Faith, Fiction, & Fellowship: A Read Along for Girls Ages 10-100

It’s time to reclaim “Women’s History Month” (March).

How about “Women in the Church Month,” complete with deep conversation about our shared faith, discussion about great books, and multi-generational fellowship?

Let’s pursue godly, real world relationships, particularly in our Christian communities and churches.

Faith, Fiction, & Fellowship

Gather your daughter(s) for a book club experience like no other. No daughters at home? No problem. Gather your friends, some college girls at church, a group of teens at the high school where you teach, other women in your church…. We’ve got you covered with books for multiple age groups, discussion questions, recipes, and more!

Put aside those social media “relationships” and dig deep with one another, face-to-face.

Faith: Biblical Truth

The Book of Ruth will anchor our read along conversation.

We’re also going to read Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish by Christina Fox. Christina’s book will urge us to wrestle with our relationships: how can we, who are united in Christ, really help one another? Exhort one another? Mourn with one another? Rejoice with one another?

Watch a book talk about Closer Than a Sister!

Christina is a homeschool mom to two boys, author (her newest book is Idols of a Mother’s Heart), student at RTS , contributor to sites like Desiring God Ministries, and fellow Covenant College alumna (like Betsy and Megan). She’s also worked with her church’s women’s ministry. Welcome, Christina!

Fiction: Great Stories

Fiction excels at raising questions, offering us a way to talk about issues and ideas using the book’s characters and situations. We can critique a book character without vilifying a friend. And we can examine a book character’s heart issues before being vulnerable about our own. Often, those very book discussions lead to deep, personal conversations in the end!

The books below will help us discuss weighty issues like grief and mourning with one another, our identity within our communities, the importance of the church, and those all important multi-generational female relationships.

For Women: The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts

The Solace of Water is a poignant look at marriage, mother-daughter relationships, the importance of our church community, and the absolute necessity of real friends who will love us in the trenches. This book has some raw moments, but the end is full of real hope: we are baptized into new life, and those united in Christ can step into our lives like no one else.

Watch a book talk about The Solace of Water!

Elizabeth Byler Younts is a homeschool mom of two daughters, and she lives in Central Pennsylvania. We have to give her credit for inspiring us for this read along in the first place! She’ll be participating along with the rest of us. Welcome, Elizabeth!


For Teens: You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Perfect for teens and college girls (and moms who don’t have time to read two books!), You Bring the Distant Near starts with two girls in India. By the book’s end, we’ve seen those two girls grow up, start their own families, and even get to meet the grandkids. Relationships take center stage in this moving portrayal of a family, the cultural shifts immigrants face, and the real hope of the gospel.

Watch a book talk on You Bring the Distant Near!

image from author’s website

We’re big fans of Mitali’s books for kids, and we’re thrilled to include her in this read along. Like the characters in You Bring the Distant Near, Mitali was born in India and now lives in the U.S. She has a terrific testimony of the Lord’s work in her life using… children’s books! She’s also got a new book in the works, due to be published this April: Forward Me Back to You. Mitali Perkins is also going to join us for this read along. Welcome, Mitali!


For Middle School: Patina by Jason Reynolds

The second in Jason Reynolds’s Track Series, Patina tells the story of a young girl who’s carrying the world on her shoulders. Patty Jones is a track star, a big sister par excellence, the world’s most supportive daughter, the only group member doing any work for the school project, and a niece trying not to be a burden while she lives with her aunt and uncle. Relationships, identity, and community are key themes in this story.

Watch a book talk about Patina!

image from author’s website

Jason Reynolds is another favorite author of ours. He might not have experienced being a middle school girl, but he manages to create a winsome middle school girl character nonetheless! His books are terrific discussion starters, and we’ve reviewed several.


Fellowship: It’s All About Relationships

Book clubs are popular for a reason: it’s more fun to talk about a book together than read it by yourself!

Our reading guide will include promo materials to help you gather your group together, questions to help guide discussion, recipes from Redeemed Reader staff and some of our participating authors, suggestions for additional reading, links to related resources, and… the right to join our first ever Facebook group just for this read along!

