Forming Resilient Children: The Role of Spiritual Formation for Healthy Development by Holly Catterton Allen. InterVarsity Press, 2021.  185 pages.  Paperback, $24.00.

Holly Catterton Allen (PhD, Talbot School of Theology) served as professor of Christian ministries and family science at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. She had previously taught at John Brown University, Biola University, and Abilene Christian University. Allen’s areas of scholarly interest are children’s spirituality and intergenerational issues.

This book is a valuable guide for families, congregations, counselors, and teachers to help equip children with the resilience needed to live in our world.  Holly’s research, along with several true stories helps one understand connections between spirituality and resilience. Allen helps us learn how to foster and support the spiritual growth and vitality that enables children to hope, lean on God, and persevere, during hard times. Her working definition of children’s spirituality is: a quality present in every child from birth by which children seek to establish relationship with self, others, and God (as they understand God). While we can’t protect children from every hardship, we can help them develop resilience.

Holly shares ways to develop spirituality in children and she offers insight into the spiritual experiences of children who have been hurt by life through chronic illness, disability, abuse, or disasters, with resources for healing and hope.

Holly Allen is a friend, and I personally have learned from her classes, as well as this book.  After reading “Forming Resilient Children,” I think it should be required reading for all our childcare agencies and particularly those who work directly with children.