The Literary Nightstand

The Literary Nightstand: Our Professional Reading

The Literary Nightstand is a peek into what’s on our professional nightstands. Most of us here at Redeemed Reader have been reading and studying children’s literature for many years. This is our attempt to help sift the wheat from the chaff for our readers who want to learn more about children’s literature in particular and the field of literary criticism in general.

We are all professing Christians, and that means something in the literary criticism world. We do not embrace all critical philosophies, we believe in absolute truth, we believe the Bible is still relevant and inerrant, and we believe that our ultimate goal in reading books with and for children is to know God better. (For more about what we believe, see our About page.)

The picture above is a sampling of one of our staff’s collection–some of them have been heavily used over the years!

The Literary Nightstand List

The list below will be updated as we review books; it is only a sampling! Consider these books helpful guides when navigating the world of books. Books are alpha by title.

  • Bequest of Wings by Annis Duff. Viking, 1944. [Celebration of the delights of reading together as a family.]
  • Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures & Transforming Power of the Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson. Tyndale, 2018. [Exploration of 10 ways books influence our lives, particularly our emotional, mental, and spiritual lives.]
  • The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. Jossey-Bass, 2009. [Importance of letting children and teens choose their books and how to foster a general love of reading]
  • Echoes of Eden by Jerram Barrs. English, 2013. [Christian examination of literature, how it reflects God’s own creative work, and a closer examination of 5 particular authors: Shakespeare, J. K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Tolkien, Lewis]
  • The Enchanted Hour by Meghan Cox Gurdon. Harper, 2019. [Exploration of the benefits of reading aloud to any age!]
  • Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. Zondervan, 2002 (orig. 1969) [Collection of essays regarding reading as a family in general and some specific genre reflections (such as fantasy) in particular. Second half of book is book lists!]
  • Honey for a Teen’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. Zondervan, 2002. [A continuation of Hunt’s original work, but with a focus on teen readers.]
  • I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel. Baker Books, 2018. [Fun reading for bibliophiles.]
  • Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke. Crossway, 2011. [Why should we as Christians read and what do we look for in books?]
  • On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior. Brazos Press, 2018. [How to read well, as in closely, with an eye towards pursuing virtue.]
  • The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie. Zondervan, 2018. [How to build relationships with your children over books and how to create a book club culture in your home/classroom; lots of book lists!]
  • Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller. Jossey-Bass, 2013. [A look at how Miller’s philosophy of reading and her recommendations in The Book Whisperer appear “in the wild.”]
  • Tending the Heart of Virtue by Vigen Guroian. Oxford UP, 1998. [Examines the ways in which classic children’s literature helps train a child’s moral imagination.]
  • Welcome to Lizard Motel by Barbara Feinberg. Beacon Press, 2004. [A memoir of reading with an urge to give children hope in their reading in a sea of “heavy” books.]

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Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

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