While the lasting benefit will come from your real-world relationships, the Facebook group will provide a platform for discussions between group meetings, a chance to connect with the authors (Christina, Elizabeth, and Mitali will jump in occasionally), and a way to connect with other Redeemed Reader folks!

The guide will be ready, Lord willing, by Monday, February 18!

Sounds Awesome! How Do I Begin?

Glad you asked!

The first step is to find your reading buddies: your daughter and her friends? Ladies at church? Girls from the college class? Ask around and see who’s interested in your community!

Next, get Closer Than a Sister. Leaders of small groups (and moms!) should read Closer Than a Sister, and you will benefit from reading the first couple of chapters soon, before the read along starts at the beginning of March.

We think teens would get a lot out of this book, too, but they might not have time to read it this spring on top of the fiction title and their schoolwork.

Depending on the ages of those in your group, invest in a fiction title or two. Moms can read Solace of Water while their daughter reads Patina or You Bring the Distant Near. The discussion guide ties all the books together for you!

Most groups will probably only meet as a group once, near the end (like a normal book club). The reading guide will help everyone think about the books while they’re reading, and it will definitely help moms and daughters (and friends on the phone) talk about the book during the month.

**Giveaway is now closed, but we do hope you’ll continue to follow along!**

We’ve got a copy of each of the read-along titles to give away just to those who comment on this post! Comment below with which title you’re most interested in reading, and you’ll be entered into the giveaway for that book. Giveaway closes midnight (Eastern time), Saturday, 2/16/18.

**Giveaway limited to U.S. residents only.**

Are you in? Which title sounds intriguing to you?

Let us know in the comments who you think you might do the read along with and which titles sound perfect for you!

All amazon links are affiliate links. Every time you click through our amazon links, anything you buy on that “shopping trip” benefits Redeemed Reader and helps us do what we do! Many thanks to those who’ve supported us this way.

Reading Ahead for You

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Betsy

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

63 Comments

  1. Gina on February 6, 2019 at 7:07 am

    This sounds delightful! My daughter just finished Patina and raved about it daily while reading. I will read that to connect with her. Also would like to read You Bring the Distant Near, and probably the rest as well. I’ll have to think about who might like to read and discuss together. Very thankful to have a church full of readers!

    • Betsy on February 7, 2019 at 7:32 am

      So glad to hear that she loved Patina!

  2. Chris B on February 6, 2019 at 7:58 am

    I will try to get my teen, her friends, and their moms together to read You Bring the Distant Near as a group.

    • Betsy on February 7, 2019 at 7:32 am

      Awesome! They’ll love it!

  3. Jennifer Graves on February 6, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Cool. Now do one for moms and boys!

    • Betsy on February 7, 2019 at 7:32 am

      We hope to do one for boys at some point!

    • Joanne Goonewardene on February 7, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      yes!

  4. Jennifer Cummings on February 7, 2019 at 5:43 am

    This sounds great! I’m curious how this will be structured…weekly read-alongs with planned discussion questions each week, or book-club style where you read it all and then show up for a one-time discussion? Looking at planning this with a not-so-near friend and our daughters and wondering how to structure a get together that will help engage the kids together.

    • Betsy on February 7, 2019 at 7:31 am

      Great question! Some of that will be up to you and your “group” (whether that’s just you and those in your house or whether you’re meeting with more people). We’ll be providing some Facebook conversation along the way and posting some of the discussion questions each week on the website like we’ve done in our past read alongs, so if you can’t meet together frequently, you can still talk about the books with people! Most groups will probably meet once, like a regular book club, and that would work well, too. Our reading guide will include discussion questions for each week as well as some possible ideas for structuring your group; if you just meet once, you can pick whichever weekly discussion topics you find most interesting! Moms and daughters can certainly discuss each week as they read their books, but a group meet up might happen just once. And don’t forget: phone calls work just fine, too, if you and a friend are both full to the brim with thoughts about the books before you meet up! 🙂

      • Kimberly Murphy on February 13, 2019 at 7:39 pm

        So when will the reading guide be available and do we have to purchase them?

