Robin's Blog

What is Your Daughter Reading?

Lexi Reading

What is Your Daughter Reading?

I have to ask this question because of something that happened last month that I haven’t been able to shake.

I met a mom and daughter at a book signing I did after a speaking event. When the twenty-something daughter handed me her vintage copy of Summer Promise she started crying.

I looked at her mother and she was crying, too. Neither of them could find their voices.

The mom grabbed my hand, squeezed it tight and in a raspy whisper she said, “Thank you for helping me raise my daughter. Your books did for her what I couldn’t do.”

Then I started crying and we were all hugging and laughing and crying at the same time. It was the most tender expression of appreciation for the Christy Miller books that I think I’ve ever received.

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The next day I took the train up the California coast and rolled past San Clemente beach where I spent many summer days during my teen years. I saw a lifeguard station and quickly snapped this picture because an important scene in the Christy Miller series happened next a lifeguard station at this beach.

For a moment Christy and Todd seemed very real to me. And I, of all people, clearly know that they’re only imaginary characters!

I sipped my tea as the train headed for my childhood hometown of Santa Ana and I wondered. . .

What is it about reading that creates such a personal experience between the reader and the characters?

How do certain moments embed themselves in our thoughts for life?

Reading can be enriching as well as isolating. Especially for a young girl who loses herself in a captivating novel.

What life message is she taking into her young heart?

That’s why I have to ask this question once more.

What is your daughter reading?

Mothers love to see their daughter curled up with a good book, soaking in knowledge and expanding her imagination.

Grandmothers desperately want to see strong family and moral values passed on to their granddaughters.

Aunts find great delight in introducing their nieces to the same imaginary characters they grew up with.

As the wife of a youth pastor I had the same desire for the girls in our youth group.

When we were on a camping trip – actually we were at San Clemente State Beach – how crazy is that? Full circles. A bunch of 13 year-old girls were spending the days sequestered in their tent. I crawled in and found they were reading a stack of romance novels. They handed me their favorites and as I read with them, I felt my stomach clench.

Does your mother know what you’re reading?

The girls shrugged. “We just like to read,” they said.

One of the girls challenged me. “If you don’t want us reading these books then why don’t you write one for us? You’re an author.”

At the time I’d only published a dozen children’s books. The kind with lots of illustrations and only six or seven words on a page. Not exactly the same as writing a novel that could keep the attention of these voracious and picky readers.

The girls in the tent said to me, “How hard can it be? We’ll tell you what to write.”

I took them up on the challenge and started writing my little heart out. It took 2 years and many re-writes due to the steady stream of opinions from the girls in the youth group.

After 10 rejections, “Summer Promise” was published and I soon received a letter from a 13 year-old girl who wrote,

This book changed my life forever.

When I got to the part in the story where Christy gave her life to the Lord,

I prayed right along with her

and I gave my whole life to God, too.

I know He’s with me now. I’m so happy!

The readers kept asking for more books. The publisher agreed and I kept writing. It was never exactly easy but it was always worth the hard work.

Today you can find the entire 12-book Christy Miller series in 4 hardback volumes. The next series is The Sierra Jensen Series, then Christy&Todd: The College Years Series, and The Katie Weldon Series and most recently Christy&Todd: The Married Years Series.

Over 4 million copies of these little labors of love have sold and I still receive mail from readers around the world who tell me how God used a Christy Miller story to soften their heart and draw them closer to Him.

One mom, who now lives in France, sent me this adorable photo of her daughters on a family camping trip along with a sweet letter.

Girls in tent

Dear Robin,  I want you to know that because you listened to the Lord and obeyed Him and wrote these books, THIS is what the girls in the tent are reading now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. With love, a grateful mom

So I have to ask again,

What is your daughter reading?

As summer approaches and your daughter, niece, granddaughter best friend’s daughter starts building her stack of favorites to read and re-read please introduce her to Christy Miller.

