Episode 100: Why We Love Books that Spark Conversations and a 100-Book Giveaway!

In this episode we celebrate our 100th Episode by looking at books that also celebrate 100s and by announcing a 100-book giveaway. We also talk about why this podcast started and what is at the heart of it all–books that spark important conversations with our kids.

Books Discussed in This Episode:

Transcript with Links:

Welcome to “Books that Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion, leading to teachable moments with our kids. I am so excited for today. This is our 100th episode of “Books that Spark.” I can’t believe we’re here. I didn’t know I would stick with this for this long. I didn’t know I would enjoy podcasting nearly as much as I do. It is so much fun. And I have had such a great time getting to know different authors and illustrators and talking with them and seeing their hearts for children and what they hope their books will accomplish. It has been such a blessing. So with this 100th episode, we are heading into the end of our second year of this podcast. We will start our third year in July. I’m so excited that God has blessed this ministry and allowed me to do this.

And I thank you for being a listener. And I hope you feel free to share with others about this podcast and invite them to join us each week with the different books we talk about the different authors we interview. I wanted to spend some time today just talking about why I started this podcast and why I continue to do it–why I feel such a burden for sharing good, positive, powerful picture books. (There’s a lot of alliteration). And how we can use picture books in our education of our children and in our discipleship of our children. So that’s the main reason I started. We were at a conference and this one mom–we were talking about picture books, and she said, “Oh, if you could give me a list of picture books that you’ve read and vetted, and that hold a Christian worldview that I could just use that list and go out and buy a book without having to read it first, you would save me so much time.”

That started me thinking, and I started working on that list. And then as I got to doing that, I thought, what if we did a podcast, and I couldn’t let go of that idea, even though I had never done it before, I was a little bit terrified and didn’t know if I would like it at all. I mean, my heart is to be a writer. I enjoy speaking at events, but I’ve never thought of speaking on a podcast. So I wound up trying it out and found that it is a blast. It is so much fun. And so if you listen regularly, you know that if you join my mailing list, you do get access to that list of more than 100 books that I have vetted that stick with a Christian worldview, historical Christianity. I do not list books that I do not like. I do not list books that go against a Christian theology, a Christian mindset. However, not all of the books on the list are Christian books. Not all of the writers who’ve written the books are Christians, but the books do not promote yoga, do not promote progressive theology, do not promote other religions. And so that’s what I have created for you. And you get access to that when you sign up for my mailing list. Also, you get access to several other free items when you sign up for my mailing list, and on my mailing list I just want you to know, I don’t try to overwhelm your inbox. When you first sign up, you do get several emails throughout the next several months of once a week, an email, that’s a blog post. That’s a special blog post just for my mailing list. It’s not online. It’s not published. It’s specifically for you as we’re talking about discipleship and growing in our faith as the moms and dads, and as we continue to grow in our discipleship, that’s what you’ll get. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll also get notified when I post one of these podcasts or one of my blog posts. You’ll also get my monthly newsletter that gives you birthdays of different authors and different books that I recommend beyond the 100 and something list of books. And it also gives you several other resources and a personal letter to you. So if you sign up, that’s what you’ll get: you’ll get notified when I post a blog or podcast, you’ll get a monthly newsletter, and then at the beginning, you get what we call a legacy email that comes out once a week for the first few weeks that just encourage you in your walk with God. And that is my focus in all of this. The main focus of all that I do on “Books that Spark,” on my social media, in my writing, and in my speaking is about discipleship and following Christ. And yes, I love picture books, and I love the writers who write them, but we can take them beyond just telling a story–beyond just reading a story together, because we have so much that we need to teach our children –different character qualities, different values that we hold and the beliefs that we hold in our faith. And if we’re going to share those with our children, what a wonderful way to do it, to start with a picture book and to move into a teaching time as they are open and interested and wanting to ask questions, wanting to talk with you.

I know when I’ve read to my children, when they were really young, we had more questions than we did even the reading of the book. There were always questions. It’s a time when we are cuddled together, when we are spending time focusing just on each other and a book, often at bedtime, but even in the middle of the day or naptime, we are reading together and focusing on each other. And it becomes a very wonderful teachable moment, a time that can become a defining moment for our children as we pour our love and our encouragement and our affirmation into them–as we pour God’s word into their life and as we teach them what is important to us.

