Discussion Starters

Global Prayer Resources: Operation World and Window on the World and More

How can we better pray for our brothers and sisters around the world? Operation World and Window on the World help us pray for God's ...
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The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown by Elizabeth Laird

Charity Brown, raised in a strict fundamentalist Christian sect, is beginning to ponder the meaning of life and God. The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown by ...
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*Rwendigo Tales by J. A. Myhre

Dr. Myhre wrote the engaging Rwendigo Tales, a middle grades series with spiritual overtones, based upon her experience as a doctor serving in Africa. Note: ...
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The Night War by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Night War is the WWII story of a Jewish girl in Paris choosing to be brave when Nazis take everything from her. The Night ...
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Offsides by Lori Z. Scott

Dani just wants to play soccer and have the best senior year ever, but she's suddenly alert to the signs of a sex trafficking ring ...
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Dune: Book vs. Movie

Is the movie better than the book? I've listened to Dune by Frank Herbert, and I've now seen Dune, part 1 and Dune, part 2. ...
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Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman

The Arc of a Scythe Trilogy is a thought-provoking dystopian series for mature teens; it has problematic elements but raises good questions about the essential ...
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Reading K. M. Shea’s Clean Urban Fantasy

Snarky heroines, quick banter, action, adventure, and a dash of romance are all components to K. M. Shea’s urban fantasy novels, but are they suitable ...
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*Once a Queen by Sarah Arthur

Sarah Arthur's YA fantasy novel Once a Queen imagines a world like ours where stories come to life, but individuals have to return to reality. ...
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2024 Newbery Buzz #4: Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow

Simon Sort of Says was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Could it win the Newbery? We're continuing our long-running Newbery ...
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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

Scythe is the first in a gritty dystopian trilogy about a society in which no one can die... unless a scythe gleans him or her. ...
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YA Fantasy: Murtagh, Theft of Sunlight, & Wind Daughter

A rapid fire round up of three YA fantasy novels that belong to bigger worlds: Murtagh, A Darkness at the Door, and Wind Daughter. Murtagh ...
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Babble! And How Punctuation Saved It

Babble! is a short, lively, memorable story that SHOWS writers understand the importance of those little indicators. Babble! And How Punctuation Saved It by Caroline ...
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Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust is a suitable introduction for grades 2-4 to this terrible chapter in history. Hidden: A Child’s Story of ...
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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bruno is a 9yo German boy living during World War II who isn't happy with his father's new work assignment until he makes a friend ...
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Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith & Boulet

Calvin and Hobbes meets the Nickelodeon channel to retell Beowulf in a colorful, creative, graphic novel. Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith & Boulet. First Second, ...
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Children of Israel: Our Book List of Jewish Life, History, and Culture

The terrifying attack on Israel on October 7 has brought new awareness to the ancient phenomenon of antisemitism. Though small in number (and reduced by ...
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Which Version of The Diary of Anne Frank Is Best?

A lengthy post in which Betsy seeks to answer some of the many questions she and the RR team have received over the past several ...
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*Seeds of America Trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Seeds of America Trilogy powerfully examines some of the complex ideas of the American Revolution: freedom, justice, and equality for all. Seeds of America ...
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*Charis in the World of Wonders by Marly Youmans

Charis in the World of Wonders is a richly satisfying novel of a young Puritan woman who learns much about the world and herself through ...
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Code of Silence and Back Before Dark by Tim Shoemaker

A heart-pounding mystery series, with hidden twists and turns at every corner and a powerful message. Note: this is a guest review. See below for ...
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God, You Are by William R. Osborne

God, You Are introduces young children to God’s character and attributes in a warm devotional setting. God, You Are: 20 Promises from the Psalms for ...
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YA Graphic Novels: Graceling, Cheshire Crossing & Lore Olympus

A rapid fire round up of three YA graphic novels for mature teen readers. Graceling by Kristin Cashore, adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds. Clarion ...
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Once There Was by Kiyash Monsef

In the tradition of Susan Cooper, a lyrical, dark fantasy for mature middle grade readers. Once There Was by Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books ...
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The Story of Gumluck the Wizard by Adam Rex

Gumluck the Wizard is a charming chapter-book character with some humorous misapprehensions. The Story of Gumluck the Wizard (Book One) by Adam Rex. Chronicle Books, ...
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Teaching the Faith: *The Illustrated Westminster Shorter Catechism

A new edition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism uses cartoon illustrations as an aid to understanding and discussion. *The Illustrated Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern ...
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Mr. Darcy & Miss Tilney Mysteries (Books 1 & 2) by Claudia Gray

