Ready to start Christmas shopping? Yeah, me neither. My kids–and I’m guessing yours, too–already have so much… with one exception. Can you ever have too many GREAT BOOKS?

In past years, I’ve given you some book ideas for your kids, along with some book reviews from my tween daughter (here and here).  This year, I’d like to point out one book in particular.

The Radical Book for Kids is written for 8-14 year olds to read on their own, but I had some fun looking through it with my 13-year-old, Cade. I mean let’s face it. If you want a real critic (not someone who likes pretty much every book), ask a thirteen-year-old. So I did.

First, we looked at look and feel of the book. Cade and I both liked the size and heavy hardback feel of the book. The colors are “cool”–especially the gold foiling.

Next we went to the table of contents. There are 67 lessons; each is about 3-4 pages with lots of inviting graphics. Cade picked first, choosing #9, “How to Clean Your Room”. This lesson was actually just that. A guideline for a kid to clean his room (I hope my son was paying attention!).

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I picked next, and chose, “What Ever Kid Needs”, which borrowed from J.C. Ryle’s very old book Thoughts for Young Men
, to offer four important pieces of advice for kids my son’s age. When I asked what stood out to him most from this page, he said, “The part about how nothing has caused more misery, sadness, and pain in the world than sin.” Pretty profound, for a thirteen-year-old.

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Next, instead of exploring the table of contents, we flipped through the book, looking for graphics that caught our attention. (The author gave us permission to do this, by the way. In the introduction he says, “Read the book anyway you’d like: skip around, or read straight through. But remember: all the roots of our faith grown out of the The Tree. The one on which Jesus died in the place of sinners.” page 1.)

So Cade picked a colorful page with a graphic about how many people own Bibles vs. how many people actually read their Bibles regularly. There was also a list of common phrases that originate in the Bible (like “a drop in the bucket”) and some that did not (like “God helps those who help themselves”). And then I picked a page with button-looking graphics which listed names for God. 

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As we flipped through the book, there was lots to grab our attention. I was impressed with both the quality of the graphics and the quality of the content. This book encapsulates the truth that I’d like my son to absorb and be shaped by, in a kid friendly way. So shhh…. please don’t tell him, but he’s getting this book for Christmas. And I’m quite confident that when he opens it up, he’ll have a big smile on his face!

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