The Jesse Tree :: Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories

by | Nov 28, 2016 | Advent and Christmas, Bible, Christmas 2016, Jesse Tree | 4 comments

Happy First Sunday of Advent! I had hoped to have one last giveaway all ready to go for this weekend, but between hosting Thanksgiving dinner for twenty (thankfully I had help!) combined with the nausea I’ve been fighting (thank you all so very much for the prayers, love, and support!), I’m a little behind and haven’t even started the post… I will do my best to get it up on the blog sometime this week. In the meantime, I thought I’d share our Jesse Tree plans for this Advent.

Advent varies in length from 22-28 days, beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (November 30th) and embracing four Sundays. The first day of Advent can fall as early as November 27th or as late as December 3rd. This year we, with Advent beginning on November 27th we get the longest Advent possible with four complete weeks! 

The Jesse Tree provides a meaningful way for us to count down the days until Christmas. Moreover, it increases our understanding of this portion of salvation history and is an effective way to prepare spiritually for Christmas.

In the past we have used a combination of the New Catholic Picture Bible and the Bible for our daily Jesse Tree readings. This year we will be reading through Amy Steedman’s Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories (originally published between 1907 and 1922 as The nursery book of Bible stories, republished with minor editorial revisions in 2009 by Sophia Institute Press) and adding in some extra picture books as well! 

Optional: Additional Picture Books

“There shall come forth a shoot form the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 11:1-2

Here is our plan for this year’s twenty-eight days of Advent: 

1. Creation
Felt Symbol: The Earth
Wooden Symbol: The Earth
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Beautiful World, Pages 3-5
Picture Book: The Genesis of It All

2. Adam & Eve 
Felt Symbol:  The Apple
Wooden Symbol: The Apple

3. Noah
Felt Symbol: Ark
Wooden Symbol: The Ark

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Noah and the Rainbow of Hope, Pages 9-13
Picture Book: Noah’s Ark and Noah’s Ark (Board Book)

4. Abraham
Felt Symbol: Stars
Wooden Symbol: The Camel
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Story of Abraham, Pages 15-19
Picture Book: The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats

5. Isaac

Felt Symbol:  Bundle of wood
Wooden Symbol: The Ram
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Isaac and Rebekah, Pages 23-28
Picture Book: Sarah Laugh’s 

6. Jacob
Felt Symbol:  Ladder
Wooden Symbol: The Ladder
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Jacob and Esau, Pages 29-36

Picture Book: Old Testament Rhymes (Hardcover – Neumann Press) 
7. Joseph
Felt Symbol: Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors
Wooden Symbol: The Coat

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Joseph the Dreamer, Pages 37-44
and Joseph, the Ruler, Pages 45-52
Picture Book: Joseph
8. Moses

Felt Symbol: Basket (need to make and add to our collection)
Wooden Symbol: The Basket

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Finding of Moses

Picture Book: Exodus

9. Moses

Felt Symbol: Ten Commandments/Stone Tablets
Wooden Symbol: The Tablets

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Moses, the Great Leader, Pages 59-64

Picture Book: Exodus (continued)

10. Joshua

Felt Symbol: Sword & Trumpet
Wooden Symbol: The Horn (Joshua)
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Story of the Spies, Pages 67-75
and Gideon, the Soldier, Pages 77-87

11. Ruth

Felt Symbol: Sheaths of Grain
Wooden Symbol: The Wheat
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Ruth, the Gleaner, Pages 89-95

12. Samuel

Felt Symbol: Oil Lamp
Wooden Symbol: The Oil Lamp
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Samuel, the Little Server, Pages 97-104
and Jonathan, the Soldier Prince, Pages 105-114

13. Jesse
Felt Symbol: Shepherd’s staff
Wooden Symbol: The Tree
Read-Aloud Book of Bible StoriesDavid, the Shepherd Boy, Pages 115-122
14.  David
Felt Symbol: Harp
Wooden Symbol: The Harp

