Help! Any exciting preteen and teen books out there for Catholic kids?


My 11 year old daughter is an avid reader and very discerning. She wants a good “page turner”. I’m having an awful time finding well written and morally acceptable books. Some of the Evangelical fare I pick up can be very didactic and boring. These books also can contain hints of prejudice to the Catholic faith. My daughter picks up on being preached to at the expense of a good story and will stop reading that book. My girl is “dying” to read “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer because “all” her freinds are reading it. I will read it first before I make a decision but I do have a knee jerk response to the whole vampire thing. She has accepted my(and my husband’s) opinion on the horrible Pullman series but it is getting increasingly difficult to find good titles now that she has graduated past “Narnia” and "Lord of the Rings’. I don’t have the time to read every book on the shelves before she does. I pray that the Holy spirit raises up some talented writers whose “fantasy” will ring with beauty and truth and excitement relevant to the struggles of young catholic souls today.


The Michael O’ Brien books should keep her busy for a while!!

How about the Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet” Trilogy as well?


Michael O’Brien has written a book titled “A Landscape with Dragons” - this book has a pretty good list at the back with lots of options. There are a couple of books that my kids have enjoyed - “Freddie the Pig” series; books by Walter Morey, “Trumpeter of Krakow”, books by Jim Kjelgaard and others. I agree with you that the Pullman series is troublesome. My oldest read them in highschool and agreed with my assessment. It seems to be popular for middle school kids - I didn’t let any of the kids read it in middle school - they are too impressionable.
There are plenty of good books out there - try some of the used book stores - the older novels are really pretty good.


Try the “Dragons” series by Patricia C. Wrede (Searching For Dragons, Calling On Dragons.) They’re very good: fantasy with good values (but not at all preachy), and very entertaining.

Is she only into fantasy series, or would she consider other reading matter?

There are a lot of good books for children her age!

I could list some more…


P.S. Re: the Lewis trilogy

Perelandra in particular contains some “adult” elements that might not be appropriate for an 11 year old.


Do you know of anything wrong with Madeline L’Engle? I enjoyed, and my children after me, A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind In The Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Well, I was a grown-up when it was written, but I still enjoyed it). I know she had a belief of universal salvation, but the books did represent good as good and evil as evil.

Richard Peck is an excellent author. I am a bit biased because Peck writes of two places with which I am familiar, Chicago and Southern Illinois. However, he nails it each and every time. His books include A Year Down Yonder, A Long Way From Chicago, Fair Weather, and The River Between Us. I wasn’t thrilled with the Teacher’s Funeral, though. It just didn’t interest me. Now be careful, because all of Peck’s works are NOT suitable for 11 year olds. But you should be safe with those I’ve mentioned.

If your daughter and you look on and eBay, you might find other books that are older and possibly out of print, but a good read. Some of Kate Seredy’s books are ecellent for this age group. I highly recommend the Good Master, The White Stag, Philomena, The Singing Tree and *A Brand New Uncle. *

If you get an older reading anthology, say from the early to mid 1960s max (ex.: Faith and Freedom’s This Is Our Heritage), and some of the stories catch her interests, you could then go to half or eBay and see if you can find them.


I was going to recommend Patricia Wrede’s series as well! I still go back and read that sometimes and I’m 21.

How about The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (there are 5 fantastic books in this series).


O’Brien talks about L’Engle’s works in his chapter on neopagan literature, pages 97 to 104. He is pretty detailed in his analysis.
I immersed my children in other literature at this age rather than L’Engle’s work - things that were more clearly Christian and cloaked in Christian language but with a neopagan message. There is so much that is confusing to children as they grow up - the more we can help them to cut through the many misleading messages out there by having them read things that are true and beautiful, the better off they will be. I’ve found that as they get older, they are able to discern things more quickly if they have a good foundation in good literature.
At this point, my children are in (or going in to) high school literature classes - the required selections are not great but the conversations we have and the clarity about moral issues is really good.


