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My Christmas Story Tree

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Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to Christmas

I'm ready and I'm waiting, to shout "It's Christmas Day!"
It's almost Jesus' birthday. I'm counting down each day.

During December, re-direct the high energy of young children into anticipation for the birth of Jesus. With daily activities for very young children, Countdown to Christmas turns these weeks of excitement into a fun filled celebration of the true meaning of Christmas.






Countdown to Christmas

The Family Time Bible

Use the 52 stories in this devotional story Bible to cultivate a love for God’s word, draw closer to one another and develop a strong relationship with God. With thoughtful conversation starters, “fast facts”, prayer starters and advice to parents, this lavishly illustrated volume is perfect for ages 4-8.







My Christmas Story Tree

My Christmas Story Tree

Follow along as lights, decorations and all the holiday trimmings are added to a tree while learning the story of the First Christmas.

“I love this book, because a child tells the story of Jesus’ birth while participating in a beloved holiday tradition,” says Mary. “The glittery front cover and tree-shaped book will make this one of the first Christmas books a child chooses to read over and over again.”

Click here to watch a reading of My Christmas Story Tree.





My March to the Manger

Countdown to the birth of Jesus by watching animals march to the manger. Reading this glittery, die cut board book will become a holiday tradition!

Mary says:"As a mom with three children under the age of four, I struggled to cut through holiday commercialism. That’s when we adopted an annual march to the manger.

Our children moved individual creche figures from windowsill to windowsill in our house during the week before Christmas. By December 24, the shepherds, sheep, cows, donkey and the Holy Family had arrived at the manger. Appropriately, Baby Jesus was the last to arrive. Through the years, this daily march to the manger helped our children focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

I am delighted to share our family tradition in this fun board book, and hope that God will bless your march to the manger this year."


With Love From Me to You

With Love From Me to You

Putting love into action is highlighted in this colorful board book. Friendly animals remind young children that God’s love is reflected by showing compassion and kindness everyday. This timeless message underlines that God’s blessings arrive With Love From Me to You.

Mary says:"Love becomes more than a four letter word as very young children experience and practice the meaning of this special feeling."

As an early childhood educator, I wanted to introduce the concept that acts of love bubble up from God’s love deep inside. I am eager to watch toddlers and preschoolers embrace this foundational value which unfolds in the board book, With Love From Me to You.



Where Does Love Hide?

Discover what’s hiding in this lift-a-flap board book.

Each page reveals an everyday example of how to share God’s love. With large, sturdy flaps that are easy for small hands to grasp, this book is ideal for 1-3 year olds.

The format is fun. The content is life-changing. Mary explains, “Although even infants hear the words, “I love you,” it takes years to understand what that actually means.

Love is an abstract concept, but young children are concrete thinkers. They comprehend what they can see, touch, taste and smell. Through repeated experiences, they learn the many dimensions of love. This includes the ability to share love, which is a challenge for any egocentric two year old.”

Mary adds, “Where Does Love Hide? helps a young child relate to the foundational concept which will frame his life.”

Click here to see a sample page from "Where Does Love Hide?".

Click here to read a Q/A about "Where Does Love Hide?"



First Feelings

“Use your words.”

That simple, three word sentence reflects a not-so simple developmental task on the journey to emotional literacy. When a young child experiences an emotion, he responds. That means he jumps up and down when he’s excited, hits when he’s angry, or throws a tantrum when he’s frustrated.

That physical expression is natural: every preschooler experiences a variety of emotions at multiple levels of intensity. What matters is how a child responds to those feelings.

Gradually, a young child learns to match a word to what he’s feeling. That’s why the sentence, “Use your words” echoes throughout the early childhood years. A young child must be repeatedly reminded to substitute words instead of physically expressing the initial emotional reactions that bubble up.

Mary says, “As a mom with three children under the age of four, I lived through this book.” Her experience as a mom and her expertise as an early childhood educator drove the content of First Feelings: 12 Stories for Toddlers. Each story offers realistic scenarios with child-friendly solutions for real-life application.

Mary adds, “Watching adorable animals slipping down a water slide, digging in a sandbox and decorating cookies transforms issues related to healthy emotional growth into a fun storybook.”

A note to parents, with suggestions to help a child cope with the specific emotion, is included after each story. A brief prayer, repeated at the conclusion of all twelve chapters, emphasizes the biblical truth that is true for people of all ages:

No matter what I’m feeling
at night or through the day,
help me, dear God, remember:
You’ll listen when I pray.

The padded, hard cover book features colorful illustrations of adorable animals.

Mary says, “First Feelings; 12 Stories for Toddlers makes an ideal baby gift, shower gift, or birthday present for a young child. Paired with the companion volume, First Virtues for Toddlers, these beautiful, padded hard cover books offer parents the tools to help their child build a solid Christian foundation for life.”

Click here to see a sample page.



My Easter Basket

My Easter Basket

This sparkling award winning, best seller, uses the holiday colors to help children learn the real meaning of Easter.

Mary says,
"This book is a personal favorite. Adults are challenged to understand the miracle of Jesus' Resurrection. Sharing the meaning of Easter with children is even more difficult. My Easter Basket tells the Bible story using a child-friendly approach. Children love the glittery sparkles on every page and adults enjoy sharing the rhythmic text. This is a book you'll read again and again, long beyond the Easter season."



The Pumpkin Gospel: New 2016 Edition

The Pumpkin Gospel

Watch a lowly pumpkin turn into a reminder of God’s forgiveness in The Pumpkin Gospel

Fan open the board book, so pages are exposed to light. Turn off the light. Reading The Pumpkin Gospel will become a new autumn tradition!

Mary says:"For extra fun, tent a bed sheet, then crawl inside to read this glow-in-the-dark-story."

Click here to see sample pages.



