspirational background of each of our modern-day prophets. This book is also good for ages four to ten.
Illustrated Book of Mormon Stories, retold by Karmel H. Newell, and beautifully illustrated by Brian Call, is another perfect companion for children to learn about the Book of Mormon as their parents study it. This book is geared for older children, ages eight to twelve, as the stories are in much more detail and the text is smaller. However, the book would be a wonderful read-aloud for all ages. The stories are many of the highlights from the book, but as indicated from the front passage, “How to Use This Book”, this book is for supplemental scripture study and is not intended to replace the scriptures.
Libby Boom: I Want to Be Baptized, by Catherine Rae Purves, and illustrated by Tuesday Mourning, is a picture book about a girl who is about to be baptized. She wonders if God knows who she is and through a dream she travels to several parts of the world where she discovers that God does, in fact, know her. This book might be hard to find so here’s the contact information: wonderbookpressd.com.
Who’s Your Hero? Book of Mormon Stories Applied to Children Volume 2, by David Bowman, are stories about Helaman’s Warriors (respecting their parents), Enos (praying sincerely), and Alma The Younger (apologizing). The stories are easy and enjoyable to read as the illustrations alone will draw children, ages four to eight, into the stories. There are also helpful FHE activities outlined at the end of each story. Who’s Your Hero? Book of Mormon Stories Applied to Children Volume 3 , by the same author/illustrator, has the same format but features Captain Moroni (finding protection in righteousness), Nephi and Lehi (following the spirit) and The Brother of Jared (showing great faith).
Pillage, by Obert Skye, is the first in a 3 book series, with the second book, Choke, recently published. Both books are based on the adventures of Beck Phillips who lives in the village of Kingsplot. He has a unique gift of hatching dragon eggs. In the first book, these dragons were destroyed. But in the second book, there is a soft dragon’s egg and Beck must locate and hatch this egg which turns out to be a most ferocious dragon of all. The first book takes a little perseverance to get into the excitement of Beck’s adventures, but stay with it because it will pay off by becoming a page-turner. Both books are good for ages eight to twelve.
Jacob T. Marley, by R. William Bennett, is the perfect book to read to the entire family this Christmas season! The story is based on what possibly led Jacob Marley, Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, to come back to warn Scrooge to change his life. The story begins with Marley’s life growing up with his parents and siblings and how he began to become hardened as a young adult and desiring money above all else. This insightful and well-written book will be an inspiration to change your life for the better. It’s never too late!
Life’s Lessons Learned: Personal Reflections, by Dallin H. Oaks, is an inspirational book about what our beloved apostle has learned over the years. It’s broken into 3 parts of his life: Part I to 1971, Part II Brigham Young University and the Utah Supreme Court, 1971 to 1984, and ending with Part III General Authority, 1984 to Present. The book is written with helpful topics that he learned along the way such as “Adversity”, “Goal Setting” and “Tithing Blessings”. There is an encouraging synopsis at the end of each chapter.
LDS Beliefs: A Doctrinal Reference, by Robert L. Millet, Camille Fronk Olson, Andrew C. Skinner and Brent L. Top, is a book full of our Mormon beliefs with references from all the important doctrines, scriptural references and quotes from our apostles. This book is much like Bruce R. McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” with headings of topics organized in an alphabetical order. These last two books are good for teens to adults.
Holly E. Newton, M. A.
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