After a long day of outdoor play, my husband tucked our three weary kids in bed. I tiptoed into the quiet bedroom to give each of them one extra kiss. As I bent over their sleeping heads, I thought about what my heart desires for my kids.
I want them to be active and adventurous. To explore outdoors. To grow in strength and confidence in their bodies.
I want them to have a love of learning. To be curious. To stretch their minds through reading and critical thinking.
And I want them to know God. To be familiar and comfortable with Sacred Scripture and the Traditions of the Church. To love Jesus.
I often feel these goals are threatened by the lure of modern technology. Every day, my kids beg for movies and TV shows and videogames. Every day, I have to be intentional about playtime, reading time and Jesus time. I have to make sure screen time doesn’t take over.
I want my kids to be familiar with Sacred Scripture and the Traditions of the Church. To love Jesus. Tweet this.
I feel like I’m fighting a battle against technology. I try to suggest VeggieTales and My Catholic Family, but the kids beg for Frozen and Moana and Big Hero 6.
And I don’t blame them.
I love these movies.
The storylines are more compelling. The characters are more relatable. The action scenes are more exciting.
But I longed for a way to cut back on screen time and increase faith and learning time without my kids treating me like I was torturing them.
Then I found Superbook.
What we love about Superbook
Chris and Joy are two elementary school best friends. Their sidekick, Gizmo, is an adorable, quirky robot. In each twenty minute episode, the trio starts off the show by getting into a bit of trouble.
Then Superbook, a tablet-esque digital Bible, shows up with impeccable timing to transport the three friends back in time to a perfectly relevant Bible story. They are immersed into the action of the story, with seemingly little foreknowledge about what will happen next. By the end of the show, the friends are transported back to the high-tech present, where they apply what they learned in the Bible story to solve their real-life problems with virtue and integrity.
The format is everything I want.
The modern life of Chris and Joy is relatable and appealing to my kids. The animation is cute and sometimes astounding. The action scenes are exciting
And best of all, I feel good about letting my kids have a little screen time. They beg for an episode of Superbook and I don’t feel guilty about making a deal with my persistent 5-year old. “Just one episode, then go outside and play.” I can take this opportunity to ease the indoor-outdoor transition (it’s easy to sunscreen with his eyes glued to the screen). And I’m on board with letting the TV give the kids a little faith formation in the morning before kicking them outside for the rest of the day.
With Superbook in my queue, I’m free to use screen time as a tool rather than dreading it as a time-wasting brain sucker. The episodes are the perfect length to keep the kids occupied on meltdown days when I’m in desperate need of a quick shower.
With Superbook, I’m free to use screen time as a tool rather than dreading it as a time-wasting brain sucker. Tweet this.
And when we pull out our children’s Bible, the kids are even more familiar with the stories, and how to apply the lessons in modern situations. After watching the episode where Isaiah goes face-to-face with the priests of Baal, the kids are quick to choose that story for reading time.
I loved Superbook so much I recommended it to all my friends. And then I reached out to the Superbook team, partnering with them so I could share my recommendation with you!
You can introduce your kids to Superbook for free. At Superbook.cbn.com, register for a free account, and you’ll have access to Season 1 streaming online. If you love it like I do, you can join the Superbook DVD club for access to streaming further seasons, and new episodes on DVD sent in the mail. My recommendation: share the subscription with a friend or two, or register for your Catechism or Faith Formation class (you get 3 copies of each new DVD in the mail, so sharing is ideal).
Superbook has become a family favorite. It’s a great tool (one of many) to help me realize the goals I dream of for my kids. The short episodes leave plenty of time for active play, allowing me to make compromises on screen time without feeling like I’ve lost a battle or failed as a mom. The Bible based content inspires my kids to want to learn more about the stories during reading time. And the kids begging for faith-filled movies? That just melts my heart!
Favorite Superbook Episodes
In the Beginning: This is my favorite episode, the first in the series. The animation of Creation is breathtaking, and filled me with awe at the thought of God creating this entire world out of nothing. The animators did an amazing job of giving it the feel of the miraculous. And of course, I always love to have a good laugh about artists trying to creatively cover up the naked Adam and Eve.
The Giant Adventure: This is my son, Hero’s, favorite episode. What kid doesn’t love the story of David and Goliath? To see a brave young kid battle a fierce giant. Complete with head chopping (off-screen of course, but this detail is often lost in kid-versions). In this episode, Chris is inspired to overcome a bout of stage-fright he encounters when he wants to audition for the school band.
Roar! My girls always beg for this one. I’m not sure what exactly makes it their favorite. I think they like the friendly lions. I like the lesson about standing up to bullies.
Revelation: More epic battle scenes. Angel armies flying through the air, battling the demons. Jesus riding in triumphant on a white horse. This episode is intense, and appeals strongly to my son, Hero, and his older uncle. I appreciate the way the creators of this episode portrayed Satan as a deceiver, who disguises himself to trick you, but at the same time, lets the children watching know who he is all along. In this episode, Chris learns an important lesson about forgiveness.
Superbook Bible themes parental caution
The Bible is no cakewalk. It’s filled with struggles between good and evil, scenes of peril, and epic battles. Superbook makes these stories accessible to kids without completely eliminating the exciting parts. Keep in mind, this show is not for the youngest kids. It appeals to older kids who can handle the scary parts of the stories. Some children may end up with nightmares! I recommend you view a few episodes before showing them to your kids, and discern whether they are mature enough to handle the content.
The Bible is no cakewalk. Superbook makes the stories accessible to kids without eliminating the exciting parts. Tweet this.
I specifically want to caution you about the violence and scariness of some Superbook episodes.
Yes, there are battles and wars, and the Crucifixion scene in He is Risen makes you uncomfortable. My son loves action movies, and he begs for Superbook episodes with sword fights. If you want squeaky clean feel-good stories, stick with Veggietales. If your kids are ready to be introduced to a little more of the reality of the Bible, give Superbook a shot. Just be prepared, and know what you’re letting them view.
We had friends over and I thought it would be a good idea to put on an episode of Superbook for them. I thought The Miracles of Jesus would be a happy, uplifting episode. Miracles make us smile, right?! Well, this episode included the time where Jesus cast the demon, Legion, out of the man. Think glowing eyes and a double-pitched demon voice. Even I was creeped out. And it gave our guests the heebie-jeebies. My bad. But we had a great conversation afterwards about Jesus always winning against bad guys! So just be warned, Superbook does have some frightening scenes. And if your kids are easily scared, stay completely away from Revelation.
Superbook passed my Faith-check
Every time I check out a new kids’ Bible or Bible storybook, I go straight to two places: the birth of Jesus and the Last Supper. I don’t like anyone implying that Jesus is anything other than the Son of God, or that Mary gave birth to brothers and sisters for Him. And don’t even get me started on renditions that treat the Eucharist as symbolism. Naturally, I viewed these two Superbook episodes with extra caution, and I was pleasantly surprised to give it a thumbs up!
Are you intrigued? If you think Superbook would be a good fit for your family, give it a try today!