Episode 186: Celebrating Poetry Month with Kristin Wynalda

April is poetry month, and we have some great books to share with you to use at different stages in your children’s lives. Kristin Wynalda of Big Books, Little Ears joins us to talk poetry in this episode. Come check it out. 

Our Guest: Kristin Wynalda

Kristin Wynalda likes Agatha Christie mysteries, chai, and her job as a mom of four. She reviews children’s books at bigbookslittleears.com. She is known for reviews of secular books through a Christian lens, theology deep-dives of Christian picture books, and curated lists of the best books on the faith market. Kristin believes that YOU are the best person to choose books for your family, and she will equip you to do that!

Books Discussed in this Episode:

Show Notes/Transcript with Links:

Terrie (00:08):

Welcome to “Books That Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship every day, sparking important conversations with our children. Well, welcome everybody. I’m so glad you’re with us today, and we have Kristin Wynalda with us again, and we’re here today to talk about poetry and we’re coming into Poetry Month for the year, and so she’s going to interview me today about books, about poetry for kids. So Kristin, welcome.

Kristin (00:38):

Hi. Thanks for letting me come.

Terrie (00:40):

Okay, so you take over. Go for it.

Kristin (00:43):

Okay. Alright. So Terrie, I review lots and lots of children’s books at Big Books, Little Ears, but I have not really dipped a toe into reading poetry aloud to our children. So why do you think I should add poetry into our reading time?

Terrie (01:01):

Oh my goodness. It is so valuable to our kids. Number one, the thing with poetry is poets play with language and it helps our kids to play with language as well. That I think is one of the biggest benefits, is they get to mess around with puns, they get to mess around with figurative language, with literary devices onomatopoeia, hyperbole and all these different things that they’re going to be talking about for years when they get into junior high and high school and college, we can start with introducing them to these concepts when they’re young and giving them a delight for language instead of language just being, learning grammar, reading books, doing assignments. All of a sudden language can be fun. That, I think, is number one why I love poetry.

Kristin (01:49):

Yeah, that makes sense. So thinking about all those mechanics and the stuff you talked about, how much do you delve into those mechanics of poetry or the symbolism of poetry when you are reading with your kids? Especially keeping in mind that families like mine, we aren’t homeschooling, so if I’m reading poetry to my kids, it’s all extra time outside of school, so you might not have as much time to delve into stuff. How much time do you spend and where do you think the line is for how much you should spend?

Terrie (02:21):

Well, with the really young kids, I wouldn’t even start necessarily reading extra poetry to them, cause most of their books that we read to them are rhyme already. They have rhyme and rhythm and meter and sing-songy lyricism, so they’re getting that with the board books. So I would just make sure I have some board books that have that lyricism to them. With them, I would do finger plays and things like that where you’re playing with poems that are just oral tradition, maybe nursery rhymes that you know from heart from when you were a kid and teaching them to them, and so many times we have some that we sing that are nursery rhymes or whatever, or poems that we can sing with them. That’s how I do it with the really young kids. So you’re not really adding extra in. We would do it mostly in the car traveling places where we would just sing nursery rhymes or poems together, but then when they’re a little bit older, probably starting at age four, you can start playing with language.

Terrie (03:17):

If you talk about “The fat cat has a hat,” you realize there’s rhyming words there, and you can just ask what rhymed in that sentence. Then you can say, “Okay, you have the word bat now. Can you change the first letter to H? What do you have?” Then they can start figuring out hat, well what if I change the A to O from an eɪ (diphthong; the a in face) to an a (low central unround vowel/short o sound), what do I get? and that’s “hot.” You’re doing phoneme manipulation where you’re playing with language, you’re playing with the phonemes in your words, and they’re doing it mentally. It’s not something you’re writing down, it’s not doing a worksheet. There are games that you can do. There are worksheets you can use, but like I said, we would do a lot of this while we’re running errands and in the car, just manipulating language and that helps them manipulate language in their own mind and play with it.

