Tag: patrol books

Where I Find Our Favorite Books

High school was, for me and many others—maybe even you—a time of reining in. An exhilarating bass line, indigo eyeliner, the perfect shade of peroxide blonde: I could rave about these without compromising my carefully researched, deliberately executed image. But I savored in silence the pleasure of baking a just-jiggly cheesecake. I read Les Miserables and parts of it thrilled me, but I kept my delight tamped down.

One couldn’t gush about the Wrong Things.

Browse | Little Book, Big Story

But now, I’m grown up, and though adults do still feel pressure to like the Right Things, that pressure doesn’t bind the way it used to. So many of us love and geek out over and dedicate our life’s work to our own strange, specific passions: Edwardian cosmetics; a rare butterfly; an elegant line of code. That our enthusiasms are so strikingly different seems to me one of the beauties of our humanity. I may not understand your passion for the stark lines of minimalist furniture, but heck. I love listening to you talk about it.

Here, we gush about children’s books. I love sharing that with you. It’s true that, like my daughters after an unseemly binge on Halloween candy, I do most of the talking, but you’re great listeners and when you do chime in, you have the best things to say. Today’s post is meant to give you a greater share in the conversation, because instead of sharing a book with you that I think you should read, I’m going to pull back the curtain on some of my favorite places to find great books. I’m going to take you straight to the sources. But I want to ask you, too: where do you find your favorite book recommendations? Where do you find great books for cheap?

My list is compiled below.

Where I Find Our Favorite Books: A list of booklists and resources for finding beautiful books for pretty cheap | Little Book, Big Story

Prepare to be overwhelmed.

Read-Aloud Revival

Read-Aloud Revival | Little Book, Big Story

Surely, this one doesn’t surprise you. But the range of ways to find books through the Read-Aloud Revival might. Perhaps you find yourself indiscriminately ordering books while listening to an episode of the podcast, or you subscribe to the mailing list and receive a new list of seasonal favorites each month.

You could browse their (regularly updated) list of favorite read-alouds, or, if you’re a member, you might visit their forum to solicit recommendations for specific ages or situations (you might even contribute a few recommendations while you’re at it!).

If you’re into audio books, you might browse their list of Librivox favorites or their list of current Audible deals. That’s a wealth of ideas right there, and I’m almost positive I’ve forgotten one.

Westminster Bookstore

Westminster Bookstore | Little Book, Big Story

This carefully curated bookstore from Westminster Theological Seminary is one of my favorite places to find new books. If they endorse a book, I will probably buy it without doing further research, and I have yet to purchase a book from them that I didn’t love. (In fact, I was researching a book recently and the fact that Westminster didn’t offer it gave me pause.)

Of course, I realize that many of you share my love of literature but not my exact theological leanings, so I would encourage you to learn more about WTS before purchasing books unreservedly from their store. But if Reformed theology is your cup of tea, you love church history, and you thought The Biggest Story was brilliant, then I highly recommend subscribing to their mailing list. They regularly run deals on new releases, and I can say without exaggerating that a great number of the books featured on this blog were purchased (at 50-70% off!) in one of their sales.

The Rabbit Room Store

This beautifully curated store is filled with books I either own or wish I owned.  They offer worthy titles from other publishers, but Rabbit Room Press has also released a number of  beloved books, like Henry and the Chalk Dragon, The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog, and, of course, The Wingfeather Saga (written by Rabbit Room founder Andrew Peterson). Get thee on their mailing list, and you’ll be the first to know about sales and such.

The rest of the website, founded by Andrew Peterson, is full of equally lovely, hand-picked content.

Ambleside Online

AmblesideOnline Book Lists | Little Book, Big Story

One of my great struggles as a book-loving parent is keeping Lydia supplied with books that challenge her but don’t expose her to content she isn’t read to contend with yet. But just when I feared that she would tread water with Nancy Drew forever and never climb out of that pool, I discovered the AO reading lists. Our nook on the library’s hold shelf hasn’t been empty since.

Be warned, though: the AmblesideOnline website is a little hard to navigate, especially if you don’t use their curriculum. But the books on these lists are worth the work! Here’s how you hop straight to them: from the home page, click “AmblesideOnline Curriculum.” In the left toolbar, click the link that corresponds with your child’s approximate grade level. You should reach a page that looks a little like this:

AmblesideOnline Book Lists | Little Book, Big Story

Scroll down until you see a heading that reads “Literature.” That list and the lengthy one following it (“Additional Books For Free Reading”) are your gold mine.

AmblesideOnline Book Lists | Little Book, Big Story

If you wince when you read the first titles on the list, keep scrolling! The range on these lists is huge: Year 2 starts with Pilgrim’s Progress in the original language, but it also includes with Frog & Toad and The Courage of Sarah Noble. So don’t worry: you’re bound to find books that fit your child perfectly.

