Easter Love Letters from God: Bible Stories – Glenys Nellist and Sophie Allsopp

Easter Love Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, Sophie Allsopp
Also by this author: 'Twas the Morning of Easter, 'Twas the Season of Lent: Devotions and Stories for the Lenten and Easter Seasons
Published by Zonderkidz on January 2, 2024
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories, Easter
Buy on Amazon

Are you looking for a way to teach your child about Holy Week and Easter? What if your child could also read a personal letter from God to make the lessons come alive? Easter Love Letters from God: Updated Edition, contains seven beautifully illustrated Bible stories, each accompanied by a special Bible verse and an encouraging letter to your child.

Easter Love Letters from God is part of the Love Letters from God series written by Glenys Nellist. Unique features include:

Seven letters from God
Endearing text that applies each Easter story directly to your child’s life and helps grow their faith
Gorgeous, bright illustrations by Sophie Allsopp
The wonderous stories leading up to Jesus’s resurrection on Easter Sunday
is perfect for ages 4-8
is great for Easter baskets or as an addition to your child’s home library.

Check out other titles from this series: Love Letters from God, Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart, and Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories.

This Easter picture book introduces the events of Holy Week to young children, starting with Jesus’s ride into Jerusalem and ending with his resurrection. Glenys Nellist dramatizes the story in her own words, using short sentences and simple paraphrases that kids can understand. Her writing is expressive and full of feeling, and the story flows well. The illustrations from Sophie Allsopp are soft, colorful, and appealing, and her art style clearly conveys the emotions that the people in each part of the story were experiencing.

Easter Love Letters from God splits the story of Holy Week into seven sections for families to read in the days approaching Easter, and you can also read it straight through. I enjoyed many elements of this book, but unfortunately, I have multiple issues with this retelling of the Easter story. The author includes italicized biblical references, noting the source material for each section, but she heavily paraphrases things and sometimes puts words in Jesus’s mouth. Most notably, when she is writing about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, Nellist says that Jesus told the disciples, “Love tells people how special they are. Love makes someone feel wonderful.” Although Jesus did teach his disciples about love, that statement is the author’s invention, not a quotation from Jesus. It also conveys a fluffy, sweet feeling that doesn’t fit with the text’s emphasis on humility and self-sacrifice.

I also took issue with some of the “love letters from God.” Each section includes a paragraph-length letter that Nellist wrote from God’s perspective to the child reading the book. Some of these letters convey straightforward biblical truths, such as God’s promise to always be with us. Other letters involve creative license, with the author putting words in God’s mouth and imagining God’s thoughts and feelings. The author also paraphrases ideas so heavily that she leaves them open to problematic interpretations. For example, one of the love letters from God says that Jesus will “heal us from everything that hurts us.” Without more explanation and context, statements like that can create false expectations, leading people to expect immediate, complete, and earthly healing for all of their problems, which the Bible never promises.

Also, nothing in this entire book addresses the reality of sin and the importance of repentance. The book communicates that Jesus is a moral teacher who set an example for us to follow, and it says that he died to show us the way to heaven, but there is no gospel message of repentance and salvation. The author also doesn’t really explain why Jesus had to die. In this retelling of the story, soldiers appear out of nowhere to take him away, and there is no explanation of why this is happening, either in the cosmic sense according to prophesies and God’s plan or in the earthly sense of the Roman rulers and Jewish religious leaders’ reactions to Jesus. Although readers can subconsciously fill in the blanks based on their prior knowledge, at face value, this book feels very incomplete to me.

Easter Love Letters from God: Bible Stories has lovely illustrations, and many families will enjoy its simple, kid-friendly retelling of the Easter story without putting much thought into it. However, even though many aspects of this book are very appealing, there are many other age-appropriate children’s books about Easter that accurately, faithfully reflect the biblical narrative and convey a clear message of salvation. Because this book is so oversimplified and takes too much creative license, I cannot personally recommend it, even though I know that many families will enjoy this regardless.