How do you choose Christian fiction for your child?

Elvis Elvis

I based my choices of Christian fiction to present to you on three main things: is it old?… is it interesting?… does it teach Godly character?

My method of choosing Christian fiction, or any book, for myself was always fairly simple. If it kept my attention long enough for me to get into the story, I’d read it. I apply that to all my present choices for Christian children’s stories.

That being said, some books that passed my test are much better than others. In the pages here I have included some of the best… books that my mom and I brainstormed – books that we read as children or to children that have refused to leave our memory through the years.

Old Books

There are many wonderful books that I didn’t include. My focus here is Christian fiction at least twenty years old, and usually older. Books that you may not read about in the latest publications.

These books won’t be bright and shiny, with that “new book” smell. (Unless you find a reprinted edition.) They will have something better.

Inhale the dusty scent of an old book… it speaks of adventures long forgotten, mysteries never solved, discoveries pushed aside, old friends waiting to play again…

Long summer days with nothing better to do than climb into the suffocating, dimly lit attic and explore boxes of books that haven’t been pulled out of storage…

Excuse me a moment… I need to go explore again!

Interesting Stories

But just because a book is old and forgotten doesn’t make it good. It may have been forgotten for a very good reason.

The books I choose to tell you about are the Christian fiction books whose story has stayed in my head over the years. When they come to mind I smile at the memory. Many of them I have reread and enjoyed through the years, both as a child and as an adult.

After all, why should you suffer through a story just because it has a good moral for your child? There are too many books that combine both to resign yourself to boredom or “twaddle” (to borrow a word from Charlotte Mason).

How do you choose Christian fiction for your child?

Sidebar: Age Level?

Few of these Christian fiction books are for very young children. Most of them you can read aloud to younger children. Older children will be able to read the books themselves.

Most of these are Christian children’s books that you will be able to read and enjoy yourself. After all, my personal present enjoyment of them is part of my criteria for inclusion!

I will try to include an age-level in some of the reviews, but you may want to read it for yourself to be sure. I became a book lover by reading the “Little House on the Prairie” series to myself in second grade, so I might not be the best judge!

You know best what your child can accomplish.

Building Christian Character

One last criteria for my choice of Christian fiction for a child is the lessons that they teach.

As I wrote that I was going to say “most important” but then decided not to. Bear with me!

William Kilpatrick, in “Books That Build Character”, says that

“Reading aloud may be one of the most important contributions
parents can make toward developing good character in their children.”

I believe that applies equally to godly character.

He goes on to give as one of his reasons that stories provide “an emotional attachment to goodness.” If the stories do not stir the emotions or imagination, they cannot make an emotional attachment. So I hold that you should not have moral stories that are not interesting.

Howard Hendricks, a great Christian educator, says that “it is a sin to make the Bible boring.” I believe it is equally applicable to say it is a sin to make Godliness boring.

To turn the matter around, John Gardner, in a quote I pulled off a site about writing stories, says, “In the final analysis, real suspense comes with moral dilemma and the courage to make and act upon choices. False suspense comes from the accidental and meaningless occurrence of one d—d thing after another.”

So truly good stories are by nature moral. We may not agree with the morals in every well written story, but my goal here is to present only the stories that correspond to the Bible’s definition.

I hope you enjoy the children’s Christian fiction that I’ve chosen to present in these pages. If you feel that I’ve missed an important one, please contact me below and tell me why you think it is great!