Bookshelves, Current Events

11 Books by Amazing Women

Across the world strong women have shaped the course of history. The following list features women who fight for the oppressed, speak out against injustice and offer hope for all of us. Be inspired by their incredible stories!

Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan

Virginia Prodan is an international human rights attorney, an Allied Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, and a sought-after speaker. As a young attorney under Nicolae Ceausescu’s brutal communist regime, Virginia had spent her entire life searching for the truth. When she finally found it in the pages of the most forbidden book in all of Romania, Virginia accepted the divine call to defend fellow followers of Christ against unjust persecution in an otherwise ungodly land. For this act of treason, she was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, placed under house arrest, and came within seconds of being executed under the orders of Ceausescu himself. How Virginia not only managed to elude her enemies time and again, but how she also helped expose the appalling secret that would ultimately lead to the demise of Ceausescu’s evil empire is one of the most extraordinary stories ever told. LEARN MORE >>

They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz

Sweeping from Syria into Iraq, Islamic State fighters (ISIS) have been brutalizing and annihilating Christians. How? Why? Where did the terrorists come from, and what can be done to stop them? For more than a decade, journalist Mindy Belz has reported on the ground from the Middle East, giving her unparalleled access to the story no one wants to believe. In They Say We Are Infidels, she brings the stark reality of this escalating genocide to light, tracking the stories of real-life Christians who refuse to abandon their faith—even in the face of losing everything, including their lives. LEARN MORE >>

A Heart For Freedom by Chai Ling

More than twenty years ago, Chai Ling led the protesters at Tiananmen Square and became China’s most-wanted female fugitive. Though haunted by memories of the horrifying massacre at Tiananmen and her underground escape from China in a cargo box, Ling threw herself into pursuing the American dream. Years after Tiananmen, she was still searching to find meaning in all the violence, fear, and tragedy she’d endured. A Heart for Freedom is her tale of passion, political turmoil, and spiritual awakening . . . and the inspirational true story of a woman who has dedicated everything to giving people in China their chance at a future. LEARN MORE >>

While The World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry

On September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s restroom she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turning point in a young girl’s life. As a teenager, she marched under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and bravely faced Bull Connor’s German shepherds and stinging fire hoses during the battle for equal rights in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Now, nearly fifty years after the bombing, Carolyn is still an active member of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, serves as president of the Sixteenth Street Foundation, and works full time spreading her message of racial reconciliation. LEARN MORE >>

Girl in the Song by Chrissy Cymbala Toledo

Chrissy Cymbala Toledo, along with her husband, leads the Chicago Tabernacle—a vibrant, multi-ethnic church on Chicago’s north side. She serves as the church’s music and women’s ministry director and is passionate about leading girls (of all ages) into freedom. Girl in the Song tells the gripping, true story of a young woman whose choices led her to despair and incredible triumph. More than the story of one lost girl, Chrissy’s experience points to the power of hope to lead us away from destructive relationships and into a life that just might end happily ever after. LEARN MORE >>

Captive In Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh

Embark on a chilling journey inside one of the world’s darkest and most dangerous places: Evin, the notorious Tehran prison. Here, prisoners are routinely tortured, abused, and violated. Executions are frequent and sudden. But for two women imprisoned for their Christian faith—Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh—this hell on earth was a place of unlikely grace as they reflected God’s love and compassion to their fellow prisoners and guards. Against all odds, Evin would become the only church many of them had ever known. LEARN MORE >>

The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nonna Bannister

Nonna Bannister carried a secret almost to her Tennessee grave: the diaries she had kept as a young girl experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust. This book reveals that story. Nonna’s childhood writings, revisited in her late adulthood, tell the remarkable tale of how a Russian girl from a family that had known wealth and privilege, then exposed to German labor camps, learned the value of human life and the importance of forgiveness. This story of loss, of love, and of forgiveness is one you will not forget. LEARN MORE >>


The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow

In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The story that follows has been almost a hundred years in the making. After a lifetime of separation, Minka whispered an impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. What happened next was a miracle. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century in a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets. LEARN MORE >>

Unplanned by Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in an actual abortion procedure for the first time, walked down the street to join the Coalition for Life. Yet that turning point was preceded by years of searching—and a moment of pure awakening. Unplanned is a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. LEARN MORE >>

To Fly Again by Gracia Burnham

Gracia Burnham and her husband, Martin, were American missionaries in the Philippines with New Tribes Mission for seventeen years. On May 27, 2001, while celebrating their eighteenth wedding anniversary on the island of Palawan, they were among a group taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group. For over a year their captors kept them on the run from the Philippine military. They endured extreme hunger, physical and emotional hardships, and seventeen gun battles. In the last gun battle on June 7, 2002, Martin was killed and Gracia was wounded in the leg. However, she was rescued and returned to the United States to be reunited with their children. To Fly Again contains Gracia’s reflections on the lessons and spiritual truths she learned in the jungle. LEARN MORE >>

Let’s Roll by Lisa Beamer

In the wake of the events of 9-11, with the eyes of the nation upon her, Lisa Beamer has become an enduring symbol of grace and courage in troubled times. In her book, Let’s Roll! Lisa reveals what really happened on the ill-fated flight, as well as poignant glimpses of a genuine American hero. She talks candidly about Todd’s growing-up years, their marriage and last week together, and then family moments without him—the devastating day her children learned their daddy had died, how they celebrated his first birthday without him, the mix of grief and joy when she gave birth to their third child, and how she’s found the confidence to go on in the face of such tragedy and loss. LEARN MORE >>


  • All these books are wonderful! I read, “Let’s Roll”. Amazing book! Looking forward to reading each one! Thanks for the article. Love you!

  • Thank you for featuring great reads by women. As a church librarian look forward to sharing these titles with others. Todd Beamer’s childhood was spent in Wheaton/Glen Ellyn area.

  • […] Across the world strong women have shaped the course of history. The following list features women who fight for the oppressed, speak out against injustice and offer hope for all of us. Be inspired by their incredible stories! This is the second installment of this series. To see the original 11 Books by Amazing Women, click here. […]


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