Mysteries involving Jane Austen characters? That is the premise of Claudia Gray's recent mystery series suitable for mature teen readers as well as adults. As ...
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*Hope in the Valley by Mitali Perkins

Hope in the Valley captures one girl’s momentous summer as she processes grief, grapples with change, and finds her own voice along the way. *Hope ...
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The Windeby Puzzle: History and Story by Lois Lowry

The Windeby Puzzle is half history and half story: Lowry allows young readers to peer behind the curtain into the process of creating a work ...
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In the Tunnel by Julie Lee

In the Tunnel takes readers into the savagery and family upheaval of the Korean War . In the Tunnel by Julie Lee. Holiday House, 2023, ...
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*Land of Hope by Wilfred McClay

Land of Hope offers a balanced, positive, and often inspiring view of American history--now available in student workbook, teacher's guide, and young-reader editions! *Land of ...
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American Born Chinese by Gene Yuen Yang

American Born Chinese is a coming-of-age story with great spiritual insight in graphic novel format. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. FirstSecond, 2021 (reprint). ...
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Enter the Body by Joy McCullough

Enter the Body engages three tragic heroines of Shakespeare in a discussion of love, oppression, and what they might have done differently. Enter the Body ...
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Songs of America by Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw

Songs of America takes an interesting approach to American history—tracing our story through popular tunes and lyrics. Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music ...
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Big Tree by Brian Selznick

Big Tree, by best-selling author-illustrator Brian Selznick, attempts to capture the wonder of creation without a Creator. Big Tree by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 2023, 525 ...
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Picture Books to Make You Think: Twenty Questions, Bucket of Questions, Wants vs. Needs vs. Robots, and The Tree and the River

Four new picture books raised questions and stimulate discussion for readers ages 3-12. Twenty Questions by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Candlewick, 2023, 32 ...
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Two Books about Sexuality for Kids and Teens

Books about sexuality for kids and teens are not new, but these days, it's getting harder to separate the wheat from the chaff. Well-meaning titles ...
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The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams by Daniel Nayeri: A Book Discussion

The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams by Daniel Nayeri: Betsy and Janie Discuss Betsy: Janie, you and I both (eagerly) received advance ...
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*Bright April by Marguerite De Angeli

Themes of loving nature, loving one's neighbor, and loving Truth are woven through Bright April, a story that gracefully handles racism and the dignity of ...
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Do Not Be True to Yourself by Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung reminds young adults to be true to Christ and His church, not true to their own selves, in this short, engaging read. Do ...
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Noticing by Kobi Yomada

Noticing, a picture book for tweens and older, beautifully illustrates the point that “One of the best things you can be is interested.” Noticing by ...
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All My Rage by Saaba Tahir

All My Rage, winner of the 2023 Printz Award, follows a pair of Pakistani-American teens from uncertainty through trauma to stability and hope. All My ...
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Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Spare and sensitive, Liar & Spy is a warm-hearted middle-grades story about two lonely boys who form a deep, abiding friendship. Liar & Spy by ...
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CSK Illlustrator Roundup: Standing in the Need of Prayer, Me and the Boss, and The Talk

The Coretta Scott King award, an prominent part of the annual ALA Youth Media Awards, honors African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for ...
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Victory, Stand! by Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes

Victory, Stand!, this year's ALA YA nonfiction award winner, tells the story of the notorious "Olympic fist" from a point of view that makes it ...
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In the Blue by Erin Hourigan

In the Blue gently explores what it is like for a child to experience the depression of a loved one. In the Blue by Erin ...
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At Jerusalem’s Gate by Nikki Grimes

At Jersualem's Gate offers poetic meditations on what people involved in the events leading to Christ's resurrection might have thought and felt. At Jerusalem's Gate: ...
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Honey for a Child’s Heart Read Along: Month 7

Welcome to month 7 of our Honey for a Child's Heart Read Along! Not sure what we're talking about? Find out more here. Each month, ...
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Gladys Hunt on Shared Adventures

Editor's Note: This month's Honey for a Child's Heart Read-along chapters are "The Pleasure of a Shared Adventure" and "Animal Lovers." Here's Gladys Hunt with ...
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When Winter Robeson Came

When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods

History and a summer adventure combine in an engaging, slim, novel-in-verse for middle grade readers. When Winter Robeson Came by Brenda Woods. Nancy Paulsen Books, ...
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The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh

The Lost Year uses multiple voices to narrate a sad chapter of history: Stalin’s deliberate starving of Ukraine. The Lost Year: A Survival Story of ...
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*My Brother Is Away by Sara Greenwood

