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Facing challenges

Four nonfiction books for kids and teens

Facing challenges
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Tell God How You Feel by Christina Fox: Loneliness. Fear. Rejection. Parents and teachers often struggle to apply Scripture when kids face such challenges. In this roughly 70-page picture book, Christina Fox stands in the gap, equipping readers to find comfort and words to pray during times of distress. Readers follow brother and sister Josh and Mia through five relatable crises, including Josh’s friend moving away and Mia’s fear during a thunderstorm. The book offers insightful questions to help readers apply God’s Word to their lives and gives powerful, kid-friendly training in spiritual maturity. (Ages 4-8)

Brave: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Beating Worry and Anxiety by Sissy Goff: “A counselor in a book.” That is how one teen girl described this well-crafted book/workbook about anxiety. After working as a counselor for nearly 30 years, Goff understands teens. She speaks without condescension to their anxious thoughts, inviting readers to interact with her on the pages of the book. Goff combines practical tools like breathing techniques and exposure therapy with solid, Biblical truth: “In this world we will have trouble and worries. But He has overcome the world, and in that we can certainly take heart.” (Ages 12 & up)

The Money Challenge for Teens by Art Rainer: Seminary vice president Art Rainer says more money doesn’t mean a happier life. Instead, he presents three financial priorities for Christians: give generously, save wisely, and live appropriately. To live those out, Rainer offers a 30-step Money Challenge to reach milestones with advice like “Start giving” and “Open a checking account.” An ongoing fictional story of two teens who take the Money Challenge adds some human interest. Rainer shines brighter in his down-to-earth explanations of complex financial ideas and eye-opening facts, such as how millionaires really live. (Ages 12 & up)

The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules by Jennifer Cook O’Toole: This 2012 publication equips and encourages “Asperkids” who struggle with social skills. Through bullet-point “Need-to-Know” truths and funny stories, O’Toole shares the unspoken rules of social interaction and why they are worth learning. As she puts it, “knowing your strengths and needs is like a superpower.” Any kid lacking social skills—not just kids with Asperger’s—can find here “the playbook that everyone else has.” Some secular advice won’t hold true for Christians, and younger teens should skip the dating chapter. (Ages 14 & up)


The Epic Bible (Tyndale, 2020) movingly presents the entire scope of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation, in graphic-novel form. Since this 800-page hardback book, which features art by Marvel and DC Comic illustrators, contains close-ups of violence and references to sexual misconduct, it is best suited for older children. (For instance, we see Ehud’s sword in the king’s belly, and we read discreet text about Rahab’s past.) Astute readers will notice some differences from the Biblical text, but The Epic Bible includes Bible references on most pages, so readers can explore the source.

More Than a Story by Sally Michael (Truth78, 2020) retells the Old Testament narrative with a traditional feel, including watercolor illustrations by Fred Apps. Too wordy at times, Michael’s innovative use of Bible passages and her Biblical faithfulness make this a helpful choice for families with older kids. Biblical truths in bold text, along with kid-friendly explanations and discussion prompts, increase the theological content. —E.W.

Emily Whitten

Emily is a book critic and writer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and University of Mississippi graduate, previously worked at Peachtree Publishers, and developed a mother's heart for good stories over a decade of homeschooling. Emily resides with her family in Nashville, Tenn.



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