Story Warren

Story Warren is the creation of SD Smith, author of the Green Ember series, and it’s a haven of beautifully-written, thoughtful reviews of books and other media of various types. You might come for the book reviews, but you’ll stay for the gorgeous blog posts. (And you’ll probably go home with a wooden rabbit sword.)

House Full of Bookworms

House Full of Bookworms | Little Book, Big Story

Carolyn Leiloglou reviews books all across the spectrum—good, mediocre, and bad—with the idea of sparing overworked parents the trouble of reading the latest trendy series before recommending it to a child. I look here when I come across a book I want a trusted opinion on but don’t feel up to reading. Sometimes I look here when I have a book all picked out and want to know how Carolyn liked it. And her list of “Best Books for Every Age” is an excellent, printable resource.

See also: Common Sense Media

In a vein similar to House Full of Bookworms, this site features reviews of popular books, music, movies, and more, but these reviews are written by other parents. I peek in here when choosing new shows for the girls, since I’m far less likely to pre-watch than I am to pre-read.

Common Sense Media is a great resource, but do read discerningly: as parents we all have different comfort levels with different topics, so I would encourage you to look beyond the star ratings and take the time to read a few reviews before deciding to introduce or avoid a particular book.

Amazon Recommendations

This might seem obvious, but one of the ways I most consistently find  great new books is by browsing Amazon. Dang, but their recommendations are (usually) right up my alley.

Aslan’s Library

Aslan's Library | Little Book, Big Story

This was the blog that got me started, and though Sarah and Haley no longer write new posts, Aslan’s Library is still a wealth of beautiful, rich book recommendations. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to spend some time with their site: you’ll probably  come across titles that you wouldn’t have looked at twice on Amazon but that their thoughtful reviews compel you toward. It’s certainly happened to me.

ChristianBook.com

This site offers a wide range of stuff, some of which I would happily never purchase, but they do sometimes have great deals on truly great books. This is another mailing list worth subscribing to!

Books about Books

7 of My Favorite Books About Books | Little Book, Big Story

I shared some of my favorites in an earlier post titled “7 of My Favorite Books About Books.” They’re all still awesome.

Favorite Publishers

Patrol Books | Little Book, Big Story

One last group that I like to keep an eye on are publishers that release reliably awesome books. If you notice that a number of your favorite books share a publisher, subscribe to the publisher’s email list. Haunt their store. Watch for new releases. You may not love everything they launch, but you’re bound to find a few favorite books this way. Two publishers I keep tabs on are Patrol Books and The Good Book Company.


Where have you found your favorite books? Inquiring minds want to know!

Little Francis Falls Asleep (Giveaway!) | Pip Craighead

When I, as a child, couldn’t sleep, my dad told me stories about his days as a pirate.

When my girls can’t sleep, we talk about treehouses.

When I can’t sleep now, I count sheep—sheep jumping on trampolines. (That image may not whisk me off to dreamland, but at least it makes me laugh.)

But when Francis can’t sleep, he walks the woods near his house, looking for answers.

Little Francis Falls Asleep, by Pip Craighead | Little Book, Big Story

What begins as a bedtime story, illustrated simply but strikingly, presses into a deeper truth about rest, one that extends beyond bedtime and into our very hearts. Francis’ question, Where can I find rest?, becomes a bigger question: Where do we find rest? The answer lies not in counting sheep or lying down just so, but in the way we entrust ourselves to the God of the Universe. This is a story about sleep, and it isn’t.

Little Francis Falls Asleep, by Pip Craighead | Little Book, Big Story

Like Golly’s Folly (also published by Patrol Books), Little Francis Falls Asleep is a beautiful book that speaks emphatically to our particular time. It is a timeless truth, to be sure, but it is one we need reminding of now, when many of us bring the world’s noise into bed with us—scrolling through social media after we turn off the light—and wonder why we are restless. Yet it doesn’t aim so far over the child’s head that Francis’s story fails to connect with them. We have all lain awake in bed, thirsty and unsettled. And we can all find rest in the stars’ Maker, the one who steadies our thoughts and orders our days.

Little Francis Falls Asleep, by Pip Craighead | Little Book, Big Story

Now, about that giveaway:

Patrol Books is giving away a copy of Little Francis Falls Asleep to one of you! Huzzah! To enter the giveaway, fill in as many options as you like in the widget below. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Monday, October 23. After that, a winner will be randomly selected and notified by email. Best of luck to you all!


Little Francis Falls Asleep
Pip Craighead (2017)


Teeny tiny disclosure: I did receive a copy of this for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

Interview with Eleazar and Rebekah Ruiz (Authors of Golly’s Folly)

Last week, I told you all about Golly’s Folly. This week, you get to hear from the authors themselves! We’re also giving away a copy to Golly’s Folly today (details on how to win are at the end of this post).

