Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived in the 1st century CE in the province of Judea of Roman-occupied Palestine. Christians follow the Bible, a collection of texts including the Old Testament and the New Testament. Christians believe in one God who created the world and all that exists in it. They believe that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to save humanity from sin. The Christian youth fiction genre consists of stories that teach Christian values and morals to young readers. These stories often have a strong message about following Jesus and living a life based on Christian principles.
What is Christian Youth Fiction?
Christian youth fiction is a genre of literature that is specifically aimed at young people who are Christians. The stories in this genre often focus on issues that are relevant to young Christians, such as peer pressure, drug use, and sexuality. They may also include elements of fantasy or science fiction. Many Christian youth fiction novels are part of a series, which allows readers to follow the characters as they grow and change over time.
History of Christian Youth Fiction
The history of Christian youth fiction can be traced back to the early 1800s, when Sunday school literature became popular. This literature was designed to teach Christian values to children in a fun and engaging way. Some of the first examples of Christian youth fiction were the “Pilgrim’s Progress” series by John Bunyan and the “Tracts for the Times” series by Charles Dickens.
As the years went on, more and more writers began producing stories specifically for Christian young people. In the early 1900s, two major publishers of Christian youth fiction were founded: The Sunday School Times Company and The American Baptist Publication Society. These companies published a wide variety of stories, from missionaries tales to coming-of-age dramas.
One of the most popular writers of Christian youth fiction in the early 20th century was Grace Livingston Hill. Her novels combined romance with strong moral messages, and they were hugely popular with young readers. Other notable writers from this period include Helen Steiner Rice, who wrote poems and stories about faith, and Mildred A. Wirt, who created the “Nancy Drew” mystery series.
Today, Christians of all ages continue to enjoy reading stories that reflect their values and beliefs. Christian youth fiction remains a thriving genre, with new authors emerging all the time. Some contemporary writers of note include Jerry B. Jenkins, best known for his “Left Behind” series, and Karen Kingsbury, who writes heartwarming tales about families and friendships.
Themes in Christian Youth Fiction
There are many themes that are commonly found in Christian youth fiction books. Some of these include:
Setting in Christian Youth Fiction
One of the most important aspects of Christian youth fiction is the setting. The setting can be as important as the characters and the plot in conveying the message of the novel. A well-chosen setting can help to create an immersive reading experience that will stay with readers long after they have finished the book.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a setting for your novel. First, think about what kind of world you want to create. Do you want it to be realistic or fantastical? Second, consider what time period you want to set your story in. Third, think about what kind of environment your characters will be living in. Is it urban or rural? Is it a safe place or a dangerous place? All of these factors will help you to create a more well-rounded and believable setting for your story.
Once you have chosen a general location for your novel, you will need to start thinking about specific settings within that location. What beach will your character go to? What school will they go to? What church do they attend? By including specific, concrete details about the settings in your novel, you will help readers to feel like they are truly transported into the world of your story.
Characters in Christian Youth Fiction
Some common characters in Christian youth fiction books are missionaries, pastors, and other church leaders. These characters often teach valuable lessons to the young people in the book, and help them to grow in their faith. Many times, these books will also include a love story, as well as some action and adventure.
Plot in Christian Youth Fiction
Many Christians believe that young people should read only Christian fiction because it provides a positive, moral influence. Unfortunately, not all Christian fiction is created equal. In fact, some of it is pretty bad. A lot of it is formulaic and predictable, with flat characters and trite plots. And some of it is just plain boring.
So how can you tell if a particular work of Christian fiction is any good? One way to judge is by looking at the plot. A good plot should be intriguing and suspenseful, with plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engaged. The best plots are ones that make readers think, even after they’ve finished the book.
Here are some examples of well-written plots in Christian youth fiction:
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: This classic novel tells the story of two gangs, the Socs and the Greasers, who are locked in a bitter rivalry. When one of the Greasers kills a Soc in self-defense, he must go on the run to avoid being sent to jail. Along the way, he learns about loyalty, friendship, and self-respect.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: This novel follows the lives of four friends who are spending their first summer apart. Each girl has her own problems to deal with, but they stay connected by sharing a pair of jeans that somehow seems to fit them all perfectly. Along the way, they learn about love, loss, and self-discovery.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: This dystopian novel tells the story of a society that has eliminated pain and suffering by numbing its citizens’ emotions. When one boy is chosen to be the “receiver” of all the community’s memories, he starts to question everything he’s been told about his world.
If you’re looking for something more light-hearted, there are plenty of funny Christian books for young adults as well. Mark Batterson’s National Bestseller The Circle Maker tells the story of teen Drew Lawson as he tries to break every world record in The Guinness Book of World Records . Hilarious hijinks ensue as Drew and his friends attempt to set records for things like “Most Grasshoppers eaten in One Minute” and “Most Snow angels made in One Hour” . If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud read that also has a positive message, this book is for you.
Writing Christian Youth Fiction
Write for the Heart is a great book for Christian writers who want to learn how to write appealing Christian youth fiction. The author, Evangelene M. Berends, gives practical advice on how to get started and what elements should be included in a good story. She also includes helpful tips on how to market your work once it is finished.