Terrie (04:03):

Then you can just practice rhyming rhythm and all those kinds of things. You can clap along with songs and that starts them learning to appreciate language in a poetic way. That’s something I would use with little kids for four through six years old. You know, when you have those chants where you’re practicing rhythm, that’s a real rhythm practice, when you chant different things. Then when they’re probably in second grade is when I really start the reading poetry. Their curriculum should also start introducing poems in about second grade, sometimes in first grade, but for sure second grade, and the first poem I wrote was in second grade. Our teacher had us write a poem in second grade, so when I was teaching school, when I taught second grade, we wrote poems, cause that’s where I had started it, so I thought that’s when they should start it. You choose certain kinds of poems that you can introduce for them to write as well as read in about first-second grade, but I wouldn’t be worrying about making extra time to read poems before then. If you can, sure, but if you don’t have that time, if you’re not a homeschooling family and you’re always rushing around, I think read the picture books to them at night and talk about that, but during the day when you’re driving around running errands, just practice and play with language.

Kristin (05:17):

Yeah, that sounds doable. I like that.

Terrie (05:19):

Good. There’s something about teaching them to manipulate the letters and stuff that is just really beneficial. We used to do that with special needs kids too. It’s very beneficial for them to learn language, to be able to manipulate the phonemes that way. So I highly recommend that. Okay, so I know that you are not a fan of Silverstein.

Kristin (05:40):

Oh, you’re going to out me. People are going to come for me!

Terrie (05:45):

No, I know there are a lot of parents who don’t care for his poetry, so I have a bunch of alternatives based on age level. So for the very young, let me look at my notes so I don’t pull the wrong one, cause, well, of course with the very young, we’re going to do nursery rhymes just because traditionally that’s what we need to do. I think they need to be aware of those because it’s so much a part of culture and you’ve got things that allude to those throughout their lives and literature experience, so I think we do have to introduce a few nursery rhymes to them. I mean, they’re never going to get After the Fall (picture book) if they don’t know who Humpty Dumpty is in the first place, right? So they should know that, but then there’s books like this is the first one that I would get unless you have a book of verse or something.

Terrie (06:30):

It’s a traditional one that you’ve had since you were a kid or whatever, but as far as a newer book that I would introduce to the very young is, Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, and the illustrations in this book are so cute, the kids are going to love them. They’re almost a little odd sometimes, but they’re all these little kids and they’re really cute and the poems are relatable for really young kids. There’s one I wanted to read to you. This is how short some of these poems are. This one’s called, Here’s a Little Foot, and it’s two lines. “Here’s a little foot, what shall I do with it?” That’s it. The illustrations and the picture on the page. It’s just so cute, and the book is really long. I think you could read a poem a day for the year and still have enough in the book to read.

Terrie (07:19):

It says, “here’s a little foot.” It’s four lines long. The picture’s this little girl, and she’s got her little toes twinkling and wiggling her toes, and then she’s putting on a shoe and she’s standing on her head with her shoes on. It’s just cute. It says, “here’s a little foot, here’s a little foot. What shall I do with it? Lift it up and into a shoe with it.” And it’s by Wendy Cope, but I don’t know what the me, myself and I is for on the page, but it does say me, myself, and I. It’s just so cute. Then there’s longer poems, like A Circle of Sun, and it’s talking about color and stuff like that. Then there’s one called Something About Me, and it’s five lines long. “There’s something about me that I’m knowing./ There’s something about me that isn’t showing./ I’m growing!” They’re just cute little poems for young kids.

Terrie (08:05):

Nothing real deep. You’re not going to have to analyze and pull apart, but they’re sing-songy, fun, cute, and silly, and I think if you want to get a book and introduce poetry in that way to your children, this is when I would get for reading poems to them. Now that’s for the really young, if they’re a little bit older, Eric Carle has a book that he illustrated where he had different authors share their poems and it’s called Dragons. Dragons. Have you seen that book?

Kristin (08:34):

Mm-mm. No.

Terrie (08:35):

Okay, it’s Dragons, Dragons & Other Creatures That Never Were. The whole book is about mythological creatures and my kids love mythological creatures, so we love this book, but it’s all his illustrations and if you love his illustrations, that’s wonderful. Like this first one is by Anne McCaffrey and it says, “O tongue, give sound to joy, and sing of hope and promise of dragon wing.” It’s poems that other people have written about mythological creatures that then he’s taken put in the book and illustrated. It’s just a really neat little book for a little bit older kid, but not that old. They’re still not going to be poems you’re going to want to analyze, it’s just learning to appreciate poetry because it is figurative in the way they describe things, sometimes creative in the way that they describe them. So that would be another one for a little bit younger kid, but not quite as young.

