For certain friends, I will read anything. If they tell me that I will love what turns out to be a thousand-page Norwegian romance, I’ll raise my eyebrows and read it, simply because they told me to. Somehow, those friends only recommend books that are pure gold. (And that aforementioned book, Kristen Lavransdatter? Gold.)
If it’s not too bold to say so, I’d like to be one of those friends for you. I’d like it if you found your way back here again and again—when you need a new story Bible, perhaps, or a gift idea for a granddaughter, or a new chapter book to read with your son.
Obviously, we can’t talk over tea while our kids race up and down the hall in tutus and Batman masks, but I can tell you a little about myself so that you have a rough idea of who I am, and why I bother writing about books.
Who I Am
My name is Théa (it rhymes with “Princess Leia”). I live in the Pacific Northwest and can smell the sea and see three mountains from my house. Mitch and I have been married for almost twenty years, and together we’re raising four daughters. They are all different and wonderful; we find glitter, foam swords, and pink socks everywhere.
My other interests include: planting poppies, writing songs (more on that below), painting with watercolors, playing melancholy French songs on the piano, baking pie, and not doing laundry. I am co-editor of the book Wild Things & Castles in the Sky: A Guide to Choosing the Best Children’s Books, as well as a regular contributor to Story Warren. My work has also appeared in various and sundry places in print and on the internet, such as The Rabbit Room, Risen Motherhood, Deeply Rooted, and Matthew Clark’s anthology, Only the Lover Sings. We live in a one hundred and eleventy-year-old house with our cat, our cattle dog, and our vegetable garden.
But beneath all of those things, I am a Christian who loves the Lord and values his word, and who strives to reflect his love in every aspect of my life—particularly for the sake of those little ones who watch my every move.
The gospel is the ultimate story that shows victory coming out of defeat, strength coming out of weakness, life coming out of death, rescue from abandonment. And because it is a true story, it gives us hope because we know life is really like that.
— Timothy Keller
Our house is full of books. They’re tucked into corners and stacked on counters, and yes, we actually read them. Since before our first daughter was born, I’ve been curating a library for our whole family—one that’s full of classics, theology, poetry and those adventure stories that make you want to drop onto the couch for a week and forget about everything else.
So, I love a good book. But I especially love a good children’s book. Fiction or nonfiction, Christian or not, some children’s authors succeed at communicating truth in a way that other authors fail to do, no matter how many pages they’re given.
I can get a little opinionated about this. And that is . . .
Why I Bother Writing About Books
There are so many books out there. Some of them are wonderful, some are mediocre and some of them bitterly disappointing. In our era of online shopping, you cannot weigh the book in your hand and scan the pages before you purchase, so it can be hard to know what is truly worth your time and money.
That is where book blogs come in.
If we begin by choosing the tried and true, the best of literature, we will give the child a love of excellence and the really “good.” As we go on reading he will find that there are distressing happenings, stories which need discussion. Literature can help children think about what life is like before they live it as adults.
— Susan Schaeffer Macauley
This blog features the best of the books to grace our shelves. I focus mostly on Christian books, since there are some real gems out there, and those are a little harder to find in libraries and local bookstores.
But notice that I said “mostly”: there are a number of wonderful children’s books available that may or may not be written by a Christian author, but that nevertheless, strike some clear and honest chord in our hearts—books that are slathered with truth and beauty, whatever the background and beliefs of the author. These are certainly worth including.
And that, my friend, is enough about me. If you would be so kind, I would love to know a little about you! Please feel free to comment as you read the posts on this blog, so I can learn a little about you, too.
Years ago, I played a lot of live music. These days I mostly sing for my kids in our kitchen, but here are some places you find my music online:
“For You, Lord” (video) —our pastor invited me to share a song with our church congregation during quarantine (2020)
The Songs of Fanny Crosby, by Gateway Hymns —a project recorded with friends to accompany an issue of Wildflowers Magazine (2019)
The First Spring —a full-length live album recorded in 2013
Tricks & Sirens —an EP recorded with Murder Mountain Records (2007)