So we don’t want to miss these opportunities to really take hold of that chance to share with our children. As I’ve mentioned, many times on this podcast, the key verses that I think of for this podcast are Deuteronomy 6:5-9. And in the New Living Translation it says, And you must love the Lord, your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength. And you must commit yourself wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up, tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders, write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gates.

To me, these verses are such a call for parents–that we will teach our children from birth on what is important to us and what we believe and why we believe it. And that’s really the heart–that’s at the very heart of what we’re doing here at “Books that Spark and TerrieHellardBrown.com. I want to encourage you as the parent that we are growing. We are learning and we don’t know it all yet, so we help our children to grow as we are growing. We help them to know God’s word as we are learning God’s word. And if you are a mom whose kids are a little older, and you haven’t had a chance to disciple them because maybe you’re a brand new believer–it’s not too late. Prayer and sharing is so important, and God will open doors to share. We need to pray, pray, pray, because prayer is the most important occupation we have as believers. The sharing comes out of an abundant joy in God’s word, and just feeling like we’ve learned something that we can’t wait to share. And so we share that with our children. As you are growing in your faith, trust me, your children will see a difference in you as God is working in your life and you’re becoming stronger in your faith. Your children will notice, even if you never verbally tell them what’s happened in your heart, or you don’t tell them much more than “I’ve become a Christian.” They will see a difference, and little by little God will open doors for you to be able to share.

And for those of us who have grown up in the church, and we have been Christians for a long time, and maybe you feel like you’ve failed. I know there are many times I feel like I’ve failed as a parent to really share my faith adequately with my children. We always are concerned that they grow. We also need to pray. We need to pray daily for our children, pray daily that we can grow, and that daily, we will take up our cross and follow Christ, and that we will be an example for our children in the way that we live out our faith. We are all in this boat together. None of us have arrived. None of us are perfect at discipling our kids or discipling ourselves or anyone else. We all are growing. We all are learning, and we all make mistakes. God is a gracious and almighty, all powerful God who can work through our mistakes and in spite of our mistakes. So I want to encourage you today to not give up, to not feel discouraged, but to keep walking on, keep moving forward, keep praying for your children, keep praying for your family, and let’s see what God is going to do.

I’m just so excited to see what God is going to do, because I know that God is at work in us, through us, and around us all the time. And He’s at work in our children’s lives, and He loves them more than we are even capable of loving them. And when you think of that, that’s pretty miraculous. That’s pretty wonderful.

I also want to encourage you that we want our children to follow Christ in faith and to choose to become believers. But it’s tempting. I know when my kids were younger and they all made a commitment, I just kind of felt like, “Whew!” You know, “Yay! They’re following Christ.” But that’s not the end. That’s the first step. That’s the beginning. And so we have to be diligent to continue to teach them, to continue to guide them, especially in our world today, where there are so many other voices trying to lead them in a different direction.

There’s so many people who say they’re Christians who still buy into so many other beliefs along the way, or who believe there are many ways to God. And so we have a responsibility to truly, truly teach our children the word of God, to teach them the truth and to help them day by day to understand. And it is like helping them to keep the armor of God on and to understand the power of God’s word in their life, and to help them stay true to God’s word and to follow Him faithfully all their lives.

I want to encourage you today that we can do this. God has called us to this. You are the person He chose for raising those specific children. You can do this with the Holy Spirit, with the help of God’s word, with discernment and wisdom that comes from God. We all can do what He has called us to do. His grace is sufficient for all our needs–for all of our circumstances.

And I just pray for you. If you are going through a rough time, if your marriage is suffering, if your children are struggling, I just pray for you that God’s grace will be abundant, that you will know He is with you and walking with you through this. You are never, never alone.

If you have a prayer request or a need, please go to our Facebook group to request prayer. We will lift you up. We will pray for you. It is a safe place to ask questions and to request prayer and to share your heart and your concerns. We love you. And we appreciate you. And I hope you are encouraged today.

I would love to hear from you. Is there a favorite author you would like to hear interviewed on this podcast? I had a friend the other day who recommended someone, and I contacted that author. She’s going to be on our podcast soon, and I can’t wait to share her story with you. I listen to your suggestions and I listen to your questions and try to answer them. I respond to every email, to every comment on the podcast and on my blog. So feel free to jump in. It doesn’t cost you anything, but this time I’m blessed to be able to just offer these things to you for free.

