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Lessons Wrapped in Adventure: Making Christian Themes Engaging for Young Readers

Lessons Wrapped in Adventure: Making Christian Themes Engaging for Young Readers

It has been my great delight to write both fantasy and more realistic fiction for young adult readers. As I’m writing Christian fiction, my hope is that my readers will learn some key Christian principles as they read my books. However, I’m very conscious of the fact that my stories must fascinate my readers, so I wrap them in adventure. A good example of this is my young adult trilogy, The Golden Highway, The Diamond Pathway and The Emerald Treasure Chamber.

The Golden Highway: Christian themes of good and evil

A core theme in all of these novels, as in most fantasy fiction for this age group, is the age-old battle between good and evil. In the first book in the set, Julia enlists the help of four of her friends to search for her missing parents, archaeologists who have gone missing in the Cradle of Humankind region in Gauteng. At the outset of their search, what they don’t know is that the evil witch-like creature, Livedia, has something to do with the disappearance. An epic battle between good and evil ensues as they go on an extraordinary adventure. But what will happen when they face temptation? When they are enticed by delectable feasts and promises of rewards, will they take the easy, wide road, which, by implication, leads to destruction, or will they take the narrow road with all its difficulties and challenges? And what will the consequences of their choices be?

The Diamond Pathway: An adventure highlighting the armour of God

Just as adventurous is the second book, The Diamond Pathway, which is set in the amazing land of Namibia. I wanted to highlight the importance of the armour of God, so as they once again fight evil, Sean and Julia, the only two of the five friends who manage to resist Livedia’s enticing wiles, go on a quest (another typical feature of fantasy novels) from the southern end of the country near the Aughrabies falls, to the northern end – the desolate Namib desert, in search of the five vital weapons that will help them to fight the enemy.

The Emerald Treasure Chamber: A Christian’s Battle Against Temptation

The third book in the set, The Emerald Treasure Chamber, set in Egypt, the land of the pyramids, Julia’s biggest challenge of all comes when her boyfriend (romance is also a typical feature of fantasy novels for teens), Sean, is captured by a disguised Livedia; this time, in order to beat the enemy, she has to fiercely fight the temptation of idolatry which her other three friends have succumbed to.

Making Christian Themes Engaging for Young Readers

In summary, my purpose in writing these novels is for the readers to be so gripped by the stories that the Christian themes in the narratives will influence them as well, encouraging them to think about important issues. In my more realistic stories, I write about common problems and difficulties that teens might face, for example, divorce and the separation of families, friendship issues, jealousy and bullying, amongst other things. The more realistic, but just as adventurous paths my characters take is to solve these problems and to learn how to cope better with trials that might come their way. Hopefully, my readers will be able to identify with my characters as they learn how to navigate some of life’s problems.

What would novels for young adult readers be without drama, adventure, tension and conflict? My intention is not to be didactic, forcing Christian themes down my readers’ throats, but to interest them so much in the action of the story that they will, on the way, be exposed to important, life-giving messages.

To learn more about writing for Christian young adults, you can read the following blogs:

Breath of God by Gillian Leggat
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The Diamond Pathway by Gillian Leggat
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