God Made the Sun

God Made the Sun

God Made the Sun is a celebration of God’s gift of daytime.

Beginning with the first rays of sunlight and moving through the day, this new board book reminds 2-5 year olds that God’s love shines on us just as the sun shines on the earth.

Mary says: "A young child can turn the page by poking a finger into the layered die-cut of the sun. This happy book makes a fun read!"

Click here to see a sample page.

Click here to read a review by Publishers Weekly.






God Made the Moon

God Made the Moon

God Made the Moon celebrates God’s gift of night.

Beginning with the first hints of dusk and ending with a bedtime prayer, this book reminds young children that God’s love shines on us just as the moon shines on the earth.

A layered die-cut of the moon provides a novelty element for young children.

Mary says:"The whimsical illustrations by veteran greeting card illustrator Lizzie Walkley add a light touch. A fun read at the end of a busy day!"

Click here to see a sample page.





First Virtues

First Virtues

First Virtues highlights adorable animals who showcase core beliefs in child-friendly situations.

This new edition features 12 complete stories written in a light, rhythmic text. Playful illustrations show how a child might experience virtues in everyday situations. Parent pages, which provide practical suggestions to help a young child remember and practice the virtues, follow each story.

Mary says:
"We make the mistake of thinking that children will simply 'catch' a virtue when they see us opening a door for someone or sharing with a friend. Virtues are caught but they are also taught. Because so much cultural clutter floats around children today, we must be intentional, not just incidental about teaching core beliefs."

After all, a young child has an easier time learning about forgiveness or obedience when he's looking at a cute, colorful animal, not seeing himself in a mirror. However, virtues modeled by these non-threatening little creatures are great conversation starters.


Faith Footprints

Faith Footprints with My Grandchild

Faith Footprints with My Grandchild offers devotions and guided journaling for grandmothers with corresponding faith-based activities for children.

“Leaving a legacy is on the mind of every grandmother,” says Mary. “Through our faith footprints, we leave values long before we leave valuables.” Devotions and reflections reflect real-time issues faced by grandmothers including competition with the “other grandma,” long-distance grandmothering and relating to a daughter-in-law. Ideal for gifting at a grandmother shower or for a grandmother-to-be, this book invites women to not only grow spiritually, but to share Christian lifestyle activities with a grandchild.

Click here to see on Amazon.

Listen to Audio interview about Fath Footprints




Thank you, God, for Kittens

Thank you, God, for Kittens

Our neighbor’s cat had kittens. They were the cutest little furry things! We had three children, so guess who came to live at our house?

Our daughter, Angie, was quick to name them. And so for nearly twenty years, Blackie and Tiger (you can imagine what they looked like) were beloved companions. They even moved halfway across the country with us, because of course, they were family!

More than 30 million households in the United States know what it’s like to be calmed by a purring motor in a fur ball.






Thank you, God, for Puppies

Thank you, God, for Puppies

Skippy was the best of friends. And as a child, I needed a friend.

The kids in my Chicago neighborhood weren’t interested in hearing abou my mom’s battle with cancer, but Skippy would always listen. After I poured out my heart, our big black dog would lift his head off my lamp and jump up. He almost seemed to say, “Crying time is over. Move on.”

Today, more than 56 million families in the United States have a dog. Children in those households know what it’s like to experience the unconditional love of a puppy.





My First Read and Learn Book of Prayers

My First Read and Learn Book of Prayers

"Fold your hands, bow your head and close your eyes." With these simple actions, a young child can begin a lifelong conversation with God.

That's the purpose of My First Read and Learn Book of Prayers: to help a child experience God in new ways. The tone is conversational, so that a child learns to talk with God like he talks with a best friend. The content is concrete, not abstract, because a young child thinks about what he can touch and feel. And the prayers reflect the real world: because a child waiting to eat is hungry, one mealtime prayer has only eight words!

My First Read and Learn Book of Prayers will help your child learn to talk with God anytime, anywhere.

With a soft, padded cover and stiff board pages, this is an ideal volume to keep handy on a bedroom dresser or child's book shelf.

Click here to see sample pages.


The Hear Me Read Bible

The Hear Me Read Bible

With more than one million copies sold in English, thousands of children have learned to read with the Hear Me Read Bible stories.

Using less than 25 words to tell a complete Bible lesson, the eighteen Level One stories feature natural language, repetition and prediction. These best-selling stories have been compiled in a single volume, The Hear Me Read Bible. Parent notes and vocabulary lists are included for every story. Level Two stories are available as eight individual titles.

"Learning to read is a lengthy, challenging process," says educator and author Dr. Mary Manz Simon. "Many elements need to come together before a child actually can de-code the scribbles on a page."

"Although we appropriately emphasize skill development, confidence in those abilities is also important," she says. "With less than 25 different words in each Level One story, a child's confidence soars as he successfully moves from page to page."

"Of course, a huge bonus is that a child not only learns to read, but learns to read about Jesus," says the early childhood educator. "What a joy when a child says, 'Hear me read.'"

Click here to see sample pages.



Noah and the Big Boat

Noah Builds a Boat

Noah Builds a Boat offers a fresh-retelling of the beloved Bible story. Highlighting three important virtues, readers focus on obedience, patience and gratitude as they read about the old man and the ark.

“We often focus on learning facts about familiar Bible stories but forget to take away valuable lessons,” says author Dr. Mary Manz Simon. “Noah models three virtues that contribute to building strong character.”

With flowing illustrations and limited text from the Golden Books imprint of Random House, it is an ideal lap book to share with a child.

Click here to see sample pages.


Mary connected with thousands of people every year through speaking and media appearances, but even more people know her through her books. She's always working on something new, so check this section for updates.



All text © Copyright 2019 by Dr. Mary Manz Simon.