I am passionate about finding life-giving, thought-provoking, compelling literature for my kids. If you’ve been around The Gingham Apron for long, you know that I LOVE finding good books and sharing them with you. (You can find lots of book recommendations here.)
Currently, I’ve got two tweenagers in my home, these lovely two girls. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m just absolutely relishing this stage. I’ve always loved middle-schoolers, and used to be a middle-school social studies teacher. And now that I am a mother to kids in this age category, I’m loving this age even more.
One challenge of this stage is finding great books! I can no longer let my girls grab just anything off the library shelf. There are so many wonderful books, but then there are so many “teen” books that contain inappropriate content that I don’t want my girls to fill their minds with. So, I’m always on the look-out for awesome books, and thankfully our family has found many favorites. Here are a few that I think you’ll love, too.
The Christy Miller Series is a modern day account of a Christian teenage girl who is doing her best to honor God with her life. These books deal with real life issues in a gentle, tactful way and have spurned some wonderful conversations in our home. These books were an answer to prayer for me! You can read more how much I love them here, and about how much my daughter loves them here.
EVERY SINGLE BOOK written by Patricia St. John
Hopefully you get a sense of how wonderful Patricia St. John’s books are by my all caps/bold letters used above. But seriously, everything that we’ve read of hers is truly delightful. St. John was a missionary and she writes about children in many parts of the world who experience a relationship with God, including his unending mercy and forgiveness. My girls love her fictional books, and recently as a family we’ve found a devotional book of hers called A Young Person’s Guide to Knowing God. These books are truly captivating and life-changing. Must-reads!
The Gutsy Girl Books are illustrated biographies of strong Christian women who changed the world! True stories like these are exactly what I’d like my girls to be reading and pondering. In this series, Sullivan leads the reader to ask the question, “If I obey God, how can he miraculously use my life?” There are four in this collection: The ten Boom Sisters, Gladys Aylward, Fannie Crosby, and Jennifer Wiseman. Read more about this captivating series here.
Tum Tum & Nutmeg by Emily Bearn
Something that I love about the tween stage is that girls are growing into young ladies, but they are still kids! And they still love imaginative animal stories found in books such as Tum Tum & Nutmeg. Tum Tum & Nutmeg are two mice who live in Nutmouse Hall and embark on an adventure to help two human children who need their assistance. Charming, warm, and fun! Read more details here.
The Moody Series by Sarah Maxwell
These books follow the Moody family, a typical Christian family with four kids and the everyday ups and downs that all families experience. Each book is packed full of wholesome goodness, Scripture, and an example of a family who serves the Lord and each other. While reading these books, my girls are exposed to godly living, especially love and service. It doesn’t get much better than that! The Moody Series books are warm and inviting and lovely! Find them here.
The Christian Heroes Then and Now Series by Janet & Geoff Benge
These biographies of Christian heroes are phenomenal. The collection is vast and include the stories of such heroes as George Mueller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Elisabeth Elliot, etc. etc. etc.! We’ve read many of these and have never been disappointed. These are written with slightly advanced vocabulary and are not illustrated, so they are a little harder to read. So, we’ve got several of them on CDs and my kids love listening to them at bedtime or in the car. We’ve also found several of them on hoopla, and are currently borrowing Harriet Tubman. I feel that reading biographies of Christians is one of the BEST ways to compel my children to obey God with their lives. You can read more about this series here.
Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
My kids love a feel-good, adventurous story, and Gone-Away Lake fits the bill. This book follows two children as they discover a forgotten neighborhood and meet its two remaining inhabitants, and elderly brother and sister. A wonderful aspect of this book is the beautiful friendship that develops between people of different generations. I want my kids to think of older people as precious and delightful, and Gone-Away Lake really portrays this. Terrific book! You can read more here.
The Mandie Collection by Lois Gladys Leppard
If your girls like historical fiction and mysteries, please introduce them to the Mandie series. Captivating stories, family drama, and faith building experiences make these books a treasure. Mandie lives in North Carolina in 1900, and all of the books are filled with terrific mystery. My older daughter has especially loved these books and wrote about them here.
The Daughters of the Faith Series by Wendy Lawton
I cannot recommend the books in this series enough! These are stories based on the lives of some truly unbelievable girls. I am currently reading aloud Courage to Run: A Story Based On The Life of Harriet Tubman, and it is unbelievably good. When I come to the end of a chapter the kids say, “Read just a little more, Mom!” They are learning so much about history, God’s faithfulness, and an unbelievably courageous girl. We also enjoyed Almost Home, A Story Based On the Life of the Mayflower’s Mary Chilton. These books really make history come alive for my girls!
Does your family love any of these books, too? And please tell me some of your favorites; we love discovering new books in our home.