“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book” (J. K. Rowling). Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. Maybe you can relate to my love of books. Escaping into a book is a great activity to do on a rainy day. Whether today is a rainy day or not, here are seven books that I recommend that all people read at some point in their life.
1. A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole (Ages 8-12)
A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole is one of my favorite books of all time. In this adventure story, Celeste is a sweet mouse who is looking for a home. In her quest for a home, she embarks on a grand adventure.
In addition to this charming story, A Nest for Celeste has beautiful illustrations on every page of the book. The illustrations are whimsical, detailed, and beautiful.
If you struggle with anxiety or depression as I do, A Nest for Celeste is the perfect book to help ease anxiety and raise your spirits.
I am always on the lookout for new animal adventure books, and I could not recommend this book more. A Nest for Celeste was written for late elementary school and middle school-aged students; however, this book is a joy to read for people of all ages.
2. Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling (Ages 6+)
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is one of my favorite series.
The books within the Harry Potter series include Harry Potter and: the Sorcerer's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Goblet of Fire, the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince, and the Deathly Hallows.
Many Christians are hesitant when it comes to the Harry Potter series because it is about wizards. I have personally read the Harry Potter series and I can assure you that they are safe to read. In fact, Harry Potter is an allegory of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
“In her interview with Oprah Winfrey, J. K. Rowling acknowledged that the Harry Potter series had a deep and intentional connection to Christianity. She said, ‘There is a lot of Christian imagery in the books. That’s undeniable. And certainly in Hallows [it is] very clear . . . That’s an allusion to a belief system in which I was raised.’”
In addition to an allegorical representation of Jesus, the Harry Potter series also teaches us about true friendship. Harry’s two best friends are Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Throughout all of the seven books, Ron and Hermione stay loyal and true to Harry in his quest to defeat Voldemort.
I will not ruin the surprise for you, but it is a truly wonderful series filled with friendships, adventures, and finding light in the darkness.
3. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (Ages 6-12)
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis is an exceptional series for people of all ages. C. S. Lewis is a wonderful storyteller, and in The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis paints an adventurous story surrounding children, witches, and a lion named Aslan.
Many people are familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is the second book of the series. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a marvelous story, yet readers should not neglect the other six books in the series.
The books within The Chronicles of Narnia include The Magician's Nephew, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle. C. S. Lewis wrote these stories to help point readers to our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Ages 12-18)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a classic book for all readers. Recent films have popularized this classic story with adaptations by Greta Gerwig and PBS Masterpiece Theater. Little Women is the account of four sisters who are growing up and facing the challenges of life.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy each have four distinct personalities and have different hopes for their futures. Meg desires to be married and to live the “good life.” Jo is radically different from her sisters as she does not desire to get married and instead desires to be an independent writer.
Beth is a sweet individual who develops a life-threatening disease. Amy is the youngest, who wants to become a painter and marry a rich, established man. Theodore “Laurie” Laurence befriends the girls, but he is especially close with Jo.
Throughout Little Women, there is happiness, pain, grief, death, heartbreak, and new beginnings. Louisa May Alcott is a highly gifted author, who writes in a way that can help us understand our own deepest hurts.
5. Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado (Ages 12+)
Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado is a great book to help you in your own Christian walk. I read Anxious for Nothing about two years ago, and the lessons I learned from this book stay with me to this day.
In this book, Lucado talks about his own battles with anxiety and the importance of giving our anxieties over to God. In our present-day, social media-obsessed society, it can be hard to turn off the anxiety and sit quietly at the feet of Jesus.
Anxious for Nothing urges us to come to Christ, release our anxieties to Him, and begin to live a life without anxious thoughts filling our minds. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this book helped me immensely to let go of anxieties and to set my eyes back on Jesus.
When we keep our eyes focused on Christ, we can be confident in the Lord because we know He can be fully trusted. Bad things will happen during our lives, but God can use all things for our good — even bad things (Romans 8:28).
6. The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting by Evanna Lynch (Ages 21+)
The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting by Evanna Lynch is a non-fiction book, in which Evanna Lynch records her time, recovery, and life after anorexia. Many people will recognize Evanna Lynch for her role as Luna in the Harry Potter films.
In her debut book, Lynch discusses her own time in treatment centers and hospitals while she recovered from anorexia. I am deeply connected to this book because many things Lynch said throughout the book resonated with me and in my own recovery journey.
If you are currently recovering from anorexia, are interested in learning more about anorexia, or if you are interested to learn more about Evanna Lynch’s life, The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting is a must-read this year.
Disclaimer: This book does contain profanity and references the New Age Movement.
7. Wings of Fire Series by Tui T. Sutherland (Ages 7-14)
My favorite book series has to be the Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland. This series follows the account of dragons, prophecies, and true friendships.
To date, there are 15 books in the series, and it seems to be that Sutherland is going to continue in her writings, which I am personally very excited about.
The first five books document the Dragonet Prophecy, in which the main characters are Clay, Tsunami, Glory, Sunny, and Starflight. There is a myriad of different dragons in these first books, such as Mudwings, Seawings, Rainwings, Sandwings, Nightwings, and Skywings.
Throughout the first five books, Clay, Tsunami, Glory, Sunny, and Starflight are all eagerly trying to find their families; however, by the end of the Dragonet Prophecy, they realize that their true family is each other. The Wings of Fire is a great series to read if you love dragons, adventures, and friendships.
Disclaimer: This series does contain a large amount of violence.
Escaping into Books
Reading is something that will always bring me great comfort, peace, and joy. Whenever you feel anxious, worried, or even bored, sit down with a book and go on an adventure.
I hope you consider reading one of the books I listed above; however, you may choose your own unique book to read. Either way, it is great as long as you enjoy what you are reading and are growing in your heart.
As Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
For further reading:
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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