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Young People's Books

For older children and teenagers.

Be Bright

- Living For Christ At University

by Andrew King


Going to university can be a great experience, but for the Christian there are dangers as well as opportunities. This small book has been written to help prospective students think through the issues before they go. The three main chapters look at: living for Christ, studying for Christ and witnessing for Christ. There is also an appendix to help someone decide whether they should go at all.

The book is packed full of good advice and sound teaching. The author rightly urges students choose a university that has a good church within easy reach. He warns against making studies the number one priority, and encourages Christians to use their time at university to witness to their friends.

The best part of this book is when he outlines the importance of young people developing a Christian worldview before they start their studies. Taking the first three chapters of Genesis Dr. King brilliantly summarises the major elements of a biblical worldview. Every Christian will benefit from reading this insightful chapter.

This is a book that you can give with confidence to a young person contemplating going to university. The book could also be used profitably at a church youth group. There are questions at the end of every chapter to stimulate discussion.



Review by Paula Hill  (03/12/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-846-25393-5
Paperback
Price: £6.00

You Asked

- Your Questions. God's Answers

by William Edgar


This is a book written to help teenagers find answers. Over 20 questions are answered including: Who am I? Is Jesus really God? What about evolution? Can I have real friends? and rather oddly Are women human? The answers given are thoughtful and detailed. The answers are rooted in the Scriptures with the author taking a conservative, reformed view.

The author is professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary. Therein lays the great strength and the weakness of this book. Its strength is the in-depth answers provided. Professor Edgar is not afraid to engage in seminary level apologetics, introducing the reader to the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, the writings of Cornelius Van Til and the poetry of Gerard Hopkins. Herein lays the weakness. The answers are far too complex for the average teenager. In fact they might confuse many raising issues that he or she had not even thought of.

Positively, if you have a teenager heading for university who has a natural interest in apologetics then this book would make a great present. The reflective Christian will find much to stimulate his or her thinking. Teens and twenties group leaders will also find good source material for talks.



Review by Alan Hill  (13/09/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-781-91143-3
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Love Wins: For Teens



by Rob Bell


Rob Bell offers a fresher retelling of his controversial Love Wins for a teenage audience. This book is well written, poetic and pacey with challenging and controversial content circling ideas of heaven and hell. The party invitation metaphor lies at the heart of this large type-faced, fresh exploration of faith's parameters. Bell gives plenty of reasons to explore faith in God and inspires us to look at the Christian life with renewed vigour. Bell brings out all the tough questions many people ask about Christianity and the God that so many Christians describe. Here the consequences of destructive living and the hope of restoration to God through Christ are delineated.

This offers some interesting musings and less talked about theology that inspires questions and growth. Yet despite all its strengths the question remains: would I put this in the hands of young formative adults? I remain struck by Bell's searing question, "Do we trust God's telling of our story or cling to our version of our story?" Though more artist and story-teller, there is also more theology than first meets the eye. I close with Rob Bell's powerful definition. "Hell is a refusal to trust, and a refusal to trust is often rooted in a distorted view of God."



Visit the author's website:www.robbell.com/

Review by Johnny Douglas  (31/05/13)
Jacket
Publisher: Harper One from Gardners Books
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-062-22189-6
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Billy Bray – From The Deepest Pit

- Trail Blazers series

by Michael Bentley


Billy Bray was a tin miner in Cornwall whose main pleasure in life was getting drunk. However he was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ and went on to devote his life to sharing the gospel and establishing churches. The story of his dramatic preservation during an underground rock fall and his subsequent devotion to his new Lord and Master are recounted in this short biography aimed at children and young teens.
The story is recounted in a matter-of-fact way, which can make it a little dull to read. For this reason it might be better used as a read-aloud book for younger children. At the end there are questions for reflection and discussion.
The book would make a good Sunday School prize for a boy who enjoys reading about great Christians of the past.

Review by Paula Hill  (16/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: CF4Kids imprint of Christian Focus
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50788-6
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Get Moving

- Motivation for Living

by Paul White


First published in 1976 and reprinted several times since.
Intended for those 12yrs or over, this is a book of stories and guidance intermingled. Each quite short chapter tackles a theme at a time, Conversion, Assurance, Unanswered Prayer, the Occult, Witness and so many more. Thirty in all, each with a relevant story, often with a Bible reference included, many related to Paul White’s time in Africa and familiar in tone to the stories in his Jungle Doctor Hospital series (listed at the back of the book and reviewed by me – just put’ Jungle’ in our search facility.
You need to read a chapter a day, and this would be excellent teaching for young and old alike, and worth re-reading many times over. Young and old would also gain from taking heed of what Paul White has to say. Excellent, as its long time in print testifies. I wish I had read it sooner.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (02/10/12)
Jacket
Publisher: CF4Kids imprint of Christian Focus
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-845-50629-2
Paperback
Price: £4.99

