10 EXCELLENT BOOKS TO GIVE FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION GIFTS ON SALE — 20% off the regular prices which are shown.

There are many little “gift books” that are fine, I suppose. Nothing too substantial, a little inspiration. My hunch is kids don’t pay much attention to them.  For the grads of 2014, you need something winsome and powerful, serious and fun, important without too much gravitas.

I’m sure you have a library full of favorites, and any good book is always worth giving. Give a collection of Wendell Berry short stories if they like such reading, or a book about science if they are big on that. Try any book about basic discipleship if they are eager to grow in faith, or a poetry volume, or a prayer book or a Bible. Or anything that means a lot to you — we’ll gift wrap and tuck in a note from you about why you liked a certain title if you’d like.  I know, I know, it’s a little old-school and maybe conventional, but, you know what? Yes you do know what. Books make great gifts, and the right one in the right hands will be appreciated, maybe even yet this summer.  Do it.

Here are a few, including a few that I think are essential for college-bound students. 

All 20% OFF.

And we’ll send along a free book with each order —  while supplies last.

MMake College Count.jpgake College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life + Learning  Derek Melleby (Baker Books) $12.99  I have written about this with all the gusto I can muster in past years, even sneaking a reference to it in my last list. I have read a number of these kinds of smallish gift books designed for high school grads, and this is without a doubt the best, nicely written, interesting, wise, and– yes — very important. Derek raises 7 questions that everyone heading off to college should ask themselves, and he ruminates on them in helpful ways.  It is nicely designed, has a forward by smart guy David Kinnamen, and mentions Hearts & Minds.  I’m telling ya, this is the book to give to every college-bound kid you know.

TPDL - Grads.jpghe Purpose Driven Life: Selected Thoughts & Scriptures for the Graduate Rick Warren (Zondervan) $12.99  This is a nice, cool looking gift book with a slightly padded cover, very nicely designed, with bright full color photographs on each glossy page. It isn’t overdone or saccharine sweet, but it is quite lovely. There are excerpts from the updated version of Warren’s best-selling and beloved book, and a very upbeat tone of discerning God’s purposes, being in community, making a difference, as we find God’s presence in all we do.  Is there life after graduation? This prepares new graduates how to make future decisions, and, of course, is clear about the basics of the gospel. 

Rrising to the call.jpgising to the Call: Discovering The Ultimate Purpose of Your Life Os Guinness (Nelson) $12.99 Yes, this little gift edition is still in print, a paperback and small sized book which offers 5 chapters from Os Guinness’s magnificent book The Call.  I so highly recommend this as it is eloquent and elegant and smart and full of allusions to history and literature, artists and thinkers, inviting us to deepen our commitment to Christ in ways that allow us to discern our vocations, take the notion of calling seriously, giving our very utmost to His highest. before “an audience of One.”  Wondrous, good, but still brief.

Whwhat's.jpgat’s Your Mark: Every Moment Counts Jeremy Cowart (Biblica/Zondervan) $14.99 This is a really cool book, square sized, paperback, but with artful full color photographs of famous (and less famous) people. Cowart is a celebrity photographer and curated this collection of his work, as each person’s story is told, about how they are making a mark, alongside an excerpt from the Gospel of Mark. What do TV producer Mark Burnett, Twitter and social innovation leader Claire Diaz-Ortiz, and rapper Lecrae have in common? They are all making their mark in the world. This interweaves the story of Jesus with the stories of these followers of Jesus, and somehow yet invites readers to add their own story to the Big Story of God’s work in the world. There are 120 full-color pages of Scripture, stories  and expert professional photography  — 21 photos of folks as diverse as Gary Haugen and Ann Voskamp and Bob Goff.  This would make a great gift for almost anyone. 

TThe-Me-I-Want-to-Be-Becoming-Gods-Best-Version-of-You-0.jpghe Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You John Ortberg (Zondervan) $19.99  I sometimes tire of books about being all you can be, positive thinking, knowing your own self, as if you are the center of the universe. In some hands, that can be deadly or dumb. But in the hands of the wonderful Presbyterian pastor and spiritual director John Ortberg, this becomes a clear and generous and helpful guide to knowing your own strengths and knowing God’s grace and goodness can hold you. This is a very good book.  There is a teen edition, actually, which we stock, but for a grad, leaving home, perhaps, why not go with the big boy one.  Really, this makes a very nice gift for anyone in a transition time of life, wanting to move on, knowing who they really are, and who God wants them to be. Nice.

