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Family ties

Four books about dads and granddads

Our Favorite Day

Joowon Oh

Papa does the same thing nearly every day. He rides the bus to town and eats dumplings at the same restaurant. But on Thursdays the routine changes. That’s when his beloved granddaughter comes to visit. On that day they eat twin orders of dumplings at his house and work on a project together. The cut-paper illustrations complement the text and offer insights into Papa’s life: a photo of his wife on the bed table and a picture of them as a young couple on the wall. This simple story shows the mutual love and enjoyment between a grandfather and granddaughter. (Ages 3-7)

Grandpa’s Top Threes

Wendy Meddour

Grandpa is distracted. When Henry complains, his mom says, “Ask him if he wants a sandwich.” Henry does, but Grandpa doesn’t answer. The boy asks about his top three sandwiches and offers his own list: chocolate spread, raspberry jam, and grated cheese and butter. Grandpa’s are tuna fish, egg salad, and beetroot. Gradually, they discover more top threes. Here’s where the story offers an emotional punch. Henry asks, “Who are your top three grannies?” and begins his list with “Granny who is dead.” Grandpa responds with three memories of his wife, captured in impressionistic watercolor illustrations. This is a lovely story about love and grief. (Ages 3-7)

Raj and the Best Day Ever 

Sebastien Braun

Raj and his dad are tigers. They’ve planned a big day out with a list of all the things they hope to do. But when it comes time to check out a book at the library (item No. 1 on the list), they find that Dad has forgotten his wallet. Instead of letting this ruin the day, Raj and his dad begin to improvise. They come up with creative ways to accomplish their list without needing money. The mixed-media illustrations offer lots of interesting details. A humorous twist at the end will ring true to many parents. (Ages 3-7)

Around the Table that Granddad Built

Melanie Heuiser Hill

This bright, cumulative, rhyming story begins: “This is the table that Grandad built.” Each page adds items to the table: sunflowers in a vase, napkins made by Mom, “glasses from Mom and Dad’s wedding. … Everyone has a part.” The feast includes “stacks of toasty tamales” and “samosas, spicy and hot.” The story ends with a full spread showing a bird’s-eye view of the abundant table and hands clasped at the edges: “For these hands we hold, for tasty good food, for family and friends, for grace that is given and love that is shared, we give thanks … around this table that Grandad built.” (Ages 3-7)


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Children's Books

Show me the way

Books for teenage girls

Choosing Love in a Broken World 

Heidi Johnston

Johnston understands that today’s teenage girls daily encounter distorted ideas about love, sex, and marriage and it takes courage to pursue the love God outlines in the Bible. The book will help them see how God’s plan for relationships is far greater than what the world conveys and how broken relationships stem from turning love into something so much smaller than it is intended. Johnston writes with honesty, clarity, and respect, differentiating between feelings and covenantal love and addressing common myths about sex. Each chapter ends with talking points that parents can use to open communication with their daughters. (Ages 13-16)

Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart 

Kristen Clark & Bethany Beal

Sisters Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal open this book by telling of their first exposure to pornography as young girls. They write candidly about their resulting questions and struggles with sexuality. The book addresses the world’s distorted and confusing messages about sex and purity, but instead of offering a formula for dating and relationships, Clark and Beal draw from Scripture and anecdotes that point girls to the gospel. They emphasize “we’re all sexually broken” and carefully address topics like porn, lust, erotica, masturbation, and same-sex attraction, concluding with discussion questions and an appendix on sexual abuse. (Ages 15-18)

Confident Moms, Confident Daughters 

Maria Furlough

The pressure to look perfect keeps increasing, and Furlough believes mothers play a key role in enabling their daughters to walk securely and confidently in Christ. She shares openly about her struggles with body issues, dieting, and social media and incorporates interviews with a pediatrician, nutritionist, and a Christian counselor who offer practical tips. The book also addresses worldly lies about appearance while admonishing moms and daughters to prioritize godliness over physical goals and praise God for their bodies as His “wonderfully made” temple. (Ages 15-18)


Jen Barrick with Linda Barrick

Jen Barrick begins this book by sharing how her life changed at age 15 when a drunk driver struck her family’s van, injuring everyone. She spent five weeks in a coma and suffered a serious brain injury that changed everything, except her love for Jesus. One consequence of Barrick’s injury is she “feels aloud,” and the book resulted from her and her mother Linda’s interactions about her emotional struggles. Formatted as a 30-day devotional, Priceless tackles common “roller coaster” emotions teenage girls face with corresponding Psalms, recitation prayers, and encouraging truths. Teen girls will appreciate Barrick’s honesty and relatability. (Ages 13-16)

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Children's Books

Award winners

2019 Newbery and Caldecott books

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Meg Medina

This Newbery Medal winner centers on sixth grader Merci Suárez as she encounters changing dynamics at school, bullying, and middle-school boy-girl drama. But the real heart of the story focuses on Merci’s family. Her beloved grandfather, Lolo, is also encountering changes as he ages and faces the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Merci has to learn that growing up means not always getting what you want and sacrificing your desires to support others, especially your family. Although the book moves slowly at points, it ultimately offers a satisfying, heartwarming, and bittersweet conclusion. Cautions: language. (Ages 12 & up)

The Night Diary

Veera Hiranandani 

In this Newbery Honor book, 12-year-old Nisha and her family must leave Pakistan for India after the British relinquish control of the country during the 1940s. Both sad and hopeful, the story wrestles with questions of war through the words and thoughts of a child. Because Nisha’s father is Hindu and her mother is Muslim, the book also tackles questions of religious differences. A historical note and discussion questions at the end make this book a great way to study a lesser-known period of history. Cautions: descriptions of killings that could be disturbing for sensitive children. (Ages 12 & up)

The Book of Boy

Catherine Gilbert Murdock 

The Book of Boy, a Newbery Honor winner, is a quirky, medieval adventure story about a boy named Boy and a man trying to collect the scattered relics of St. Peter in order to get into heaven. The book’s plot assumes a medieval worldview, resulting in more than a few theological missteps: Relics are essentially magical objects; people move back and forth between heaven and hell on their own merits; and there are many strange, supernatural incidents. But this is also what makes the book interesting, and it might be a good addition to a unit study on medieval history. Cautions: bathroom humor. (Ages 13 & up)

Alma and How She Got Her Name

Juana Martinez-Neal

This sweet Caldecott Honor book traces the family history behind a little girl’s many names. Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela thinks her name is too long, so her father tells her about her grandparents and great-grandparents for whom she is named. With each story, Alma sees how her ancestors passed along more than just their names as she recognizes their character traits in herself. With warm, delicately colored illustrations, this lovely picture book celebrates the heritage our families have given us. In a world that prizes autonomy and self-determination, it’s a refreshing story, indeed. (Ages 4-8)

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