Since I have grandchildren entering the tween years, I’m always on the look-out for gifts that will have the double benefit of engaging their minds while also teaching them Christian values.  Those of you who follow me know that I’m a fan of Arnold Ytreeide’s advent and lent stories.  Recently, I also discovered his Mike Danford series, which traces the adventures of a 17 year old and his friends as they build amazing machines that inevitably lead them into sticky situations.  As they search for truth, the teens must remind themselves regularly that it’s never wrong to do what’s right!  I think even adults will enjoy this fun fiction series for tweens, I certainly did!

Christian Values Within Adventure

These days it’s pretty hard to find fiction based on wholesome Christian values.  As I read through the books in the Mike Danford Adventure Series, I was captivated.  Yes, the story lines are over the top.  I mean really, searching for Bigfoot, facing off with aliens and discovering a mega dinosaur?!  Plus there are the technically astounding inventions created to carry out their investigations.  But stop and think about the mindset of tweens.  They envision themselves as the hero and the smartest person in the room.  Ytreeide taps into the innocent confidence of this age group and masterfully intertwines values that would typically illicit an eye roll from most teens.   Your tween will encounter values such as friendship, trust, work ethic, respecting parents and more in this series.  And they will learn from Mike Danford and his friends as they see these values put into practice.

It’s Never Wrong To Do What’s Right

As your children read through the series, they’ll encounter this catch phrase, “It’s never wrong to do what’s right.”   Learning this little gem from a source other than a nagging parent can be quite valuable!  The teens learn how to put this simple phrase into practice as they deal with the nuances of temptation.  They learn that sometimes the line between right and wrong can be difficult to determine, and that’s when they turn to the Bible for help.  The series is not shy about presenting the gospel, and it emphasizes the importance of attending church and being in fellowship with other believers.  The lessons are woven in without being preachy.  I think you’ll find this fun fiction for tweens will help reinforce what you are already teaching your children.  Read the books with your children and engage them with the values withn the story.

A Friendly Warning

Ok, there is one drawback about these books, they are hard to put down!  Each chapter seems to end with a cliff-hanger, making it hard to close the book at the end of a chapter.  So, if your child is reading this before bed, my advice would be to let him continue reading into the next chapter when things “settle down” a bit.  Give your child a bookmark so  picking up where he left off will not be a problem.  Seriously, this was a big problem for me!  I like reading wholesome stories before bed, but I flew through each chapter because of the suspense.  It was hard to discipline myself to stop reading, which is probably why I finished these so quickly!   Fun fiction for tweens can also be fun fiction for adults!

Some Other Fun Things

If you are planning on using this series with your children, you might also want to check out Arnold Ytreeide’s site HERE for some bonus materials that go along with Submarine Spy, Tracking Bigfoot and Sky Pirates.  There are maps, drawings and scriptures that will help your children visualize the area and the inventions.   These materials are free and add to the fun your child will experience with the series.

The Mike Danford Adventure Series

So here they are the whole series!  You might want to read these in order, just because future books will reference inventions and adventures of past books.  But the stories are basically stand alone stories and when making reference to something from another book, the author is pretty consistent about giving a short explanation.  I’ve listed each book in the series below.  Click on the title for a look inside each book and to order through amazon.  I hope you and your children enjoy these as much as I have!

#1 – Submarine Spy

#2 – Tracking Bigfoot

#3 – Sky Pirates

#4 – Dinosaur Dilemma

#5 –Deep Sea Demons

#6 – Seismic Secrets

#7 – Rune Riddle

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