If you’re looking for a children’s Bible with real heart and substance with an outward-looking theme, then the Children of God Storybook Bible may just be what you have been searching for. When Harper-Collins began to work with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2010 on this project I’m sure it was a real treat. Such an influential leader wishing to communicate God’s Word to children in a unique and personal way must have been a huge honour.
1. ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU VERY OWN CHILDREN'S BIBLE
In 1984 Archbishop Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle and fight for equality and justice in his native country of South Africa. He has gone on to do many other great things, including choosing over 50 of his favourite Bible stories to retell to a new generation. His desire is to communicate God’s love to all people, regardless of race, age, girls or boys.
This feels like a very personal gift as his wit and wisdom and compassionate heart is made clear for all to see in the retellings of the stories.
2. CHILDREN'S BIBLE WITH A WORLD-WIDE HEART
One of the special features of this Bible is the way it seeks to communicate to a wider audience, a global audience in fact. This Bible is all about celebrating the ‘the beauty of diversity’. Enjoying and relishing the diversity of God’s creation.
The idea for the Children of God Storybook Bible was born out of wanting a Bible for children that would be directed especially at the African continent to highlight the gems that are hidden in the Bible. But it goes much further than that and speaks to children from all parts of the globe, and this is certainly part of its beauty.
3. UNIQUE ILLUSTRATIONS
What cannot be denied about this Bible are the beautiful illustrations interwoven into the stories that transport you to the place and time in a very special way. 20 individuals were chosen specifically to bring their own personal take on the story, the characters and emotions involved create an eclectic mix of styles and forms.
“In the spirit of celebrating children all over the world, each illustrator in this book has been invited to draw on their own unique and rich cultural heritage in their portrayal of these Biblical stories. Their art is truly a marvellous reflection of how we are all made in God’s image.” – (Archbishop) Desmond Tutu
4. DOESN'T OVER LOOK THE DIFFICULT BITS
Unlike many of the children’s Bibles available lots of the more challenging and difficult parts of the Bible are often left out, which can leave the child with an incomplete view of the God’s Word especially the last days of Jesus.
The Children’s Storybook Bible is not afraid to tackle these types of stories from Jesus being tempted in the desert, to the trial and death of Jesus. Each story is dealt with in enough detail to give the child an accurate picture, though the words may be hard the illustrations that fall alongside them are beautifully created and full of emotion and atmosphere.
5. HELPFUL INTERACTION BETWEEN STORY, IMAGE AND PRAYER
Each story is covered on a two page spread with the text either all placed on one page or spread across the two with the illustrations covering both pages with stunning finish. One of the great things about this children’s Bible is that each story finishes with a short prayer. This allows children to respond to the story that they have read with a relevant but concise prayer. A prayer taken from the story of Jesus’ crucifixion: ‘Dear God, help me to forgive just as Jesus forgave.’
So if you are looking for a children’s Bible with a difference, one that will stand out on the shelf and spend most of the time off it then look no further as The Children’s Storybook Bible is full of God’s Word, for younger children who can admire the understand the story through the pictures to older children that can follow the words of the stories. Discover the Bible through a different lens from a global perspective.
6. THE ALL INCLUSIVE STORYBOOK BIBLE
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has a smile that gives out warmth and a cheery voice that brightens a room. The very same man who was an instrumental figurehead in the Anti-Apartheid movement, who witnessed and experienced institutional racial prejudice, who was 63 when he first got to vote in his home country of South Africa.
And so, the very same man wishes to give the next generation a legacy. A children’s Bible free from racial prejudice that reverses histories mistakes and guides our future towards social harmony.
7. BANTU EDUCATION
Desmond was a teacher in a Black school when the government introduced a new education law they called Bantu Education. The law was enforced in 1957, and this was its blunt purpose, as said by Dr. Favolt:
"Why do you have to teach blacks mathematics? What are they going to do with mathematics? You must teach them enough English and Afrikaans, the other white language as it were, for them to be able to understand instructions given to them by their white employers."
Shocked and appalled, Desmond found himself questioning his profession. Knowing the purpose of this law, to make docile creatures of the blacks, he was pushed away and stumbled in the work of the cloth.
8. THE IRONY OF HISTORY
The man who was foremost responsible for the apartheid system was Dr. Daniel Malan, a churchman, and an ordained priest in the Dutch Reformed Church. And the man who became the most dynamic opponent of the apartheid system was also a churchman, in fact Desmond Tutu went on to became the Archbishop of Cape Town. History has an ironic way of correcting itself.
In 1978, Archbishop Desmond Tutu became the first black secretary of the South African Council of Churches. This was a significant position which proved to be crucial in the churches fight against racial segregation. Perhaps his most famous quote came from the pulpit, after the police ransacked his town. He spoke words of peace to his frightened and bitter congregation. “Do not hate, let us choose the peaceful way to freedom".
9. THE 1984 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER
When awarded the prize for peace by the United Nations, Archbishop Desmond Tutu had no illusions of pride. It was a corporate award, a symbol of international support, and a political missile to expose injustice. The humble man even joked at his timely luck:
“They gave it to me because I think it is usually better than giving it to an institution and I have an easy name. You know what I mean, Tutu … Any [European] can say Tutu. Whereas if, I mean, I had been something like Matashavalla that might have made it a little more difficult.”
10. WONDERFUL LIFE, WONDERFUL LEGACY
If asked, who demonstrates Christian love, Desmond Tutu would certainly spring to my mind. His life and his actions of peaceful protest is a shining example to the world. And now he has collected artists from around the world to illustrate his all inclusive Storybook Bible as a shining example to children.
“God made every one of us different – but he loves all of us equally, for we are all God’s children’s … This is truly a storybook Bible created by people in many, many lands for children all around the world just like you” – taken from the introduction to ‘Children of God Storybook Bible’.
Truly this Bible is a monumental stamp in history. That people from all corners of the earth can collaborate together to produce something beautiful, all inspired by a man who helped break down the Apartheid and continues to stand for racial harmony.