Terrie (09:29):

So as they’re getting a little bit older, I would start having them memorize. When you find poems that you really love, have them start memorizing them, especially if you’re homeschooling. Now, if you’re not homeschooling, that’s totally up to you. If you want them to memorize poetry, but writing their first poems around second grade, and I start with like a Thanksgiving poem or a nature poem, then I think you should read them this wonderful picture book called Boom! Bellow! Bleat! and it’s animal poems with two or more voices.

Terrie (10:00):

Now this one, I have to admit, you’re going to have to take extra time. This one would be great in the classroom or if you’re homeschooling. I don’t know that it would be just for a family to read because these are meant to be read, some of them with like three people reading. Now, certainly if you want to take the time with your family to do this, this would be fabulous, but they are so funny. It’s of course dealing with onomatopoeia. You can tell from the title, and one of my favorites in here is about frogs. So it’s got realistic pictures. They’re drawings, but realistic drawings of all these different kinds of toads and frogs, and in the back they tell you what these frogs and toads actually are. They’re real different ones. So you get some education in there as well besides just poetry. It’s called, “We Don’t Say Ribbit.” It says, “I am a frog, I am a toad. We don’t say ribbit, we say “Quonk, waaaa, jug-o-rum, beeee, peep.” I’m a frog, I am a toad. We don’t say ribbit, we say twong, erg, growl, trill, yow.” and it’s all these different sounds that these frogs actually make. They’re trying to make those sounds. Then it says, “I am a frog. I am a toad. We don’t say ribbit,” I just think it’s funny. This whole book is about animals and the sounds that animals make, which is just fun anyway, but then it has the science and stuff in it as well. Now there’s one that is meant to be read by three people. One person reads “Snow has melted,” and the next one reads “Isis, thawing in the wetlands,” and the third one says, “Listen to our spring song.” Then it has “peep” several times. Each person is supposed to read this at the same time, starting a little different, like they’re not all saying “peep, peep, peep” together, but one says, “peep,” and then the next one says “peep,” and then the next one, and they keep repeating, and it sounds like the frogs in the forest and the way it’s written, it’s meant to sound like these frogs. I think this person really liked frogs, but they explain it. It says “peeps peep in trios with the deepest voice starting the round.” So the first person has to have the deeper voice and each frog peeps about 20 times a minute to mimic peepers. “Read each set of peeps below as a round. Each voice or group of voices should begin peeping slightly after the voice, before it starts. Black peeps first, then red, then green. (The letters are in the different colors.) Read your line of peeps three times to mirror the way the peepers peep in a minute to make it sound like that.” I just think that would be so much fun to do in a classroom, if not in a homeschool or in your family.

Terrie (12:34):

My family, we do crazy things. So we probably would’ve enjoyed it when my kids were young. That’s what this book is. It’s got lots of crazy exercises, wonderful poems and science interwoven with it as well, and every one of them is about animals. There’s a lot there. If your kids love animals, I think it’s a great one, but I still think it would be ideal in the classroom. So now we’re getting into third grade and above, so I’ve got a book for you. This one’s ginormous. It’s a poem a day for a year, and it’s an animal poem for each day of the year. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!, and this puppy is huge. It’s about, I would say an inch to an inch and a half thick. The illustrations are gorgeous and it has a poem about animals. Actually several poems about each animal on each page.

Terrie (13:27):

So like the first page for the first day of the year, ‘Polar Cub’ is the name of the poem by Judith Nichols. Then the second day is ‘The Cub,’ so you’re still on polar bears, and the third day is ‘The Polar Bear,’ and it’s two other poems, Russell Hannah and Jason Fields. So your first three days of the year, you’re reading about polar bears. Each section has two or three poems about the different animals. Now, if you don’t have time to read every day, just if your child is studying about whales, you could look at a poem about whales and read that and appreciate that, but they’re really beautiful poems written by all kinds of different poets, and they’re accessible and understandable for your younger elementary through middle grade elementary aged children, and it’s just such a fun book because it’s so thick and got so many great poems about animals, but this again, would be something where you would take extra time to read a poem, but they’re not long. They’re really short. So you could read it with your picture book at night with your little bit older kids.

