To Read with Kids and Youth
The following are resources we recommend to read with your kids or kids in your church. Each book helps children grow in their faith by helping them understand God’s Word. Consider looking through the list while thinking of which books would be helpful to your children, a friend’s child, or a child in your church.
The Gospel Project by LifeWay Christian Resources is the curriculum your kiddos are already being taught at Church on Mill in Sunday School and Children’s Church. This outstanding 3-year course offers useful follow-up videos, games, memory verses, and more. (Birth – Elementary years)
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is a great introductory Bible summary for your young child. Short readings summarizing key biblical texts. (Birth – 3 years)
Thoughts that Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones is a devotional by the author of Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones. (Birth – 3 years)
The Garden, The Curtain and the Cross by Carl Laferton is a wonderful short overview of the biblical story that will introduce your child to the big ideas of Scripture and is good to read in a sitting. (Birth – 6 years)
God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Justin S. Holcomb helps you as a parent talk to children about how to respect their bodies and avoid situations when an older child or adult might desire inappropriate contact. (2 years – 7 years)
The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm moves families through the biblical themes of creation, fall, promise, redemption, church, and restoration with engaging, full-page illustrations. There is also a helpful companion book with questions and a memory verse booklet called “Big Picture Family Devotional.” (3 years – 9 years)
Everything a Child Should Know About God by Kenneth N. Taylor follows a basic catechism to help a child learn the great doctrinal truths of who God is, what He’s done for us in Christ, who we are, and what we should do in light of God’s story. (3 years – 7 years)
The Biggest Story Ever by Kevin DeYoung is a new, brilliantly illustrated Bible overview, told with wit and theological precision by a well-known pastor. (4 years – 10 years)
Long Story Short by Marty Machowski is a thicker, longer version of the aforementioned ‘Everything Your Child Should Know About God.’ It is, essentially, a practical “devotional in a box.” (5 years – 10 years)
The Hands-On Bible, New Living Transition by Tyndale is a terrific first full-text Bible for your child. It contains an easy to read translation (NLT) and many interactive tools on every page. (6 years – 12 years)
Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce A. Ware is divided by chapter, each containing a different doctrinal truth written to help a child begin to chew on the meat of God’s Word in the stuff of everyday life. Think “systematic theology” for a child. (7 years – Teenager)
Stomping Out the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson very helpfully equips an older Christian child or teen in how to find worth in Christ Practical, accessable, and ever applicable parent and child alike will understand the gospel’s effects better. (8 years – Teenager)
It’s Great to Be a Girl by Dannah Gresh and Suzy Weibel is a helpful word to pre-teen girls on physical, emotional, and spiritual development with practical activities and engaging writing. (4th grade – 8th grade)
True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre is written by a mother and daughter pair, exposes the lie in culture’s expectation of perfect physical beauty and points young women to Scripture’s standard of beauty in character not in body. (Teenager)
Who Am I? by Jerry Bridges is a short, powerful work on identity in Christ, essential conversation for any believers and a heightened issue in adolescent years. We love this book so much it is used in Disciplemakers. (Teenager)
Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle is a short classic on the spiritual formation of godly wisdom from the perspective of a British minister in the late 1800’s. Great to read and discuss with your teenage son. (Teenager)
To Read as Parents, Caregivers, or Disciplemakers
The following are parenting resources we recommend to assist parents, caregivers, and church members in understanding how to parent and disciple according to God’s Word. Each one, in its own right, is worthy of your careful consideration. Consider starting at the top of the list and work through each.
Gospel-Centered Family by Ed Moll and Tim Chester encourages families to holistically live out the gospel by putting the gospel, grace, the Word, and mission at the center of their lives. Organized in 12 very short chapters, this is a great introduction to godly parenting.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp is written for parents with children of any age. By looking at the biblical heart of raising children, Tripp reminds parents of the main goal in raising children: to glorify God. Then, with this mind he goes on to give practical tips. This is a modern classic.
Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Plowman is an application of principles in shepherding a Child’s heart directed specifically toward discipline with young kids. This book is written by a mom, for moms.
Missional Motherhood and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full both by Gloria Furman allows busy mothers to rest in the joy and peace in the work the Christ has done even while the list of things that they have do has not shrunk. Furman encourages moms to bring all back to the cross.
Christ in the Chaos by Kim Crandell is a short book broken into small sections that point mothers toward leaning on the grace of Christ for freedom, peace, and identity in motherhood when they are tired and burdened by chaos.
The Shepherd Leader at Home by Timothy Witmerd is written for husbands and dads seeking to know, lead, provide and protect for their families. The book provides a biblical, wise, and relatable basis for leading the family well.
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas asks parents to think differently about their job as parents. Rather than focusing solely on the spiritual formation of their children, parents are challenged to explore the perspective that their children are integral in their own spiritual walks, refining the parent daily.
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp allows parents to shift in viewing their children’s teenage years as chaotic and instead look at them as an opportunity for discovering and parenting their child’s heart.
Family Worship by Donald Whitney (see also Don’s great videos on how to spend time in the Bible, praying, and singing as a family, accessible here) is a reputable and doable guide in leading the family in worshiping the Lord together. It gives the parent practical and spiritual knowledge on the practice of family worship.
The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips takes biblical examination of God’s purpose for man seriously. Men will discover God’s desire for how they discover, define, and act out biblical masculinity on the foundation of the cross and not the world.
Designed for Joy edited by Jonathan Parrell and Owen Strachan, tackles the Bible’s good design in making us male and female and then applies these truths to many areas of life. Essential reading in a time of widespread confusion on whether gender even exists as historically understood. A free pdf of an earlier version of the book is also available here.