John Stott - The Humble Leader

- Trail Blazers series

by Julia Cameron


All the books in this series although written for young people are very readable small biographies for people of all ages. Small? Well small in the number of pages and size of the book but huge in the content!
I have read a fuller biography written for adults, but truly, if you want to know about this remarkable man, then you can do no better than to read this Trail Blazer.
Julia Cameron starts with some delightful stories of John Stott’s early childhood, family was very important throughout his life, school days and his meeting with Eric Nash (Bash) who had such a strong influence on his lifelong commitment to students and young graduates. Then she describes his college years and his life at All Souls, Langham Place, London, from where he accepted prayerfully many opportunities for preaching and teaching worldwide. He wrote many books and being a firm believer in having enough but no more, gave away most of his royalties. His bolt hole was ‘The Hookses’ bought as a derelict farmhouse in Pembrokeshire, slowly developed, largely by his own and his friends labour, into a comfortable retreat which he lent to any who needed it.
As his influence grew, he was called to do more and more until he employed Frances Whitehead as his secretary and she became his lifelong friend and support. One of the many friends we are told about in this book.
Uncle John, as he was known to many, travelled widely, bird watching at every opportunity, a wise, very lovable, humble man who had an influence for the good on so many. There is much more in this book to learn about him. Do read it!

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (20/09/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50787-9
Paperback
Price: £5.99

15 ways to Mess Up Your Life

- A Wake Up Call for Young People

by Johan Smith


Johan Smith identifies fifteen huge themes that are challenging encounters for human life, and more than complex for teenagers. Though this title is targeted for this reader group, its use could be much wider. This is an invitation to courageous lifestyle godliness, a robust head-on approach to comparison mentality, suicide, technology, life-less principles, pride, parents, smoking, drugs, boundaries, sexuality, alcohol, pornography, peer pressure, eating disorders and the occult.
Slim attractive winsome content, with pithy chapters less than fifteen pages long that engage well. The scriptures and straight talking content of this title deserve to see this book do well.

Review by Johnny Douglas  (18/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Art from Kingsway
Published: 06 June 2012
ISBN: 978-1-770-36951-1
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Airborne

- Getting Your Faith Off the Ground

by Jose Zayas


Jesus' invitation to his followers begins with a simple call - come and follow. In Airborne Zayas introduces real people who answered. You’ll meet some of those that responded to the call and got on board for the journey of a lifetime. Jose Zayas, popular teen evangelist, offers a fresh approach to launching faith in Airborne. Using air travel as a metaphor throughout, Zayas tells how God can take our lives and transform them into amazing journeys with eternal destinations. Filled with stories from his own life and scriptural principles, Airborne invites teens in particular to explore the great adventure of faith in a clear, compelling way. This Christian primer makes a great gift for new believers, as well as those still searching for fresh spiritual direction, with its chewy theology, gritty scripture and warm-hearted story-telling.
Jose Zayas defines following Jesus as a great adventure, taking you to places you've never seen or could even dream of. A pacey read with funny and always powerful illustrations, Airborne will refresh and renew your faith with a call to delve ever deeper into the transforming power of the gospel. Passionate and purposeful!

Review by Johnny Douglas  (18/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-1-845-50653-7
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Teen Talk

- Become a Teen With Passion and Purpose

by Sharon Witt


Part of the Teen Talk series, this one is a more general book that focuses on what I would call character attributes, so confidence, dreams, attitude, goals, uniqueness and choices. Just the like the other books in the series it has a fresh look to it with cool comic cartoon drawings alongside photographic images, the pages are designed to appeal to teenagers with mixed fonts, short chapters and quotes all mixed up. However though the style matters these days, engagement is the key to capturing and keeping a teens attention, the content is what’s important, and here the book succeeds. It’s engaging and informative but not too deep or preachy, instead it carefully highlights key issues in a down to earth, clear and clean manner – raising to prominence key issues and suggestions to help teens get where they need to be.
Basically it’s a guide to getting through life as a teenager, so it includes suggestions on setting goals to help you stay on track with your school work and being able to keep up with your friends; it covers dealing with the dreaded parents and even worse the siblings, it addresses all the emotions and concerns that many teenagers have and it does it calmly, intelligently, humorously and helpfully without ever once talking down to them. A spot on book to gift to any teen, especially good either when going up to secondary school or as a help when heading towards the exam years.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (13/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: 04 April 2011
ISBN: 978-1-860-24813-9
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Absolutely Everything

