The Big Wide Welcome Storybook: A True Story About Jesus, James, and a Church That Learned to Love All Sorts of People – Trillia Newbell and Catalina Echeverri

The Big Wide Welcome: A True Story About Jesus, James, and a Church That Learned to Love All Sorts of People (Tales That Tell the Truth) by Trillia J. Newbell
Also by this author: His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God, God's Very Good Idea: A True Story of God's Delightfully Different Family, Creative God, Colorful Us
Series: Tales that Tell the Truth
Published by The Good Book Company on January 1, 2022
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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five-stars

Bible storybook that inspires young children to be like Jesus and love others.

This beautiful hardback Bible storybook for 3-6-year-olds uses the Bible’s teaching on favoritism from James chapter 2 to encourage children to love and welcome people regardless of their wealth, personality or background, just like Jesus does.

Jesus knows that everyone needs him to rescue them from their sin, and he welcomes anyone who is sorry and asks to be his friend. In this book, children will learn that Christians and churches are called to be like Jesus: to give a big, wide welcome to all kinds of people so that they can hear the good news for themselves.

In this new installment in the Tales that Tell the Truth series, Trillia Newbell addresses the issue of favoritism, sharing the message of James 2:1-26 at a child-friendly level. She provides context for the time period, for ways that people show favoritism today, and for James’s relationship with Jesus, who loves everyone without partiality. The book ends on a joyful note, emphasizing that we can choose to be like Jesus in our interactions with others because of his love for us.

As usual, Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations are colorful, diverse, and inviting, and they help visualize the text. Even without an adult present to read the book aloud, a young child can easily see the story and concepts represented through the art. I am always impressed with the quality of the books in this series, and The Big Wide Welcome is no exception. I especially appreciate it in contrast to other books about kindness and diversity, which tend to argue for good behavior because it’s nice, or because it makes you feel good about yourself. This book clearly grounds everyone’s value in the love of Christ.

Secular picture books about kindness and inclusiveness vary widely in quality, but they tend to be very abstract and can’t anchor their positive messages in a higher reality. This book shares concrete, specific, and vivid examples of both favoritism and welcoming love, making it easy for children to understand the message, and the author provides a reasoned explanation for why everyone matters, instead of just making the assertion. This book is a wonderful resource for families, churches, and Christian schools, and I highly recommend it.

five-stars