Dear Readers, let me introduce you to Eleazar and Bekah Ruiz—your new favorite kindred spirits:

Eleazar and Rebekah Ruiz, authors of Golly's Folly | Little Book, Big Story

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Eleazar: I’m a graphic designer by day and a publisher/art director by night. My background as  a graphic designer/art director has been helping, serving, and equipping churches to communicate effectively to their different audiences through the mediums of branding and design. Other clients include Microsoft, Xbox, Focus on the Family, Tooth & Nail Records, among others.

Bekah: I’m an educator at heart and just love to be around people in general. I’ve worked with elementary kids, middle schoolers, and college students. I’ve been working in higher education for 6 years now. I love DIY projects, coffee, and learning more about the publishing world with Ele.

Why do you think kids need to hear Golly’s story?

Eleazar: I think people including myself have the tendency to intentionally and unintentionally seek happiness, contentment, and fulfillment in all the wrong places. Some people turn to finding fulfillment in relationships, others in money, and some simply find their meaning in what they do 40-60 hours a week.

I believe that is our natural bent and it starts at a young age. I personally realized it in my twenties. I realized that everything I had worked for up until that point in time and everything I’d accomplished had been done in hopes to satisfy me or fulfill me. At one point I expected my wife to be the person to “complete” me (like Jerry Maguire would say). Other times I sought that satisfaction in my job or in people’s perception of me.

Eleazar Ruiz | Little Book, Big Story

Golly’s Folly is simply our way of giving kids a heads up about this tendency. At some point they will unconsciously expect things like the ones I mentioned to satisfy them. We are here to say, from a Christian worldview, that the only place such satisfaction can be found is through a loving relationship with our loving father, God.

Bekah: I believe kids have brilliant minds, and are so capable of taking in this message. We often underestimate them. When everyone in their classrooms and everything in the media is telling them to “get this” and “buy that,” we want them to hear that seeking things first will not give them the satisfaction in their hearts that Jesus can.

I would love to hear more about your publishing company, Patrol Books. What is your vision for the company?

Eleazar: At Patrol Books, we are trying to raise the expectation people have about Christian art. Have you ever been to the theater and stared at all the movie posters for upcoming movies? And then noticed one of those posters had a religious bent? Once you perceive that, you think to yourself, “Nah … I’ll pass.”

Recently we’ve visited several bookstores due to our latest book release and have found the same is true in the children’s religious section at those bookstores. Those shelves have been either half full or filled with poorly executed content. No wonder people don’t expect much of Christian art! We believe it is our (Christians’) responsibility to change that perception.

Rebekah Ruiz | Little Book, Big Story

Bekah: The selection [of excellent Christian children’s literature] is kind of sad, really. In “religion and social issues” within the children’s section at bookstores, we found a slew of books on potty training, learning manners, pregnancy (new sibling), one or two children’s bibles, a handful of Islamic writings, and that was it.

Patrol Books exists to create content that is both orthodox in its theology and surprisingly beautiful in its content. We are here to raise the bar. And we are tasking ourselves with literature to start.

Golly’s Folly is beautiful, both in the illustrations and in the way it actually feels as a book. It’s clear that the physical presentation of the book matters a lot at Patrol Books. Why do you think it’s important for a book to be beautiful and well-written?

Eleazar: We believe beauty and sound theology should be inseparable simply because the epicenter of Christian theology is God himself. A God who proves his care for beauty in multiple instances in the Bible. Starting in Genesis with the creation of Eden, then again in the building of his temple in Exodus 31, and ultimately bleeding over all the way to the book of Revelation where the heavens, the place of God’s throne, are described. God often uses the beauty aesthetic to communicate something about himself in the same way he uses the ugly aesthetics to describe sin. To quote Dr. John Piper [Bible scholar, teacher, theologian], “Nothing ugly is ever called glorious in the Bible.”

Eleazar and Rebekah Ruiz, authors of Golly's Folly | Little Book, Big Story

What’s next for you as authors?

Eleazar: Most of our time is currently focused on making sure Patrol Books succeeds as a business and in the midst of that we’ll be working on the second book of the Golly’s Folly series for which we already have a title!

What’s next for Patrol Books?

Eleazar: There are a lot of exciting things on the horizon for Patrol Books. In the next year people should expect us to release two or three more books from other authors. But we are trying our hardest to not make you all wait until next year! This holiday season could be a particularly exciting time for us at Patrol Books, so please stay tuned!

Enter to Win a copy of Golly’s Folly

To enter, fill in as many options as you like in the widget below. The giveaway closes on Friday, Nov. 18. After that, a winner will be randomly selected and notified by email. Best of luck to you all!