- Through the Bible in 11 Game-Based Sessions – for 11-14s

by Terry Clutterham


For 11-14 year olds, through the Bible in 11 game based sessions. Seven Old Testament sessions, three New Testament and one covering the early churches.
The book can be used for Sunday or mid-week sessions, a weekend or a week long activity, ideas are given on how each of these might work. It suggests two hours preparation for each one hour session. All the sessions follow the same pattern, with timings for each part. There are pages of leader’s background information as well as ideas for personal devotions before the session starts.
The materials and equipment list seems quite long and a bit outdated, an overhead projector is used in many of the sessions though this edition copyright is 2011. Costumes are suggested for the leader, a judge, a waiter, etc for many of the sessions. The lists do seem fairly comprehensive. Many of the sessions require space to move around and to display things. When groups are split into teams small groups are catered for as well as larger groups. Time is allowed at the end of each session for more personal reflections.
This book would appeal to me to be used for sessions with children I do not know well or for a time when more than one session was needed. The structure and content is clearly laid out, though the preparation time, materials and equipment list is a little off putting. The book is clearly laid out, with pictures, maps, cards and game accessories which can be copied.

Notes by Sue Jones, Green lane Methodist Church, Leominster

Review by Guest reviewer  (07/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-844-27642-4
Stapled A4 Paperback.
Price: £11.99

It’s Your Move

- Your Guide to Moving to Secondary School

by Robert Harrison


Originally published in 2000, this is an all-new edition
This is aimed at year 6 children, those who are about to leave primary school and move on to secondary/high school, 10 and 11 year olds. With colour pictures and a comic type presentation which appeals to this age group.
It is full of tips, advice, stories, poems, jokes puzzles and lots more. It starts with looking back and an autograph page for all those people not to be forgotten from primary school. Then moves on to survival tips, getting into a routine, boyfriends, girlfriends, money, detention, 40 in total with just a short paragraph for each and possibly information about who can give more details.
There are interviews and stories from children who moved to secondary school last year. This is interspersed with puzzles, pages to write thoughts and worries on.
The whole book gently reminds the reader to trust in God, be themselves and be happy.

Notes by Sue Jones, Green lane Methodist Church, Leominster

Review by Guest reviewer  (07/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Scripture Union (SU)
Published: Autumn 2011
ISBN: 978-1-844-27686-8
Paperback
Price: £3.50

Parables in Rhyme



by Mike McGarvey


I was intrigued by these rhymes and found I needed to use them almost as a daily reading to get the most out of them. I could not have told you that there were so many parables, yet when I came to read through they were all familiar. You really need to say them out loud with the appropriate emphasis to get the best feel for them. The Bible passage following each one is from the Authorised Version so the contrast is as great as it can be.
Mike McGarvey has hit upon a novel way of attracting young people’s attention; he recites his rhymes to them, his goal ‘to stay as accurate to the original text as possible but to keep it whimsical’. He has succeeded!

The book has its own website:www.parablesinrhyme.com/

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/08/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Creation House from Eden.co.uk
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-616-38597-2
Hardback
Price: £7.99

Peer Pressure

- Youth Bible Study Guide

by Chip & Helen Kendall


This Youth Bible Study Guide (designed to work with the best selling Youth Bible) on Peer Pressure really is the most excellent study guide to give to, or use with, young people that are in secondary school, because it really deals with all the issues they are going to face there and it does it head on, humorously and intelligently without condescension. Bullying, fitting in, being part of the in-crowd or not, alcohol, smoking, drugs, temptation and many other subjects are covered here and with it's reaction boxes, reality checks and people clips it's got the feeling of a youth mag to help it move along and keep it relevant to the folks who'll be using it and reading it. It would and will work with any young person but I really think that this would be a great study for year 7 students with perhaps a later refresh when they get into year 11 maybe! From style to content this really is a well presented study guide.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (07/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24827-6
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Following God

- Youth Bible Study Guide

by Chip & Helen Kendall


It's not cricket … it's a cricket, but the story that starts off this Youth Bible Study Guide on Following God is an excellent way of getting over that we hear what we are listening for and what we want to hear to a degree, so we'd better start listening to and focusing on the right things and that would be God and the Bible.
Yet again there is some excellent well formed and culturally relevant material in here, with great design, layout and emphasis this guide really addresses the whole range of things we need to do to follow God, church, prayer, spiritual warfare, discipleship, attitude, accountability and evangelism are just a few of the topics covered but we meet them under headings like swimming in the river and digging up the well, body slam, fisticuffs, timeout and go, we get talk about trainers and brand names, sports and song lyrics. In other words you get something that really is approachable and understandable for any young person out there, but in such a way that the Bible and faith study remains central at all points. Great material.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (07/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24825-2
Paperback
Price: £4.99

