Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Sarah's new blog and book... and a giveaway!

Truth in advertising here.  I think Sarah Clarkson is one of the loveliest young women I have ever met.  She is real.  Velveteen Rabbit real.  My fondest memory of Sarah was when she was visiting my daughter and our visit overlapped a couple of days.

When heading off to bed, I stopped by the living room to say goodnight to "the girls" and found one curled up on the sofa and the other equally cozy in a chair... talking and nodding their heads and finding fellowship that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. 

My daughter told me she was asked at one time how the two families came to be friends.  She told them it was because her mother writes about her cat.  Hmmm... there is a grain of truth in that.  Kind of...

Sarah's new book is called Caught Up in a Story: Fostering a Storyformed Life of Great Books & Imagination With Your Children.  Whew!  From here on out, I will just call it "Storyformed" for the sake of simplicity.

When I read Storyformed, I didn't know what to expect.  I rather assumed it would be similar to her previous book, Read for the Heart.  But instead I found myself immediately taken up with a lovely story about Sarah and her brother in play when they were young.

"...We walked that day with the loping ease of young idealists. There was magic in the air, a scented wind with a heady mix of autumn’s death and brightness that worked like a truth potion on the both of us; we thoughtlessly told the dreams we usually hoarded in silence. Our secrets? Stories. The stories we loved in books, the favorite tales that captured our vision and challenged our dreams. But also the stories we told about ourselves, the narratives we formed in imagination of who we might become and what we might accomplish. Those were the far more telling secrets and we marveled to hear ourselves voice our hopes to accomplish brave deeds, to tell great stories, to live as heroes in the tale of our time.

As we strode that autumn road we recalled the tales that had formed our dreams and we examined their respective heroes; Lucy in Narnia or Aragorn in Middle Earth, Martin the Warrior of Redwall, or even Freckles, the courageous guard of the Limberlost. If they could fight and love, defeat darkness, make beauty, why not us? With each pound of step we imagined the future, each pulse of blood brought our dreams of bravery into speech. Everything seemed possible then and it filled us with a breathless laughter. When we reached the bend in the road, pausing an instant before we turned, I asked him back: “What hero will you be?”...

While this book is about the importance of good books in the raising of children (Storyformed... children who are formed by the stories they hear), you can tell from the above excerpt that it reads like a novel.  It is wonderful.

While Sarah provides many titles for us to make a place for on our bookshelves, as she does in Read for the Heart, this book takes us further into the importance of great stories in the life of a child and within a family. 

The Table of Contents are:
Exposition:  Awakening Your Child to Wonder
Rising Action:  Invite Your Child to Explore
Crisis:  Strengthen Your Child to Choose
Falling Action:  Encourage Your Child to Endure
Denouement: Inspire Your Child to Hope

Sarah shares what she has learned in her studies of literature, including her time at Oxford.  So much that I didn't know, even after living a life filled with books.  She also writes about personal experiences so one never feels they are in a lecture or reading anything close to "how to" "do this" or "teach that".

This is a love letter to the art of... Story.  As well as one of the few books I have ever stated is a must read!  You most likely will love it.  Especially if you love books.  Oh... and it is not just for the families with young children at home.  It is for grandparents.  It is for uncles and aunts.  It is for the single person who loves books.  

Sarah is giving away a book to one fortunate person here.  All you have to do is to leave a comment before 5:00 PM EST Thursday.  It is that simple.

To order through Amazon, mosey on over... here.*  I have added the book to my Amazon widget, too.

Today is also the official launch of the new Storyformed blog and Sarah is offering a beautiful give away on it... here.

*Associate link


Sue said...

I loved Sarah's book, Read for the Heart, and have used it extensively to purchase books for my grandchildren. I would love to win a copy!

I know I seldom comment here Brenda, but love your blog about all things book and faith and home…and cats.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Brenda Leyland @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

I'm heading to find her books... and what a delight to read your post about how you met this lovely author.

