Readers 13 and up

The Faithful Spy

Part graphic novel, but also not really I wasn’t sure how this book would read when I picked it up. Wow, it was so inspiring I couldn’t put it down and closed it with tears in my eyes. I could not wait to recommend it to you.

Bonhoeffer’s story is amazing on its own. He stood up to Hitler when so many Germans did not. John Hendrix tells Bonhoeffer’s story in a fresh way. He uses illustrations and color to tell the story of Hitler’s rise to power in tandem with Bonhoeffer’s story. Sharing so much of the history of the Nazi party and Germany gives readers a wider perspective as they read. Obviously, Hendrix could not include everything, but the parts of the story he did tell were well-chosen and well-told. This book was amazing.

Stranger in a New Land: Six Books for Kids (and Teens) Based on the Refugee/Immigrant Experience

Refugees have been an on-going story in our world as long as there have been stories. A few years back when the Syrian refugee crisis was full-blown, it was hard for me to process. The numbers, the news reports, even the pictures, they all started to blend together. Those mediums have their place, but to read the personal story of one person can have a more profound effect than a million statistics or news reports.

Books and the stories they contain can be an amazing tool to help our kids (and ourselves) process what is going on in the world around us. As we read, learn and empathize, these stories can help us interact with our own world in a new way. We might not be able to have a direct impact on a Syrian refugee, but we can have an impact on the new kid (or their parent) who feels alone.

With that in mind, today’s list contains six books. A few of the books tell the refugee’s story as he/she flees their home country. Others are made up of characters who are living in America as immigrants. All of them give insight into what it would feel like to leave your home and start over in a strange new land. This list of books is special offering readers relatable characters they will easily root for and identify with. They also simply contain good stories that I hope your kids will enjoy as they read.

12.75 year-old Boy Seeking Books of Sport and Adventure

Jonah is an almost teenager who loves the Cubs, playing with his dog and playing video and board games. The thing he likes most about reading is that you can go at your own pace and do it whenever you have the time. However, he says that when a book is slow reading can be boring, especially when you are a slower reader. When he is looking for a book to read, he looks for sports books, graphic novels and books filled with adventure. He will also pick up a book if his friends are reading it and it looks good. 

I am excited to help Jonah with a few personalized picks. To help me help him, I asked Jonah to share three of his favorite books and one he was not so crazy about. Here are his favorites:

Mya Recommends: To Kill a Mockingbird

Mya is 14 years old and an avid reader. We love talking about books together. I thought a teenage perspective might be beneficial if you are searching to find books for a teenager of your own. Mya was willing to help out. Here is another one of her picks:

With this month being black history month, I thought I might talk about one of my all-time favorites, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is an amazing little book. Set in one of the darkest times and places in recent history, it shines with hope, wisdom and love. I thought it might be a hard to read because parts of this story, parts of Corrie’s life, were unimaginably hard. Instead, I found that it was filled with reminder after reminder of God’s presence in the midst of the unimaginable. Reading it was not a dark and despairing experience, but a hope-filled one. Even the saddest parts were filled with hope because of God’s work in the lives of his servants.

Boxed Sets (aka Series) of Books your Kids Should Read (and own)

I love it when a book captures my kids’ imagination and they don’t want to put it down. I love it even more, when that book is part of a series. It makes the answer to the inevitable question “What should I read next?” so much easier to answer. A great series of books is a wonderful thing. And, since it's the holiday season and I have gift-giving on the brain, if there is a set of books your child already loves, or one you want to introduce them to, a boxed set might be the perfect gift. 

Books are my love language and I will freely admit I purchase them too freely. In my defense, favorite books are like old friends; I want to keep them around. If, however, you need a better reason for investing in a boxed set of good stories, here are a few: