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Culture Children's Books

Fiction and fun

Handout

Julie Berry

Children’s Books

Fiction and fun

Recent books for teens

Michael Vey: Fall of Hades 

Richard Paul Evans

In this sixth installment of a seven-book series, Michael Vey and his Electroclan fighters begin a final showdown with Vey’s nemesis, Hatch. If they can sink the heavily guarded ship Joule, they can ruin Hatch and save the free world. Evans entertains with down-to-earth characters (despite their larger-than-life superpowers) and clean locker-room banter. The story crackles with courage, perseverance, and self-sacrifice, though too often good guys mistreat subdued enemies. (Note: Vey falls asleep with his girlfriend, takes a friend to get a tattoo, and encounters flesh-eating rats.) (Ages 12 and up)

Thy Kingdom Comics 

Adam4d

Adam Ford’s second book of webcomics, Thy Kingdom Comics, combines the clever sarcasm of The Far Side with the gentleness and respect of biblical teaching. Ford, founder of The Babylon Bee and a former atheist who became a Christian roughly 10 years ago, creates webcomics at Adam4d.com. Here he compiles more than 40 cartoons from that website, displaying his winsome brand of humor on topics like homosexuality, abortion, tolerance, and salvation. Young adults can laugh at these “SRSLY” funny comics even as they’re challenged and equipped to stand more firmly for Christ in our culture. (Note: Comics include respectful drawings of Jesus.) (Ages 15 and up)

The Fall of Moscow Station 

Mark Henshaw

In his second Red Cell book, former CIA analyst Henshaw offers an action-packed take on the New Cold War. First, a Russian military officer—also an American asset—meets his demise in Berlin. Then, a high-level American operative defects to Moscow. CIA agent Kyra Stryker and analyst Jonathan Burke risk all to plug the leaks and keep the Russians from bringing down Moscow Station. Younger teens may want to skip some scenes of violence, but the absence of any sexual content or bad language makes this an exceptional choice for older teens and adults. (Ages 15 and up)

The Revolt: A Novel in Wycliffe’s England 

Douglas Bond

Despite being a scholar at Oxford, Hugh West’all isn’t all that bright. Yet even he can see that, unlike typical friars and priests who prey on the poor, scholar John of Wycliffe deserves to be taken seriously. As the 14th century grinds on with its wars and plagues, Wycliffe and West’all work to bring God’s Word to the English people, even as the church threatens Wycliffe with exile or worse. The novel’s archaic language and uneven storytelling will challenge some readers, but those who persevere will benefit from Bond’s careful research. (Ages 15 and up)

Afterword

Evans and Henshaw are Mormons, as are many YA and fantasy writers. A 2009 Boston Globe article quoted Mormon YA writer Julie Berry: “Young adult literature is one of the last places where you can tell a wonderful story without having to be sexual.” YA writer Shannon Hale said of Mormon sci-fi/fantasy: “Mormons believe a lot of things that are pretty fantastic—we believe in miracles and angels and ancient prophets and rediscovered Scripture—so maybe it is almost natural for us to dive into these other stories.” —Susan Olasky

In Greater Than Gold (Thomas Nelson, 2016) Olympic gold medalist David Boudia describes how he grounded his identity in a quest for Olympic glory—and failure to medal at the 2008 Olympics sent him chasing a party lifestyle that only changed when he became a Christian. Boudia describes temptations facing many teens and testifies to Christ’s transformative power. —E.W.