More than 10,000 copies of a new book will invite children and families to go deeper into the story of Jesus’s birth in the month of Christmas this year. Following the same day-by-day themes, Advent for Kids features readings adapted from Advent, as well as adding conversation starters and activity suggestions to engage the whole family.
“I love the idea of a book that means that families can journey together through the Advent season,” says Karen Collum, a school chaplain and children’s author who worked with the original book to adapt it for a new readership. “I think our theology around the birth of Jesus should be simple and clear enough for children to be able to appreciate it.”
The new book project is the first for children supported by Adventist Media’s Literature Ministries Committee. “Research indicates that the 4-to-14 window is when most people make a decision for Jesus,” explains Brenton Lowe, coordinator of Literature Ministries. “With Advent for Kids targeting readers between 5 and 12 years of age, this is a great opportunity to reach children with the good news—and their families through the children.”
Mr Lowe says members of the Literature Ministries team received good reports and positive feedback from church members sharing Advent in the lead up to last Christmas. He suggests that the Advent for Kids is an opportunity to follow up some of the same families that received last year’s book and that the two books can be used together by different members of the family.
For Mrs Collum, sharing Advent for Kids will begin close to home this year. “Gold Coast Christian College are gifting the book to each family in our primary school in the hope that they will engage with it as a family,” she reports. “And Gold Coast Central Church are using the book as the foundation for worship services across December.”
Amid continuing limitations of in-person events in Melbourne, the Road to Bethlehem team is using Advent for Kids and Advent as the basis for “A Month on the Road to Bethlehem” with daily video content planned for December expanding on the daily themes in the books.
“I found it a delight to work with Advent as a thoughtful but accessible springboard for creating this new book,” says Mrs Collum. “I wanted to imagine how the entire family could participate in using this book, but it also written in such a way that older children who are independent readers could work through it by themselves.”
Mrs Collum says she gained a new appreciation for the story of Jesus’ birth in working on this project and this is something she is excited to share. “I learned that there is a depth and breadth to the story that is often overlooked in its usual telling each Christmas,” she reflects. “And the humanity of the people in the story shines through when you take the time to go deeper.”
Visit signspublishing.com.au/advent-for-kids to discover more about Advent for Kids, which is available now from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand.