• Books

    Tools for Leaving Home: a List for Fledgling Adults

    A list of books that might help with the difficult transition from teen to adult in today’s confusing culture. Let’s get one thing straight: A book is not a cure for whatever ails you, or a guarantee against falling away from the church, faith, or Christ himself. Head knowledge will not necessarily guard your heart.  That was made plain enough last weekend. But humans are creatures of both head and heart. Our intellect can instruct our emotions while emotions empower the intellect. If “my people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), knowledge must have a place in a young person’s development. Don’t leave home without it! Whether your son…

  • Books

    *Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin

    Rebecca McLaughlin confronts some of the hardest questions faced by Christians today with thoughtful, engaging responses rooted in Scripture. *Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion by Rebecca McLaughlin. Crossway, 2019, 240 pages. Reading Level: Teen, ages 15-18 Recommended for: ages 18-up So you are a Christian? Chances are, you’ve encountered someone who believes we are better off without religion. And what about diversity? Doesn’t Christianity crush diversity? Chapter by chapter, Christian thinker Rebecca McLaughlin interacts with twelve of the hardest questions facing Christians today. Using history, literature, modern events, and most of all, going back to the Bible, McLaughlin shows how Christians have interacted with these questions over…

  • Books

    Growing in Godliness by Lindsey Carlson

    Compact and practical, Growing in Godliness offers wise advice to girls entering high school or college. Growing in Godliness: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Maturing in Christ by Lindsey Carlson. Crossway, 2019, 124 pages Reading Level: Early Teen, ages 12-15 Recommended for: ages 14-18 Why wait until your early twenties—or even later—to pursue maturity? With thirty-year-olds moving back to Mom & Dad’s basement and post-grads signing up for “adulating” classes, something has gone awry with our teen-raising process. The author, a pastor’s wife and mother of five, has plenty of experience discipling young women, experience which she puts to good use in this compact little volume aimed at girls. In…

  • Books

    *Transformed by Truth by Katherine Forster

    Transformed by Truth offers a lifelong approach to Bible study with practical helps for teens and adults. *Transformed by Truth: Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen by Katherine Forster. Crossway, 2019, 183 pages plus notes and index. Reading Level: Teen, ages 15-18 Recommended for: ages 15-up Every Christian knows, or should know, the importance of studying the Bible, but we don’t always know how to do it. The author, managing editor of the teen website TheRebelution.com, has the advantage of a godly upbringing. Drawing from her experiences as a Bible Bee champ and as a student of great teachers like John Piper and Jen…

  • Books

    Joshua Harris and the Perils of Idolatry

    Our family began homeschooling in January 1985. Our children were in the middle of third and first grade, so it was a matter of grave conviction: something we had to do as soon as possible. We were living in Vancouver, Washington, and even though those were the early days of “the movement,” the homeschooling community there was large for the time. I credit this to the presence of two well-known leaders nearby. Just up the Columbia River was Washougal, home of Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, early homeschool advocates who often appeared on “Focus on the Family.” Across the river, in Gresham, Oregon, was author and speaker Greg Harris. At…

  • Books

    Finding Orion by John David Anderson

    Beneath its crazy premise, Finding Orion is a touching look at family reconciliation. Finding Orion by John David Anderson.  HarperCollins (Walden Pond), 2019, 352 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 12-15 “Everybody’s family is a little nutso.  But there’s nuts . . . and then there’s the Kwirks.”  Rion (Orion Kwirk considers himself the normal one in the family, sandwiched between a stage-struck, show-tune-humming teen sister and a science-whiz tween sister.  For parents he has a germophobe mom and a dad who’s a certified chemistry genius.  Dad’s main job is devising new jelly-bean flavors for a candy company—flavors like “armpit” and “fried chicken.”  But that’s nothing…

  • Books

    *Urchin of the Riding Stars (Mistmantle Chronicles, book 1)

    A conniving traitor who plots to overthrow the throne by dispatching one family member after another is threatened by a heroic young squirrel who drops out of the sky. *Urchin of the Riding Stars: Mistmantle Chronicles, Book One by M.I. McAllister.  Miramax Books, 2005, 282 pages. Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: Middle grades, ages 8-12, and up; makes a great read aloud I don’t know what it is about English authors, but they are brilliant creators of the coziest and most delightful animal tales that radiate Truth and Story. If you could draft squirrels and hedgehogs from Beatrix Potter, and otters and moles from Kenneth Graeme, then…

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    Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

    With humor and heart, Pie in the Sky explores the experience of a young Asian immigrant with much more than assimilation on his mind. Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai. Henry Holt, 2019, 327 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, 8-10 Recommended for: ages 8-15 Moving to Australia from China was Papa’s idea. Papa is gone now, but Jingwen’s mam decided to move to Australia anyway, so they’re here, and Ah-gong and Ah-po (grandparents) have been left behind, along with all of Jingwen’s friends. His little brother Yanghao is being even more annoying than usual, and Jingwen can’t understand or speak to anyone outside his immediate family. English may as…

  • Books

    Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen

    Wren Clemmons learns much about herself, the desert, and true friendship during wilderness therapy camp in this engaging teen read about drug use. Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen. Knopf, 2017. 340 pages. Reading Level: Ages 12 and up Recommended For: Ages 12 and up When police show up to take 14-year-old Wren Clemmons into custody, it’s 3:47 a.m. Hung over and frantic without her phone, Wren is led away from her family to destination unknown. Apparently, her parents had planned this in advance? They actually signed her up for a wilderness therapy camp? Do they really know just how bad this wilderness camp is? And that she has to…

  • Books

    Swing and Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

    Swing and Solo: two novels-in-verse for teens that grapple with music (jazz and rock and roll), baseball, young love, and what’s really important in life. Swing by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. Blink, 2018. 448 pages. Reading Level: Ages 12 and up Recommended For: Ages 14 and up Noah wants nothing more than for one of his best friends, Sam (short for Samantha), to fall in love with him. He’s pined after her for years. Noah’s other best friend, Walt, wants nothing more than to get on the varsity baseball team. But what’s a guy to do when the love of his life thinks of him as a brother?…