You can listen to the opening pages of most of the books about Christy in my BookShop. We’ll be running special offers on the books over the next few months in my BookShop so check back often.

Also, I thrilled to tell you that the three books in the Christy&Todd: The College Years series are getting gorgeous new covers and will be available again very soon.

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled

‘This could change your life’.

Helen Exley

Below is a list of all the books I’ve written about Christy and Todd and their Forever Friends. You might want to copy and print this list so that you can take it with you on your next visit to the library.

If you buy books for your church library, email me at Robinsnest@robingunn.com with the name of your church and the address. I’ll email you a special promotion code just for librarians that you can use in the Robin’s Nest BookShop.

List of Books by Robin Jones Gunn

Featuring Christy Miller and her Forever Friends

Including the Main Characters that Appear in Each Book

Christy Miller Collection

Volumes 1,2,3 and 4

(Christy, Todd, Katie, Sierra)

Sierra Jensen Collection

Volumes 1,2,3 and 4

(Sierra, Christy, Katie)

Departures (Christy, Sierra)

Christy & Todd: The College Years

Until Tomorrow

As You Wish

I Promise (Christy’s wedding) (Christy, Todd, Katie, Sierra)

Katie Weldon Series

Peculiar Treasures

On a Whim

Coming Attractions

Finally & Forever  (Katie, Eli, Christy, Todd)

Christy Miller’s Diary (Christy, Todd)

Christy & Todd: The Married Years

Forever With You

Home of Our Hearts (Katie’s wedding)

One More Wish (Sierra’s wedding) (Christy, Todd, Katie, Sierra)

Glenbrooke Series

Whispers (Teri Moreno’s love story – Terri appeared in Christy Miller Vol 2)

Sunsets (Alissa Benton’s love story – Alissa appeared in Christy Miller Vol 1, 2 and in One More Wish)

Standalone Novels

Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii (Sierra Jensen’s love story)

Canary Island Song (Todd’s dad’s love story)

Cottage by the Sea (More of Sierra’s story)

Pinterest
  • http://www.dominionunlimited.org MsElle3

    Wow, talk about circles and cycles. I actually spent part of my junior and high school years in Santa Ana (can you say McFadden and Saddleback). Anyway, I’d like to thank you for your books too. I actually bought and read the Christy Miller books for myself the year my daughter was born. I loved them so much I wanted to save them for my daughter (along with Trixie Belden, Little Women and a few more).

    She turns 23 next month, so it’s been a while. The day I gave her Summer Promise is the day that Christy and Todd; and later Sierra and Katie became special to her. You are one of her favorite authors, along with Terri Blackstock. To keep the fires going, she is building a foundation for purity, love and a blessed marriage. Through you again, she was introduced to the ministry of Alyssa and Jeff Bethke. Their podcasts are played a lot. I’m sure you can imagine how grateful I am to have a daughter that wants to serve Jesus in purity, and strives to live that life for His glory.

    Thank you Robin. You are blessing to more generations than you’ll ever know on this side. Blessings to you and yours.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      You’re right – lots of full circles in this post! Very cool.
      And here’s another small circle. Jeff and Alyssa now live on the same street we live on! They just had a baby boy yesterday! Lots of happiness going on for their little family right now.

  • Holly Andler

    I’m staring at my collection of your books right now. They gave me a different perspective on dating, love, and spiritual life with Christ. I now have two girls and a boy (7,5,3). My prayer is that they will love to read too and I have the books ready for them. We are reading aloud Beverly Lewis’ Cul de sac kids collection right now and they are perfect for their ages. Thank you!!

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      As Doug would say, Holly, this is awesome!

  • Amy

    At the moment, my daughter is reading through the Laura Ingalls Wilder series (literally, she’s sitting at the breakfast table reading). In another year or two, I will definitely be introducing her to Christy! I didn’t discover the books until I was an adult, but I immediately bought the first collection for my niece, whose birthday is July 27th.

