Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction
Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction

Item code 



Jenkins, Diana R. 

Pauline Books & Media 



Are you on the offense and your older kids/younger teens on the defense when it comes to talking about tough topics? Then kickoff with Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction!

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About this Book:

Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction puts you and your 11 – 14 year olds on the same team. Doctrinally-sound, non-preachy, and engaging, this faith-based resource opens up the playing field to tackle tough topics together. Fictional stories about contemporary teens are used as a vehicle to show the value of faith in difficult times and sensitive situations. Each chapter - the content of which can be assessed based on students' levels of maturity and need - focuses on a real life challenge to the faith as experienced by a fictional character. The ten topics explored in this book are:

  • Pornography
  • Cyberbullying
  • Modesty
  • Family
  • Materialism/Consumerism
  • Dishonesty
  • Body Image
  • Substance Abuse
  • Stress to Overachieve
  • Depression

    Along with the fictional component, each chapter includes statistical facts helpful for approaching the topic, discussion questions, links to Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an activity, a prayer, and a concluding message offering practical advice for how students can deal with the respective issue.

    Features & Benefits:

    • Offers helpful introductory "How to Use this Book" guide
    • Provides pointers for "Talking with Your Teen"
    • Includes a reproducible "Letter to Parents" explaining the program
    • Contains reproducible pages for classroom use
    • Flexible format for teachers/catechists to decide which topics to cover at their own discretion
    • Chapters can be covered independently and non-sequentially
    • Features an appendix full of ideas for supplemental activities

    About the Author:

    After over twenty years as a special education teacher, Diana R. Jenkins became a freelance writer. She has written dozens of books, as well as hundreds of magazine stories, articles, and comic strips for kids and teens. She lives in Montgomery, Ohio with her husband, a medical physicist. Visit her on the web at www.dianarjenkins.bravehost.com, read her blog at djsthoughts-dj.blogspot.com, and find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dianarjenkins.

    What Are People Saying about this Title?

    "Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction is full of help and hope for our Catholic youth and the adults who minister among them! Confronted daily with pressures, stresses, temptations, and media influences of a secularized culture, young people today want to know how to live their faith. This practical book provides adult leaders a step-by-step guide to introduce sensitive subjects and helps youth learn to follow Christ in the midst of the tough situations of their everyday lives. The Church needs resources of just this sort."
    Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, S.L.D., Archbishop of Atlanta

    "In a field rich with solid catechetical resources, I was never tempted to use the word 'genius' - until now. Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction, by Diana Jenkins, is extraordinary in its power and simplicity. With exceptional insight and a remarkably creative approach to sensitive subjects (for a hyper-sensitive audience), Jenkins's short, fictional, first-person stories expose and illuminate tough, timely issues without offending or threatening the dignity of the teen or young adult reader. Accompanying discussion questions, facts, activities, scriptures, and other resources are unified, coherent, and profoundly satisfying. Give us more resources like this one. Bravo!"
    Lisa Mladinich, author, Be an Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children, founder, AmazingCatechists.com

    Product Details:

    Binding: Paperback
    Trim size: 8 1/2 x 11 inches
    Pages: 80

    Keywords: resource, guide, catechist, teacher, homeschool, home school, parent, teen, issues, Catholic faith, Catechism, choices, contemporary issues, short stories, fiction, conversations, difficult conversations, youth ministry, help, youth ministers, activities, discussion questions

  • Reviews
    Nancy Parish says...
    In Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction, Diana Jenkins presents real world scenarios in an engaging manner that is never pedantic or condescending. Topics such as cyberbullying, body image, dishonesty, substance abuse and depression are problems that teens today often struggle with on a daily basis. Jenkins provides each topic in a story which teens will find interesting and relatable. Following each scenario is a series of questions which encourage the reader to think about handling these issues in their own lives. Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction would make a great resource for teachers, youth group leaders or anyone who interacts with teens. Though designed for a catholic audience, these scenarios reach beyond that and teens of all faiths can relate to them.

    Andrea Pelleschi says...
    Tackling Tough Topics with Faith and Fiction is a great way to help teens deal with issues they may not want to talk about. Even though the book is written for readers who are Catholic, I think it would be a fantastic resource for all teens. There are ten issues covered in the book, such as cyberbullying, substance abuse, body image, and Internet pornography. Each issue is organized with facts, scripture, catechism, discussion questions, an activity, a prayer, and a message. But the best part of the book, and what I think teens will relate to the most, is the short story related to each issue. Diana Jenkins is a superb writer, and her short stories are compelling and never preachy. I really sympathized with each character, even the ones who were not making the best choices. But thats the point. These teens in the stories make mistakes and learn from them in a way that teen readers will understand.

    Kathy Kitts says...
    The stories in Tackling Tough Topics deal with real problems young people face in todays world. The author writes in first-person-point-of-view, which makes the stories dynamic and exciting. She also uses humor frequently. Junior high and high school students will like reading these stories. I did and Im an adult. For teachers - the book offers plenty of discussion questions, activities, and suggestions. Each story is three pages long and may be copied for each member of the class. This book is a great buy considering one book will work for an entire group. Since the topics are sensitive - pornography, cyberbullying, substance abuse - there a pre-written letter to parents in the back of the book. Just copy and send home. How easy is that? Someone had to tackle these tough subjects for our young people and Im so glad Diana Jenkins did!

    Sherry Ellis says...
    Its not always easy to initiate discussions about substance abuse, cyber bullying, and internet pornography with kids. Tackling Tough Topics is a great book to read to get things started. The topics covered are all relevant to todays kids: Internet pornography, cyber bullying, modesty, family, materialism, dishonesty, body image, success, depression and substance abuse. Each chapter begins with facts related to the topic, a relevant scriptural passage, and the Catholic churchs catechism, or teaching, on the matter. This is followed by a short, fictional story which illustrates the issue. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, which parents can talk about with their kids, and a "message" section with practical ideas for how to handle problems associated with the topic. Tackling Tough Topics, while told from a Catholic/Christian perspective, is a good book for any faith or religion. It is well-written and entertaining. I highly recommend it for any parent or teacher wishing to teach good character regarding these sensitive issues, and for anybody struggling with these topics
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