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Good, True and Beautiful Books

Before you know it, it’ll be time to start Christmas shopping. And if you’ve got kids, Christmas shopping can be, well, stressful, to say the least. You want to get them something they’ll enjoy, but something that isn’t too expensive and that won’t turn their easily-distracted young minds into pudding.

Here’s an idea that never fails: Along with whatever else you might buy, get them a good book.

The trouble is, picking out which books to buy, especially for teens and tweens, is no easy task. Believe me, I know; I’ve got a 14-year-old. My colleagues at BreakPoint, however, want to help. At our popular Youth Reads page at BreakPoint.org, we regularly review books for kids aged 10 to 18, examining them from a Christian perspective. You can read the reviews at the website, or subscribe to our bi-weekly Youth Reads e-newsletter.

And now we’ve got a handy tool to make picking out the right books even easier. Youth Reads has compiled a list of “Authors We Like.” This list features more than 80 classic and contemporary authors with links to reviews of their work. Old reliable like C.S. Lewis and Louisa May Alcott, along with the likes of Andrew Klavan and Lois Lowry. We’ve even provided links to those works available in the BreakPoint online book store.

Whether you do your Christmas shopping online or at the mall, have this list handy.

But before you use our “Authors We Like” list, here’s what the list is not.

It is not the Ten Commandments of Young Adult Reading. It is not the definitive, set-in-stone, final word from on high about what Christian kids should and shouldn’t read. No human being or institution has that kind of knowledge and authority.

As a parent, you need to be discerning and make your own decisions about what’s best for your kids to read; about when it’s okay to expose them to certain topics. This list is simply designed to help you make good decisions.

Also, not all the authors are Christian. For example, Mark Twain is on the list and not only is he not a Christian, but he was quite hostile to Christianity. But if you don’t think Huckleberry Finn is a great book, see me after class. So yes, we’ve been careful about content, of course, attempting to name only authors whose works have redeeming value. We’ve stayed away from authors whose works are too objectionable for younger readers. And in addition, we’ve put asterisks by the names of authors whose books include themes or elements that you might want to be cautious about.

But at the same time, we don’t hold to the view that books for younger readers should be filled with nothing but sunshine and rainbows. A book that’s realistic at all is going to deal on some level with the darker side of humanity. By the way, even the Bible does that!

What matters most is the way that difficult themes and ideas are handled, and we’ve kept that in mind in making the list.

So here’s the long and short of it: The authors you’ll find on our list are authors whom we believe are worth reading, whose books have something good and valuable to offer young readers.

In a culture that seems to be doing its best to poison young minds and undermine parental influence, we want to help kids learn to focus their attention on the good, the true, and the beautiful.

So please come visit us at BreakPoint.org and take a look at the “Authors We Like” list. You’ll find gifts that your kids will be happy to get, and you’ll be happy to give.

Oh, and before I go, the only thing better than a good book is a FREE good book. Come to Breakpoint's "Youth Reads" page and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of the titles on our list. You can do the same at BreakPoint’s Facebook page for another chance to win.

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.

Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Publication date: October 24, 2013

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