Character-Building Books for High School Students

Looking for character-building books for high school students?

Character-Building Books for High School Students

Character-Building Books for High School Students

Teaching reading and writing to homeschool teenagers is one of my favorite things to do. I love watching them think and grow as we read books together, discuss them and write about our thoughts! One good thing about reading together is the opportunity to watch teens grow in their good-character skills.

A list of unusual, character-building books for high school that can bring life to your literature study is one that includes works by Great Christian Writers.

It’s easy to sprinkle one or two character-building titles into a year of books, or you can easily create a one-semester or one-year curriculum that is filled with these inspiring books.

One of the many blessings of homeschooling through high school is getting to choose books to read with our kids, and then discussing those books.

While I make sure we spend time on American Literature, British Literature  and World Literature, it’s also wonderful to spend a half-year or even a whole school year on a specialized category of literature, or a topic, or a particular author’s work.

You can tailor your book selection to your child’s unique interests, for example.

One of my sons earned credit for reading books about great filmmakers, and reading classic works of literature that were made into classic movies, then analyzing the transfer from page to screen in papers he wrote. On the other hand, a student with a passion for history could focus on books about a favorite time period for literature. A kid with a passion for animals might want to choose books that center on that topic, and so forth.

The character-building books for high school students on my list for Great Christian Writers came together out of the desire of some of us moms to see our kids read well-written books by Christian authors. We were looking for authors who:

  • want their readers to meditate deeply in their spirits about the things of God
  • as well as have their intellect stretched
  • and entertained with their words

We wanted to include biographies and autobiographies, books of theology, devotional materials, and fiction.

This is the book list I have used in Great Christian Writers:

  • The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom)
    • Some young people read this book in middle school, but it bears repeating!
  • Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan)
    • Classic, must-read for all Christians.
  • The Practice of the Presence of God (Bro. Lawrence)
    • This book leads to the most interesting discussions on prayer.
  • The Essential Father Brown short stories (GK Chesterton)
    • Classic, intelligent and compelling mystery stories.
  • Armchair Theologians Series – Augustine
    • This is an excellent introduction to Augustine.
  • God’s Smuggler (Brother Andrew)
  • Something Beautiful for God (Malcolm Muggeridge)
    • This is the beautiful biography of Mother Theresa.
  • Hymns & Creeds
    • This is a favorite of our teens.
  • Poetry
    • There are some great Christian poets!
  • The Normal Christian Life (Watchman Nee)
    • This book lends itself to excellent discussions.
  • This Present Darkness (Frank Peretti)
    • This novel always sparks great discussion.
  • Mere Christianity (CS Lewis)
    • Another classic that Christians should read.
  • Prayers
    • We find classic prayers on the internet.
  • Devotions
    • We use devotions from the internet or booklets from various churches.
  • Joni (Joni Eareckson Tada) – read about teaching perseverance through great stories like Joni’s.
    • We highly recommend that teens read Joni’s story!
  • Born Again (Chuck Colson)
    • This is a compelling story covering Colson’s life from Watergate through conversion and ministry.
  • The Great Divorce (CS Lewis)
    • Another excellent book for discussion and character development.

Great Christian Writers: A Full-Year High School Literature Course.

A few of the selections are obviously not books. For the hymns, poetry, prayers and devotions I used the internet as a resource for compiling great examples of these forms of writing, and assigned these collections to the students in lieu of a regular book.

Because we are reading these books with a class, I have created a full-year Great Christian Writers study guide bundle.

This bundle includes many of the books from our class-list.

The study guides really help the students focus on important themes in the books. Not only that, they provide background information about the authors and vocabulary resources, as well as supplemental activities and suggestions.

I have enjoyed this class more than I can say! The kids amaze me with their insights in discussion, and it is so interesting to see which kids fall in love with which books…and which they deem “boring”!

Also, students feel that they are growing in their characters, self-awareness and spiritual interest. That’s really cool!

Even the Department of Education recommends good literature as part of the process of building good character. (For more on character development and Great Christian Writers, check out this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast.)

Here’s a vlog to help you figure out how to choose books for high school student each year:


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Character-Building Books for High School Students

Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

2 Replies to “Character-Building Books for High School Students”

  1. I love this list and the ideas for character building through lit. I’ve read many on the list and they are great. Through Gates of Splendor is another one I love, and there’s so many missionary books that are good for this topic too, I bet it was hard to pick this list! 🙂

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