A humorous post on reading Bible story books to my daughter

Any atheist parent with religious relatives will have to figure out how to deal with the Bible story books their children will inevitably be given for birthdays and Christmas. This is something that’s been on my mind lately because a Noah’s Ark board book has suddenly become my young daughter’s favorite book.

Some atheist parents may just return Bible themed story books when their children receive them as gifts, and that’s fine, but I didn’t want to do that. Now I know I could just read them to her and not differentiate between them and any of the many other stories she reads, but I’m not sure she’s old enough to understand myth yet and I’m still, I think, a bit gunshy about the whole thing.

So I’ve taken a different tack altogether. I just change the books’ content. My daughter can’t read yet, after all. (Is this where I put an evil smiley?)

Now to be clear, there are a few books I’ve simply removed from my daughter’s bookshelf and hidden away, specifically the ones depicting the crucifixion or other disturbing scenes. You would be surprised how graphic some “children’s books” are. This is absolutely not okay with me. Most children’s Bible story books, though, are fairly sanitary.

This particular Noah’s Ark book does not show or even mention the large number of people who died anguished deaths in the flood. Instead, it focuses on lots of pictures of animals. I read it like this:

This man is Noah. He is building a big boat called an “Ark” so that all the animals can have a boat ride. Look, see how excited the animals are? They’re getting on the boat to have a boat ride. Now it’s starting to rain, and look at that, now the boat is in the water. Look how happy all the animals are! And there are the fish, swimming alongside the boat saying “hi!”

Now the boat has landed on a big hill, and all the animals are getting out. Wasn’t that a fun boat ride? Look, the boat ride was so fun that Noah and his family are clapping!

And there, in the sky, is a rainbow. We see rainbows in the sky after it rains, and see, there’s a rainbow in the book because it rained while the animals were on their boat ride.

My daughter loves it. She wants me to read it again and again. She recently found another Bible story book in her bookshelf, a nativity scene book, and brought it to me to read. As I took it, I knew I would probably have to be a bit more creative. Here’s how I handled it:

This woman is named Mary.

“What’s that?” my daughter interrupted, pointing at the angel hovering over Mary.

That is an angel. An angel is a person with wings that can fly like a bird. Do people have wings?


That’s right, people don’t have wings. Angels are just pretend, just in stories. Does that make sense?

“Yes. Now read!”

Okay, so anyway, the angel told Mary that she is going to have a baby. Look how excited Mary is! Now look, Mary and her husband Joseph are getting ready for their baby. They can’t wait to meet the new baby. When people have babies they paint rooms and buy clothes and toys and get ready, and that’s what Mary and Joseph are doing.

But look, now they have to go on a trip. Mary is riding on a donkey because they don’t have a car. See her big belly? She’s going to have a baby. Now it’s nighttime, and they have to find somewhere to sleep, but all the hotels are full! What will they do?

There, they found a barn and asked the animals if they could sleep there with them, and the animals said “yes.” Wasn’t that nice? That night Mary had her baby. See? There’s the baby, she’s holding it, and all the animals are looking. Mary and Joseph are so happy to have a new baby.

These angels are telling everyone that Mary had her baby, because everyone always gets excited when someone has a baby. Today, we call people on the phone to tell them when a baby is born, and people come to the hospital to see the baby. See look, now the people are coming to the barn to see the new baby.

And here, these old men, these grandpas, are coming to see the baby too. They’re riding on camels because they have no cars. Oh look! The grandpas brought presents for Mary and Joseph’s baby! Wasn’t that nice? People always bring presents when someone has a new baby.

Upon shutting the book, I was rewarded with the words every parent of young children comes to expect and secretly dread: “Read it again!” It seems my maverick book reading abilities are quite a success.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • MadGastronomer

    I understand how you could be a bit sensitive about the religious elements, but do you check to make sure your daughter knows that Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch or whatever other fantastical elements she comes across are only in stories, too? Mostly I ask because kids do pick up on these things sooner than people think, and you may find yourself being asked why you say that about some stories but not others.

    • Libby Anne

      I do, actually – she knows that Big Bird and Oscar are just puppets. And when we watch Star Wars or Harry Potter with her, we make sure she knows they’re pretend so that won’t have bad dreams about them.

      And as she gets older I don’t have a problem explaining the whole “God” thing to her, it’s just that I don’t think she’d understand yet at all. And there’s a difference between a giant bird and “this baby is the son of God.” I mean, if I read her stories of Greek myths, I’d be reading them as stories and not getting into the whole “this is a god” thing.