Terrie (14:31):

A picture book I really love too is Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel. This is the story of Anne Bradstreet, who was America’s first published poet. This is a great biography and it’s by Katie Munday Williams and illustrated by Tania Rex, and if you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it as a picture book to read with your kids, just to appreciate. She was more than just a poet. She was a rebel. She really pushed the roles that women could have during that time. She was a puritan in the early years of America, and I just love this story and I love her poetry. The thing about her poetry and Puritan poetry in general is they deal with the heart as well as the good. They look at how God is in control and that even when the bad things happen, we still can find joy in it. That’s what I love about their poetry. They don’t try to make everything look perfect because it isn’t. So I love that story, and that would be perfect for your third, fourth grade children, even though it’s a picture book, it really would fit with their age group. Okay, so I’ve talked a lot. Do you have any more questions?

Kristin (15:37):

No, I feel like I’ve learned a lot and I have a lot of new books I want to go check out now, and it is good to know that there is more in the children’s poetry world than Shel Silverstein.

Terrie (15:48):

Yes.

Kristin (15:49):

That is good to know.

Terrie (15:51):

I have to share a couple more possibilities with you for fun, books to read. Now this one is very irreverent. Is that a good way to say it? Kids love it. It’s called I’m Just No Good At Rhyming and Other Nonsense, and the first poem in here, it’s going along and you hear the rhyme in your head, you’re like, this is what it should say, but of course he’s saying, I’m not good at rhyming, so he doesn’t rhyme and it just makes you laugh because you know what it should have been, and he didn’t rhyme it right, like you know, it should have been Cat and he said Car or something like that. So for kids it’s just funny because it’s goofy that way, and then it has all these crazy, crazy poems and some of them are not the nicest poems ever written, but it’s funny and it’s a thick book too.

Terrie (16:34):

This one I would think would be fun for your second, third, fourth graders. Then there’s one called, The Poem is A Nest by Irene Latham. This one I think is much more for your fifth sixth graders, middle schoolers. I think girls would especially love this. There’s a lot of nature poems, a lot of imagery that deals with birds and it makes you think, I wouldn’t have a kid that hates poetry. Read this book. This one is more for your kid who really does enjoy language that does enjoy reading and poetry. They’re very, very short poems, but they’re not meant to be straightforward. Almost all of them are figurative in the way they describe things. So if a kid doesn’t enjoy figurative language, they would just find it annoying. So we don’t want to annoy the children. We want them to learn to love poetry, not hate it. Then there’s one that I really love. Do you know what a concrete poem is?

Kristin (17:28):

No.

Terrie (17:29):

Okay. Concrete poems are where you use the words to create a picture.

Kristin (17:34):

Oh, okay.

Terrie (17:34):

Literally. Okay. So you can find them online. And this one is brilliant. It’s called Wet Cement, A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Roka. The whole book is Concrete Poems and he’s a teacher and that is reflected in some of the poems. I wish I could show them to you because they’re really, really cute. He is written a couple other books called Lemonade and other poems squeezed from a single Word. And then he has one presidential misadventures poems that poke fun at the man in charge. But these are more geared toward a student, an elementary student. And the one I like is called Clock, but the word for clock, the L has become the hands on the clock and the O is the clock. So you have C and then you have the LO looking like a clock and a ck. And then the poem is at the 12 o’clock.

Terrie (18:24):

It says the at one o’clock it says clock. So it says the clock on the wall says it’s five till three and then the hands make this part. But the kids in my class say it’s five till three. So it’s just a play on words there. So I think that’s cute, just clever, clever fun pictures. He talks about the Big Dipper crosswords and a hanger, he’s got Dominoes is really cute. It’s like they’ve pushed the first domino and they’re all falling down and it says, just one push. Here we go. Follow through. Feel the flow. Brace yourself, stay in line. Steady now doing fine forward march. Don’t look back, can’t stop now. Still on track coming down single file. Do your part, join the pile, tag your it falling fast, pass it on. What a blast. Looking good almost there. Stay on course.