        • Betsy on February 13, 2019 at 8:57 pm

          Like our previous read-alongs, we will post some questions on the website as we go through the month of March. But this year we’ve got some special extra features in an official reading guide (including access to a special Facebook group with some of the authors), and to access those, participants will need to purchase the guide in the shop for a small fee. We’re putting the finishing touches on the official reading guide this week and hope to unveil it soon!

  5. Heather on February 7, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    I’m in!! What a great plan! Now to get some friends gathered. Betsy, can you come over?!

    • Betsy on February 9, 2019 at 7:15 am

      If I could hop a plane easily, I totally would, Heather!!

  6. Valerie on February 9, 2019 at 7:14 am

    While I’m not sure we’ll actually do the read along, as timing is not great for us with school and church related lists we are currently working through, but I definitely will be putting You Bring the Distant Near on our “to read” list!

  7. Megan on February 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Are y’all doing a book club of your own on facebook? Or is this only for people to set up their own groups? I’d love to join in, but am already committed to two book clubs that I physically go to. I’d love to still participate in an online one though – if that’s more what this is.

    • Betsy on February 13, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      Great question! Our read-alongs are usually short-lived; this one is just the month of March. You can absolutely participate online with us! But we’re encouraging everyone to talk about the books with some real life friends, too: moms and daughters, friends at church, etc. Most face-to-face “groups” (or mom/daughter duo) will probably just meet once to talk about it, but we’ll have weekly discussion questions for you to think about (and to discuss) online.

  8. DRC on February 14, 2019 at 9:25 am

    As the mom of an adult daughter, the Solace of Water (even – maybe especially! – with the raw moments) looks like something I need to read.

  9. Sarah on February 14, 2019 at 10:22 am

    I am most exited about reading”Closer than a sister”.

  10. Christy W on February 14, 2019 at 11:25 am

    The Solace of Water is intriguing!

    • Betsy on February 18, 2019 at 7:32 am

      Congratulations, Christy! You’re one of our two Solace of Water winners! Watch your email for one from us!

  11. Abbey on February 14, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    You Bring the Distant Near!

  12. Chris on February 14, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Closer than a Sister

  13. Marijo on February 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    I’m excited for all of them, but most excited for You Bring the Distant Near.

  14. Lydia Harris on February 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    All of these books look amazing, I’m most interested in reading You bring the distant near because I’d like to read it and also have my daughter read it after me.????

  15. Sarah C on February 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Definitely Closer Than a Sister! Question: should my tween read Ghost before reading Patina?

    • Betsy on February 14, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Totally optional! Ghost is a very different book than Patina. The two are connected, but one is not essential to understand the other. (Good question!)

  16. Cristy on February 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Oh, Closer Than A Sister! Can’t wait for this!

    • Betsy on February 18, 2019 at 7:30 am

      Congratulations, Cristy! You’re one of our Closer Than a Sister Winners! (We have two 😉 ). Watch for an email from us.

  17. Rebecca on February 14, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I am most excited to read “You Bring the Distant Near”. I run a book club for homeschool tweens/teens and this may be a good option for a book club read!

  18. Jennifer C on February 14, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    I’m looking forward to Solace if Water (and also Patina ????)

  19. Jerri-Lynn DeGayner on February 14, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Closer than a Sister sounds like something I could use right about now.

  20. April on February 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Closer than a Sister looks wonderful!

  21. Hwee-Ching Sinclair on February 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Solace of Water for myself and probably Patina for my tween daughter! However, I may go off and buy Patina already as my tween is needing a book to read right now!! So excited about this Faith, Fiction and Fellowship! Would really love to do host a group of girls at church! If we do, can we use the same exact name for the book club? Just too catchy!!

    • Janie on February 14, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      We would be honored!

    • Betsy on February 14, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Our Reading Guide will even have a promo poster you can use, too! Hopefully it will be ready by the end of the week!

  22. Jamie Lorenz on February 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    I’m most interested in reading “Closer Than A Sister.”

