How did an elementary teacher plant the seeds of a worldwide movement to introduce new Bibles in school libraries? Hannah Sailsbury was teaching second grade in Virginia in 2018 when she took a prayer walk around the school, praying for her students, her colleagues, and specifically that Jesus’ name would be spoken and heard in powerful ways in the hallways and classrooms. She credits that prayer walk with setting in motion what happened over the next few months.
A few weeks later, a second grader in Sailsbury’s reading group checked out a King James Version of the Bible from the school’s library and brought it back to the classroom to read. He told his teacher he wanted to learn about God and heaven. Seeing a young child so curious about God that he checked out a Bible sparked an idea.
“We needed engaging Bibles in school libraries,” Sailsbury told The Lion during a recent interview. “So we contacted librarians and offered to donate Action Storybook Bibles for free to their school libraries.” This particular Bible is a highly illustrated book of Bible stories intended for children.
Within a few months, she had rallied a team of volunteers to donate Action Storybook Bibles to the 38 elementary schools in her county. Then, she decided to take the idea further, launching Bibles in Schools, an organization aimed at providing engaging storybook Bibles to any school library that will accept them.
“We saw how students love these Bibles, which are illustrated and resemble graphic novels. And, I saw the ripple effect of that one first Bible – how that Bible went to a home where it was needed. God was really moving through these Bibles young children were reading,” said Sailsbury. “We saw that schools don’t have updated Christian literature. And they need it.”
Today, Bibles In Schools has provided these Bibles to more than 1,500 schools in 43 states and seven countries. The hope is that the school libraries stay in touch, and Bibles in Schools can offer them Christian literature every year.
“Overall the donations are well received,” said Sailsbury. “Some schools aren’t interested, and that’s fine. But this all started with prayer walking. If I hadn’t been praying specifically to see Jesus in my school, I wouldn’t have seen the significance of my student reading that Bible. I know it’s all God at work.”