Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Great books for Christian teen girls

We celebrated my wife’s birthday last week.  As she was walking arm in arm with our eldest daughter, Lynn, a family friend remarked, “Wow Jhean!  She’s just as tall as you are!”

I was behind the ladies when that comment was said, and indeed, Lynn is very close to her mom’s height, and I predict that she will exceed her next year.  Lynn turns 12 in just 2 weeks’ time, and it dawned on me yet again that, before I know it, my sweet little Christian girl will be a bona-fide Christian teen.

I thought to myself that, since Lynn is a bookworm, I need to figure out what great books to get for Christian teen girls…as I’m sure the kiddie books won’t appeal to her anymore. 

Of course, I’m not talking about infatuation-riddled novels about sparkly vampires.  No sir, these would be books that would grow her and inspire her to be the beautiful young woman that she is called to be. 



So, readers with teen or soon-to-be teenage girl, if you feel me, then here are some great books for her. 


Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris.  If you can get only one book for teens, any teen, boy or girl, make it this one.  What spinach is for Popeye, Do Hard Things will be for your teen.  Basically, it urges teenagers to rebel…rebel against the low expectations that society, and even adults, place on them.  If you’re still not convinced, here’s praise from some best-selling authors.

Do Hard Things is an extraordinary book. In fact, I believe it will prove to be one of the most life-changing, family-changing, church-changing, and culture-changing books of this generation. I'd love for every teenager to read this book, but I'm just as eager for every parent, church leader, and educator to read it.”
– Randy Alcorn, best-selling author of Heaven and The Treasure Principle


Do Hard Things is so important. It is challenging teenagers to rebel against the low expectations placed on them. And the voices that are asking teens to rise to meet this challenge are voices from their own generation. That thrills me.”
– Chuck Colson, best-selling author of How Now Shall We Live?

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations is available in hardcover and Kindleeditions.


They just came out with a second book, Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are, which talks about, well, just what the title says.  I strongly suggest you get that too (hardcover or Kindle) .  If Do Hard Things was inspiration, Start Here will be how to fly into action.  Truly, I implore you to get both for your teen Christian girl.


Brett Harris also wrote the foreword to another book that I’d like to recommend for teen girls, Uncompromising: A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love by Hannah Farver.  I’ll allow the book description to do the favour of explaining this book:

“Ask any girl on the street what womanhood is about, and you’ll get a blank stare in return. No one knows. Young women are devoid of vision beyond popularity, material wealth, a cute boyfriend or a dream career. Even in Christian circles, significant questions are often left unanswered: What’s the point of purity? Modesty? Femininity? What’s biblical womanhood?  Most of all, girls wonder at the longing in their souls for something greater.


“Uncompromising:  A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love cuts straight to the heart of young womanhood. Rather than setting up rules, it pulls at the desire in every woman’s heart to live a life of purpose, fully surrendered to His radical love.  Written in an edgy teen voice, Uncompromising is a collection of ‘field notes’ from the author’s own search for answers…and the story of how she stumbled upon the one Cause worth dying for.  Contains study questions for group or individual use. “


Uncompromising: A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love is available in paperback form.


Soul Surfer - Movie Tie-In: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton.  My two girls, in youth group, saw the movie and walked away incredibly inspired.  If you loved the movie, you must, must, must get the book.  For those of you living in a cave the past year, Soul Surfer is about teen Bethany Hamilton, an aspiring pro surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack and nearly died.  But through this tragedy, she never lost her faith, and the telling of her story leaves “no doubt that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of personal empowerment and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing, perhaps even less so, than the soul.”  (If you haven’t purchased the movie for you and your teen girl yet, WHY NOT??  Get it through DVD or Blue Ray)

Soul Surfer - Movie Tie-In: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board is available in book and audio formFor the kindle format, you can get the older version (which doesn’t have some of the film-related material that the newer version has). 