Well, Richard Peck’s works I mentioned and Kate Seredy, who was a Catholic, are certainly safe.


If she has reached that kind of reading level it might be worth looking at the Classics. Although some of them can be a bit anti establishment as well (particularly the Russian variety). I quite liked Les Miserables, anything by Dickens is a fairly safe bet, Great Expectations maybe? You could think about some of the less bawdy Shakespeare, King Lear is a great read and it does have the suggestion of disruption of natural order (Reformation??). The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins is also quite good, a lot of religious symbolism, and nothing anti Catholic that I picked up on.

I was given Northern Lights years ago and found it incredibly badly written, that was ignoring the anti-Catholic sentiment. I never actually finished it, it is a good cure for insomnia if nothing else :blush:.


Thanks all of you for your quick responses!! God Bless you all!! Thank you Catholic Answers for this forum. I will check all the suggestions that are new to me.I LOVED all the Michael O’Brien books! My daughter is not quite ready for them but you can bet I’ll encourage her reading them later.


Ignatius Press has a whole section in their book catalog devoted to young readers–everything from saints’ biographies (Louis de Wohl’s are written in novel form) to series that are written by Catholics about Catholic characters.


Bethlehem books


Media Angels @ Creation adventure series for teens :slight_smile: by Catholic homeschooling mom and daughter


I had the same problem until I got a copy of “A Landscape With Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind” through the advice of another person on this forum. It not only explains what is going on in today’s preteen/teen fiction, it has a huge book list in the back. I have been buying as many as I can (with the help of used book stores) and having them around the house has been VERY helpful in putting an end to my kids wanting to read what their friends are reading. We don’t have much at our library here, but I have also gone down and checked out books for them to cut down on costs of books. If you have a better library you probably won’t even have to buy much!

I wish there were a site that told you what not to read - I have found a few articles here and there but that’s about it. That’s why I’ve gone the other direction and just supplied my kids with the good stuff. Oh - and you can also check the Catholic homeschooling websites - they have recommended reading lists by grade level right on the sites!


Thank you “House Arrest” , thank you all! I am going to get a copy of “Landscape with Dragons”.


Check out this new series for Catholic Teens!!!

This is the real deal. Your daughter can read the first chapter right there on the website. It’s the start of a new series we’re starting that’s geared especially to Catholic teens. How successfull we are depends on how many we sell. So if you like it, buy a copy and spread the word!


A really good book, and very Catholic, is A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’ Court It’s about a teen who has to defend the Faith. I’m an adult, and I learned a lot from reading it. It’s by Martin DePorres Kennedy (good Catholic name :smiley: ).



I did write a spiritual parable fantasy book with an 11 year-old girl as the heroine. Her name is Wilby and her mission is to bring the Rainbow’s End back to her blighted land. It explores the themes of uniformity vs. diversity, whether or not God is present, and reuniting a divided people. The goal was to present an alternative to Harry Potter and the “Left Behind” series for pre-teen readers.

The title is The Rainbow Chronicles: A Bedtime Story for a New Day. Don’t be fooled by the title, the themes in this book are very moving and spiritual. You can learn more at


Dear Dave,

May God bless you also. However, there are words that you use in your title and storyline that make me suspicious of your faithfulness to authentic church teaching.Words like “diversity”, “uniformity”(in a negative context),rainbow(as symbol)and a vague sense of the word “spiritual”. These words have been hijacked by groups opposed to the Catholic Faith and have been loaded with meaning that is misleading and dangerous. I would never purposely let my child read something that promotes that everything different is good and that all uniformity is bad. In your message on your website you mention the Bible along side the Koran as being full of wondeful stories all worthy of reading and enjoying. The Bible is much more than just a collection of “stories.” This is a Catholic Answers forum so I pray that your decision to “inform” Catholics to your way of thinking will not bear any fruit.

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