      Anyway, this post was meant to be humorous, not a tutorial on how to raise children without religion. :-P

      • minuteye

        I had a big book of Greek Myths as a kid, and based on the wear and tear on the cover, it was a fan favourite. The allegorical nature of the stories is very appealing. It makes me wonder whether (hypothetically) a child even could be indoctrinated into believing in the Greek pantheon these days. Barring a very serious level of isolation from the world, how much do you think what a child will grow up believing depends on the assumption of general society that the belief is reasonable? I’m just thinking about all the thousands of casual references to belief in a monotheistic God I’ve seen on TV over the years.

      • MadGastronomer

        OK, thought I’d ask.

        Actually, Minuteye, I believe in and worship the Greek pantheon (yeah, one of those crazy pagans), and it definitely started with reading lots and lots and lots of Greek mythology as a child. Not as indoctrination, they were presented like the fantasy novels I also read lots of, but still.

      • minuteye

        My apologies MadGastronomer. On reread, my comment did erase modern pagans, which was not my intention.

    • Gordon

      Bad the kids are unlikely to meet many people in real life who try to convince them that big bird is real and ask if Sesame Street is not a real place what basis can they have for spelling or math.

      • MadGastronomer

        But treating Bible stories differently from other stories will make them seem different long before people have a significant chance to try to indoctrinate the kids to believe in them. If the fantastical elements in them are treated exactly the same as the ones in other stories, then the kids will know that all of them are just stories, and should actually be more resistant to people trying to convince them of Christianity.

        I wasn’t trying to talk Libby Anne out of doing it to the Bible stories, I wanted to make sure she was doing it to ALL stories, the better to achieve her aims. Bible stories were very much present as “just stories” to my brother and I as well, although we did get more religious versions of them, attached to the holidays. Neither of us is Christian today, and both of us had the chance to choose for ourselves.

        I may be a crazy pagan, but I’m a firm secularist, and a firm believer in letting every person choose for themselves, whether that’s belief of whatever kind or non-belief, and I wanted to support Libby Anne in this if I could.

    • kisekileia

      I agree. I think that overemphasizing “this is just a story” for Christian stuff could lead to Sally seeing religious ideas as somehow taboo with her parents, which could be problematic if she ever wants to explore religion.

  • Kevin Alexander

    If your daughter is anything like mine was you’ll have to remember the exact words that you used. She’ll spot it if you don’t.
    I used to get bored reading the same thing over and over so I’d try to fix it by making it more interesting but, no, you can’t do that.

    • Gordon

      My friend’s little girl said to me “no, do it the way Mummy does” so I asked “how does Mummy do it?” and she said “properly”

      • http://sheilacrosby.com Sheila Crosby


  • embraceyourinnercrone

    What a cool way of respecting the gift of a book,but making it what it really is,for your child, an interesting story with no mention gods or religion , its not needed to make it a fun story. I was raised Catholic but am fortunate that my parents respect my atheism and never gave my daughter religious themed books.

    Apropos of nothing her favorite books were Tacky the Penguin, Princess Smartypants and A porupine named Fluffy. Reading with her was one of the things
    I most enjoyed, I kind of miss it but she is seventeen now.

    • Rilian

      I wish my mom would still read with me, and I’m 25.

      • embraceyourinnercrone

        To be fair she does,now enjoy me reading interesting blog posts but its only recently that has happened. She at least has outgrown the eyeroll. And she reads everything so if I helped her develop a love of books that’s all I really wanted. I do like that she is into some of my favorite books now.

      • MadGastronomer

        Hee. My mom and I still read chunks of books to each other sometimes. And when I was visiting over the holidays and my brother and his wife and child were there, I started reading a book to the baby. He’s only a year old, and got distracted and ran off about eight pages in (which I’m told is two pages more than normal). My sister-in-law demanded that I finish the book for her, and gave me very specific instructions on how to do so.

        It was a lot of fun, actually. Very funny book. Skippyjon Jones In the Doghouse or something. And now I have to get all of these books for the kids in my life.

  • lharris

    My grandma sent me a picture book on The Ark when I was young. It was very well illustrated, and I thought it was a nice little story about the weather, something I was interested in as a kid. (That interest grew to the point that I’m now an atmospheric scientist for NOAA, of all things.) One page even showed Noah building his ark despite the ridicule he was getting, which is a pretty neat little lesson in ignoring those who put you down for being a little different.

