The Best Catholic Children’s Bibles (Choices For All Ages!)

When you’re first starting out building your Catholic children’s library, it can feel very overwhelming, and quite frankly… expensive!!! Starting out your liturgical library with a good children’s bible can make all the difference, and today I would like to share some of my favorites with you. You can find all of my bible resources for Catholic kids here. Today we are going to dive into the best Catholic children’s bibles just as soon as I tell you why having a good children’s bible is so important for your family.

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Why Having A Good Children’s Bible Is Important

Kids can learn the best when we bring things to them on their own level, but still deliver the truth. There is a way to make the stories such that they are not watered down, but they can be understood by children. This is why having a good children’s bible is so important- so you can read the bible stories to your kids (or they can read them to themselves) and understand the story in a way they can connect with.

Children’s Bibles Are A Great Value

When you first start living the liturgical year at home and teaching your children the bible stories, all the book recommendations out there can be really overwhelming! You can read one blog post that might recommend dozens of picture books about the Easter story alone!

If you have the ability to buy piles of beautiful christian picture books for your family, that is amazing, but I have been in so many places in life where that is not an option for me. Also, while some books can be found at the library, a lot of the more specialized books cannot. 

But when you flip open a good children’s bible, there are so many stories in there! Even a lot of stories of the Saints are often found in children’s bibles! If you’re trying to go over a Gospel story for this week’s mass readings with your kids… guess what? That story might be in your children’s bible! Celebrating part of the liturgical year… guess what? That story could be in your children’s bible! So your children’s bible is a really great resource that can save you tons of money not needing to buy separate picture books (like a picture book about Pentecost, one about Easter, one about Christmas, one about Noah, one about St. Peter, etc.)

Why You Need A Quality Children’s Bible

People in general are drawn to beautiful and quality materials- that is not limited to children, but certainly includes them! The whole Montessori method is based on this- children are drawn to materials made from wood, glass, etc over plastic. They will treat them with more respect than similar but cheap items.

Children are not dummies. They can spot beautiful items of quality. 

I believe your children’s bible should have all the quality of any beautiful picture book for children. You don’t want your kids to be wowed with the colors and artwork in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and then open a children’s bible to find ugly clip art and less than stellar stories. What message does that send to your child about the secular world vs. the christian world? 

This is why I would discourage you from just picking up discounted children’s bibles that can often be found at places like Ross or the Dollar Tree. Find something worth having in your home and then have it there on purpose. 

Different Children’s Bibles Serve Different Needs

A children’s bible that you are reading to your kids might be a different one that you would choose than one they are going to read for themselves. A younger child may need one version and an older child another. So definitely take your own children’s interests and personalities into account when choosing your children’s bible. 

My Favorite Children’s Bibles

I brought in my kids on this, spread out all of our children’s bibles, and we had a discussion about which ones they like the best and why. The kids weighed in from ages 8-14, and I’m going to share their thoughts and mine with all of you! 

We also read the story of Adam and Eve from each children’s bible to be able to compare the differences of storytelling styles, and I thought the kid’s feedback was so interesting. 

Of course these are picture books for kids based on bible stories, not actual bibles themselves. There is one actual bible in this list, and it’s at the bottom of the post. 

I will also be recommending bibles that are not specifically Catholic, so at the bottom of the post I am sharing how the different bibles worded the institution of the Eucharist. You’ll want to take a look at that!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

I am going to start with The Jesus Storybook Bible. Overall, this is mine and the kid’s favorite. I think the stories are captivating, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful! This is ironic because I had seen so many bloggers recommending this Bible that I was sick of it before I ever saw it lol. I happened upon a copy when Easter shopping at Hobby Lobby, and once I picked it up and thumbed through it, I knew it was coming home with me! 

After reading the Adam and Eve story from each bible, this was our favorite version. It has storyteling elements, but covers a lot of the important points from the bible. This bible actually talks about Satan’s fall from being an angel, and mentions biblical details such as the flaming sword, how snakes will forever always crawl on their bellies, and included how Adan and Eve felt after eating the fruit. 

“Violet got the best bible!”- Lydia, age 14 in reference to the Jesus Storybook Bible

My family voted The Jesus Storybook Bible as the best read-aloud bible for kids, and also the most beautiful illustrations and layout.