My Brother Is Away offers an empathetic glimpse into what it's like, from the child's perspective, to have a brother (or sister) off in jail. ...
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Caldecott Honor Roundup: Ain’t Burned All the Bright, Berry Song, Choosing Brave, and Knight Owl

This year's Caldecott honor books explore a range of moods from wistful to whimsical. Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jason ...
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trafficking books for teens

Trafficking Books for Teens: A Round-Up

I rarely visit a public restroom these days without seeing a notice for women who are in troubling situations: the text usually reads, "Need Help? ...
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Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Love in the Library offers a tender picture of humanity and the miracle of love, and hope in the midst of a Japanese internment camp. ...
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Honey for a Child’s Heart Read Along: Month 6

Welcome to month 6 of our Honey for a Child's Heart Read Along! Not sure what we're talking about? Find out more here. Each month, ...
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2023 Newbery Buzz Roundup #2: Frizzy, How to Build a Human, and Attack of the Black Rectangles

The American Library Association will announce the winners of its very influential Youth Media Awards, headed by the Newbery and Caldecott. Since we can't help ...
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productivity for teens

Productivity for Teens: A Round-Up

Do your teens make New Year's resolutions or goals? Perhaps you wish they would? If any of those goals relate to being more productive or ...
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Honey for a Child’s Heart Read Along: Month 5

Welcome to month 5 of our Honey for a Child's Heart Read Along! Not sure what we're talking about? Find out more here. Each month, ...
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Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days by Jill A. Miller

Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days is a gentle introduction to the idea of family devotions for those with young children. Finding Jesus on Upside ...
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*Berliners by Vesper Stamper

Berliners is the story of a family scarred by war, politics, and false ideology in postwar Germany. *Berliners by Vesper Stamper. Knopf, 2022, 413 pages. ...
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*Two Old Women by Velma Wallis

Two Old Women, a legend from Alaska, reminds us to persevere and to seek the good of those around us. *Two Old Women: An Alaska ...
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*The Star that Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson

In a debut novel reminiscent of Maud Hart Lovelace and Laura Ingalls Wilder, a young girl discovers new friends, family, and hope. *The Star that ...
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The Rat Queen by Pete Hautman

Though not for every reader, The Rat Queen effectively exposes the harm caused to individual souls by hiding or excusing their own sins. The Rat ...
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Honey for a Child’s Heart Read Along: Month 3

Welcome to month 3 of our Honey for a Child's Heart Read Along! Not sure what we're talking about? Find out more here. Each month, ...
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honey for a child's heart month 2

Honey for a Child’s Heart Read Along: Month 2

Welcome to month 2 of our Honey for a Child's Heart Read Along! Not sure what we're talking about? Find out more here. Each month, ...
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Cozy and Clever Books for Teens and Adults

During uncertain* times, there’s something reassuring about a cozy book. But even better than a cozy book is a cozy and clever book with bits ...
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Honey for a Child’s Heart Read Along: Introductions

Welcome to month 1 of our Honey for a Child's Heart Read Along! Not sure what we're talking about? Find out more here. Normally, these ...
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Brand New Kid by David Almond

Brand New Boy explores the "humanity" of manufactured humans through the eyes of curious middle-school students. Brand New Boy by David Almond, with pictures by ...
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Maze Runner Series: a Christian Response

High octane, fast-paced adventure books for teens, the Maze Runner books raise interesting questions if readers can stop long enough to ponder. The Maze Runner ...
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lord of the flies a christian response

Lord of the Flies: A Christian Response

When British boys are stranded alone on an island, can they govern themselves? Reading Level: Teens, ages 12 and up Recommended For: Teens, ages 15 ...
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*Wonderfull: Ancient Psalms Ever New by Marty Machowski

Wonderfull is a guide to the Psalms that introduces young people to modeling their devotional life after that of the Psalmist. Wonderfull: Ancient Psalms Ever ...
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Picture Book Round Up: Cora Cooks Pancit, Thoughtfull, Rice From Heaven, My Breakfast With Jesus

Four picture books encourage young listeners to notice the people around them, to serve with kindness, and to celebrate the diversity of God's church. Some ...
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Born Behind Bars by Padma Venkatramen

When Kabir leaves jail at age nine, he enters a world unknown to him: the free world. A delicate and sensitive novel for middle grades. ...
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*Watership Down by Richard Adams

Richard Adams' classic tale employs noble themes of vision, courage, and sacrifice among some of the most humble and ordinary of animals in their quest ...
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Each of Us a Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

Two girls with big problems draw resilience from each other and the "Magic" of the Universe. Each of Us a Universe by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo ...
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*Wild Things and Castles in the Sky from Square Halo Books

