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A younger friend and I were enjoying a phone chat a couple of weeks ago. She has a tween daughter about to turn the big 13 – very close in age to my teen granddaughter so we were comparing notes on books they've been reading. In our discussion, we both noted that so many of the books being written now for teens and tweens seem to be for much older kids than the books popular with kids 20 years ago. Since that was a strong concern for both of us, we ended up having a very enjoyable conversation, sharing ideas for books that we felt were more age appropriate. I also shared some much older romance novels with her from my youth WAY back when (not that I''m admitting to being an aging baby boomer BUT… 🙂 ).
One thing I really realized in the course of that conversation, and in thinking about it later, was that our kids and grandkids are going to be reading something and the choices aren't always that great. We can't always change what they may choose but we can give them plenty of positive choices as well.
If that's how you also feel, I thought you might be interested in some new and old ideas my friend and I came up with that make great gifts for your grand tweens and teens.
I had a lovely time at the local Christian bookstore looking over their selection of books. Some I recognized from years back and some were new but many looked quite interesting. I know I'll never get around to reviewing them all, the way I used to like doing with my kids, but in some cases I know the authors' other books and in other cases I've researched them online fairly well. Therefore I believe that these books are certainly no worse than current teen novels and they look to be a whole lot better, which makes me feel comfortable sharing them with others along with the caveat for you to also check them out. AND if you discover anything I missed, we'd love to hear about it. 🙂
My favorite, and the series we started out with, is by Robin Jones Gunn, a writer I am very familiar with as I've enjoyed reading and sharing her adult book series, SisterChicks. She has also written several books for teens including The Christy Miller Series, The Katie Weldon Series and The Sierra Jensen Series. My granddaughter just finished the first four books in the Christy Miller series (in less than 2 weeks – WOW!). She really enjoyed them and will be thrilled when I give her the next volume of four books tomorrow. 🙂 I love what Robin shared on her website about the first book in this series,
I continually hear from girls who say that they gave their life to Christ after reading Summer Promise. They say they were just like Christy in that they thought they were a Christian because they went to church, but when Christy realized that she needed to surrender her life to Christ, it made them realize they had not yet taken that step, either. Hundreds of girls have written to say that when Christy got on her knees beside her bed and surrendered to Christ, they did the same thing, and they mark that moment as the true beginning of their life as a Believer. Or as the character in the books say, they became a true "God-Lover."
Now that's the kind of thing I like to hear about the books my grandkids are reading, that's for sure. 🙂
Some other books I'm going to be trying out include:
- Geared for tweens from 8-12 year olds, The Camp Club Girls is a series with several different authors. If you remember the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High, it's been compared to them, complete with a mystery which I know my grandkids will appreciate.
- The Golden Filly Collection by Lauraine Snelling – a popular series about girls and horses that is from Bethany House – a company I really trust. The Amazon description for this book includes, "Sixteen-year-old Tricia Evanston and her father share something very special: their love of horses. With Tricia as jockey and her father as trainer, the two have big dreams of winning the Triple Crown. Tricia has other pressures, too, like declining grades, a strained relationship with her mother, and the constant worry about her father's failing health. But Tricia's faith in God always gives her the strength to push her limits."
- The London Confidential Series by Sandra Byrd from Tyndale House – another publisher I appreciate. The Amazon description includes, "Savvy Smith, 15, sees her chance to write a full column in the paper, making her name and making her way in her new hometown near London, England. But the choices she faces when given the chance to choose between friends, family, and fame may turn her dream into a nightmare. London Confidential: Where British fashion, friendships, and guys collide, and where an all-American girl learns to love life and live out her faith." This sounds similar to a couple of secular books one of my grandkids was reading recently, so I know it will probably be a popular choice for them.
The two from my youth that I still love are very definitely romance novels. They would be better for older grandchildren or, perhaps, any girl already reading serious romance novels – especially the ones geared for young adults and up.
- Emilie Loring wrote books during World War II and on. Her books are not Christian, per se, but are very much "God and Country," and overall quite wholesome.
- Grace Livingston Hill's books span the early 1920s on to a bit more modern times. Her books are very much faith-based books, with plenty of encouraging Bible verses scattered throughout them. I read them before I was walking with God. I know I skipped a lot of those verses, but I read enough of them to know that God used them to plant seeds of faith into my heart with those books, that later resulted in a lovely harvest of faith in Him.
Well, those are the books the grandgirls and I are looking at right now. How about you and your granddaughters? Got any more suggestions for all of us in the Sandwich Generation. Staying so busy dealing with the issues of caring for the elderly parents in our family along with babysitting grandchildren, we're always on the lookout for more great ideas to help encourage our grandkids in a positive way! 🙂