Terrie (19:14):

Don’t be scared. Hang on. Tight rock and roll. What are we? Dominoes. But the visual of it, you just see the dominoes falling and it’s just cute, cute, cute. So there’s a whole lot of these in this book that are just really fun. So I love that. And my all time favorite, and this is my daughter’s favorite that made her fall in love with poetry is Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill. This one’s old enough that you can actually find these poems online for free. But I love having the book because the artist who did the artwork, John Walner, just did beautiful watercolor paintings for each illustration. The book is beautiful. I actually have two copies of it because we wore out the first one so much it was falling apart, so I got another one. But these are color poems and color poems are so much fun.

Terrie (20:02):

They’re sensory poems as well. And when your kids get to be about for sure fourth grade, sometimes you can even do it earlier. I’ve taught poetry workshops with kids and with elderly people over the years. I’ve gone into nursing homes and done poetry workshops with the elderly and it is so much fun. But anyway, with kids, I had second graders who were able to write these poems. So you’re using the five senses and you’re using color. So what you’re doing in her poems, she takes a color and she describes that color with the five senses. One of my favorites is actually Brown has nothing to do with my name, but let me share that. Let’s see. She has all the different colors in here. Brown. Okay, so her titles are always, what is brown or what is purple? So what is brown? Brown is the color of a country road back of a turtle, back of a toad.

Terrie (20:54):

Brown is cinnamon and morning toast. And the good smell of the Sunday roast brown is the color of work and the sound of a river brown is bronze and a bow and a quiver Brown is the house on the edge of town where wind is tearing the shingles down. So you’ve got every part of the five senses there in this poem. So helping kids to think about when they think of the color purple, what would you say purple tastes like? Well, what does purple smell like? And they have to think of how that relates to that color with the senses. Then if they can make it into a rhyming poem, then they’ve done three things there. They’ve used imagery, they’ve created a poem that has some sort of connection and meaning, and they’ve then used the words for rhyming and creating the sentences and stuff.

Terrie (21:42):

It can be a lot of fun. And I’ve had some kids write some really cute color poems over the years with the Five Senses. So even if you’re not homeschooling, I highly recommend sometime maybe have a weekend of poetry or something every now and then, at least during the month of poetry. Then to have your kids think that way and write some poems. We often typically think that boys won’t enjoy it and many of them do. They have fun playing with words just as much as anyone else. And if we can do it as fun at home, at least during that one month of the year, then maybe they won’t hate literature. You know, I taught 11th and 12th grade literature for years and by then you’ve got your students who are planning to be doctors and engineers and they just feel like literature is a waste of time.

Terrie (22:31):

And the best compliment I ever got was one of my students who was going into engineering when he got into college and he was a senior and he said, you know, I don’t hate literature anymore. So I’m like, we don’t want our kids to hate it. That’s my hope is that they can learn to love language and learn to love literature. So that’s why one of the reasons I like poetry with little bit older kids. Okay, I have a couple other books I want to share with you. Just if your kids are in regular school or homeschool, doesn’t matter if they’re getting ready to read Bele Wolf and Shakespeare, this is a book you should get and it’s an obscure book. It’s not one you find everywhere, but I think it’s a genius book. I found it at a homeschool convention and got it. And it’s called Heaps of Hobbs, A Fun Field Fable of Old English Verse Written and Gloriously Illuminated by Jay Aaron Grubin.

Terrie (23:22):

If you can find this book, I should see if it’s on Amazon, but I will have a link to his website if not in the show notes. But this one helps kids understand the older English and it’s very well-written for younger students. The first time they experience Shakespeare is usually in sixth or seventh grade, they usually introduce one of the poems from one of the stories of Shakespeare. And by the time they’re in ninth grade, they’ve usually started to read at least portions of Julius Caesar or Romeo and Juliet. If we don’t equip them and help them get ready for that stuff, it can overwhelm some kids. This book breaks it down into chunks that they can handle. It makes it fun. It’s a silly fable. It’s a silly story and it has trolls and uses the old language and explains the old language and just helps them have the tools they need. Then when they’re approached that they have to memorize or read the poem of Crispin, I think it is. Do you know what you did first in Shakespeare?

Kristin (24:28):

I don’t. It’s been so long.