I have blogging friends because 'she' has a cat. Well, you know... anyone who loves kitty cats is someone purr-fect to know in my books.

Thanks so much for this review. I've enjoyed other books you've recommended in the past. So I look forward to reading this one.

wishing you a beautiful day...
Brenda L

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like a wonderful book!

skmanning said...

I have always really appreciated the Clarkson family and especially Sally, had a huge impact in my homeschooling.

Anonymous said...

I think this book may make me sad ("sadder") that we are not still a homeschool family but if it's for people who love books in general, maybe I can still glean something from it. It does sound very lovely. Joanna

jules said...

Oh my! I have a beautiful new grandchild and would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Love reading your reviews! The reason I loved history in school was STORIES! If I don't win, I will be ordering this book. I would really like to win though. : o)

Nicole in MD

Bonnie said...

I am unfamiliar with any of her work, but just had to register for the giveaway. I promise to write an e-mail soon! Bonnie Schmidt

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I would absolutely LOVE to read this!

Anonymous said...

Our house is full of books! In fact, we really need to go through them and weed out the ones we no longer want or find a place for more bookshelves! My daughter is getting married (THIS weekend!!) and since she also loves books, I know her home will be filled with books as well. (her apt already is!) As I hope to be a grandma someday, it sounds like I would find this book helpful. I'm not familiar with the author, so Thanks for the review!
Laura C. (from WA)

Anonymous said...

I have spent some time on both of Sarah's blogs. This new one is a wonderful place for book lovers. I look forward to reading her book, too. It is so nice to have blog friends who love books and "old-fashioned things".

Dianne L

Anonymous said...

I love the Clarksons. Clay and Sally's "Educating the Wholehearted Child" was so enlightening to me when I first began the journey into homeschooling. I love all Sally's women's books, and Sarah's book about books is pure delight. I have no doubt this one is too.

Thanks for highlighting it.

Patti @ Magnolia Cottage

Anonymous said...

As a bookworm and Mom who taught her daughter to read before ever entering school, this sounds really interesting.

servedogmom said...

I just started to read the blog and intend to read the book you reviewed. Sounds like one I will enjoy. Blessings, Joanne servedogmom@yahoo.com

Instagram.com/melissasnotes said...

Thank you for letting us know about this wonderful offer and book.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a few months now. Lurking, as some say, without commenting, but I would like to say that your blog has become one of my favorites. I love your "preparing without hysteria" attitude. When I read the line from Sarah's book about "Freckles, the courageous guard of the Limberlost" I had to comment, since Freckles and Elnora Comstock have been two beloved characters of mine since I was a child, and I have never met anyone who has read those lovely stories. Coffee, Tea, Books, Cats, Faith, Gardening, the Pantry Lifestyle. . . All subjects that interest me and which you write about very well. Thanks for blogging. Prayers and Blessings, Evelyn, in Longmont, Colorado

Susan in TX said...

Sounds like a great read!

Judy said...

This is so exciting - children's literature being a very real passion of mine!
I recently heard Sarah speak via video, about the way the shape of a story takes children from wonder, through exploration, to the journey that includes crisis and moral choice and the challenge to persevere, with the hope of ultimate redemption. The real discovery for me was in the way her analysis provides a framework that ought to guide us as we select age appropriate books for children. So many modern books for young children take them right into the pain and disillusionment of broken family relationships, war, ecological disaster etc. without first letting them soak in stories that focus on the wonder of the natural world, the delight of happy family relationships, the whimsy of the imagined world... There is a tendency to scoff at the simple childish adventure stories that are the basis of the exploration phase, but without these two elements children are robbed of the essential capacity to dream of goodness and to imagine a world where problems are resolved, both of which should undergird the more difficult story elements to which they will become exposed in time - the ones that require moral choice and endurance, sometimes through long and painful realities.
I'd be thrilled to receive Sarah's new book.