    Also, not to be picky, but having just reread the Katie Weldon series and the Married Years, I wanted to point out that Finally & Forever only includes Katie’s engagement. Her wedding is in Home of Our Hearts (along with Todd’s dad’s wedding). :) And I’m so glad the college years is being rereleased! Now I can bug my library to get copies–they only purchase books that are less than six months old.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      Good catch on the book list, Amy! Thanks so much. It’s been changed. I love the mental image of your daughter reading at the breakfast table. :-)

  • Delaney

    Thanks for sharing this, Robin! I’m only 16 but have already read through the whole series a few times. :) I can’t wait to have nieces and daughters that I can pass these treasures on to. I’ve already passed them on to many friends! Your books were passed down to me through my aunt and sister, so I can’t wait to continue the family tradition. Christy has always been such a relatable character for me, and I’ve always enjoyed thinking about which actors I would choose to play your characters in a movie adaptation. Your writing, since I first experienced it several years ago, has inspired me to write myself. I’m hoping to become published at some point in my life, and I thank you for starting that desire in me. :) Thanks for all the encouragement over the years. God bless!

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      This is so encouraging, Delaney. We need more stories that bring hope and light to the next generation! I hope you keep writing and that the Lord will one day use your words to bless many.

  • Courtney Morris

    I read and reread these books constantly growing up when I was in middle and high school. Now my sweet little cousin is in the 8th grade and has been reading them and absolutely LOVES them! She calls me and tells me all about what part she is reading all the time. These books helped me figure out what I really wanted in life and helped me grow closer to God in one of the most confusing times of my life and especially helped me be strong when it came time for me to start dating. I am so glad my little cousin has the books also to help her as she gets ready to go into high school. Thank you for writing these books!

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      I love that you passed these books on to your little cousin, Courtney, and that you can talk about them together! So sweet!

  • curlyq45

    This is very true. In middle school, R.L. Stine’s books were my favorite. Having read all of what the library had on the shelf one day when I was 13 (I’m 35 now), I was strolling along the aisle and a bright pink book spine caught my eye. It was True Friends. I checked it out because it sounded interesting and didn’t even realize until I got home and started reading that it was a Christian book. I got saved when I was 12 and had never read a “Christian” book. I never turned back. Christy and the gang became my favorite and I have read pretty much everything else you’ve written since. (You are my favorite.) I think that day must have been a God-thing.
    I have the whole Christy collection and will give them to my daughter when she’s a little older. I hope she likes them as much as I do!

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      What a beautiful story this is, Curlyq45! I definitely think that day was a God-thing and I’m sure if Katie were real she would agree with us.

  • Hannah H.

    Love your books! I feel like I’ve grown up with Christy straight through our marriages. All the ones listed above are sitting on a special shelf and many are falling apart because I’ve passed them around to the young teen girls at my church who have fallen in love with them just like I have. Many times I’d have 2 or 3 girls bugging me for the next in the series when I had already loaned it out to someone else! Thank you for continuing these labors of love through the years. I so appreciate it!

    P.S. I have to ask, will there be any more in the married years series coming soon? :)

  • Bethany

    I LOVE your Christy Miller series! I read all but the married years, about at year and an half ago.

    • Bethany

      **a

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      I think you’ll have fun catching up with Christy and Todd in the Married Years Series! Happy reading.

  • Carissa Miller

    I grew up with the Christy Miller series at a time when there wasn’t many Christian books just for teens I am so thankful that you followed God’s calling and the urging of those teens all those years ago. But Katie was always my favorite. I think it was because I related more to Katie than I did Christy, so as junior in college I was curled up on my bed in my dorm room reading the first book in the Katie Weldon series while my peers were out partying.

    And now as a library assistant I try to pass my love of Christy, Katie, and Sierra on to a new generation. You also inspired me to try my hand at writing Christian fiction for teens and young adults.