The Story

- Teen edition : British text – The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His people

Foreword by Max Lucado & Randy Frazee


Another in the ‘family’ of books whose titles each start with The Story and each with a foreword by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee, covering each of the different age groups. This one for teenagers, like the others, is also deliberately ‘age appropriate’.
Hodder have published each of these titles with anglicised text of the (NIV) New International Version, of the Bible.
Carefully chosen passages from the Bible interspersed with linking ‘transitions’ in italics, help the reader to get a full understanding of the Bible as a continuous story. Easy to read through or to dip into.
With a full timeline at the front and portions repeated at the start of each section, every opportunity has been taken to engage a teenager’s attention.
With discussion questions at the end, a List of Characters and a Chart of References, this is an ideal gift for an older Baptism or a Confirmation candidate and could be a useful tool for any Youth Bible study.
Excellent.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (07/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton imprint of Hachette UK Ltd
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-444-70239-2
Paperback
Price: £12.99

Sexuality

- Youth Bible Study Guide

by Chip & Helen Kendall


The Youth Bible Study Guide series has been designed to work alongside the Youth Bible, a best selling bible aimed at young people, and these study guides do a really good job of matching and expanding on the study sections found within the Youth Bible. In looks, style and language they really work well.
This guide dealing with Sexuality takes a hard subject with all its mass of confusion and actually works at trying to tease out the biblical position in a modern and considered way. It in no way talks down the issues but presents them in an easy to swallow and understand way. It uses humour, quizzes and an almost magazine format, with real life experience and views added in to address issues such as virginity, sex and dating, homosexuality, pornography, masturbating and relationships and attitudes in honest and real ways that won’t cause too many blushes but don’t just gloss over the issues.
A really good study guide for young people on a subject that is tough to address.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (05/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24824-5
Paperback
Price: £4.99

Image and Self-Esteem

- Youth Bible Study Guide series

by Chip & Helen Kendall


I love the style of these guides, when I open one up it feels and looks more like I’m reading a teen mag than it does a study guide, and that’s just part of what makes these such a great tool to use with young people. It’s blend of article sized pieces with headlines and top names mentioned, it’s paper clipped ‘People clips’ that are sections from young people themselves, it’s quizzes and reaction sections just all add up to make it totally user friendly – however this does not in any way detract from the material in it and the studies very real intent to get biblical messages across on key subjects for young people.
This one addressing Image and Self Esteem again misses nothing, dealing with fashion, image, self identity and perception, soul identity and spiritual identity and covering really hot issues like self harm, eating disorders and popularity cult issues all without glossing over or simplifying the issues at hand, but also without making them more than they need to be, instead offering a sound biblical reference and key for what could help heal or offset the causative issues of these painful problems. Another really good guide that wouldn’t put most teens off bible study.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (03/07/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Authentic Media
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-860-24630-2
Paperback
Price: £4.99

At the Mercy of Kings: Mary of Orange

- Trail Blazers series

by Linda Finlayson


And I thought I knew my history!
This biography of Mary of Orange, daughter of Charles the second’s brother James is told sensitively and with historical accuracy. Born into a time of turmoil and religious strife, Mary and her sister Ann were pawns in the political struggles between rulers. Firstly we learn of Mary and her sister’s childhood, torn away from their father because he married a young Roman Catholic girl on the death of his first wife, and that was anathema to the king. At the age of fifteen Mary is married off to a foreign prince, albeit her cousin, but a stranger from a strange land nevertheless. And so the story continues. Many historical facts and characters appear as the story unfolds and I learnt much about this young woman and her life that I did not know before. Not just for young people! This would be an enlightening read for many.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: Summer 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50818-0
Paperback
Price: £5.99

