The Woman and the Wheat–a Gift

Having the time and space and energy to write has been a treasured gift.

One of the results is this children’s book, which I humbly offer back to you….

And speaking of gifts–it’d be fun to give one away! (This idea just popped into my mind and I’m going to go with it!)Β  Write a comment here on this blog post, listing one of your very favorite children’s books. I’ll gather all your names and do a drawing on the morning of Saturday, December 19th. That way I’ll still have time to mail it to you by Christmas Day–all wrapped so you can put it under your tree.

Sound fun? Giving is always fun. Plus, maybe we’ll end up with a great list of children’s books to share with each other!

Many blessings to you, my friends.


55 thoughts on “The Woman and the Wheat–a Gift

  1. I don’t want to be in the drawing, but I want to list one of my favorite children’s books as The Serpent Came to Gloucester. Bagram Ibatouline did the illustrations.

    • I’d love to be in the drawing! My kids and I love “The Miracle of St. Nicholas”. It’s so hard to narrow it down but, we all loved the Narnia series. I really enjoyed “Fingal’s Quest” too. My kids didn’t like it though.

  2. Oh goodie! It’s so hard to pick one favorite book, but I guess I’ll take a stab. One of the books that left a lasting impression on me as a child was _A Wrinkle in Time_ by Madeline L’Engle. I love the way L’Engle blends realism and fantasy in her novels.

  3. I’d love to be in the drawing. I’m in the thralls of children’s book reading right now. My Amazon wishlist is mostly a long list of books about the lives of saints that I’d like to be able to read to my children.– Some community gardening books are in there too!– We have a basket of picture books that sits in the living room and my children, Liam and Layla, read them morning and night, with breakfast and bedtime snack.

    My favorite children’s book(s) cannot narrowed to one. It’s best to share some of our favorites from Nativity Lent. These aren’t necessarily Orthodox but come with many Orthodox spiritual lessons, including Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” Karen Main’s “Tales of the Kingdom,” Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree,” many a Tomie De Paola, but especially “The Clown of God.” The latter reminds me of many a saint’s story. In this story, set in Italy, a once celebrated performer is accosted by the Mother of God, and her son, on the Eve of Nativity. He has nothing to give but his juggling. Just as he finishes his performance, completely inappropriate in the Church, some monks discover him. He falls to his repose and they look up to see a smiling Christ child.

  4. This is a really hard question! If we’re talking children’s picture books, I’d have to say … “A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon. It is a story of a little girl who thinks so much about what other people think of her (centered around her embarassing love of lima beans) that her skin changes into a rainbow, and then continues to change to correspond to whatever anyone says. The book is beautifully illustrated and teaches a wonderful lesson. It is great for kids, but I also used it in my high school English class to teach critical essay writing (i.e. identify a theme and use textual evidence to support your interpretation).
    However, if I could choose any book or book series, it would have to be the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. They are timeless and beautiful. Everyone has their favorite book — I think mine is The Last Battle — but as a whole they are a lovely treasure.

  5. What a great idea! I think some of my favorite children’s books are the Olivia Books and If you give a Pig a Pancake. The kids also love Amelia Bedelia books.

  6. Based on the Velveteen-Rabbit–style of beloved things, I’ll go with _Little House on the Prairie_. When I was little, I took my sister’s copy and accidentally spilled milk on it. I still have the whole set (even though the repair job wasn’t the greatest).

  7. Favorite children’s book…hmmm…definitely the Chronicles of Narnia (for older children). For younger kids, I am very silly and love We’re going on a Bear Hunt!

  8. Wow – favourite book. Let’s see. It’s a hard choice between the Narnia chronicles and the Black Cauldron series, but I think I’d have to go with Lewis – I’ve always wanted to go to Narnia, and I love the adventures the Pevensie children had. Of the series, Voyage of the Dawn Treader was tied with the Last Battle for my favourite. Thanks, Jane for thinking of this!

  9. My favorite children’s book is Winnie the Pooh — really any of Milne’s books in that series. His animal characters have become classics and they are so dear and so funny at the same time. I just adore the jokes he has for the parents while never talking down to the children.

