The Busy Bible History
My husband and I were at a seminar. I was browsing in the tiny gift shop when I saw a soft cloth “Busy Book” of Bible stories for children. I immediately thought of my three year olds at church. I knew they would love it! And they did! So did the Children’s Director, another preschool teacher and one of the mothers. It became a favorite part of our activities and also a favorite gift for young children. I ordered them from time to time and then one day the woman who made them became ill with cancer and said she could no longer make theme. She offered to give me her pattern book. My husband asked if she would sell it to us with the idea that we might someday make similar books on a larger scale. She said she would be thrilled for us to do that.
So we began to develop our own book from those patterns. We chose stories from both the Old and New Testaments, about both men and women, some favorites and some less familiar. We also wanted to provide a variety of activities for children to develop their small motor skills. We shopped for materials that were bright and colorful and would appeal to children. I wrote a story sheet with a short synopsis of each Bible story in children’s terms, teaching principles about God. On the other side, we included an explanation of “The Wordless Book,” which we tucked inside. My husband had the idea of binding it together with a red ribbon, so that other stories can be added. He also thought of the vinyl carrying case for carrying it to church and Grandma’s.
I carefully laid out each page, hand painted the artwork and lettered each story title Scripture reference. Then we took it to a professional seamstress. We paid her a nominal fee of $5.00 an hour. It took her 40 hours to sew, costing us $200.00! (Death of a vision!) We prayed and thought about how we might make them more inexpensively. A friend invited us to the Christian Bookseller’s Convention and there God led us to a Christian company in Hong Kong that could make them for us, enabling us to sell them at an affordable price. They are still sewn by hand, on sewing machines and using embroidery stitches. The fabric is cut by machine, and the artwork and lettering are done by silkscreen from my patterns, hand painting and lettering.
Our Busy Bibles have been sent to children all over the United States, as well as Australia, Barbados, Canada, Costa Rica, England, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Kenya, the Middle East, the Philippines, Romania, South America, and Sweden.
I have designed a second Busy Bible on the life of Jesus that we introduced in August of 2013. We also have ideas for others and would like to offer additional pages and replacement parts on our website in the future. Our goal is to teach children the stories of the Bible in a fun, exciting and interactive way that will instill in them Godly character and a love for God’s Word. (II Timothy 3:15)
– Judy Starks, Founder, Busy Bibles