Recommended by Us

13 books to uplift and inspire any teenager

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Parenting a teenager can be a minefield. If you're anxious to get your child off their screen and interested in something more positive and inspiring, an uplifting book is a great alternative! From gospel topics to inspiring stories to fantasy reads, here are a few of our recommendations for every type of reader.


Gospel Inspiration

"What do you believe?" The stranger yelled as he grabbed my hand.

There I was. The stage was set. I was up to bat. This was the opportunity I had been trained for, right? The made-up scenario from seminary that was now actually happening. My missionary moment. My mind raced but all I could focus on was, "What DID I believe?"

The Articles of Faith, our quick go-to for what we believe, starts at number one with faith in "God the Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." But what does that mean for us today, walking down the halls at school or out on the field? Who is God exactly? What does He look like and sound like? What does Deity mean to me? Some of our most foundational doctrines surround the character of God and our relationship with Him. But who exactly is He? Does He know me? Can I know Him?

This book is designed to help you discover the answers to those questions and more. Grab a pen or a pencil, get ready to do some creative thinking, and come closer to God the Father by learning about His identity, His character, and—most importantly—how He feels about you.

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For the woman in the temple courtyard, He knelt close as Emmanuel; for David, He tenderly cared like a Shepherd; for Nathanael, He showed His strength as a King.

Jesus is given over a hundred unique names in scripture. Each one of them tells a story—a story about who He is, what He does, and how He shows up in our individual lives.

The name Redeemer comes from a Hebrew word that means someone who will rescue or save by any means. Some days that is as a sacrificing Lamb, and other days it is as a loyal Advocate.

Who Jesus was in the past—the Good Shepherd, the Mighty Jehovah, the Unfailing Deliverer—is who He still is today. As we learn about how He came into the lives of those in the scriptures, we begin to anticipate and see how He comes into our own stories.

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Although anyone can feel the power of the Holy Ghost and be guided by it, it's not until baptism that we are promised the gift of the Holy Ghost: the Holy Ghost will stay with us at all times if we are worthy to receive Him. This is a promise so incredible that at times it can be hard to wrap our minds around, much less apply. What, exactly, does it mean to have the gift of the Holy Ghost daily, and how can it help us?

Following David Butler's best sellers Almighty and Redeemer, this engaging new book walks readers through the various roles the Holy Ghost takes in our lives. Spirit helps readers learn what the Holy Ghost can do for them, from comforting them to acting as a witness and a guide or a companion. It also helps readers recognize promptings and know how to use the Spirit's promises and privileges in their lives on a day-to-day basis.

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"The Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel," declared President Russell M. Nelson. "That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today." In this book you'll find answers to questions:

So I'm from Ephraim or Manasseh? So what? What does it mean if I'm from another tribe? What does it mean to gather Israel?

As members of the Church, we are often told to obey commandments because we are children of God or because we have been saved for the last days. But isn't everyone on earth right now a child of God who has been saved? What sets Latter-day Saints apart?

We have a birthright! We have been given much—temporally and spiritually. Now it is time for us to use what we have been given to make an eternal difference for people throughout the world—in other words, to gather Israel.

"Don't let the world change you," writes Brad Wilcox, "when you were born to change the world!"

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• Do you sometimes wonder what is and isn't Church doctrine?

• Have you heard something unsettling about Church history and wanted to know if it's true?

• Do you want to deepen your study on a gospel topic but don't know where to look other than Google?

• Do you seek to reconcile how to follow modern yet mortal prophets?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then you are a latter-day seeker.

The purpose of this timely book is to aid you by providing essential skills to seek learning by study and faith. These chapters don't tell you what to think, but help you figure out how to think. The book aims to increase your capacity to be a disciple-scholar. Using relevant doctrinal and historical examples—coupled with engaging visuals and approaches—each chapter teaches models, steps, and frameworks to help you learn by study and faith.

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Inspiring Fiction

Charity may have mad math skills and a near-perfect memory, but with a mouth that can't speak and a body that jumps, rocks, and howls unpredictably, most people incorrectly assume she cannot learn. Charity's brain works differently from most people's because of her autism, but she's still funny, determined, and kind. So why do people treat her like a disease or ignore her like she's invisible?

