Saturday, December 8, 2012

Books that all teens (and their parents) should read

Teaching young teens is what I do for a living.  I’m a high school teacher by profession, teaching in a small private Montessori school in Cagayan de Oro City.  Being in such a small school, teaching in The Abba’s Orchard allows me to not only teach the ABC’s (you wouldn’t want me to teach the 123’s), but it also allows teachers like us to make a big impact in their young lives, an impact a teacher in a traditional school can only dream of having.

On this note, I have come up with a selection of books that all teens (and their parents) should read.  Some of these books I’ve recommended on this blog before, and it can’t hurt that I recommend them again.  However, I now strongly suggest that parents of teens should also read these books, so that they can mentor (key word: mentor…not force or coerce) their teen in walking the right path.

Note that most of these books have a Christian worldview.  While I understand that not all of my readers share my faith, please note that the principles are so practical and above-board that everybody can and (in my opinion) should apply them, Christian or not.  They’ll do all teens (and parents of teens) great good.

Oh it won’t be an extensive list, so that you won’t be confused with so many options.  So, here goes…

General teen excellence:

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.  If there’s one book that you and your teenager should read, it is this one.  Many students in the school I work for and in the youth ministry of my church said that this is THE book that made them look inside themselves and realize that they can do so much more than what they’re currently doing.  It made all these teens better, hungrier, and more motivated to make a difference in this world, and it doesn’t matter if they are between the ages of 13-19.

The book above may leave a reader feel a bit overwhelmed.  They gain the “why”, but maybe not so much the “how”.  Do Hard Things’ sequel, Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are, will do that for you.  It gives practical ways to be an excellent teen, excellence beyond expectations.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.  This is another book that I’ve made my students read.  It’s an excellent teen version of the late Steven Covey’s awesome book (this book was made by his son…who humorously said was the great author’s guinea pig).  Among the very few things I don’t agree with this book is its view on relationships, which brings me to…

Boy-Girl Relationships: (see a more comprehensive list of books for this subject here)

I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  A book that every teen should read when it comes to how to view relationships.  Very reflective and very counter-culture to today’s views on dating…and I guarantee your teen will not look at the teenage years in the area of romance the same way again.  The title of one of its chapters says it beautifully: “The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing.”  (Check out my students’ reflections regarding this book, and its sequel, on my post, Teens talk about finding Mr. and Ms. Right)

Lust and Sex:

Sex Is Not The Problem (Lust Is).  Never before have our youngsters’ senses been so bombarded by the media.  They’re exposed so early to sex because it’s everywhere, be it print, music, ads, and the internet.  Give your teen the right view on the touchy (pun intended) subject with this book, and some of my male students say that this is the book that has impacted them the most.  To repeat the quote I used above, "the right thing done at the wrong time is the wrong thing."

Specifically for teen girls (I covered this more in detail in another article)

Uncompromising: A Heart Claimed by a Radical Love.  Excerpt from the back-cover (highlights mine):   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.”    This book will change that.  Get this for your teen girl.

Set-Apart Femininity.  This book very strongly challenges young teen girls to not be like everyone else.  To be shining lights in a dark world.  Very convicting, this one, and who, among us dads, doesn’t want our daughters to grow up to be genuine ladies in a sea of…nevermind.

Specifically for teen boys.

A Guy’s Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 224 Pages or Less.   Guys get confused on what being a man truly means.  The author really does a good job speaking to the reader that, underneath the developing body and the insecurity, there lies a growing man that, if guided right, can leave a lasting mark on the world.

A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices.  What are the choices every young man needs to make to become truly successful and accepted?  Lots of things, and many are not what everyone else says.  What does it truly take?  Find out here.

Money management for teens.

Getting a Grip on Your Money.  I used to have this book as required reading for seniors.  I loved it because, unlike so many money books out there (which elevate the acquiring of wealth and material success to the point of idolatry), this book actually puts money in its rightful place.  It teaches us to be very wise with money, but not to worship it.  The only problem I had with it is talks about these principles using dollars as currency, which my students can’t really relate to.  However, this is not a problem with most of my readers here, is it?

Till Debt Do Us Part.  This is the book that replaced the book above.  Same message: money serves us, not we serve money…and it’s for the Filipino audience.  The author, former celebrity Chinkee Tan is a fantastic public speaker and life coach, one of the best I’ve seen.  Go to his site to read more about him.

Parenting teens (okay, this section is for the parents only)

Raising Responsible Teens in a Digital World.  Just by the title itself, this book is already a must have.  Even this dad blogger knows that parenting teens in this digital age is an uphill battle.  This book helps us encourage our kids to engage the real world with love and service.

Have a New Teenager by Friday: From Mouthy and Moody to Respectful and Responsible in 5 Days .  This is one of the books of the excellent “Have a new…” series (there’s even a Have A New Husband by Friday…hmm, I think I should give that).  The book challenges us to take immediate action in impacting our teens for God’s glory.  Why wait another day?  Have a new teen by Friday!

There are so many great books for teens and for parents of teens.  When you click on the links above, you can also check out the other books shown on the product pages.  You’ll be overwhelmed by the choices.

God bless you all, and may the Reason for the Season bless you with the Happiest of Holidays.

(This blog site, Lessons Of A Dad is mostly about parentingmarriage, and other topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  I’d consider it an honor if you’d follow or subscribe to this site.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)


  1. these books sounds like a very interesting one, unfortunately i am not fond of reading books especially when it's a thick books. Ugh! I salute those pips who read books though

  2. I have two teens already, and I could every help I need bringing them up, especially in the light of God's words. Thanks for this!

  3. The books does provide a wide range of topics that are relevant for teens which is a grey area since they are confused as they are no longer childrens and yet are not yet adults.

  4. these are all interesting books to read but i pick most the one that is applicable to me and that is "Raising Responsible Teens in a Digital World".

  5. These are all seems interesting to read but of all mentioned, I think Getting a Grip on Your Money is just what i needed. hahaha Makes wonder if these are available on Kindle?

  6. my oldest is 10.. I'll keep this selection in mind.. para handa ako when he becomes a teenager :)

  7. Since I'm not a teenager anymore, I'll be saving this list for my future children :) I think I've heard the "I kissed dating goodbye" before when I was in HS but never had the time to read it. Thanks for this helpful post most esp. to parents out there :)

  8. I have been acquainted with I Kissed Dating Goodbye when I went to college because it was one of the best seller books that time (even up until now). It's the perfect read for young sweethearts.

  9. These books seem to be very helpful. I must buy at least one of them!

  10. I already have a teenager and these books are great find of yours. I'll share this list to my kid which I'm sure she will appreciate because my kid already developed a habit of reading when they have no school.


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