Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Picture Book Legacy of Archbishop Tutu

I waited a few days after Archbishop Tutu's death to offer this post because I saw there was a children's book by Bishop Tutu that I did not know. When it came in yesterday, I realized I had been tricked. I had hoped for new stories! The book photographed above is simply some (18) of the New Testament stories in the fabulous Bible below. 

The words and images are the same, though they are slightly bigger in the book above. The Bible below is out of print! Get your hands on a copy if you can! 

Below you'll also find links to other PBT posts about Archbishop Tutu books! And check out the ABC book by Tutu at the end of this post. 

I don't usually post about children's Bibles, but this one (and its author of course!) are exceptional. I highly recommend this Bible for its diversity of images and the pure godly love within its pages. I'm sorry there will not be another from this great man of God. 

I recently heard again the interview Krista Tippett did with Archbishop Tutu in 2010. Her On Being radio show/podcast played that wonderful conversation again. Here is the link if you don't have the On Being app. My favorite quote from that interview is when he said this about African missionaries: If these white people had intended keeping us under, they shouldn't have given us the Bible.   

Picture Book Bible: Children of God Storybook Bible

Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Illustrators: There are photos in the back of the 20 illustrators whose works grace these stories. The first page has these words from Tutu: In the spirt of celebrating children all over the world, the artists in this book have been invited to draw on their own unique and rich cultural heritage in illustrating these biblical stories. Their art is truly a marvelous reflection of how we are all made in God's image. 

Summary: You'll find 24 Old Testament stories & 32 New Testament stories. Images are diverse in style, as you would expect from so many renown illustrators, but there is also diversity in human figures, including many children in unexpected places. This Bible's promo says that it is truly a global Bible. 


Hanna’s Comments: Both this book and the book above begin with a letter from Archbishop Tutu in which his joyful love for all children shines. It begins: Dear Child of God, Do you know that God loves you?


Besides the beauty and diversity of these pages, I like it because it is not too much text. Often that is the case for children's Bibles. This book can be easily read aloud to a group (it's not too heavy) and snuggled with at bedtime. 


Encourage your children to talk about the images. On familiar stories, you might ask them how the images are different from what they had imagined before seeing this book. If it's a first reading, be sure to read the letter.  

Original Publisher: Zonderkidz, 2010

Age Appropriateness: Preschool and up

Formats other than Book: When I bought the book a decade ago, there was a sticker that said free downloads were available. The website mentioned on the sticker no longer exists. Amazon does have Audible and CD versions. 

Scripture Connections: A few surprising stories are here, surprising because they are not usually included in Bibles of this length. You can read about Naboth's Vineyard from 1 Kings 21 and A Woman's Love for Jesus from John 12.  


3 PBT posts about more picture books from Tutu:

Desmond and the Very Mean Word

God's Dream

Let There Be Light  This book about creation is featured with several others.

Here's another book by Archbishop Tutu! It is an ABC book, another category of books that I don't usually post about here at PBT. 

Picture Book: My Siblings & I: Easy as ABS's

Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Illustrator: Widya Arumba R. L. 

Summary: This ABC book has such positive words for children to learn! When I look at an ABC  book, I'll often look to the back to see what the author did with X,Y, & Z. For this book, X is for Xenial. Archbishop Tutu has taught me a new word! It means hospitable. 

Hanna’s Comments: This is a secular book. God is not mentioned. If I read this book to a preschooler at church, I would encourage them to wonder what God or Jesus would think of the words and images. Love is repeatedly captured here so there would be a lot to consider!

Original Publisher: Akwaaba Publishing, 2021

Age Appropriateness: Toddler and up