    There was one thing my seven-year-old mind didn’t quite understand, though. Who on earth was this God fellow who kept telling Noah what to do and sent the animals to the Ark? I didn’t see him pictured anywhere in the book…

  • BRamsey

    Start them all with “Once upon a time…” Children quickly learn that those “magic words” mean the story they are about to hear didn’t really happen and is all make believe. They are also more willing to accept bizarre non sequiturs. Kids don’t question that a wolf can dress and look just like Grandma or that maidens can turn into swans once they understand that the stories are make believe. So they won’t question a flood.

    Kids are able to absorb a lot of violence in fairy tales too. Throughout all of the editions they produced, the Grimms kept increasing the violence and removing the sex. By the last edition things were pretty violent. Step-sisters getting their toes cut off, eyes pecked out, etc. But people and kids still read them.

    I’m not sure at what age kids know the difference between fiction and reality. If your daughter understands about fairy tales, just start all mythological stories with once upon a time and she’ll get the idea.

    • chrisj

      The line from the Grimms that I always quote at people who try to tell me that they were just as sanitised and fluffy as any of the modern versions is the end of Snow White, where the evil stepmother is forced into red hot iron shoes and made to dance herself to death.

    • Yukimi

      There’s a book called “The witch must die” by Sheldon Cashdan about traditional children’s tales and one of the points it makes is that the most famous books used to follow the following scheme (I’m going to use Hansel and Gretel as an example):

      -Protagonist with a defect or “sin”: The kids were gluttons and tried to eat the house of the witch.

      -Antagonist with the same character flaw x10: The withc was an even worse “glutton” because she wanted to eat the kids.

      -Resolution by Violent death of the enemy as a catharsis for the kids: Witch in the oven anyone?

      I’m sure I’ve missed some parts but this is what I remember.

  • Kat

    My mom told me much later that she used to “fix” older books like “The Boxcar Children” when she read them to us to remove any sexist parts :)
    I also remember her bringing home a big collection of Children’s bible stories one day that were written by a priest. My mom, a very devout Catholic, was insistent that she would read one with my sister and I each evening (I think we were maybe about 8/9 and 6/7). Of course we protested, because my sister and I both hated “church stuff,” but mom insisted.
    The first story was, of course, a retelling of the two Biblical Creation myths. My mom sat down with two grumbley little girls to read, and it soon became clear that she had not pre-screened this book.
    She got near the end and read allowed “And as punishment of the woman, God…” all of a sudden her eyes got huge and she shook her head and said “well I don’t believe THAT for a second.” She quickly closed the book, put it on a high shelf and said “we’re done with this book.” Of course at that point, my sister and I were BEGGING her to tell us what the woman’s punishment was. I remember saying “I’m not going to BELIEVE it, mom, I just want to know what it was,” Mom went on about how she didn’t want to give us the wrong idea about God and insisted that we go play.
    We never had to sit through another “Bible story” time again.
    Years later I found out about the “pain in childbirth” thing and found it just as ridiculous as my mom did. I wasn’t offended though–to me it was just mythology like, the variation of Pandora’s Box that most of us are familiar with (Women’s curiosity, it will destroy us all you know!)
    The difference is, my mom really believes (or at least believed at the time) in a literal “Adam and Eve” and that really shook her.

  • student

    I have a question. What you wrote above is how you read the book, right? So you made up that text? I’m curious what text actually came in the book? I haven’t read any of these Noah’s Ark story books and I don’t know what they would actually say. How does it compare to what you wrote above?

    My parents were atheist, and they let me read things like the Children’s Illustrated Bible, and the various big books of greek myths (titles I can’t remember now). I don’t think they let me read any of the versions with the graphic violence and rape, but other than that, they let me read all the Christian stories in the same spirit as all the other historically religious myths. I think it was a good way to go. And when my grandmother sent me picture books or talked about prayer, my parents would explain that some people believe that, and some people believe this, etc, and they have spent time researching these and have decided they don’t believe in any of those religions, and when I’m older I’ll have to decide for myself what to believe, etc. The point was to teach us to question things and think for ourselves, not to keep us from hearing about Christianity. (But also my extended family was nowhere near as pushy as yours sounds like).