Finish the Race : Eric Liddell

- Trail Blazers series

by John W. Keddie


Many books have been written about this sporting hero especially in this Olympic year of 2012, but there is so much more to Eric Liddell than an amazing runner who won many prestigious awards. This little paperback has many facts about his life that I had not read of before, and of course being written for a Christian publisher there is much about his Christian faith as you would expect.
I previously reviewed on this site Running the Race also by John Keddie. Here he has managed to get an amazing amount of that information into this small paperback without loosing any of its ‘readability’. I was particularly moved by the things written after Eric Liddell’s death, by people who were with him in the internment camp where he died during the Japanese/ Chinese war that was only ended when the allies won Victory over Japan. I also appreciated the ‘extra’ bit of history briefly explaining what happened then and what has happened since.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (28/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Christian Focus Publications
Published: Summer 2012
ISBN: 978-1-845-50590-5
Paperback
Price: £5.99

The Secret of the Hidden Tunnel

- Faith Finders series

by Mary Weeks Millard


Another from the Faith Finders series from Day One, this one aimed at girls in the 10/12 age range. It's the story of Matty who is sent to boarding school when her parents go off to work in Africa (though not to be missionaries, indeed they aren't even a church going family at this point), thus it raises the issues of changing schools, leaving family, homesickness and making new friendships. However it's also a story of coming to faith through seeing others with it and slowly learning what real faith and commitment is. Mixed in with this is also a good basic grounding in what a missionary is and what they do, including the horrors that can be involved in such things as told by Miss Grace their housemistress.
It's also a story that deals with keeping faith even against the most trying situations such as bereavement, the fear of losing an ill parent and sibling and with anorexia and feeling unloved – and how faith and God can help even here.
On the whole it covers a real range of teen issues and focuses on how faith can often help and how calming and restorative prayer can be. A great book for young Christian girls who want a Christian take and a storyline with a similarity to the Chalet School books by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

Review by Melanie Carroll  (20/06/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Day One Publications
Published: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-846-25334-8
Paperback
Price: £6.00

Chosen - Emma Jones



by Jo Patterson


It says on the cover ‘A great read for teenagers, friends, parents and leaders.’ To that I can add Grandmothers! I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the next in the series – there will surely be a next!
Each chapter is prefixed by a piece about the demons who have been told to disrupt Emma and her family’s lives, followed by an apt Bible verse.
Emma is just starting six form college to do her A levels. She comes from a family who are committed to their lively church and Emma has developed a love of singing and drama. She has had no time for boy friends as she has been too busy with exams, after school clubs and so on, and presumes things will stay the same in her new environment - but the master of the demons has other plans.
Very soon, happily settled into her studies, with new friends and interests, she becomes attracted to Jack. A very suitable older boy with a church background who returns Emma’s feelings in a responsible way – much to the chagrin of the demons who set out to make things as difficult as possible for them both.
What follows is a roller coaster of a story that will keep you reading to the end and longing for more.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (24/05/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Jarom Books
Published: May 2012
ISBN: 978-1-898-15823-3
Paperback
Price: £6.99

Living Your Confirmation

- Putting Promises Into Action

by Pete Maidment and Paul Butler


In a nutshell the best way to describe this book is as a post-confirmation study guide. The ten chapters in the book work through the promises made (the commission) in the confirmation service, and look at them in more depth, but more importantly look at how they are to be used in the real world as a confirmed young person, helping show how you live the promises made. Each chapter begins with a word from Bishop Paul Butler, then there’s the opener that looks at the subject in more depth and teases out its relevance to daily life, this is followed by a reflection on what it really means and a chance to reflect personally and then finally the react section which is a suggestion of practical action that can be undertaken.
It’s an excellent guide. The purple headers, boxed sections and scruffing around the page edge all show this is aimed at a young audience and my one concern is how quick this could date this useful resource, because to be sure this is an excellent gift to give to any young person just making their confirmation, or for a church to use as a post confirmation course.

Review by Melanie Carroll  (30/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published: March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-281-06462-5
Paperback
Price: £7.99

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

- and Then Some! – The Gospels Retold for Teenagers

by Rosie Rushton


Paperback ISBN 978-1-848-67392-2, £12.99
Maybe this was written with teenagers in mind, but I was not too old to thoroughly enjoy it! (When I was a teenager I enjoyed adult books, so what!)
The stories of Esther, Reuben, Caleb and Seth are woven into the Gospel stories so that the teenagers tell what is happening as observers and participants. They meet and talk with Jesus, they become part of the Gospel story without intruding into it. Not only do we get a new perspective on what is told in the Bible, we gain an insight into what it was like to be an orphaned youngster, one with severe disabilities, one who has been thrown out of home, and one with a privileged background that comes with it’s own problems.
A thoroughly good read, that you find hard to put down. Highly recommended.

Review by Mary Bartholomew  (04/04/12)
Jacket
Publisher: Kevin Mayhew Publishers
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-848-67396-0
Paperback
Price: £16.99