I tell my girls all the time, “Girls, readers are leaders!” Cue the eye roll, and “Yes mom, we know.” They may be sick of me saying it, but I firmly believe this statement, and I have always had a passion for encouraging children to read. Years ago when I lived in Texas, I worked as a second grade teacher. My favorite subject to teach was reading. Watching the light bulb go on when my students started to really get it was so exciting, and I could see a whole new world open up for them.
During my time as a teacher, I fell in love with children’s literature. I was always personally contributing to the library in my classroom, and I made every effort to make reading fun and exciting for my students.
When my teaching days transitioned from the classroom into my home, the love of children’s books didn’t fade. Now I had the opportunity to instill this same love into my daughters. As their reading levels began to grow, I wanted to find books that they could both relate to and that had a positive message.
They began to transition out of picture books and into chapter books which presented the new challenge of finding more book options for them. There are so many wonderful books out there, and the choices are endless. But I wanted to be intentional about finding books that I knew would encourage my girls, grow their faith, and teach them lifelong lessons.
Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”
As a parent, I want to make sure that I am guiding my girls as it relates to what they are seeing and consuming. Especially when they are young, I feel it’s important to guard the gateway of their hearts and minds and be watchful of what influence is being allowed into their lives. Then teaching them to make their own decisions and to discern if something, whether it’s a movie, video game, or a book, is edifying for their spirit is the ultimate goal.
I know from my own experience, finding chapter books that I felt checked these boxes was a bit challenging at first so I thought I would share some that I have found. And just so you know these all got the “Lauren and Katherine stamp of approval”!
The Glimmer Girls Series (faithgirlz by Zonderkids)
This series of four books is written by singer Natalie Grant with Naomi Kinsman and is about three sisters whose mom is a famous recording artist. The books tell of their adventures and how they solve problems using their faith in God. The book titles are London Art Chase, A Dolphin Wish, Miracle in Music City, and Light Up New York.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (Worthy Kids)
This is a series of eight books about siblings, Peter and Mary and their dog, Hank. These three adventurers discover ancient scrolls that transport them back to key moments in biblical history. These books are great because they help bring Bible stories to life for young readers in a way that they can relate to. This series is great for boys or girls!
Riley Mae/The Good News Shoes Series (ZonderKids)
Riley Mae is an action loving girl that becomes a spokesperson for the Swiftwater Shoe Company. Through her many adventures, her faith and trust in God continues to grow! This series has three books, Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids, and Riley Mae and the Soul Fire Safari.
Soul Surfer Series (Zonderkids)
Inspired by surfer Bethany Hamilton, this series is about a 14 year old girl who discovers God’s love and guidance while tackling the “waves” life throws at her and her friends. There are four books in this series, Clash, Burned, Storm, and Crunch.
Princess in Camo Series (Zonderkids)
This series of four books is authored by Missy Robertson, one of the stars of the TV show Duck Dynasty. The main character, Allie Carroway, lives in the Louisiana Bayou and struggles with allergies and asthma. Her family has a reality TV show called Carried Away with the Carroways, and she and her friends have many exciting adventures. The four books in the series are Allie’s Bayou Rescue, Running From Reality, Dog Show Disaster, and Finding Cabin Six.
Lena in the Spotlight (Zonderkids)
Lena and her little sisters face challenges of everyday life while trying to realize her dream of being an actress. Throughout this series, Lena relies on her faith to help her navigate life’s tough choices and help her persevere when things get hard.
The Imagination Station (Focus on the Family)
There are multiple books in this series that will keep your reader busy for quite awhile. Cousins Patrick and Beth travel to various lands and times and have incredible adventures. What I love about these books is that they not only teach Biblical lessons, but they also teach about historical events. This is also a great series for boys or girls!