Depending on what kind of a build-up is taking place in your household as Easter approaches, books written specifically for the Easter season can play a part in creating anticipation for the celebration.
If your goal is to help your child understand the historical story behind Easter, there are a number of books that retell the Easter story with children in mind – but I would add the caveat that for very young children, even though the message of salvation is the essence of the celebration, the introduction of notions of death and resurrection, can be confusing and unsettling. That being said:
- That Grand Easter Day by Jill Roman Lord and Alessia Trunfio is a good choice for younger children. The rhymes and rhythms and the cumulative effect of the repetitions draw children into the story in a very accessible way. For older children (8 – 12 y.o.),
- The Story of Easter by Christopher Doyal is accessible and based on the biblical accounts, with delicate, yet effective watercolour illustrations.
- Love One Another: The Last Days of Jesus by Lauren Thompson and Elizabeth Uyehara is also an effective and non-confronting treatment of the story for even young children.
Of course, to most children, the most outstanding elements of the Easter experience are the Easter Bunny, Easter egg hunts and the compulsory consumption of insane amounts of chocolate – and this has been fertile ground for writers and illustrators of picture books.
If your child ever dreamed of helping the Easter Bunny, imitating his generosity – or even meeting him – then books like:
- the delightful The Easter Egg by Jan Brett;
- Katherine Tegen’s tale The Story of the Easter Bunny, telling how a pet rabbit became the Easter Bunny;
- the addictive and interactive We’re Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes;
- How to Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton, showing how the Easter Bunny outwits his would-be captors;
- the Easter Bunny’s Helpers, by Anne Mangan and Tamsin Ainslie, with its native Australian animal characters and
- Otter Loves Easter by Sam Garton, with its lesson of sharing – and avoiding over-consumption
all fit the bill.
The very creative P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis and the beautiful Rechenka’s Eggs, both draw upon the Russian/Ukrainian traditions of decorated eggs to tell their stories, and if your children are very young:
- the simple and engaging Egg by Kevin Henkes
- Easter Babies: A Springtime Counting Book by Joy N. Hulme
- Max’s Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells, with it’s frustrating, yet ultimately satisfying, egg hunt and
- Spot’s First Easter, Eric Hill’s classic lift-the-flap adventure with Spot the Dog
are ideal choices.
Here’s to making reading a traditional part of creating a Happy Easter for all the family.
Written by Brian Caswell
Brian Caswell is an internationally acclaimed award-winning author and a respected educationalist with over 35 years of experience in the areas of public and private education. As Dean of Research and Programme Development at MindChamps, Brian has dedicated himself to creating programmes that enhance students’ learning, active recall and thinking processes, taking into account the latest research into how the brain learns and stores information.