2021 Rooted Book Awards: Best New Parenting Books


“Of making many books there is no end…” (Ecc. 12:12 ESV). The Preacher of Ecclesiastes might well have been talking about the making of parenting books when he made this comment, and sometimes it’s hard to know which ones are worth the investment of a parent’s precious reading time or hard-earned money. We at Rooted hope to do some of that work for you, and we have been energized throughout 2021 as we read a number of great books in consideration of our year end book awards.

Without further ado, here is the best new parenting resource from 2021:

Raising Resilient Children: The Role of Spiritual Formation for Healthy Development by Holly Catterton Allen is both relatable and academic. The author’s years of research is evident, but so is her heart for raising the next generation well.  It is an easy read with many heartfelt stories. It is also filled with credible research that is very educational. For busy parents, it’s a great book to read in short spurts. 

Personally, God used this book as a guide for me as I entered into a challenging season of parenting. My 10 year old son started to be overcome with anxiety and that led to new fears of my own. While the fears and tears led me to my knees, Dr. Allen helped me to look beyond the immediate solutions and to face my challenges from a new perspective. This book served as a guide to thinking more deeply about my son’s spiritual formation as a crucial part of helping him manage his anxiety. It relieved my own fears and allowed me to step back and wonder about what God is doing through this season. 

Raising Resilient Children can also serve as a wonderful reference manual for anyone who works with children. This book offers many thoughtful perspectives through the varying clinical cases and Dr. Allen’s own personal circumstances. Though Allen shares many practical solutions, the greater value that I received from the book is that it helped me to think about the importance of my children’s healthy spiritual development by helping them find a sense of hope in the gospel. 

Dr. Allen closes the book with a personal story. She says, “I found in those days of recovery that I needed hope as much as I needed air to breathe. Resilience cannot flourish without hope.  Everyone needs hope. Children need hope” (p.175).  This book absolutely belongs in the home of any family with younger children, or in the library of a children’s ministry worker.

Honorable Mention

Prayers for a Parent series by Kathleen Nielsen: Young Children, Teens, Young Adults, Adult Children, P&R Publishing. (Rooted review here.) 

Many thanks to Tracy Yi for her extensive work in this category of our book awards. Our team of readers enjoyed a conversation about the winners on the Rooted Youth Ministry podcast- check it out


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