    In particular I remember being given a picture book where Mary and Joseph are saved from Herod’s men by a spider spinning a web over a cave so it looks like no one is in there, and then they put the spider web over a nearby bush and … that’s where Christmas trees come from! It looks like tinsel, see? Of course that story is nowhere near true and isn’t even believed by most Christians, but whatever. I think my parents let us have that book and read it and everything, but also made a point of having books lying around about the historically pagan origins of most of the Christmas tree stuff.

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

    Such fun. Just last week I was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art surrounded by Madonnas with Childs and to relieve my irritation, I just reminded myself, “this is essentially their way of celebrating the central role of mother and baby in human life” and all these angels are just depictions of beautiful human bodies, etc. So, it works on adults too!

    By the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet, Alison Gopnik’s book The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life is terrific for sorting out exactly what kinds of knowledge and awarenesses little ones have at various stages of development. It’s incredibly charming and eye opening.

    • Here I Am Again

      @Daniel, I guess there’s just different reactions (I was raised by a very devout Mom, but she wasn’t into the whole thoughtcrime aspect of theology, so that could be why I’m numb / not as sensitive to such iconology) to art.

      I don’t like how some of it is done, but most of it, I appreciate the beauty and let the context just evaporate.

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

        I just don’t like Christianity or its symbolism. It’s not that I’m scarred.

  • jose

    “Look, the boat ride was so fun that Noah and his family are clapping!”

    Haaaa priceless!

  • amavra

    I do that a bit, but I keep more mythological stuff in it. I have 3 books of myths that my daughter (4) really likes and I read them as is. I actually haven’t started picking through what is real and what is pretend too much, I like seeing if she picks it out or cares. I don’t tell her they are true, and she certainly knows that fairy tales and cartoons aren’t real but she also isn’t very concerned about them being real. She just likes them.

    The book I did edit that way was “Just in Case You Ever Wonder” by Max Lucado. It is obnoxiously smarmy preachy stuff tucked in what is otherwise a really nice sentiment about being there for your kid when they need you, (and better than that God is there for you). My daughter doesn’t mind too much about changing the words each time. I am reminded that I need to read with my babies more.

  • http://giliellthinkingaloud.blogspot.com/ Giliell, not to be confused with The Borg

    Are we talking about the Lucy Cousin’s “Noah’s Ark”?
    My daughter got that given in a bank.
    I should note that I’m German where catholics are liberals (compared to US catholics) and evangelicals are unknown.
    We read that like “Father Christmas goes on holiday and invites the animals to join him”.*

    I sometimes have problems figuring out how to explain religious ideas to them (the oldest is 4).
    If somebody says “they’re in heaven”, she thinks about space.
    We play a lot of make-belief, they have a great imagination, but I’m also trying to incorporate “reality checks”.

    Fortunately, our families are lagely atheist and most christians are also more cultural cristians than believers.

    *I think the largest genocide in the history of fiction isn’t appropriate reading material for kids. It always amazes me how much violence people think OK but then freak out over “Mummy laid an egg”

    • Christine

      Noah’s Ark is not a good children’s story! We got given an adorable one for our daughter’s baptism, but I think it’s going to be for us, not her, because the pictures are really disturbing, even without the story as a whole.

      • Caravelle

        I think Noah’s Ark is an awesome children’s story. It makes you want to pile up all of your toys and stuffed animals on your bed and pretend it’s a boat and you need to survive on it until the waters recede. (actually I think I did exactly that as a child, I can’t remember if it was explicitly a Noah’s ark scenario or something else). Taken a certain way it’s the epitome of a Cozy Catastrophe story, and who doesn’t love those.
        I’m being partly facetious – I’m sure tons of people don’t like Cozy Catastrophe stories, and obviously tons of people don’t get that out of Noah’s ark and get stuff about the horrors of God’s rage instead. But I do think there is no such thing as a clear line between “good children’s stories” and “adult stories”, and insofar as that line exists I don’t think “disturbing” is the main factor. It all depends on what you get out of it, and just because something has disturbing elements or themes doesn’t mean all children will be disturbed by it. If anything I’d think it’s the opposite – sometimes children will take things in stride in a story because they don’t have the experience to understand how horrible they really are. And sometimes they won’t; it depends on the child I guess.

      • Christine

        I think that the Cozy Catastrophe aspect is exactly my issue with it. The only way to enjoy the story is to ignore all the suffering. Emotional intelligence is a priority with us for her (partially because I’m autistic spectrum, so we’d like to help her as much as possible as early as possible, just in case). I can see how it would be fun, and we’re not going to try and keep her from it, but it’s not the story we want to focus on.