When Charity's parents enroll her in a public junior high school, she faces her greatest fears. Will kids make fun of her? Will her behavior get her kicked out? Will her million thoughts stay locked in her head forever? With the support of teachers and newfound friends, Charity will have to fight to be treated like a real student.

Inspired by a true story, Real speaks to all those who've ever felt they didn't belong and reminds readers that all people are worthy of being included.

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Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie's new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She's convinced she is definitely a monster because of the "monster mark" on her face. At least that's what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she's a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.

Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it's only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave—just like her dad did. Because who would want to live with a real monster?

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Flint loved to draw. In fact, he's furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the "Find a Comic Star" contest. He's also rushing to finish because he has an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.

At school, Flint meets McKell. She's new and doesn't seem to have trouble making friends. She does have a problem with how some of her new friends treat this boy they call "Squint." He seems nice and really talented. He also seems like the kind of person who wouldn't laugh at you. That's important because McKell has hidden talents of her own but is worried about what will happen is she shares them.

Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.

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Addie loves nothing more than curling up on the couch with her dog, Duck, and watching The Great British Baking Show with her mom. It's one of the few things that can help her relax when her OCD kicks into overdrive. She counts everything. All the time. She can't stop. Rituals and rhythms. It's exhausting.

When Fitz was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he named the voices in his head after famous country singers. The adolescent psychiatric ward at Seattle Regional Hospital isn't exactly the ideal place to meet your soul mate, but when Addie meets Fitz, they immediately connect over their shared love of words, appreciate each other's quick wit, and wish they could both make more sense of their lives.

Fitz is haunted by the voices in his head and often doesn't know what is real. But he feels if he can convince Addie to help him escape the psych ward and get to San Juan Island, everything will be okay. If not, he risks falling into a downward spiral that may keep him in the hospital indefinitely.

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Top on Paul Adams' list of “People to Avoid” are Conor, from his Language Arts class, Hunter, who hangs around the climbing gym, and Lily Small, who happens to be the tallest girl in school. But he might be able to be friends with a new kid from Hawaii who insists that everyone call him “Big.”

When Paul, Big, and Small are assigned to the same group project, they form an unlikely friendship. And Paul realizes that maybe Lily isn’t so bad after all. He might even actually like her.

Paul and Lily team up for a rock-climbing competition, but when Lily is diagnosed with leukemia, Paul ends up with Conor on his team. And when Paul learns that Conor is dealing with bullies of his own—as well as some deep emotional pain—he realizes that the bullying in his school has got to stop.

Paul, Big, and Small is about the turbulent, emotional lives of young adults who are struggling with life’s challenges openly and sometimes in secret.

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Fantasy

In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, king of the dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the gathering of the ancient order of Dragonwatch if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who confined the dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge, as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?

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Twelve-year-old Gordy Stitser is one of the few people who knows the truth about the secret society of potion masters, because not only is Gordy's mom on the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (B.R.E.W.), but she has also been training Gordy in the art of potion-making.

Gordy is a natural, and every day he sneaks down to the basement lab to invent new potions using exotic ingredients like fire ant eggs, porcupine quills, and Bosnian tickling juice.

One afternoon, Gordy receives a mysterious package containing an extremely rare potion known as "The Eternity Elixir." In the right hands, the Elixir continues to protect society. But in the wrong hands, it could destroy the world as we know it.

Now, sinister potion masters are on the hunt to steal the Eternity Elixir. It's up to Gordy, his parents, and his best friends, Max and Adeline, to prevent an all-out potion war.

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What if you stumbled across a classified ad in your local newspaper that read, "Wizard for Hire. Call 555-SPEL"? Would you call? Fourteen-year-old Ozzy is desperate to find his parents, but he's not so sure about the ad... He's read about wizards in books like Harry Potter, but they couldn't actually exist in the world today, could they?

Enter Labryinth, aka "Rin," who dresses the part. Sort of. His bathrobe and high-top tennis shoes seem unorthodox. At least Rin acts like a wizard, but Ozzy has his doubts. Do real wizards write notes on their shoes and eat breakfast for every meal? Most of all, Ozzy just wants to know if Rin can cast any magic spells.

With the help of a robotic-talking raven, a kind and curious girl, and, of course, a self-proclaimed wizard, Ozzy begins an unforgettable quest that will lead him closer to the answers he seeks about his missing parents.

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Featured image by Getty Images
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