40 different authors write eloquently about children's literature, faith in Christ, and shepherding imaginations in Wild Things and Castles in the Sky. *Wild Things and ...
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*God’s Attributes by Jill Nelson

God’s Attributes is an accessible, kid-friendly way to approach the greatness of God as we learn to trust Him. *God’s Attributes by Jill Nelson. P&R, ...
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Picture Book Round Up: The Big Wide Welcome, God Cares for Me, Love Is, Rice From Heaven, My Breakfast With Jesus

Three picture books remind young listeners to love people as Jesus loves, to show compassion for the sick, and provide an opportunity to see a ...
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Bestselling YA: A Look at the 2022 Market

Aside from one graphic-novel romance series, novels about death and murder dominate the current YA scene. Where's hope? What are kids reading these days? As ...
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Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner 

Wake Up Missing mixes science with science fiction: DNA manipulation, nefarious plots, and excitement. Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner. Walker Childrens, 2013. 272 pages. ...
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*The Biggest Story Bible Storybook by Kevin DeYoung

The "Biggest Story" brand continues with a family-friendly Bible Storybook that provides food for thought even to grownups. *The Biggest Story Bible Storybook by Kevin ...
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More Than a Story by Sally Michael

More Than a Story assumes that all of Scripture is written for instruction of all ages, and that both parents and children will benefit from ...
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Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers by Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama's Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers is a winsome, engaging look at how one young woman went from Chicago's South Side to the White ...
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Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

A striking debut novel for older teens that is simultaneously gritty and tender, gripping and thought-provoking. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley. Henry Holt, 2021. 496 ...
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Revolution in Our Time by Kekla Magoon

The award-winning Revolution in Our Time offers a compelling but incomplete picture of the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party. Revolution in Our ...
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The Apostles’ Creed by Ben Myers

A vibrantly illustrated picture book that helps parents explain the historic Apostles' Creed to their children. The Apostles' Creed: For All God's Children by Ben ...
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The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

The Last Cuentista, winner of this year’s Newbery medal is thought-provoking but leaves other thoughts unexplored.   The Last Cuentista by  Donna Barba Higuera. Levine ...
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2022 Sidney Taylor Award MG Roundup: How to Find What You’re Not Looking For, The Genius Under the Table, and Linked

The Sidney Taylor Award, named for the author of the classic All-of-a-Kind Family series, is presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries to "outstanding books ...
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*Carved in Ebony by Jasmine Holmes

Carved in Ebony profiles 10 inspiring Black women, looking at their lives, their callings, and their faith. *Carved in Ebony: Lessons from the Black Women ...
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Birdie’s Bargain by Katherine Paterson

Birdie makes a bargain with God in this middle grades book about a girl wrestling with faith, with God's love, and with relationships. Birdie's Bargain ...
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Meals From Mars by Ben Sciacca

Jim and Malik confront their own prejudices as they simultaneously experience God's providence in a dangerous, complicated situation in this modern parable for teens and ...
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*Big Questions Series by Chris Morphew

The Big Questions Series raises—and answers—life's big questions on a level that middle schoolers will understand and appreciate: suffering, life after death, and more. *The ...
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The Barren Grounds and The Great Bear by David A. Robertson

Morgan and Eli find their way through an attic portal into a new land, Misewa, in this engaging series for middle grades. The Barren Grounds ...
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Andrew and the Firedrake by Douglas Wilson

In this allegory for middle grades, Andrew journeys on a quest that includes delights, temptations, and dragons. Andrew and the Firedrake by Douglas Wilson. Canon ...
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Dragons and Dragonslayers by Tim Chester

Dragons and Dragonslayers by Tim Chester introduces young readers to eight dragon stories along with THE dragon story. Dragons and Dragonslayers by Tim Chester. Canonball ...
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The Adventure of Christmas by Ed Drew

The Adventure of Christmas offers short, 10-minute family devotions based on the biblical narrative of the first Christmas. The Adventure of Christmas: A Journey Through ...
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*The Dawn of Redeeming Grace by Sinclair Ferguson

Winsome and pastoral, The Dawn of Redeeming Grace is a thoughtful Advent meditation on Matthew 1-2 for teens and up. *The Dawn of Redeeming Grace: ...
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*Is Christmas Unbelievable? by Rebecca McLaughlin

Rebecca McLaughlin answers four questions everyone should ask about the Christmas story, beginning with the historicity of Jesus Himself. A great resource for teens. *Is ...
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What about Aru Shah?

This is a question we often get at Redeemed Reader. In fact, there's a whole comment thread asking if we've reviewed it. Part of the ...
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