Mom read us books as little children and the one she read the most and that I remember most vividly is Kenneth Taylor's The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes (the original of it, 1956- the year I was born). The pictures stood out to me and for me as a child were surely iconic, as the simplicity, clarity and power of the spoken word came through clearly for a child in Kenneth Taylor's (the author of the paraphrase The Living Bible) words, with simple questions at the end of each short entry.
This book surely was the most formidable of all books for me as a child in influencing and shaping my thought and formation, the fruit of it coming forth in my conversion years later. But before my conversion I rarely if ever doubted the truth of the simple gospel, or of the Bible. It's only now, as I look back on it, that I begin to understand just a little the profound impact this book, and my mother's faithful reading of it to us, had on me.
The picture of Jesus hanging on the cross always stood out to me. Also the first picture of the book- of God creating the heavens and the earth, along with a good many others. Each picture was quite important to us, and the words were kept simple and few, with good questions afterwards, just right for a child.
I have many good childhood memories, but this ranks among the best. My guess is that Mom often read several at a time. I can't remember exactly how I felt during such times, but I'm sure it was formational for me and to this day has an impact on what I do in more ways than I can understand. I think what it did tell me is that the Bible is both true and true to life. So that I carried that belief with me, even through my years of rebellion.
There are surely better books out there for children now in expressing the truth of God's word and God's kingdom come in Jesus. But surely there's no better book as to the format that was used and captured me as a child, preparing me for a love for God's word and the story in it, which continues on to this day.
Do you have any similar story? What book or books shaped you the most through your formidable years?
Thanks to Diane, of Emerging Quaker, who both brought up this question to her readers and then asked me to develop my thoughts further.