Bloom: A Girls Guide to Growing Up (Focus on the Family) by Susie Shellenberger.  I’m a huge fan of anything that Focus on the Family makes or is affiliated with.  When it comes to books for teen girls, Susie Shellenberger, who was the editor of their Brio magazine when this book was made, is one of their go-to authors.  Below is the book description:

 “Teen girls have lots of questions about the crazy challenges they face each day. From changing bodies to dating and sex, relationships, money, and more, girls want answers on how to make the best of their teen years. Written from a supportive and encouraging “big sis” perspective, Bloom: a Girl's Guide to Growing Up addresses all these issues and responds with straightforward honesty. Prompted by the many letters sent by girls to the editors of Brio magazine, this book provides trustworthy answers to girls' real-life concerns.”

Bloom: A Girls Guide to Growing Up  is available only on paperback.



Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh.  With teen girls these days baring more and more skin on a daily basis, there is a glaring need to guide them in the area of dressing appropriately.  This book, with its great visuals on what dressing attractively really means, is one of the best books on this topic.  You don’t believe me?  Here’s what some Amazon customer reviewers had to say:

“This little gem doesn't come across as preachy, but as one godly and lovely young woman sharing her wisdom and her struggles with teens. The photos inside serve as illustrations that being modest doesn't mean dressing like your grandmother. I highly recommend this and am ordering forty from the publisher to share with the teen girls I work with.”


“Our daughter, then just 14 years old, grabbed it out of my hand, said ‘I want to read it’, sat down on the floor of our kitchen, read it straight through, emailed two or three of her best friends, and let each of them read it. This sparked a year-long on-and-off conversation about relationships, attractiveness, modesty, desire, and how guys and girls think.”


“As i watch girls in my class dress like hookers all the time, i see how horrible it is that they give away their body like that…This book, gives a new look at modesty and the deeper issues. I love how they used examples of Christian rocks singers, because those women have to be up front about how they want to dress and follow God, and may young girls look up to them.”

Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty is available in paperback, Kindle, and audio.


Wait for Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance by Rebecca St. James.  Speaking of Christian rock singers, you can’t make a list of great Christian rock singers without mentioning Grammy-award winning Rebecca St. James.  Well, she’s as great an author as she is a singer, and she has written a lot of books that empower young women, particularly in the area of sexual purity. 

“Using Scripture, pop culture, and her own experience as a point of reference, Rebecca paints a relevant and appealing picture of the value of waiting. But Rebecca also reaches out with compassion to those who have already made mistakes and reveals the mercy and healing that God brings.”

Wait for Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance is available through paperback and Kindle.



Set-Apart Femininity: God's Sacred Intent for Every Young Woman by Leslie Ludy.  I’m very much a fan of material that challenges Christians to rise up from the lukewarmness and mediocrity cocoon that some of us have spun around ourselves.  This gem from Leslie Ludy (co-author of When God Writes Your Love Story) serves up a hefty serving of Christian living conviction for teen girls.  With the possible exception of Do Hard Things, this book could be the most life-changing on this list.  I love what Amazon customer reviewers say about this book:

"This book has impacted my life more than any other (outside the Bible). No beating around the bush on her way to a watered-down, what-if-I-sound-too-radical message. She doesn't shy away from the Truth, but boldly hits it head-on. And because of that, you're left with only two choices--walk away completely changed and enamored w/ God, w/ a growing desire for your life to revolve around Him alone...or write it off as a strangely old-fashioned, extreme book written by some crazy who doesn't understand what it's like to live in today's sin-polluted world. I strongly recommend that EVERY young woman read this-single or married."

"I'm so excited to be able to share how unbelievable this book is. For the first time my eyes were opened to how selfish and self-seeking my life has been. So many of us live with a deep core of self-centeredness without even realizing it! Leslie challenges the reader in a way I've never seen, and she presents truth in a bold, confident manner. So many young women don't have strong, sold out, older women to call them to an even higher standard, and where those mentors are lacking, this book could step in"


Set-Apart Femininity: God's Sacred Intent for Every Young Woman is available through paperback and Kindle




A Young Woman After God's Own Heart: A Teen's Guide to Friends, Faith, Family, and the Future by Elizabeth George.  My wife and many of her friends have been tremendously blessed by Elizabeth George’s books for women and specifically for wives.  The author has a great mentoring style that really connects with her readers (so does her husband, Jim, who also wrote the “after God’s Own Heart” books for guys and for husbands, me tremendously enjoying the latter).

