Using Catholic Fiction to Enhance Curriculum

As you delve into the new school year, the authors at CatholicTeenBooks would like to offer a few suggestions on ways to incorporate fiction into your teen’s lesson plans. is a site that offers books from 16 authors, multiple genres, and numerous themes. The stories all reflect Catholic values and are geared toward early-teen readers, college grads—and every age in between. While our books are all fictional, we do believe they can be used to enhance curriculum.

Maybe you long for fun, clean adventures with positive messages.

Do you assign book reports for your kids as part of their curriculum? Or maybe you hope to instill a love of reading in your kids? Whatever the reason, sometimes, teens are just searching for a great adventure.

Leslea Wahl’s YA mysteries may fit the bill with humor, romance, and faith intermixed amid exciting adventures. In Cynthia T. Toney’s contemporary Bird Face series, readers navigate the tumultuous teen years alongside the relatable main character, Wendy. Andrea Jo Rodgers blends fantasy, history, and faith in her middle-grade adventure series, Saint Michael the Archangel Academy. And A.J. Cattapan’s 7 Riddles to Nowhere is an intriguing tale that follows a group of students as they decipher clues to save their beloved Catholic school.

Maybe you want something with a little more depth to help deepen faith.

As a Catholic educator, you most likely incorporate faith in your curriculum. Why not include some faith-based books that delve into Catholic topics from a fictional standpoint?

A Single Bead

Theresa Linden includes Catholic topics such as relics, discernment, Confirmation, and spiritual warfare in her contemporary West Brothers series. Marie Keiser’s sci-fi adventure, Heaven’s Hunter, offers a glimpse into a future void of religion, where standing up for the truth can be deadly. Susan Peek’s adventurous novels about the lives of little-known saints are a fantastic way to discover some of God’s incredible faithful servants. And Stephanie Engelman’s middle-grade story, A Single Bead, highlights the power of the rosary through a beautifully written family drama.

Maybe you are searching for a book to use with a history lesson.

Historical fiction is always a fabulous way to enhance a lesson. Seeing the turbulent times of the past through the eyes of a character can really bring the time period to life.

For example, Amanda Lauer’s Heaven Intended series highlights the heartbreak of the Civil War amid the romances of some unforgettable characters. Ellen Gable’s inspirational Great War Great Love series brings World War I to life as experienced through her engaging love stories. Antony B. Kolenc’s exciting middle-grade adventure series about a young orphan, The Harwood Mysteries, is set in medieval England. And Treachery and Truth by Katy Huth Jones takes a fascinating look into the real Czech duke who inspired the Good King Wenceslas Christmas carol.

Or maybe you are searching for a way to open up a conversation about a difficult subject matter.

There are times when we need to talk about difficult issues with our kids and books can be useful tools. Fiction can offer a great way to open up a dialogue. Sometimes kids close up when such a topic is brought up, but fiction can be used to broach sensitive matters by discussing a topic through a fictional character’s life.

For instance, Carmela Martino’s Rosa Sola discusses the heartache of miscarriage through the story of a young girl. For older teens, we offer novels featuring characters dealing with sensitive issues from a faith-based point of view. Sadly, teens face societal norms that differ from our Catholic faith, leaving them unsure of how to respond. Fictional scenarios and characters offer teens empowering examples of how they can handle difficult situations and stand up for their beliefs. While we can’t shelter teens from such topics in everyday life, we can arm them with faith-based knowledge. For instance, the importance of chastity is the focus of Carolyn Astfalk’s Rightfully Ours, through the story of two teens searching for lost treasure—and struggling to control their emotions. T.M. Gaouette’s prolife novel, For Eden’s Sake, offers a unique perspective to an unplanned pregnancy as a young man deals with the consequences of his poor decisions. Corinna Turner has a knack for including hot-topic issues through her edifying fiction, such as genetic engineering and human trafficking.

How do you know what books are right for your teens?

Finding the right books for yourself or young adult family members can be a challenge. While all our novels are faith-filled and written from a Catholic perspective, not every book is a match for every reader. Some are issue driven and meant to strengthen values. Others are light, inspirational reads to support or deepen one’s faith.

That’s why we created Content Guides—the perfect tool to help you find what you’re looking for. These guides provide an overview of the content in each book, including themes, educational value, spiritual messages, and positive role models. Guides also point out sensitive topics, dating and relationship issues, language, substance use, and instances of violence—none of which is graphic in CTB books. Readers have different interests, needs, and expectations, and we are proud to offer options for everyone.

Whether you’re searching for a book to match with a history or theology lesson, or you just want to encourage a love of reading, is a great resource to help you find your teen’s next adventure this school year.

Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fifteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary". She blogs at