What I love about The Jesus Storybook Bible:

  • The illustrations are gorgeous, very colorful, and go to the edges of all the pages. Some of the pages are even turned vertically. Every page you open this bible to is beautiful because it is a well designed 2 page spread. The illustrations really seem like true art. 
  • The stories are well written and captivating.
  • It’s a long children’s bible with many stories included. 
  • The illustrations are diverse, having people of all colors represented throughout. 
  • This is available in 45 languages!!!

What I don’t like about The Jesus Storybook Bible:

  • The stories all have weird names, even in the index, so it can be hard to find the story you’re looking for. For instance, the story of Moses is called “God To The Rescue” and the story of Noah is called “A New Beginning”. If you have a feel for the order of the bible stories, it’s not too hard to flip and find what you’re looking for, but I do get annoyed by the cutesy titles. 
  • The wording of the Last Supper is not ideal. It says “My body is like this bread. It will break” So as it goes on Jesus is foreshadowing his coming death. So it’s not wrong here, but it’s not how I would have worded it. As with any children’s bible, it’s not the real bible with the actual verses but a re-telling that children can understand. I had a reader say they crossed out the word “like” with a sharpie marker and that worked for them. 

Tomie dePoala’s Book Of Bible Stories

I absolutely love Tomie dePoala as an author, and Tomie dePaola’s Book Of Bible Stories is no exception! This is a beautiful picture book for Catholic children. In fact, this is the most beautiful actually Catholic picture bible for Catholic kids that I have ever seen. The illustrations are cute and whimsical, and because the author is Catholic, you don’t have to worry about the perspective the stories are told from. 

There is only one drawback for this cute Catholic children’s bible- I wish it were longer! It does include a lot of stories from the Old Testament and also the New Testament, but not nearly as many as some of our other children’s bibles. So it’s a beautiful read from cover to cover, but not as useful as a reference book when needing to be able to find a variety of stories. 

Because it doesn’t have very many stories, I consider it a book that it beautiful for the Catholic home collection, but it can’t be your only children’s bible. It’s just not long enough. 

My family voted Tomie dePaola’s Book Of Bible Stories the cutest actually Catholic picture bible. 

What I love about The Tomie dePaola Book Of Bible Stories:

  • The illustrations are whimsical and beautiful.
  • Tomie dePaola is one of my favorite children’s authors.
  • Because this book is written by a Catholic author, you don’t have to worry about the perspective that the stories are told from.
  • There are many beautiful depictions of Mary throughout the book!

What I don’t like about The Tomie dePaola Book Of Bible Stories:

  • I wish it was longer. Really, that’s it. If this had more bible stories included, it would be at the top of my list. 

The Beginner’s Bible

I also love The Beginner’s Bible. I have a special spot in my heart for this one because I also had it when I was a kid! 

The stories are very brief, without having very many words on a page. For this reason it’s a fast read for kids, and they feel accomplished when they finish because it’s so thick! Having them read it to themselves is a great way to make sure kids know their basic bible stories, and a great way to prevent the kids saying loud things like “Mom, who was Jonah?” in front of your friends and making you want to crawl into a hole. 

“The pictures are so colorful and friendly!” – Violet, age 10

Even though the stories are very brief, this bible does an excellent job of mentioning important biblical details, and telling the most well known stories. It also has a large collection of stories, so it’s a very good overview bible for kids. 

Although the illustrations in this children’s bible are not my favorite, they are very appealing to kids! The kids found the pictures to be very “colorful and friendly”. This bible has always been a hit with my kids and is our most read children’s bible. The pages are even getting worn out. 

My family voted The Beginner’s Bible the best bible for kids to read to themselves. 

What I like about The Beginner’s Bible

  • The stories are short- good for little kids. I often used this bible to read stories to my preschool class because their attention span was short. It was a good way to introduce the bible story to them. 
  • It’s easy to read, making it my top choice for a children’s bible for new readers. When they read it, they also feel very accomplished because the book itself is so thick, but it’s a fast read because there aren’t very many words on each page. 

What I don’t like about The Beginner’s Bible

  • The illustrations are not my favorite. Kinda cartoony for me. 
  • The stories are very brief, which to be fair is also on the “pros” list, but it’s a double edged sword. 

The Action Bible

I absolutely love The Action Bible! I think it’s especially great for tweens or kids that are very interested in comic books. I know there are families that think the pictures are too graphic, but I think they’re really well done. You can buy just the New Testament, or you can get the The Old Testament plus New Testament.

My girls were very uninterested in this bible because they don’t like comics. Fair enough. If you kid doesn’t like comics, they won’t like this bible. 