And speaking of offering things for free in celebration of our hundredth episode, I want to offer a giveaway. I’ve decided with my massive library of picture books to give away 100 of my books. It’s a little bit painful, but I would rather have these books in the hands of children and in my listener’s hands. And so I’m not going to give one person 100 books. That would be a bit overwhelming, I’m sure. But what I do want to do is have 10 winners receive 10 books. What you need to do is comment on this podcast. Go to my website, to where the transcript is on TerrieHellardBrown.com. And you go to my transcript page and find this podcast. And you can comment something as simple as “pick me” or “I want to win” or “send me the books,” you know, whatever you want to do. Or if you have a question or a comment, any question or comment will also enter you into the giveaway. A second way you can enter, if you want to enter more than once, you can go to our Facebook group, if you’re a member of our Facebook group, and comment there. I will have a post that is for the giveaway. And you can post there. You can also comment on my writer page on Facebook or on Instagram. I’m also on Twitter and LinkedIn. So any of those places that you comment–not just like–you have to comment, you have to ask a question, make a comment, or at least say, “enter me into the giveaway,” and I will take your name and enter you into the giveaway. That’s an easy way for you to be a part of what we’re doing and what we’re giving away. And I can’t wait to choose 10 winners and give away 100 books in celebration of our hundredth episode.

Now, because this is our hundredth episode, of course I have to share some books. I have several books to share that deal with 100s. I want to share with you a box set of three books, which are the First 100 Board Book Box Set: The First 100 Words, Numbers, Colors, Shapes, and First 100 Animals board books. So it’s the First 100 Words, First 100 Animals and then Numbers, Colors, and Shapes. And so there’s three board books in this wonderful little box set. And it is written by Roger Priddy. This is just a great collection. What a great gift this would be for a young family that has a new baby, but this is one of the books I want to recommend. So starting with our youngest listeners, our youngest children, we have the First 100 Board Book Box Set.

The second recommendation I want to make is 100 Hungry Ants. And this is by Eleanor J Pinczes and is illustrated by Bonnie MacKain. And, you know, I’m guessing at how to pronounce most of these authors’ and illustrators’ names, unless I interview them and can say, “How do I pronounce your name?” So I apologize if I mispronounced names, but they will be spelled correctly in the show notes. And you can always go to those and find the link to the books. But 100 Hungry Ants is a math book–well, it’s a picture book–but it’s about math, counting, and how we can divide up 100 into two rows of 50, 4 rows of 20, and those kinds of ideas to help a child to understand math a little bit more.

The third book, there are set of books. I want to recommend. There’s a group of books called 100 Devotions. All of these books have songs with them as well. So it’s a Read and Sing series of books. So 100 Devotions, 100 Bible Songs by Stephen Elkins. And then 100 Ways to Know God Loves Me, and 100 Songs to Love Him Back by Stephen Elkins and Jeff Ebbeler 100 Bible Stories with 100 Bible Songs also by Stephen Elkins, 100 Prayers God Loves to Hear, 100 Praise Songs, again by Stephen Elkins and then 100 Bible Heroes with 100 Bible Songs. Now 100 Bible Heroes is by Stephen Elkins and Aleksey Ivanov and Olga Ivanov. Stephen Elkins is an author, musician, Grammy nominated, a record producer. So these are some fun books that you can get that deal with one hundreds. I thought it would just be fun to share a few books that deal with 100, since it is our 100th episode. I hope you enjoy our podcast. And if you do please like, and share and let people know we’re here. I look forward to the next 100 episodes, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

Thank you for joining us for “Books that Spark,” a podcast, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussions, as we disciple our children and help them follow Christ with their whole hearts. Remember if you would like to join my mailing list, you can find me at TerrieHellardBrown.com.

Your Host:

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

9 thoughts on “Episode 100: Why We Love Books that Spark Conversations and a 100-Book Giveaway!”

  1. I’m a new children’s writer and since my daughter is grown, I’m trying to keep up with what’s new in picture books. I can’t afford to purchase a ton of books, so getting your reviews is great. (I hope to be on your podcast when my kid’s devotional comes out next year!). I would love to be entered in your contest. Thank you for this wonderful ministry to moms and grandmothers.

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