Children’s books are some of my favorite books. I’m always impressed with the good ones, as they tell a full story with few words and are often, accompanied by beautiful or charming illustrations. But beyond that, they often gently preach to my heart about a truth I’m in great need of hearing.Here are five that I’m always returning to from my bookshelf, for other Enneagram Nines. (But even if you’re not a Nine, I’m pretty convinced they’d be a gift in the midst of anyone’s journey with Jesus.)
Conflict and the unknown of what will happen if we choose to engage in it, can feel frightening for a Nine. So often Nines seek to ignore or deny that something is a problem, hoping it will go away on its own.
But in this book, the problem can’t be ignored or forgotten. It can’t be thought through or wished away. The longer it isn’t dealt with, the bigger it gets.
But I love the hope and re-framing of conflict in this book. It preaches the truth that each problem is an opportunity for courage and growth. Action is truly the Nine’s virtue and this book invites the Nine to courage and engagement.
The Children of the King (formerly Just the Way You Are)
Most Nines believe they matter, but perhaps not as much as someone else. Comparison can be a trap anyone can fall into, but for a Nine, it can cause us to question our worth if we perceive that we don’t have as much to offer as someone else.
When everyone else has a special gift or talent to present for the King’s visit, one orphan is concerned that she has nothing but kindness to offer him. The message that we don’t have to work to prove ourselves, but are loved just as we are, is a powerful one, especially for a Nine. And I think a Nine is often tremendously kind, which may not feel like a lot to offer in light of others accomplishments. Yet, this book reminders our heart what a gift our kindness truly is.
As a Nine, anger is a horribly uncomfortable emotion for me. Growing up, I rarely let myself feel it, unconsciously believing that even allowing myself to feel it, would bring about the conflict I was so determined to avoid. Even now, it is hard to invite the anger in, to listen to it and know how to handle it well.
This simple book has helped me in normalizing both my anger and how to engage with it. I love the depth of Sophie’s anger that is shown here. When Nines show their anger, I think it can tend to look like Sophie’s red rage. But the story doesn’t end here.
I love how Sophie goes to be alone to work through her anger, and she returns home to her family at the end. My favorite page is when Sophie is comforted by “the wide world.” I think Nines need the message of this powerful book: that we do not lose our connection to those we love because we feel angry.
PS. It seems worth mentioning that Sophie does run away & leave the house when she’s angry, in order to calm down, but it seems implied that she’s running to a place that is okay for her (as a child) to go. If you’re reading this to a young child, it might need a small side note about asking permission before leaving. It isn’t totally clear in this book that Sophie is going somewhere that she has permission to be, but I’ve always assumed that.
Nines can fall asleep to their own emotions, especially the ones that threaten to bring up conflict. I love how this book offers permission to be a little grumpy, as well as good things to do when you’re feeling that way. With darling illustrations of a cute (albeit grumpy) penguin, this simple story doesn’t seek to solve his grumpiness or even explain it, but with a gentle approach, shows how he cares for himself when he’s not at his best. Not only do my kids love it, but it preaches a short but powerful sermon to my heart about how to be kind to myself, and not shame myself for feeling a little grumpy.
I think it can feel hard for an Enneagram Nine to know where to begin, especially in a full season. When I’m not sure what I need or how to begin with the Lord, I like to read one of these aloud to my kids over breakfast. It takes a minute or two at most. And then, if I have time to come back to it later, I’ll reread the entry and look at the illustration, and feel a sense of wonder for how the Lord loves me. The simplicity and depth of each entry is incredible. Plus, I love the illustrations. This one makes me laugh out loud sometimes, but also gets straight to preaching to my heart.
PS. One of my very favorites is “Close to the Heart” (page 94) and I’ve read it probably a few dozen times now. It keeps gripping my heart in a new way as I see myself as the panicked sheep, being held close to the heart of God.
AND…Today & tomorrow (7/15 & 7/16) are Amazon Prime Days! Use the code: PRIMEBOOK19 & you’ll get $5 off of $15 worth of printed books.
You can find the previous book list for Enneagram Nines here:
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