        We picked a Biblical name for her, worked really hard to find a good feminist example, and now we can’t find the story of her namesake at all.

  • Happiestsadist

    That is both hilarious and adorable. I was raised by anti-religious parents who had/have a big interest in mythology, so I got told/was allowed to read once I could most of the major myths as equally fictional stories. Baby Jesus in the manger was as improbable and clearly a myth as Perseus and the Minotaur, Coyote’s trickster ways, and bunnies in the moon and peaches granting immortality.

  • Mudskipper

    First, let me tell you how much I’ve been enjoying your blog since you showed up here on Freethought blogs. I’ve learned a lot from your series of end-times posts.

    Do the books you are reading have words? If so, I just want to say that I went a long way in teaching myself to read by reading along when my mother read a book to me. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if she hadn’t actually read the words on the page.

    • kisekileia

      Same here. My boyfriend did this too.

  • Beck

    Libby, I’ll take your version of those Bible stories any day! Those are such sweet re-writes, I had to go read them to my wife, who audibly “Awww…”-ed.

    I remember we had probably 5 or 6 different illustrated children’s Bibles growing up, with all of the really nasty OT stories omitted or highly sanitized, and a toned-down, bloodless crucifixion. As an adult, though, my favorite picture Bible is definitely The Brick Testament.

  • wonderer

    “So I’ve taken a different tact altogether.”

    Aaargh, me bonnie lass…

    The sailor in me can’t abide this abuse of nautical terms. The term is “tack” as in “tack to starboard”.

    “Tact” on the other hand is some land lubber thingie, no self-respecting pirate would have anything to do with. Aye?

    • anthonyallen

      Tack, when used as a verb, is exactly that, i.e.: to change direction by moving the bow through the wind.

      When used as a noun, it describes the direction that the wind is blowing over the boat’s gunwhales toward the sails, i.e: starboard tack or port tack.

      So, in the contest that she used it in, Libby Anne is correct.

      • wonderer

        She didn’t use the word “tack”. She used the word “tact”.

      • anthonyallen


        Sorry :(

        This is why I’m usually a lurker, because I’m obviously stupid.

  • http://www.brooksandsparrow.com Angelia Sparrow

    When I was a kid, I had the Childcraft books. One thing I never forgot was “A House to Nobody” whitch read “People used to build houses to nobody. Male nobodies were called gods. Female nobodies were called goddesses.”

    I’m a pantheist, which is like atheism with energy work (aka psyching myself up).

    My kids got it all. Bible stories, Greco-Roman, Celtic, Norse. (I know, I know, very white, but those have the most influence on our day-to-day lives. We have Thursday, not Amaterasu-day) And they treat it all as “Stories that people created to explain things, long ago.”

  • Jude

    I raised 3 atheists. I never found it necessary to change the content of religious books all that much. A story is a story. Besides, why should it bother me if one of them actually became religious? I’d be surprised, but I’m raising my kids to know as much about the world as possible and to make intelligent, rational decisions on their own. Censoring Bible stories was never part of that either. I’m quite happy that you misused the word tack, though. This is the second time I’ve come across this error in two days, so now I’ll definitely include it in a book review I’m writing.

    • Libby Anne

      No worries, I plan to expose my daughter to all sorts of different views. And yes, the point isn’t to raise an atheist child, but rather a child who can think critically and make her own choices. I would never repeat my parents’ expectations that a child be a copy of its parents’ beliefs. It’s just that she’s so little and has no idea of the concept of God yet, so what would she even make of a book where “God tells Noah to…”

  • http://killedbyfish.blogspot.com feralboy12

    If your daughter is anything like mine was you’ll have to remember the exact words that you used. She’ll spot it if you don’t.

    My daughter was like that. Fortunately, neither her parents nor any of her grandparents had any religious books lying around.
    I did, however, have a book of natural history with the “march of evolution” graphic on the cover. She wanted to know what that creature on the left was; the best I could come up with on the spot was “it’s kind of a monkey-man.”
    Not only did she remember that exact phrase every time she saw that book, she remembered it when she saw one of my brother-in-law’s bodybuilding magazines, to much hilarity.

  • 24fps

    Well done, Libby Anne!

    My Evangelical Lutheran mum-in-law and I were talking about bible stories for children when my kids were small, or rather why her son and I were not in favour of having them around. although she’s not prone to proselytizing, she’s always been uncomfortable with the idea that we are non-believers and would have dearly loved introducing our girls to Jesus. I try to be gentle with her because she’s otherwise a very kind and loving person, she’s quite elderly (in her late 70s when our eldest was born) and she managed to a pretty spectacular son.