Terrie (24:30):

I’m so old, I have no idea. And I know as a teacher I was teaching the upper grades, so I don’t remember. I think Julius Caesar’s ninth or 10th grade. And then you have Macbeth. And then my seniors, I always had them read several Shakespeare stories because I felt like if you don’t have a good Shakespeare background, you’re handicapped. When you get to college, you need to have the references. And also we would read Beowulf. J. R. R. Tolkein who wrote The Hobbit and all of that. He advocated for British literature teachers to include Beowulf as the first true British literature. And that has now been adopted into most senior class literature programs. And Beowulf, if you look at the original, you can’t even read it. It’s old, old, old. It’s actually more Gaelic than English. And then you read the more modern translations but without some sort of background, these kids are just like, meh, I don’t get this.

Terrie (25:27):

But when you have the background and you understand the motivations and what was important to people during that time, and you can understand the literature, it comes to life and they can enjoy it. I think poetry plays into that. Learning to play with language, learning to appreciate language. And Beowolf is a poem. Paradise Lost is an epic poem. Shakespeare writes an iambic pentameter plus he wrote a lot of sonnets. So as they get into high school, they need to be comfortable, in my opinion, with these kinds of concepts. Even if they don’t love it, they should be able to appreciate it. And like right now, my students are writing essays. I have some writing about Julius Caesar, some writing about The Tempest, and the thing I ask them is, what is your so what I don’t want you to look at this essay you’re writing as well.

Terrie (26:14):

I have to write this essay for an assignment. I want your essay to have meaning. If someone reads this essay, what do you want them to get from it? What do you think Shakespeare wanted you to understand from this play? Why did he write it? They start to see a purpose behind literature and what it can teach us. Then in their essay writing that they can also make a statement. They can not only analyze the literature, but pull out some sort of a lesson that has meaning for them. Like with The Tempest, we’re talking about power and the abuse of power, the use of power and how people manipulate situations. And I said, what do you think Shakespeare’s trying to teach us? And at the end of the story, do you know The Tempest from Shakespeare? Yeah, I’m familiar with it. Okay, so at the end, pro bro shipwrecks everybody and he was trying to get back his dukedom because they stole it from him and exiled him.

Terrie (27:03):

So he’s not real happy. And at the end he forgives and in the process of forgiveness and also kind of repentance because he gives up his practice of magic and all this stuff. There’s redemption there, there’s reconciliation. All he’s been striving for is given back to him as he lets go of his bitterness and all of that. And you have Antonio, who’s the antagonist who is having none of that. He’s still hard-hearted, evil, selfish, greedy. He doesn’t change and he gets nothing. He just kind of goes off stage and you don’t hear from him again. Then you have Caliban, who’s the most irritating character in the whole play, in my opinion. I have lots of opinions about Shakespeare, but he’s just this terrible, terrible character who does nothing but wine. I said he uses wine and wine because he’s drunk for part of the poem and then he is whining the rest of the poem.

Terrie (27:55):

So wine and wine, that’s his whole life at the end because he accepts the forgiveness that Prospero is offering him, even though he doesn’t ask for forgiveness, he lets go of his murderous thoughts toward Prospero and he actually gets what he wanted. And I think Shakespeare’s trying to show us that everybody’s trying to manipulate and control, they’re trying to make everything change and the only ones who actually succeed are the ones who let go and forgive and find peace. Then things start to go the right way. It’s just kind of interesting because I think it’s something that we can investigate and talk about that comes along with the ultimate. Once you’ve been learning poetry all these years, then you get into Shakespeare and examining the literature of Paradise Lost in Shakespeare and all these epic poems and plays and you’re equipped to do it because you’ve had this background.

Terrie (28:48):

So that’s why we start when they’re four years old, to talk about poetry so that when they get to be a senior in high school, they’re used to it and comfortable with it and they have the tools to pull it apart and enjoy gleaning some messages and some lessons from it.

Terrie (29:05):

Thank you for joining us for books That Spark where we encourage each other to grasp those teachable moments sparked by great books and to live out everyday discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share so people know we’re here or leave a comment on one of the hosts sites. We truly appreciate you. If you would like to connect with Kristin, you can find her on her website, which is Big books, Little Ears, and it’s wonderful. She has all kinds of reviews on the website. If you haven’t checked it out yet or joined her mailing list, I highly encourage you to do that. If you would like to connect with me, you can join my mailing list or comment on TerrieHellardBrown.com. We love to hear from you and we respond to every comment and question. We pray you feel empowered to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

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.

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