Friday, March 26, 2010

A Girl After God's Own Heart: A Tween Adventure with Jesus

A Girl After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George, is an engaging Bible study, perfect for tween girls to use as a personal devotion, or to study with friends or even their mom. George aptly captures the personality of tween girls--sweet and eager to please, but beginning to test authority and their faith. We follow Emma, a fictional tween, throughout the ten devotions in the book. We learn how to relate to others in chapters on parents, family, school, friends, and church. In the other chapters, we work on growing within ourselves. These chapters deal with readers' hearts, space, selves and time. The book ends with an invitation to embark on an adventure with Jesus. George uses the "Romans Road" to explain how to have a relationship with Jesus.

Each chapter begins with a short snapshot of Emma's life, related to the topic for the chapter. Then George uses the title of the chapter in an acrostic, illustrating principles to remember. Each principle includes a Bible verse and a question asking readers to apply the verse to the topic or their lives. The chapters conclude with a summary message, lines to rewrite the acrostic, and space to write "one thing you liked, learned, or want to do about [the topic.]"

What I Like: This study would perfectly introduce the concept of having a personal quiet time to tweens. Emma's story is interesting, funny and authentic, and George does a great job transitioning from the story to biblical principles. The principles are soundly backed up by Scripture, showing readers God does have a lot to say about their lives.

I also like the mix of chapters about girls' personal development and girls' relationships with others. Tween girls love to learn about themselves, but it is nice to have a balance between introspection and thinking of others.

George carefully includes tweens who are in public school, private school, or home-schooled.

What I Dislike: The only thing I would change is the way George writes about parents. She is extremely positive, which is nice, but this book wouldn't work well for girls who are being raised by grandparents or other relatives, or parents who are less than model Christians. In the chapter on parents, readers are told to "Never criticize your parents to others," and to ". . .trust God that He is leading and growing you through your parents. No matter what happens, you can always trust God." I appreciate George's sentiment, but I wish she would have included a caveat for girls who are in less ideal situations, or who deal with abuse or neglect.

Also, George refers to talking to your mom a lot, and this would be sad for girls whose moms are absent or deceased. I would caution adults to know their audience before giving the book to girls (for example, in a church or youth group setting).

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Harvest House Publishers, 2010; ISBN:978-0-7369-1768-1 ; Paperback, $9.99

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Shirley Ann said...

I wonder if this would be a good tool for a tween girls Sunday school class?....

Erin said...

Yes Shirley, this would be a great study for a Sunday school class. It would be neat to hear what girls say in the section asking "what do you want to do about the topic?" You could follow up with them the next week and teach accountability. Also, if any of them have issues with their parents, you could brainstorm how to find mentors at church or in the community. :) I hope this helps! Thanks for reading CCBR.