    Great question!

  10. Pooh reigns supreme among children’s books in general, but one of my favorite picture books that is somewhat less known is “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton, about a little house that is built in the country, but the city grows up around it. In the end it gets moved back to the country again. It’s hard to put my finger on why, exactly, but that book makes me cry just thinking about it. I empathize with the house itself, but it also symbolizes for me the dream of a permanent, “ancestral” sort of home that I’ve never yet realized. Maybe at the very bottom of it is the longing for our real home, heaven.

  11. One of my very favorites is Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. I get giddy about the entire Betsy-Tacy series, but the first few are definitely geared more towards children than the later books. I’m currently about half-way through reading the first book to my baby girl. πŸ™‚

  12. Leo the Late Bloomer meant a lot to me as a child and still means a lot to me today! I just re-read it when visiting my godkids and realized again how great the illustrations are.

  13. Hi Jane,

    I love “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” written by Susan Wojciechowski, Illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

    This Book was originally published by Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA, but later picked up by Scholastic Inc, NY, NY.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

    Fr. John

  14. I just read a few books to my granddaughter – one of them was “The Little Engine that Could” – that book has to rank right up there with other favorites.

  15. From I-ville to You-ville is a frequently demanded read from all four of the “big kids.” Lately, it’s been the girls asking for it, and they are 5 and 7.

    Love you! Great to see such a turn out!

  16. Well, since Narnia and Pooh are already chosen, I’ll put in a vote for poetry–A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  17. WOW – listing one or two favorite children’s books would be impossible for me – I have too many favorites! However, I would have to say so many EXCELLENT books have already been listed – many “favorites” in our household – topping the list would have to be the Chronicles of Narnia (and I think the Last Battle is the best too, but all wonderful!), followed by Pooh, I-ville to You-ville, all Tomie De Paola (I rec’d β€œThe Clown of God” as a h.s. graduation present – one of my treasures!), The Little House series, even Going on a Bear Hunt – so many GREAT books which have been read over and over in our household have been listed! If you love “Make Way for Ducklings” (a perenial favorite here), check out other classics by Robert McCloskey, like Blueberries for Sal, Lentil, Time of Wonder, One Morning in Maine, Homer Price and others. Patricia Polaco’s books are also wonderful – The Keeping Quilt is my favorite. Quite honestly, at present one of our frequently revisited friends you may have heard of – St. Brigid, Abbess of Kildare – the rich prose, amazing illustrations and encouraging message inspire us every time we revist her and pray along with St. Brigid, hoping her prayer touches our heart!

  18. Regarding Christmas books – I must echo Fr. John’s endorsement of “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Tommey” – absolutely wonderful! Read over and over every year here – one of our copies is literally falling apart! (There was also a beautiful movie made about this book w/ Tom Berenger which is nice to share w/ the family if you love the book.) “The Miracle of St. Nicholas” by Gloria Whelan is a moving tale of a little boy in Russia who works and prays for a miracle, to see a church shut for sixty years reopened – beautiful! We also love “One Wintry Night” during Advent, as it retraces our salvation history from Creation, showing God’s plan from the beginning of time. Recently we found out that two of our favorite Christmas books, both using words straight from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, had Orthodox illustrators – Gennady Spirin (so many fabulous books, including lots of excellent Christmas themes, and the lovely “Christmas Story”)and Ruth Sanderson (MANY excellent books, including “The Nativity”). Sorry – I said this was a bad question to ask me! πŸ™‚ Please forgive me many words!

  19. It’s hard to choose just one, but I’m going to go with “The Weaving of a Dream,” by Marilee Heyer. It’s a lovely story about love, honesty, and labor, and the artwork is – oh! – so beautiful.

  20. I didn’t know you had a blog! What a pleasure to find you. You are one of my favorite children’s authors.

    One of our all-time favorite books is The Ox Cart Man – metrical, lyrical, imagery of the seasons and life tied to the land.