    Anyway, I asked her what stories she thought would be appropriate for children. Noah’s Ark, of course! The animals, god’s love, the promise about the rainbow, wonderful story for little children. What about the dead people, we asked. What dead people? Well, if only Noah and his family were spared, then everybody else dies. Even the little kids.

    Poor Mom. She’d never even considered the idea. It left her completely gobsmacked. She stopped broaching the subject, though, so it was a bit of a win, but I still felt a little bad about it.

    My heavily evangelical sister in law used to send Christian children’s fiction at christmas time, but after a quick pass we were usually able to disappear them in the confusion of stuff fairly quickly. They were never missed. Eventually they stopped coming. Last summer she brought her grandson out for a visit (he is about the same age as my younger daughter) and he told my kids about how atheists we’re terrible monsters who would steal his soul. My girls (who both identify as atheists) just said, yeah, that would be scary. Let’s go to the park. :-)

    Family can be such a minefield sometimes. We try to handle the foibles of ours with charity and good humour.

  • David Hart

    A friend of mine was a voracious reader as a child, and received a bible from his grandparents at about the same time as he got a set of Greek myths from someone else; he read them both, and assumed them to be equally mythological. His parents took him to church, and he was involved in some sort of church youth group (this is Church of Scotland by the way, which is fairly on the liberal end of Protestantism) – thinking that it was a sort of charitable and generally let’s-do-sociable-and-beneficial-things-together sort of organisation, and he had been going for quite a long time before he realised to his surprise that the others actually believed some of the myths. I find that both sweet and quite funny.

  • http://skjaere.livejournal.com/ Skjaere

    When I was very young (maybe six or so) I developed a keen interest in Greek mythology. I loved those stories, but I never thought they were real, or even realised that at one point, other people had believed that they were. With any luck, your daughter will come to regard Bible stories in the same way. Best of luck! I know it’s a fine line to walk with the relatives.

  • Stewart

    I spare my son nothing (he’s five now and has told me about kindergarten arguments he’s had with friends who believe in god), but one of the best anecdotes is the earliest, dating from when he was about two and a half. I told him the Garden of Eden story so that a reference in a Cole Porter song wouldn’t remain obscure to him. There was only one thing that really bothered him then and for days afterwards: after god threw Adam and Eve out of the Garden, was the poor snake left all on his own?

    • Tsu Dho Nimh

      There was only one thing that really bothered him then and for days afterwards: after god threw Adam and Eve out of the Garden, was the poor snake left all on his own?

      That’s a deep theological question! (out of the mouths of babes and all that). Sweet of him to have concern for all, isn’t it.

      I vaguely remember that the snake was expelled too, cursed to never talk again and crawl on his belly

  • student

    I didn’t think of this at first, but I agree with the person upthread who pointed out that reading along with their parents is an important way that kids learn to read. I think that if you read aloud a lot, moving your finger under each word as you read it, and occasionally sounding out long words, your kid can learn to read just from that. So I think if you’re going to change the words, its important not to have her “reading along” by looking at the text in the book.

    • http://aceofsevens.wordpress.com Ace of Sevens

      This was my concern, too. This is why FTB is trying to score a parenting blog.

  • daledobson

    I remember a big anthology of children’s literature I had as a kid, which included a few stories about the Norse gods; I was a big fan of Marvel Comics’ Thor at the time, and I distinctly remember reading this book while I was stuck at church on at least one occasion (my Dad was a minister then) before I entered the fourth grade. It didn’t necessarily register with me at the time, but reading these adventurous stories about other, clearly fictional gods and goddesses likely had some influence on my thinking about the Biblical stories. Though I still suffered considerable confusion about how the Conscious Pilot fit in at Easter.

  • Rilian

    My grandpa gave me a children’s bible when I was 5. I knew my grandparents believed that the bible was true. I had never read anything from it before. I read the children’s bible and some of the stories at least made sense, but I knew that didn’t mean they were true. But then I knew some of them couldn’t possibly be true. Like a woman giving her last penny to the church, and then god provided for her. Uh, provided how? Or the one where what’s-his-face was gonna cut a baby in half? Why would *anyone* want half a baby?

    Point is, your kids can probably figure out for themselves that it’s nonsense if you just let them.

  • Kellen

    “Because they don’t have a car,” cracked me up.