    I just want to say thank you Robin.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      Katie is pretty unforgettable, isn’t she? But then, you have a very memorable last name, Carissa! I hope you keep writing and that the Lord will bless the work of your hands.

  • Amelia

    This story touches my heart! I am an avid reader and these books saved me. They helped me when I had no friends, when boyfriends were duds, when I was unsure about death, and so on, and on. I have reread these books multiple times since first finding them when I was 15 or so. I have gotten the books the day the came out if possible.
    I actually found more people who read the books and discussed them through social media. It made me fall in love with them all over again. I actually lent my first copy to someone recently. They laughed at the cover almost falling off and the dog eared pages. They just welcomed God into their life and I thought these books would be an incredible pairing to that.
    Thank you so much for your blog posts and updates. The #christymoment makes my day seeing them each time! This series is the series that made me decide I want to be a writer because of how it’s touched my heart and others. I hope to do that one day.
    Much love and happiness :)

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      This really touches me, Amelia. Thanks so much for posting your kind words. I’ve signed a few of those cover-falling-off books over the years. Always makes me smile to think of all the hands that have held that story.

      • PhilipandChristina Nelson

        Mine was one of those! I felt so funny crying when I met you, but you really did help me see as a teen that Christ needed to be at the center of all of my relationships. It certainly changed my life. I am always thinking about the chair metaphor. I tell my students about it all the time. It is easier to get pulled down out of the chair than to pull people up with you.

  • Cheryl

    I grew up with your books and have read every single one from all your series and stand alones. My 12 year old has started the Christy Series and is devouring them right now. It’s been fun to re-read them along with her. We talk about the characters as if they are real people. She has also read Gardenias For Breakfast, which has inspired us to take a mother/daughter road trip this summer. Thanks for helping me connect with my daughter in such an awesome way!

  • Emily Wainwright

    A while ago I was reading the romance books that you’ve mentioned , and they were changing me and the way I was thinking about things in a bad way, but then a person from youth leant me the first 2 volumes of your Christy Miller series, and I was absolutely hooked. I couldn’t put the down. Then I finished all your volumes in the Christy Series, they are so good! I have yet to read college years and married years, and I can’t wait! You inspired me through the Christy Miller books, they brightened up my life when I was feeling confused and down. Thanks you again, so much. I can’t wait to keep reading more of your great books!

  • Faith

    Robin I love you so much! I’m a 13 year old girl who has completely and utterly fallen head over heals in love with you and your books! I’m currently on: Christy and Todd the College years. I’m obsessed with these books!! I’m trying to not read as much because I don’t what to end them :( I actually just finished writing my school book report. I did it on Island Dreamer. I love Christy and Todd, and I’ve grown in my faith so much more though your books! Thank you for everything Robin! I wish you would write more about Todd and Christy! I’m obsessed with them!! Thank you for these books. They have touched me in ways no one else has! I love you!
    With lots of love,
    ~Faith <3

  • Deanna

    Are you going to write about their baby?? I hope you do! Thanks for writing these amazing series :)

  • http://www.mimapumpkin.com Mima Pumpkin

    Hi, Robin! The Christy Miller books had such a huge influence in my life – I started reading them when I was 11 years old, I’m now almost 30 and I still cherish them so much. I remember how my older brothers used to mock me as a teenager that I’d sit by the window sill “daydreaming about my Todd” (like the old cover from “Starry Night”) – well, I wasn’t just daydreaming about my Todd, I was praying long and hard, searching God’s presence, pouring out my heart before Him. That’s what the Christy Miller Series inspired me to do – to desire ardently a close relationship with God, to grow spiritually, to aspire with all my heart to be more and more like my Savior. I’ve been married now for 5 years to the coolest guy I’ve ever known, my best friend, my prince, a man fully devoted and passionate about Jesus and we’re leading together a church in Germany and helping other people find their purpose in Him. I can only hope to inspire people as much as those books have inspired me.