Books I Grew On


This is not a list of my "top ten," 

or my favourites,

or the best books out there,

but simply some books I either grew up on or grew from...


W. G. Vandehulst's children’s books, always warm, quite Dutch, and yet wrapping up with a cozy ending and the reminder of a God who is willing to forgive.

Piet Prins'​​​ children’s books provided the adventure and excitement my ten or twelve year old self craved, also from a Christian perspective.

The Shining Sword​​​ by Charles Coleman is a most excellent allegory of the Christian life. I thought John Bunyan had the final say on allegory until I read this. A must-read for kids.

Elizabeth Prentiss’s Stepping Heavenward​​​ is a book I read and reread through my later teens. The autobiographical nature of this book and open talk about the spiritual struggles going on inside a young girl (and, as time went on, a married one) are a blessing.

​​In Trouble and in Joy​​​ by Sharon James was one of the first nonchildren’s biographies I read, and I recall really appreciating it.

Maurice Robert’s The Thought of God, The Christian's High Calling, and​ ​Great God of Wonders​​​ are books I return to over the years. With such a variety of topics, there is a feast for the mind, and with such a warm heart-felt tone throughout, also a feast for the soul.

Jeremiah Burrough’s The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment​​​ was a puritan’s thoughts on contentment. In Burrough’s words, “Contentment does not come from addition but from subtraction. Contentment comes from subtracting our sinful desires for more.” Convicting.

​​Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hanna More - Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist​​​ by Karen Prior is a favourite recent biography.

Jerry Bridge’s The Pursuit of Holiness and his book Respectable Sins were two eye-opening books in my early twenties. These works put holiness in a different light.

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic was a blessing in the years of having a house full of little ones. With humour, Jankovic points busy moms back to the heart-work that should be going on under all the surface activity.

John Flavel’s The Mystery of Providence was a second tackle of the puritans. A view-shaper as Flavel shows how providence is at work through all areas of life.

A Passion for the Impossible: the Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Rockness  was another grown-up biography favourite. Warm and devotional in style, it is the story of a missionary-artist-writer to the Muslim in North Africa.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert​​​ by Rosaria Butterfield helped open my eyes to the church’s and Christian’s relationship to the mission field outside our front door. An excellent read for all church-goers.

The Pilgrim's Progress and Christiana by John Bunyan. A dramatized but unabridged audio version of this made the work accessible to the whole family. With excellent spiritual lessons for everyday life, it serves as a constant reminder that there is more to life than what the eye can see.

Sarah Mackenzie’s ​Teaching From Rest​​​ is a book full of rest and reminders of grace for a busy home-educating mom.  A great book to read and reread.

Women of the Word​​​ was helpful in making study of the Bible more purposeful and less of an aimless reading of chapters. By Jen Wilkins.

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