Didn’t know Mrs. George has a teen version of those books until now, and for sure the results for Lynn will be just the same as her mother and friends.

This book is available in three versions: paperback, kindle, and school & library binding (hmmm...great idea for the school)


The Real Me: Being the girl God sees by Natalie Grant.  Another great Christian artist-turned-author is Natalie Grant.  This book in particular talks about body image, which is a huge struggle for teen girls, and Christian girls are not spared.  The multiple Dove Award winner’s struggles with an eating disorder are highlighted here, and her victory over it and the experiences she learned along the way earn Natalie Grant the stripes to write a book about the way girls should look at themselves. 

The Real Me: Being the girl God sees  is available in paperback and Kindle.


Girl Talk With God by Susie Shellenberger.  The second of her books on this list (to date, she’s written 36) and it’s focused primarily on prayer, challenging Christian teen girls to deepen their relationship with God through making prayer a habit and a lifestyle.  Here’s what some Amazon customer reviewers have to say:

“I think this is a wonderful book for Christian girls who want to grow in their faith but don't know how. It makes prayer so attractive and easy! After reading this book, you will want to pray, I guarantee it. Every teenage Christian girl should read this book.”


“Susie Shellenberger, the editor of Brio and Brio & Beyond magazines, compiled this book from all the ‘God Said, I Said’ articles that appeared in Brio and Brio and Beyond over the years. She added a few new articles and some commentary for this book. The result is that this book is one of the best books I've ever read on the subject matter of prayer. The book, which is several conversations between a girl and God on topics ranging from questioning Christianity to sex, is a very good read.”

Girl Talk With God is available in both Kindle and paperback forms.


The Case for...” series (Student Edition) by Lee Strobel.  Christians, Christian teens included, are having their faith scrutinized, questioned, and even lambasted as never before, thanks to these cynical times in general and the neo-atheist movement in particular.  Lee Strobel, an investigative journalist and formerly an atheist hell-bent on debunking Christianity but came to wholehearted faith instead, wrote the award winning The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and The Case for a Creator books.  Thankfully, he made student versions and children’s versions of his books so that younger believers can answer the doubts of their sceptical friends (and their own personal doubts as well).



These books are a must have for every Christian teen, teen girls included, with the goal of setting up their faith in the Living God as something that is impossible to intellectually refute.  So here they are.

The Case for Christ - Student Edition: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (paperback and Kindle)

The Case for Faith - Student Edition: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity (paperback and Kindle)


The Case for a Creator - Student Edition: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (paperback and Kindle)

Well, it’s the Holiday Season, and thinking about this makes me want to do a series of blogs about what books/gifts are best to get for you or for those who love.  So here’s the first of the said series, Great Books for Teenage Girls.  Soon, there will be great books for teen boys then for dads, and so on.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this list. I love Soul Surfer! Another book you might be interested in looking into for your daughter is the first book in a new Christian fiction series for tween girls called: UNDERCOVER ANGELS: Kayla's Big Move.

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    1. Thanks Angela. I didn't put any fiction on this list, but your suggestion is noted and i will look that up for Lynn. Thanks again.

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  2. Seconding "Do Hard Things". I enjoyed it as a 31 year old dad and my daughter is reading it now and has already mentioned how good it is two or three times.

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    1. Yeah :)

      Make sure she also reads Start Here.

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this list. I will keep this in mind. My daughter loves to read too. :)

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  4. Thank you for sharing this list. I will keep this in mind when I visit the bookstore next time. My teenager loves to read books too. ^_^

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