Kking of the campus_house.jpging of the Campus  Stephen Lutz (House Studio) $14.99  This was written by a good friend, am ordained pastor who serves at Penn State, affiliated with the CCO. I have a blurb on the back, saying basically that I don’t know of any other book like this, that offers a “basic Christian growth” overview of faith and daily discipleship that is set on the college campus. If you have a student going off to school who needs an overview of faith and wholistic Christian living, full of grace and vision, this is a fantastic guide.  I like that in the context of multi-faceted and culturally engaged faithfulness on campus, there is a nice section on the life of the mind, taking faith into the classroom, and being discerning about the ideas uncounted at college or university.  Nicely done.

Llearning for love of god banner.jpgearning for the Love of God: A Student’s Guide to Academic Faithfulness  Donald Optiz & Derek Melleby (Brazos Press) $14.99  I have written often at BookNotes that this is my favorite book for students, a wholistic, delightful call to a Christian worldview, vibrantly lived out on campus, serving God in all areas of life, including the stuff of the classroom.  It isn’t too difficult, and at times is truly enchanting — these guys are great writers.  Jamie Smith calls this book “marvelous” and then suggests that we “buy a box of these and give them to every high school senior you know.”  Other prestigious blurbs come from Kara Powell, Scot McKnight, Walt Mueller, George Marsden, Steve Garber, and one Byron Borger. Yes, this is a must-read for any college student who cares about the Lordship of Christ and the meaning of college learning. Maybe you gave a student Make College Count last year.  Now is the time for this one.  Please.

Tnext c paper.jpghe Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World  Gabe Lyons (Multnomah) $14.99  Again, this is a favorite here at Hearts & Minds, a book that offers a fresh and culturally-relevant way of thinking about faith, lived out in community, with spiritual disciplines, informed by a sense of vocation, rejecting the partisanships of the so-called Christian right. For smart Christians eager to for a big picture and authenticity, this description of the younger generation of believers may prepare college bound students (or others) for the sorts of faith expressions they may encounter.  Thanks be to God.

Treason for god ipage.gifhe Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism Timothy Keller (Riverhead) $16.00  Most of our readers probably know that Keller is a respected urbane church planter, successful in articulating the core beliefs of historic faith among young professionals who may or may not be eager to explore Christian faith.  It isn’t simple or silly, but for serious readers or young skeptics, this is one of the first books we recommend. The Washington Post called it “a tight, accessible case for reasoned religious belief.” Perhaps you know a young person for whom it would be a godsend.

Aart that.jpgrt That Tells the Story Christopher Brewer (gospel through shared experience) $ 24.99 We were involved in this project before it came out, and reviewed it occasionally since. It is a wonderful, slightly over-sized coffee table book — a handsome paperback with quality print and paper — that include paintings and brief amounts of Biblical text that attempt to use imagination and allusion to point towards the flow of the Scriptural narrative.  That is, there are paintings that illuminate the doctrine of creation, the tragedy of the fall into sin, the beautify of God’s gracious redemption in Christ, and the promised hope of restoration.  I don’t think I know of any other more creative way to offer an overview of how to make sense of life from a Biblical perspective — creation/fall/redemption/consummation — and it would make a great gift for anyone.  Esteemed abstract painter Mako Fujimura writes of it, Art That Tells… is “a fantastic mixture of art and conversation — an estuary where salt water meets fresh water, providing a rich array of creatures and expressions.”  


On the Edge: Transitioning Imaginatively to College  Eric Bierker (Lulu) $14.00on the edge - eric bierker.jpg   FREE with the purchase of any book listed.

My friend Eric Bierker earned his PhD in educational psychology from Temple University where he researched the college transition.  He wrote this book, creatively and colorfully, for the high school students with whom he works as a guidance counselor at a nearby public high school. He’s been quoted in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal and is a thoughtful, Christian leader, conducting workshops and doing talks for college-bound high-school seniors.  Here he uses the metaphor of mountain climbing and helps readers know what to expect and how to best be prepared for their first year experience.  He graciously gave us some of these and we’re happy to offer (while supplies last) a complimentary copy with any order of any other book on this list.  Your senior high friends will enjoy it, I’m sure. Parents or youth workers, too, would benefit from this, knowing what their kids are facing. Fun.  For now, free with a purchase of another book  on this list.  While supplies last.


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