“I hate comic books. I’m not reading that” – Lydia, age 14

It’s not a good bible for reading aloud because you have to read comic stuff to yourself for it to make since. It is very long and includes a lot of stories not typically included in children’s bibles, so for that I absolutely love it!

My family voted The Action Bible the best for older kids, and kids that like comic books. 

The Picture Book Bible

I personally don’t love this bible, but the kids said I should include it, so let’s take a look at The Picture Bible. I personally love the style of The Action Bible so much that I feel like there’s no reason to have them both. However, if you have a kid that loves comics and the pictures in The Action Bible seem too extreme to you, this children’s bible would be the perfect choice. 

The girls all said they liked this bible better than The Action Bible because the pictures were brighter, yet my daughter that hates comics said she still wouldn’t read it. 

It is long and includes a lot of bible stories that typical children’s bibles don’t include, which is nice. 

Again, comics aren’t a good style of book to read aloud, so you need a kid that is going to enjoy this style and read it to themselves to make this book useful for your family.

My Family Voted The Picture Bible as more colorful than The Action Bible. 

Tiny Truths Bible

Ya’ll… in my opinion, The Tiny Truths Bible is not a good children’s bible. I recently bought it, and it was in the pictures I took so I didn’t want to skip it, but I don’t recommend buying this children’s bible.

The stories are worded weird, it doesn’t include important bible points, and the stories are lengthy in a bad way- honestly seeming full of fluff. Worse than that some of the ways the stories are told actually bother me from a theological perspective. In an attempt to make it accessible for children, I believe they dummed it down way too far. 

The pictures are adorable. I got it because I was searching for diverse bibles for kids, but on second thought The Jesus Storybook Bible actually has really diverse characters, so this was a total waste of money. The best thing I can say about it is that the cartoon bobble head people are super cute and I think kids would like to try to draw these illustrations themselves. Although my kids didn’t find these to be their favorite illustrations, either. 

My family voted The Tiny Truths Bible as not the best in any way. I don’t recommend this bible. 

Catholic Picture Bible

I always thought The Catholic Picture Bible was beautiful, but my kids overwhelmingly agreed that it was the least appealing of our bibles for kids. You can see here that I like to use it as my prayer table bible. 

When I asked the kids what was so unappealing about this bible, they said the pictures looked old, the stories looked long, the cover looked boring, and that even some of the words on the pages having highlights made it seem even more boring and for classroom use. The kids agreed that they would listen to it if it were read to them, but none of them would want to read it. 

Personally, I really do like to use this on my prayer table. I think the golden edges and traditional cover make it a great choice for a classroom bible. The stories are told from a Catholic perspective, so that’s always a positive. 

My family voted The Catholic Picture Bible as the most traditional looking, and most looks like it belongs in a church or a classroom. Also, it was voted by the kids that it looked the most boring. 

The Catholic Children’s Bible

Well to be fair, at this point there is only 1 Catholic children’s Bible that is actually a Bible. You know, with all the verses, stories- like a complete Bible. It’s called The Catholic Children’s Bible, and you know what? It. is. awesome! But it’s not the right thing for little kids that are not yet ready to understand the complete bible stories as written.

Lydia loves this Bible. She got if as a present for making her First Reconciliation. She’s loved it from the beginning, and reads it on her own.

The translation is very readable for kids, easy to understand. There are some pages that have special features, but most pages are your typical Bible pages. It’s very easy to look up different verses for kids. 

The colored tabs have really built Lydia confidence in finding her own Bible passages. It’s very easy to use. She has mentioned several times how much she likes the colored tabs at the sides of the pages. 

I’d say the biggest downside is that it’s very big and heavy. But you know what? It’s the whole Bible, plus explanations, plus cute pictures, plus even more extras, and it’s in a readable sized font. So what do you want? It’s going to be big and heavy! Lol! 

We had a little trouble finding Lydia a case that would fit it. so definitely measure if you’re buying a case, which I also recommend. We also covered the cover in clear contact paper, which I often do with books that I want to last and I spent actual money on. 

This is an excellent resource for Catholic kids everywhere. I’m very glad that someone came out with a child friendly Bible for Catholic kids!

My family voted The Catholic Children’s Bible the best actual Bible for Catholic kids

The Catholic Youth Bible

Getting ready to show my age here… ya’ll ready? My mom got me The Catholic Youth Bible for my confirmation when it was brand new, and I loved it! I used it for years.

