Author and illustrator, Andy Robb, has been writing Christian books for primary school age children for 25 years. Here he tells us why The God Files has the potential to revolutionise how children relate to the Bible.
The God Files all began when I was writing a series of books for CWR called ‘Amazing Agents of God’. I recast characters from the Bible as agents of God - which, in fact, they were - and told their stories as Agent Reports. This was enhanced by the use of an agent-style vocabulary. Church was called Agent Outposts. Prayer was called Hotline to Heaven. And the Bible I called The God Files.
Once in print, it occurred to me that it be great if The God Files was a real thing.
Cutting a long story short, Hodder Faith, publisher of NIV Bibles in the UK, also thought that this was a good idea.
Three years later, The God Files - ‘the number one Bible for every agent of God’ - was published.
The backstory to The God Files is that since the day I had a life-changing encounter with God on May 14th 1988 I have known with absolute certainty that the Bible is true and to be trusted. Shortly after this revelation God also gave me a mandate to produce children’s books which brought alive the Bible and the things of God for kids.
In fact, The God Files is the summation of the subsequent 33 years of my walk with Jesus and is packed with lots of the things I’d learned along the way. But before I tell you what’s in The God Files, let me tell you why I wrote it.
For me, it wasn’t enough for a child to own an attractive children’s Bible but one in which they read little more than the additional informative content. I’m not saying that children never read the core text of the Bible, it’s just my guess is that many don’t read big chunks of it. So, with that in mind, it was clear to me that The God Files had to do more than simply look good. I determined that The God Files would be designed to help children dive deep into the core text of the Bible, not just indulging in the interesting additional elements that peppered its pages. Whilst recognising that a child may not end up reading every verse of the Bible, the extensive interactive elements throughout The God Files make venturing into the text something that is fun and compelling.
To give you some examples.
Every book of the Bible is called a file - e.g. The Genesis File - and they begin with a summary of that particular file: When the action happened; Who wrote it; Where the action happened; What’s with the name; Agents of God to look out for; Highlights which give suggested passages to check out.
Agent Essentials are where the child can glean top tips about living well as an agent of God.
Undercover Investigations present 40 opportunities to dive under the surface of a story and really get to know the characters and plotlines of the Bible through a series of sleuthing challenges.
Agent Profiles give the lowdown on many of the amazing agents of God to be found in The God Files - where they operated, their missions, claims to fame and other top facts.
Decode and Download present code cracking opportunities using the handy decoder inside the front cover.
Assignment Activation is where the child gets given ideas of how they can put into practice what they’ve learnt from The God Files and to go on their very own missions for God.
And not forgetting, Live Links, Fascinating Facts, Not Secret, Licensed to Laugh (yes, there are jokes) and 32 interactive colour pages.
I believe that The God Files will help children not only dive deep into the Bible but for it to become their friend.
You can find out more about Andy Robb and The God Files at www.andyrobb.co.uk/the-god-files