Joy of a Good Book

I am a book junkie. My bedroom floor is literally lined on four sides with rows of books. When we moved three years ago, my husband earnestly and thoroughly culled his collection. He insisted I do the same, but other than some obligatory tosses I was unable to reduce the volume of books I have. With the move, I opted out of bookshelves because I never have enough. Instead I line books along the baseboard of my bedroom and make piles of them throughout my house. I am always reading something and I always have a stack that I’m planning on getting to eventually.

Since my adult children were little I have been one to accumulate and treasure good children’s books. In more recent years, with my job here at Blacknall and perhaps in anticipation of grandparenthood, I have become a collector of young children’s books as well as some older children’s novels. I’m forever trolling my Amazon suggestion list as well as following other book trails from children’s ministry sites. Most of what I have is by no means super spiritual, but I do love something fun to read and especially fun to read with kids!

And then there are the other good books about faith and children, how we as parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers can come alongside our children, often with stories, and help form faith in them. I have a list of those and a longer list of those that I want to read!

All that said, the idea of keeping a book blog seemed absurd to me. How could I spend time writing a blog about reading when I could be spending that time reading?! The idea came to me that we could have a book blog for children and family ministry to which all of us could contribute. I hear so many good conversations around the church about excellent books people are reading either with their children or about their children that I feel the need for us to have a space where ongoing conversation and exchange of ideas can happen. I don’t want to be the primary contributor, after all that would take away from my time reading!

I do believe that each of you have things to contribute. You’ve read a good book to a child and you really want others to experience that same joy you felt with a story well told and a child’s mind illuminated. Or you’ve wrestled with some parenting issue and found a book that helps with just the thing you’ve struggled. And what about devotions with your children and family? Maybe you’ve found just the book or maybe not. Maybe you found one that only makes you feel guilty and ill-equipped or maybe you’ve found the one most of us have been searching for that gives guidance about how best to teach and remind our children of the faithfulness of God.

Space to talk about what we’re reading and how it brings us joy or frustration is what I’m hoping this blog will provide. Mostly, I hope we’ll hear about good books. I am convinced that Paul’s words to the Philippians can guide us as we choose what we read today:

. . . always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right, and pure.  Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those things.

So, read and then, write on. Join the blog! I would love to hear from you and something tells me that we’d all enjoy hearing from one another!

- Traci Hoover, Blacknall Director of Elementary Children’s Ministries