Required Reading (A short list of books that our children will read before we release them on the world)

Blog | Raising Arrows 15 15 Comments

[We’ve been writing and sharing a lot lately about raising our children into adulthood.  This post is part of that series. You can find all those posts here: Young Adults. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. The Provision Room is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to]

What you read, especially what you read when you are young, is one of the most formative and trans-formative forces in life.  We still remember certain books we read when we were trying to find our way in the world–how we felt when we read those words and how those words changed us.  We are both big readers, always in the middle of at least a half-dozen books at any given time.  And we talk about what we read and we debate with people what we read and sometimes fight with what we read. Often we fall asleep with our noses in books.  There have been times we have gotten so upset with what we’ve read that we’ve thrown a book across a room or in the trash. (It happens. It’s not pretty.)  Sometimes we love a book so much we anthropomorphize it, we dream about it, we buy a dozen copies and hand them out like Gospel tracts.

Required Reading

Although we both read very widely, there are only a few books, that are on our must-read list.  Before we send our young adults out into the world to turn it upside down (or right-side up, as it were) here is what they must have read:


This short book is written by the former president of Columbia International University about the decisions and journey he made while caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s disease.  This book is the definition of love and commitment.  All our children will read this (at least once, perhaps more) before they begin even thinking about romantic attachments.

The love story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, how they pursued God’s best and put God and one another over their own passions. Their love story was actually brief, for Jim was martyred shortly after they got married.  But their love story and passion is still inspiring young people today.  Daja’s mom would give a copy of this book to every potential suitor or “special friend” of her children when they were teenagers and young adults.  It seemed to work.

True stories of suffering for Christ. We want our children to have that kind of resolve to serve God and advance His Kingdom, no matter what!  After imprisonment and torture, the Wurmbrands went on to found Voice of the Martyrs.


We love this because it reinforces the concepts that education is a way of life and not something that is limited to school hours or school buildings.  Also drives home the point that those who take responsibility for their own education and advancement are the most successful. When you are motivated to learn, you find a way.

Integrity, courage, perseverance.  The kind of story you want your young people reading.

This is a play based on the true story of St. Thomas More.  Challenging and heart wrenching, this book (and the movie made from it) puts the idea of conviction and integrity to the test.  How far are you willing t0 carry what you believe? Do you have convictions or just preferences?


What do you believe? Why do you believe it? And how can you faithfully live that out.

Right up there with Mere Christianity! This book really gets down to bare bones–what does it mean to have “right belief”?  How can faith and reason walk together? Read. Ponder. Repeat.

This is by far the best book we have ever read about communication, boundaries and maintaining connection in relationship.  We have already read it as a family and individually.  But it will be on regular rotation until our children leave our homes.  This book will give anyone a really solid foundation for successful relationships–whether romantic, business, extended family, etc.

People either love or hate this book.  Doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.  Daja has read this book more times than she can count and has probably given away more copies than that!  The section on understanding men is the best we’ve read in any marriage book anywhere.

Just as we want our daughters to understand men, we want our sons to understand women.  We want them to leave our homes equipped with the skills to lovingly lead their families, exercise self-control, and courageously stand up for others.

This little book should be read by women and men everywhere.  How much better life would be if we understood a woman’s dignity and vocation!

This is a gem. A must read for every Christian. Learn to live in God’s presence continually, even in the middle of a busy chaotic world.

Homemaking is for everyone.  This lovely book encourages you to make your life a work of art, whether you live in a hut in Africa or in a flat in New York or a farmhouse in Kansas.


We all know that talking about sexuality with our children can be difficult, but by no means can we ignore that when we launch our children into the world, they are going to be faced with the harsh reality of the modern day hook-up culture.  A culture where all sorts of consensual sexual activity is going on without any thought of being in relationship.  Now we hope and pray to send our children out into the world ready to stand up against this type of living having filled them with the teachings of the church and the bible, but there’s nothing like a good stiff kick-in-the-pants reality check and this is what this book provides.

So there you have it! Our short but important list of books that we think everyone should read.  Have we left out your favorite? What’s on your list required reading?


  1. Thank you for this list. I will add it to our must read list. I also had not heard of a few of these books. Might I also suggest, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It was an edifying read for me and my kids. 
    I can’t leave without saying that your website, videos, and ebook have been such a blessing in the life if me and my family.

    Thank you!

    • Oh yes! The Hiding Place is amazing and a definite must-read!

      Thank you for the encouragement about the content we put out. We are always striving to be a blessing and your encouragement means so much. <3

  2. My little one is such a bookworm so this is a great resource to have! Thank you!

  3. Wow, every single one of these books will provide such powerful learning lessons. This is truly an outstanding list.

  4. Pinned this. Thanks for all the recommendations, a few I haven’t heard of and several are nice to see reviewed!

  5. Interesting list of books. Thanks for sharing. 

  6. Such an interesting list of books. I am always open to discovering new reading material, and I appreciate the write-ups you provided for each of these.

  7. Wow. This is a great list of books for your kiddos to read. Excellent lessons in the ones that I know. You’ve introduced me to some new books, too. Thank you for this great post!

  8. Good list. I think the only one I’ve read is Mere Christianity. I’ve never even heard of the others.

  9. Many of my favorites are on this list! G.K Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and Elizabeth Elliot… GOOD stuff! 🙂 

  10. I have not heard of some of these – great ideas!

  11. I am going to pass this on to my daughters! Thanks!

  12. Good list. 🙂 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *