Well—I find myself at a cross-roads and, dear readers, I don’t know how I feel about it. The truth is, we have crossed this wonderful threshold as a family and now, behold! Every human in our family is a fluent reader. We still read aloud together now, but it’s become optional. No one really needs me to read to them (or pre-read for them) in the way they once did. And I’m left wondering: is this blog something I’ll continue in this stage of life? Or is there something else the Lord is calling me to?
Right now, I don’t know. But a rest seems wise, and some time to reflect. So here is my plan: I’m going to take a six-month sabbatical from posting here. My hope is that this step outside my weekly rhythms of publishing (ten years of them!) will allow me to prayerfully consider what’s next—and if “what’s next” is returning here, then huzzah! I’ll come back with renewed vigor and a whole heap of new books to share.
In the meantime, I plan to continue sharing occasional reviews at Story Warren, and I’ll pop back in to let you know when they’re up. I may also send out periodic updates on my newsletter, so if you haven’t subscribed but want to stay in touch, you can subscribe to that right here:
I cannot, however, bear to leave you without new reading material, so prepare yourself for over-compensation! I’ll finish this post with a giant list (and I mean giant) of all the books I’ve had piled up waiting to be shared. The ones I’ve been itching to tell you about. The ones I hope you’ll enjoy between now and next January.
Dear readers, thank you. You are such a joy to me, and the thought of changing what or how or if I write here makes me . . . oh, is there a word for it? The possibility of something new feels exciting! But also, the possibility of things changing here feels so, so sad. It’s been a long time, friends. I enjoy my work here immensely.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Instead, let’s pray. I’ll be seeking wisdom and resting, and I’d appreciate any prayers for clarity you’d like to offer on my behalf. I am so grateful for you.
And now, enough of that. Let’s talk about books!
The Big Fat “I’ll Miss You” Book List
The Betsy-Tacy Series, by Maud Hart Lovelace — This series follows Betsy and Tacy through their school years, into the first years of their marriages. Delightful and lovely (even if Betsy gets awfully silly about boys for a few books there in the middle). If L.M. Montgomery had been raised in Minnesota, I imagine her books would read like Betsy-Tacy.
The Strange New Dog, by James Witmer — A chapter book for early readers, by one of our family’s favorite writers (see also: A Year in the Big Old Garden). This book is the first in a series—watch for the second one later this year!
The Arrow and the Crown, by Emma Fox — A retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” for teens that has become one of my daughters’ favorite rereads.
Growing in Godliness, by Lindsay Carlson — Written for teen girls, this book helps readers consider what it looks like to grow in Christ right now, where they’re at.
Arlo and the Great Big Cover-up, by Betsy Childs Howard — What does the gospel mean to us when we’ve disobeyed? This book walks through it beautifully.
Helen Roseveare: The Doctor Who Kept Going No Matter What, by Laura Caputo-Wickham — An excellent picture book biography for young readers about Helen Roseveare, a doctor who served God in the heart of Africa and risked an awful lot to do so. We love this whole series so much.
What Do I Do With Anger?, by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub — How can we think about anger biblically—in that moment when we’re mad things didn’t go our way? This book does a great job exploring that question in a practical, applicable way.
Working Boats, by Tom Crestodina — If your family loves cross-sections the way our family does, you’ll love this delightful nonfiction picture book (written and illustrated by our neighbor!).
Miriam at the River, by Jane Yolen — The story of Moses, through Miriam’s eyes. The illustrations are stunning!
The Forgotten King, by Kenneth Padgett — A powerful parable of the gospel, beautifully illustrated by Stephen Crotts.
Good Night Body, by Britney Winn Lee — Sometimes, going to sleep isn’t easy. This cozy picture book walks readers through the process of calming our bodies so we can fall asleep. When our youngest was in the throes of extended illness, this book became a nightly read and a lovely way to connect at the end of the day.
The O in Hope, by Luci Shaw — Luci Shaw’s poetry, made available for young readers! This book is a delight.
The Fantastic Flying Journey, by Gerald Durrell — A trip around the world, in a hot air balloon, to examine animals all over the globe? Yes please! A joyful and hilarious journey by the author of My Family and Other Animals.
The Quill’s Secret, by Erin Greneaux — The second book in the Gold Feather Gardener series, this early chapter book invites readers on another adventure with Maya and Everly. And stay tuned for the third book! It’s coming!
God, Right Here, by Kara Lawler — What can the seasons tell us about God? This sweet picture book explores that question.
33, by Andrew Roycroft — Thirty-three poems meditating on the Gospel of John, each thirty-three words long and illustrated by Ned Bustard. We’ve been savoring this book one a poem at a time over lunch.
The Friend Who Forgives: Family Devotional, by Katy Morgan — This devotional is intended for family use, but it also works beautifully as a devotional for kids to use independently. Based on the excellent picture book by Dan DeWitt.
GraceFull, by Doreena Williamson — When Hope befriends a girl at church who is a refugee from Syria, she’s left with some big questions. This picture book explores these questions with tenderness and grace.
The Dreamkeeper Saga, by Kathryn Butler — A fabulous new fantasy trilogy! Our girls loved this series.
Crossing Bok Chitto, by Tim Tingle — A gorgeous historical story about how the Chocktaw people helped slaves to freedom. This one makes me cry every time.
My Breakfast With Jesus, by Tina Cho — This picture book takes readers to breakfast tables all around the world and considers how Christians all over the globe welcome the day.
Count Yourself Calm, by Eliza Huie — Oh so good and practical, this one. This book teaches kids to calm themselves down when they’re upset, one breath at a time. Written from a Christian perspective.
Sophie and the Heidelberg Cat, by Andrew Wilson — When Sophie sins against her sister, she doesn’t know what to do to make things right. But then she meets the Heidelberg Cat, who walks her through the doctrines of grace.
Beneath the Swirling Sky, by Carolyn Leiloglou — Full disclosure: I haven’t read this one yet. Full, full disclosure: Carolyn Leiloglou is a friend of mine, so I am pre-disposed to like this book. But! I think you will too, so I wanted to put this middle-grade adventure on your radar well before its September release.
Also worth mentioning: you can find many, many more books listed in Wild Things and Castles in the Sky, that book about books I co-edited with Leslie Bustard and her delightful daughter Carey. If your bookshelves need refreshing, it’s a great place to start!
Thank you all so much for reading! Your willingness to read along with me is such a blessing. I’m so grateful for you all, and I’ll see you in January!
Disclosure: I did receive copies of some of these books for review, but I was not obligated to review them or compensated for my reviews in any way. I share them with you because I love them, not because I was paid to do so.