Biblical Stories for Children:

Abraham & Sarah

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Biblical Books for Children ... General Bible Books (Page 1) (Page 2) (Page 3) (Page 4) (Page 5) | Creation | Noah's Ark | The Tower of Babel | Abraham & Sarah | Isaac & Rebecca | Jacob, Esau, Rachel, and Leah | Joseph | Moses | Balaam's Talking Donkey | Joshua | Samson | David | Solomon | Jonah | Ruth | Esther | Daniel |

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This stunningly illustrated picture book is based on a Midrash about a white ram that is made by God on the sixth day of creation for a single purpose–to sacrifice himself on the altar in exchange for Abrahams son. The art, done in pen and ink, oils, and colored pencil, is mesmerizing. With a captivating use of language along with true drama, Gerstein tells of the ram that patiently awaits the moment when he can play his part in Gods plan. I must save the boy! he repeats, and the story takes on a true sense of urgency. The selfless act contributes much to subsequent Jewish history, and thus to the entire world. Young children might be frightened by the evil one, who is depicted as taking many clever forms in order to foil the rams intention, but most kids will find the tale exciting. Both Judaic and Christological references can be gleaned from the text, but the story is truly ecumenical and would be universal to all belief systems. Dedicated to all our fellow animals from whom we take and receive so much, this book is sure to provoke thought and provide a moment of reflection about those in our lives who sacrifice so much for us. A masterful melding of illustration and story, The White Ram will enhance all collections.

Description from School Library Journal

The story of the binding of Isaac is not for the fainthearted. Abraham's willingness to slay his child, Isaac, in deference to God's wishes has provoked questions for millennia. So how does an author present a story so disturbing to many adults to an audience of children? Basing the story on Midrash, Jewish tales about Old Testament stories, Caldecott Medal-winner Gerstein frames his picture book around the pure white ram that ultimately takes Isaac's place.

The ram waits patiently in the Garden of Eden and beyond until God calls. More than once the Evil One tries to thwart him, but the ram insists, "I must save the child." He runs through swamps and jungles, leaps over lions, and finally scales the sacred mount, where he sees Isaac bound to an altar and Abraham weeping. After God intercedes with Abraham, the ram meets his fate "and his soul [flies] into God's hands." Children who don't know the story will be lost, but, of course, many will be familiar with the biblical tale. Gerstein offers an explanation about the necessity of the sacrifice through dialogue between Abraham and God, with Abraham wondering why God tested him, knowing that he would do whatever was asked. God replies, "I wanted the whole world to see your love and your trust in me so that all people might follow your example." This may temper the scene for some, even as it raises more questions for others. Of course, Gerstein can only work within the parameters of the original text. In that context, he tries hard to bring a sense of nobility to the story, embuing the ram with a fidelity that is heroic.

The art does not shy away from the fearsomeness of the story but it, too, attempts to offer hope. The intense painting, executed in inks, oils, and colored pencil, clearly depict both the evil in the world (as personified by a particularly fierce devilish character in several guises) as well as the power of God and His word. Gerstein uses shape and color to move the action through the lower realms of swamp and earth and then elevates the scene of the sacrifice on a high mountain. Though God is not seen, hints of his hands are visible in the clouds for those who look closely. Especially moving is the double-page spread that shows the broken ram on the altar, its spirit flying into the light. A stirring visual finale, on pages touched with gold, explains how the ram's ashes and bones came to build a great Temple, and how his horns will be used to call the people of Israel home.

Description from Booklist

Little Boy Named Avram

By Dina Rosenfeld
The famous tale from the Midrash of how our forefather Avraham at the early age of three, discovered the existence of the one, true G-d. From The Little Greats Series.

Abraham's Search for God

By Jacqueline Jules

  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book

Jules retells a midrash (a legend based on biblical text) in which the youthful Abraham discovers the concept of monotheism. Rejecting worship of unresponsive idols, Abraham spends time outdoors where he senses an unseen hand directing the movements of the moon, sun, storm, and rainbow. He concludes that "God is everywhere. God is in everything. God is something we know with our hearts." The story ends with the statement that "Today we remember Abraham as the father of three great religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." As is often the case with biblical picture books, the storytelling is slightly formal. However, the energetic pastel illustrations are cheerful and warm, and their swirling motion eases any stiffness in the text. This simply told tale is an excellent introduction to the concept of monotheism, and would be a great discussion starter for talking about God. Its neutral stance makes it useful for readers of many faiths.

Description from School Library Journal

Sarah Laughs

By Jacqueline Jules

  • 2009 Sydney Taylor Honor Award

The story of the birth of Isaac is warmly retold in the second in Kar-Ben's new series of Bible stories for young children. At God's command, Abraham and Sarah leave their home and travel to Canaan with family and friends. But their joy is always dimmed by their wish for a child. God has promised that Abraham will be the father of a nation.

One day three strangers arrive at their tent. Sarah overhears them talking to Abraham, saying that she will soon be a mother.

"I'm too old," she laughs. But God doesn't forget promises…

In a year, a baby is born. She names him Isaac, which means “laughter,” and the world rejoices with her.

Description from Publisher

The White Ram: A Story of Abraham And Isaac

By Mordicai Gerstein
Made on the sixth day of the Creation, a white ram waits patiently in the Garden of Eden. The other animals leave one by one, but the ram waits and waits until he is needed to fulfull God's will by sacrificing himself to save a boy's life.

Description from Publisher

The Ten Tests of Abraham

By Shoshana Lepon
In these enchanting books, Shoshana Lepon provides young readers the opportunity to discover biblical characters in a spirit that is as true to tradition as it is charming in style. Review questions and suggested discussion topics make these books also ideal for classroom use or enrichment at home. In easy-to-read rhyme, and with vivid illustrations, The Ten Tests of Abraham introduces children to a simplified, but undiluted, retelling of the biblical narrative. Based on Rashi' interpretation of the biblical story, the author tells in rhyme of the ten tests G-d imposed on Abraham. These include hiding from Nimrod, leaving his home for Canaan, and the binding of Isaac.

Description from Publisher

Abraham's Great Discovery

By Bernard M. Zlotowitz and Dina Maiben
The talents of two authors and a calligrapher-illustrator are pooled in Abraham's Great Discovery, a new rendition of the traditional account of the patriarch Abraham smashing his father's idols and recognizing the one true God. Raquel Sweeny's drawings and simple lettering beautifully enhance the elegant text. The authors poetically expand upon this ancient story without changing its profound and basic religious message.


By Anne De Graaf

Why Did Sarah Laugh
by Pauline Youd
Sometimes G-d's answer to our prayers is "Yes." Sometimes it is "No." To Abram and Sarai's prayer for a child, G-d's answer was "Wait." I won't tell you the end of the story, but I love the sentence, "G-d didn't think they were too old to be parents." Read and enjoy!

Description from the Author

Abraham and Isaac

By Catherine Storr
Relates the story of Abraham's fidelity to G-d and love for his son Isaac.

Description from Publisher

General Bible Books | Creation | Noah's Ark | The Tower of Babel | Abraham & Sarah | Isaac & Rebecca | Jacob, Esau, Rachel, and Leah | Joseph | Moses | Balaam's Talking Donkey | Joshua | Samson | David | Solomon | Jonah | Ruth | Esther | Daniel |

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