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: David, the Fighter, Pages 123-130

15. Solomon

Felt Symbol: Scales of Justice
Wooden Symbol: Use Isaiah’s “Scroll” for Solomon
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Solomon, the Wise King, Pages 133-140

16. Elijah

Felt Symbol: Raven
Wooden Symbol: The Stones
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Elijah, the Hungry Prophet, Pages 141-148

17. Jonah

Felt Symbol: Whale and Teardrops (Hezekiah)
Symbol: The Big Fish (Jonah) 

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: (no specific story for Jonah)
and Elisha, the Man of God, pages 149-155
and Hezekiah, the Good King, pages 157-163
Picture Book: Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb and The Hard to Swallow Tale of Jonah and the Whale

18. Jeremiah

Felt Symbol: Stone
Wooden Symbol: The Clay Pot
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Jeremiah, the Prohet, Pages 165-172

19. Daniel
Felt Symbol: Lion 
Wooden Symbol: The Lion
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Story of Daniel, Pages 173-180

20. Esther
Felt Symbol: Queens Crown
Wooden Symbol: Use Solomon’s “Crown” for Queen Esther
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Queen Esther, Pages 181-189
Picture Book: The Story of Queen Esther

21. Nehemiah

Felt Symbol: Walls of Jerusalem
Wooden Symbol: The Temple
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: Nehemiah, the Warrior Builder, Pages 191-198

22. Zachary and Elizabeth
Felt Symbol: Angel
Wooden Symbol: The Prayer Shawl
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Messenger of the King, Pages 199-204

23.  St. John the Baptist

Felt Symbol: Shell with water
Wooden Symbol: The Shell
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Messenger of the King, Pages 199-204
24. The Angel Gabriel
Felt Symbol: Angel with lily
Wooden Symbol: The Angel
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Coming of the King, Pages 205-207
Picture Book: The Angels’ Alphabet

25.  St. Joseph
Felt Symbol: Carpenter’s Saw
Wooden Symbol: The Hammer
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Coming of the King, Page 207-208
Picture Book: Father and Son: A Nativity StoryGood Saint Joseph and Story of St. Joseph

26. Blessed Virgin Mary
Felt Symbol: Lily
Wooden Symbol: The Lily
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Coming of the King, Pages 208-211
Picture Book: Mary’s Song

27. Bethlehem
Felt Symbol: Bethlehem (need to make and add to our collection) 
Wooden Symbol: The Star and Town
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Coming of the King, Pages 208-211
Picture Book: B is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet and Bethlehem (Catholic Edition)

28. Birth of Jesus
Felt Symbol: Infant Messiah
Wooden Symbol: The Manger
Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories: The Coming of the King, Pages 211-213
Picture Book: The Nativity

O God, You fill us with happiness each year as we wait for our celebration of Christmas. May we also joyfully look forward to the coming of Jesus as our final Judge. We ask this of You through Jesus our Lord. Amen.


  1. Kim Loney

    This is a great post for adding a little more to the Jesse Tree! Thank you!

    2016-11-28 13:35:53

  2. Renee

    Thank you for all you do! I have followed you for years! I am not on social media so I don't usually post. Congratulations on your beautiful family and new blessing. Prayers and love! Renee

    2016-11-28 14:18:23

  3. Mandy

    Thank you for sharing this! I am a new-ish Catholic, and I had never heard of a Jesse tree, but I am trying to cultivate lasting traditions for my young children (4, 2, 4 months). I went ahead and purchased every book on your list, and plan on following your plan for our Jesse tree the first time around. I'm sure my children will enjoy this very much. Thanks again!

    2016-11-29 16:20:14

  4. Karen H

    Your encyclopedic knowledge of the rich heritage of our beloved Church (along with all the fun ideas you infuse into everything), has enriched our Advent – and our Christmases and Lents and Easters – our every Feast ! Thank you and God bless you!

    2016-11-30 04:14:52


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