God Came Near to Me – Kristen Wetherell and Grace Habib

God Came Near to Me by Kristen Wetherell, Grace Habib
Also by this author: God Speaks to Me, God Hears Me, God Cares for Me, God Rescues Me
Series: For the Bible Tells Me So #4
Published by Crossway on March 19, 2024
Genres: Children's
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Interactive Board Book Teaches Children about the Wonder of Christ’s Incarnation

Everyone is a theologian―even your little one. Each board book in the For the Bible Tells Me So series offers kids ages 0–4 an introduction to key facets of the gospel and a glimpse at the joy found when children embrace Christ as their Lord and Savior. In God Came Near to Me, author Kristen Wetherell teaches children about the wonder of the incarnation and the redemptive power of Christ’s bodily sacrifice on the cross.

Through repetition, easy-to-understand language, and interactive elements such as simple illustrations of the human body and a lift-the-flap surprise at the end, this board book will keep kids engaged and coming back again and again. Children will be inspired to follow Jesus as they discover how, like them, he used his body to read, play, and ultimately live out God’s purpose for his life.

Explores the Wonder of the Incarnation: Teaches kids how the bodily incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus provide hope and guidance for their lives today
Created for Kids Ages 0–4: Thoughtful language, colorful illustrations, and interactive elements keep kids engaged
For the Bible Tells Me So Series: Each book in this series teaches kids the gospel through an important biblical doctrine
Makes Great Gifts: Perfect for children, grandchildren, loved ones, or a church ministry

This board book is a new installment in a series that introduces young children to key themes from Christian theology. Each book features simple rhyming text from Kristen Wetherell and soft, colorful illustrations from Grace Habib. God Came Near to Me starts out by talking about our bodies, and about how Jesus has a body. The next page explains that he needed to become like us to rescue us. The book briefly explains Jesus’s development from a child to a man, shows how he used his body to care for others, briefly covers Jesus’s death and resurrection, and explains that Jesus is alive and in heaven right now. After this, Wetherell explains to kids that Jesus will return someday and will give us resurrected bodies.

On the final page, there is a flap to lift, revealing a mirror. The mirror paper gives a surprisingly clear reflection, which is an improvement over the first books in the series. It is also a nice touch that personalizes the message for the child reading the book, underscoring the final message that God came near to them. There is also an afterword for parents that explains the teaching in grown-up terms, references Scripture passages, and offers additional ideas for how parents can engage with their kids on this topic.

The illustrations show children with different skin colors, and also depict kids in wheelchairs. However, the text only acknowledges disability once, when the author writes about Jesus healing people during his earthly ministry. I wish that she had addressed the disability experience more broadly. The second page says, “I wiggle my toes, jump up high, climb a tree! My body is good, the Lord gave it to me.” The illustration shows three children climbing a tree, but on the ground, there is a disabled girl sitting in a wheelchair and blowing bubbles. She’s doing something fun, but she’s unable to participate in the same activity as her friends, and she can’t do what the text describes. Because of the dissonance that page creates, I particularly wished that the author had stated that even when your body is different, it is still a good gift from God.

God Came Near to Me is a great board book for parents who are looking for simple ways to introduce theology to their kids. Most of the rhymes flow well, and the book introduces the big concept of Christ’s incarnation while using simple, age-appropriate language and teaching the names of basic body parts. This book introduces biblical concepts and the gospel story in a way that kids can understand, and even adults can find this encouraging. I would recommend this whole series to Christian families and for church nursery contexts, because the books are so grounded in truth and convey it with joy.