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.
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.
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’.
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
As You Wish
I Promise (Christy’s wedding) (Christy, Todd, Katie, Sierra)
Katie Weldon Series
On a Whim
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)
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)
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)