  23. Julianna on February 14, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    I have read Patina and You Bring the Distant Near, both of which I recommend highly. I am reading Closer Than a Sister now but am really looking forward to The Solace of Water. I’ve extended this challenge to many women and young girls in my church as well as colleagues at work and am praying for excitement and commitment. Thanks so much.

  24. Mari on February 14, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Started Closer Than a Sister the other day to get the first few chapters read before we start in on the rest in March. Always good to have the biblical foundation laid out again to meditate on.

    • Betsy on February 14, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Yes!

  25. Kimberly Murphy on February 14, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    I am looking forward to reading The Solace of Water. I do not read enough fiction. I am always reading nonfiction and I could use some diversity!

  26. Deanna on February 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Closer than a Sister! ????

  27. Brooke on February 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    You Bring the Distant Near. Happy Birthday!

    • Betsy on February 14, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks!

  28. Diane Yliniemi on February 14, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    You Bring the Distance Near. I have read some of her books in the past…and enjoyed them. This one sounds good.

  29. Debbie on February 14, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    I’m excited to read You Bring the Distant Near.

    • Betsy on February 18, 2019 at 7:18 am

      Congratulations, Debbie! You’re our winner for You Bring the Distant Near. Watch your email for a message from us!

  30. Lana C on February 14, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    Faith, fiction and fellowship

    • Betsy on February 15, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      Which book sounds like a good fit, Lana?

  31. Jami on February 14, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I am a mom of boys. Honestly, girls have always scared me. I am happily getting to know some of my boys’ “friend girls” and rejuvenating my hope for their, and my, future. These young women are smart and saucy and love the Lord. I would love to read THE SOLACE OF WATER with some of them.

    • Betsy on February 18, 2019 at 7:26 am

      Congratulations, Jami! You’re our Solace of Water giveaway winner–so you’ll get your chance. Watch for an email from us!

  32. Christina DeVane on February 15, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Closer than a sister sounds great!!

  33. Linda Francis on February 15, 2019 at 5:33 am

    Closer than a Sister sounds like it would be a great addition to our church library!

  34. Leah Lee on February 15, 2019 at 6:06 am

    Closer Than a Sister. But putting the others on my “to read list.”

    • Betsy on February 18, 2019 at 7:30 am

      Congrats, Leah! You’re one of our two Closer Than a Sister winners! Watch for an email from us :-).

  35. Sarah on February 15, 2019 at 9:36 am

    The Solace of Water and You Bring the Distant Near are both on my list to read!

  36. Karen Davidson on February 15, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I am ordering Patina for my daughter and Closer Than a Sister for me.

    • Betsy on February 18, 2019 at 7:22 am

      Hope you haven’t ordered just yet, Karen, because you are our winner for Patina! Watch for an email from us.

  37. Colleen on February 16, 2019 at 5:06 am

    I’m really interested in reading _Closer than a Sister_ AND sharing with my mom-friends. What a great recommendation.

  38. Katharine on February 16, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    You Bring the Distant Near since I’m fascinated by Indian culture and enjoy reading books about people who are different than me!

  39. Ruth Schmied on February 16, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I’ve been wanting to be part of a book club for years, but I don’t know of any that are as picky as I about what they read. To lead a book club has always seemed intimidating, but to use a guide by you Redeemed Reader folks, whom I trust, makes it seem quite possible. I hope to read all the books eventually, but I am especially interested in “You Bring the Distant Near” as I personally would like to read more authors from other cultures.

  40. Jennifer on February 21, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Anything on the reading guide yet?!

    • Betsy on February 21, 2019 at 7:21 am

      Yes! It went “live” in the shop on Monday–check it out! Lots of great resources in it.

  41. Linda Murphy on February 21, 2019 at 7:12 am

    I have organized a small group consisting of my three daughters (ages 13 through 32) and two daughters-in-law. My future daughter-in-law MAY join us, but is preparing for college graduation in May and is kind of busy right now. We’ll see how that goes! Really looking forward to seeing the discussion guide and getting started!

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