At the time, the only translation available was the NRSV, which is not my favorite, but there are several choices now. I like to have the NAB because it’s the translation that is read at Mass. So if I were buying one now, that’s the one I would get (and it’s what I linked to above). I definitely think it’s good for teens to have their own bibles rather than just sharing from the family stash. That way they can feel free to take notes, etc. I would say I would get one for Lydia soon (she’s 14) but she seriously still loves her Catholic Children’s Bible (from above) and she has a journaling bible (below). 

The African American Catholic Youth Bible

This bible was brought to my attention by a reader, and it’s the only one here that I don’t have any personal experience with, but I thought it was worth mentioning! It’s also from St. Mary’s Press (like the bible above). Check out The African American Catholic Youth Bible here. 

Journaling Bibles- Great For Teens!

I think journaling bibles are absolutely great for teens (and even younger children) and I have a seperate post recommending journaling bibles for Catholics here. 

Lydia loves having a journlaing bible and has had one since she was about 10. I got Julian one when he was younger (May age 8?) and he didn’t use his much, but he’s also not really the artistic type. 

Catholic Bible Journaling

Bible Tabs For Easy Scripture Finding

Although it’s a little time consuming to put bible tabs on all the books of the bible, I find that it makes looking up scripture a LOT faster and easier, so it really builds confidence in children learning to use a real bible. I have some printable Catholic bible tabs and each one is a symbol for what is inside that book of the bible, so you might like to check those out. If you’re ordering bible tabs, make SURE you get a Catholic set or it will be missing books that you need.

The Wordings Of The Institution Of The Eucharist

This is a very important point for Catholics, and since some of the children’s bibles I have recommended aren’t specifically Catholic, I wanted to share these very important wordings with you. I didn’t include versions from any actual full bibles, just the picture bibles. 

Lydia helped me out by making this list for all of you. I hope this helps you choose your children’s bible with confidence!

More Bible Resources For Kids

You can find even more bible resources for kids here including free printables, scripture memory resources, the best children’s bibles, and more!

I did not receive compensation of any kind for this post. No one gave me the Bible for free or asked me to post this. All of these opinions are my own, and completely unbiased. The links I provided are affiliate links, which means I do receive a small percentage of the sale if you order through me with no extra charge to you.

Comments

  1. For what it’s worth, the fall of the angels isn’t in the Bible, so that might be why many kids’ Bibles don’t include it 🙂

    One thing I noticed doing home VBS this last week is that the Catholic Picture Bible (ours isn’t leather-looking) includes little bits of helpful Catholic theology too, like that Isaac carrying the wood up the hill of sacrifice is a precursor for Jesus, the lamb sent by God, carrying the wood of the cross up his hill of sacrifice. I was already telling the kids this, and it was a nice surprise to have it in our text too.

    We have 2(!) copies of Beginner Bible (serendipitous 2nd hand or gift) and they get hard use. Make earlier readers feel “serious” and keep picture-lookers busy for a while at Mass (hurrah for 2 then!).

    • RFederline says

      fall of the angels is briefly noted in Revelation (which is how we know that it was one-third of the angels who fell) and is referred to in other passages as a fact, without giving the details of how the fall occurred.

  2. The Catholic Children’s Bible – be careful of the age when purchasing. I loved this bible (copyright 2013) and all its features when we saw it at the store. We bought it and gave it to our second grader at the time. THEN we started reading it as a family (thank goodness!) In the section “The Sinfulness of Sodom” page 47, Gen 19:5 it says “… The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with them.” In our adult bible it only says “… that we may know them”. As parents we did not feel it was appropriate language for a second grader. An adult bible is not even that explicit. Gen 18:12 Abraham and Sarah has a sex reference. There are also multiple references to intercourse vs “lays with” someone. If the wording had been correct, this would have been a home run.

    • Marie, I share your concerns. This is because this Bible uses the Good News Translation.

    • Marie, I looked into this issue a bit (your multiple references were helpful, thank you!) and it looks like the 2017 version has made the language more vague. It still has all of the stories, some of which of course aren’t very kid-friendly no matter what words you use, but it looks like they translated them much better for kids in the newer version.

  3. Thank you for your review of these Bibles! I remembered it when I was sourcing Bibles for my 2nd grader this year – I have a gap in my Bible collection for this grade, so your post is hugely helpful. Thank you and God bless!

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