A 12-year-old boy knocked softly at the open door of a classroom in a Nairobi, Kenya slum. The teacher motioned for the young boy to come in. Her warm smile gave him the confidence to step in and share what was on his heart.
“Thank you for giving my brother this small book,” he said softly, holding up a well-worn copy of The Story of Jesus, a colorful booklet that presents the gospel to children in engaging, age-appropriate ways and shows them how to share the gospel with others. “It has really made a difference in my family.”
The boy went on to share with the teacher, Serah, who serves as the David C Cook Africa regional manager, the amazing story of how his entire family had been led to Jesus by his eight-year-old brother. The little boy used the book to share the powerful, winsome gospel of Jesus Christ with his siblings and even his alcoholic father.
“What you are teaching about God’s provision is true,” the boy told Serah. “Now that my father knows Jesus, he doesn’t drink anymore. Our home is peaceful. And now we have more money for food, and I get to go to school again because we can afford the school fees. God is good—and He gives us what we need.”
Half a world away in Oregon, a boy adds his name to the list of 15 kids who are eagerly waiting to check out The Action Bible from their public school’s library. The Bible, donated by Bibles in Schools, always has a waiting list at this school, says the nonprofit’s founder, Hannah Sailsbury.
Sailsbury started Bibles in Schools in 2019 after seeing a ripple effect in families whose kids were reading the Bible. As a former public elementary school teacher herself, she remembers seeing one second-grade student who didn’t like reading flipping through a worn, hardback copy of the King James Bible—and enjoying it. When she asked him where he got it, he said from the school library.
“I thought, if he’s so excited to read this old Bible, what if we had a Bible that had pictures and was more on his reading level? And so I went to the Christian bookstore, looked at some Bibles and found The Action Storybook Bible,” she said. “I asked to donate it to our librarian, and she said, ‘Sure.’ And I was like, that was so easy, so you might as well just keep going with it!”
Since then, Bibles in Schools has donated more than 10,000 copies of The Action Bible to more than 3,000 public school libraries.
In schools, homes, and on the streets of cities and towns around the world, the graphic novel style illustrations in The Action Bible bring the stories and truths in God’s Word to life and immediately capture a child’s attention, making it Amazon’s #1 bestseller in the Children’s Comics – History category, and #3 in Children’s Bibles. The Action Bible is published by David C Cook.
Stephanie Bennett, editorial manager at David C Cook, says the incredible illustrations are what make The Action Bible so appealing to all ages.
“Today’s culture is so highly visual, so we need a way to picture what’s going on,” said Bennett. “It’s such an approachable way to go through the entire Bible that many parents are learning alongside their children as they read. It’s such a visual representation of God’s Word.”
“The Action Bible is just so captivating,” says Carolina (name has been changed for anonymity), who has given away more than 12,000 Bibles to kids and families in her community. She started a grassroots ministry handing out free Bibles to anyone who wants one at soccer tournaments, shopping malls, or wherever people gather.
“We just go up to strangers sometimes and we’re just like, ‘Would you like this for free?’ so they know we’re not selling it, and they’re like, ‘Whoa, look at the cover. That’s really cool!’”
Carolina said her own life was changed when a woman in the church she attended as a child gave her brother a copy of The Picture Bible, the original version of The Action Bible, first published by David C Cook in 1978.
“It started my faith in God,” said Carolina, who read the Bible cover-to-cover in three days.
As a young adult, she dreamed of being a missionary in Africa, but God had another plan for her life, and she realized her own community was a mission field that was ripe for harvest.
“I feel like this new generation of kids are almost like unreached people,” she said. “They’re not going to church; their school doesn’t talk about [Christianity] at all.”
One of the most exciting parts of the ministry, she says, is hearing how entire families are coming to Christ because a child brought home a Bible to a house that would have otherwise likely never had one. Parents often approach her with words of gratitude. One woman thanked her for giving her child a Bible and shared they’d been read it together as a family every night at the dinner table.
One time on a flight, she sat next to a man and his daughter who had received The Action Bible from her. The little girl told her, “I’ve read through it almost five times, but I had to give it to my cousin because she wanted to borrow it, but she needs to give it back to me.”
“Those are the kind of things that inspire us to keep doing this, especially if they’re from unchurched families,” said Carolina. “I think kids want God and they can’t find Him.”
Stephanie Bennett says the publisher is constantly expanding The Action Bible series, innovating and adding new products, videos, and multidimensional ways for kids to experience God’s Word. The Action Bible Easter: 25 Stories about Jesus’ Resurrection, which released on Feb. 7 of this year, is the newest addition to The Action Bible series. The Action Bible Christmas: 25 Stories about Jesus’ Arrival, also part of the series, was released in October 2022.
“We’re always evolving in our approaches. We don’t want to ever be stagnant in our products. We want to be continuously creating new things and new ways to engage with God’s Word and always pointing back to God’s Word as the core,” she said.
To that end, David C Cook’s president, Rick Rekedal, says a new focus on strengthening and expanding The Action Bible franchise is in the works.
“The Action Bible is the best-selling comic book adaptation of the Bible because it does such a great job at bringing the stories of the Bible to life in a way that feels approachable and relatable. The illustrations from Sergio Cariello and the fast-paced storytelling are deeply engaging,” said Rekedal. “But beyond the core title, there are now numerous editions that help introduce these stories to kids from all walks of life, which we are in the process of updating into a broad new program. God’s Word is timeless and universal. We have an opportunity to help meet kids right where they are and invite them into a life-changing relationship with Him.”
To learn more about The Action Bible series, or any of the other ways David C Cook is reaching children around the world with God’s Word, please visit davidccook.org.