  21. I love books and we read lots of them. My kids all have their favorites. Jimmy’s all-time favorite is Go, Dogs, Go! by Dr. Suess and Kyranna’s is The Cat in the Hat. Zoe loves Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett. It is hard for me to chose but one really stands out is When Mama Comes Home Tonight by Eileen Spinelli. I used to read it to my kids when I worked outside the home. It has rhythmic prose that rock you back and forth as you read with your child. It still touches my heart and is precious for moms who MUST work outside the home to provide for their families. I remember vividly those nights with my own young children after a long day at the office. I’d be cooking dinner, giving baths, and reading books to my kids while still in my office attire–suit jacket and all. Thank God for my opportunity right now to be home with my children.

  22. This list is absolutely fabulous. Thanks everyone! So many of my favorites are above: Narnia, Pooh, Prydain, and The Little House! Katherine, I’d forgotten that book… it’s truly lovely.

    And then you’ve posted some new ones I haven’t yet seen… All the Places to Love, The Ox Cart Man, and The Serpent Came to Gloucester. Can’t wait to get my hands on these and check them out.

    Barbi–so glad you’re getting good use out of The Life of Saint Brigid. Yippee.

    But, gotta run. There’s bread on the rise πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Jane,

    What a fun idea! Please sign me up.

    My favorite children’s book(s) were any and all from Dr. Seuss! πŸ™‚ If you need just one, well, “The Cat in the Hat”.


  24. Jane, my friend,
    I love the Man and the Vine very much. I also have a great fondness for Beatrix Potter.

    I wish you much success on your newest venture.

    All my love to you,
    Adrienne Elizabeth

  25. I love this idea, Jane! My top favorites are A Wrinkle in Time and The Narnia series. For younger children I love I’ll Love You Forever and of course, there is the classic Goodnight Moon that I read to my children and now read to my grandchildren.
    Now I have more books to check out from all these suggestions!

  26. So many of our favorites are already mentioned! Narnia is definitely my favorite for older children. Another “children’s” book I love is At the Back of the Northwind. For Diego’s current age I love The Gruffalo and The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson which are popular in the U.K. When Diego was smaller we read Goodnight Gorilla and The Hungry Little Caterpillar over and over again. As far as church books, we love Celebrate the Earth and The Story of Mary. I keep thinking of more, but I’m going to stop there! πŸ™‚ Jane–If you haven’t read the ones by Julia Donaldson, I’d be happy to loan them to you.

    • Yes, Sara… I’d love to borrow those two books by Julia Donaldson.

      Also, I read At the Back of the Northwind for the first time a couple years ago and was completely mesmerized by the story… I had read another book by George MacDonald that I completely didn’t connect with and get, but this one captured me and I still think about many of the images and characters…

      Thanks for sharing!

  27. Hmm, one book huh? I’d have to go with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I absolutely adore that story.

    Picture book would have to be The Miracle of St. Nicholas by Gloria Whelan–it makes me cry every time I read it.

    Thanks for the great giveaway Jane!

  28. Our favorites go from Where the Wild Things Are to Stone Soup to Narnia to Little House series. We can’t just pick one!
    Thanks for doing this giveaway!

  29. Jane, thank you for this idea that gives so many good ideas for book gifts! The Secret Garden is my favorite, along with the Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I guess these date me!

  30. We love The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan. It’s definitely one of our favorites.

    We just received your St. Brigid book from Conciliar this week. My guess is that it too will become one of our favorites. πŸ™‚

  31. It’s great to see so many other Pooh and Narnia fans out there! Angel in the Waters is a beautiful pro-life book; I always get emotional reading it. For pure fun, I’ll go with Hippos Go Berzerk. I’m currently reading The Hobbit to my older kids (6 & 8).

  32. Since so many people have listed Christmas books–I wanted to mention Donkey’s Dream–one of my favorites, that we read even when it’s not the Christmas season… Just read it again tonight–it’s beautifully written and illustrated.

  33. On of our favorite is the Cookies and Christmas cookie books by Dryer. It teaches manners through the trial and error of baking cookies. My boys LOVE it!!

  34. When I was a little girl my favorite book was The Golden Book of Poetry. It was published in the forties. It had mostly classic poems and wonderful illustrations. I still have it, and it is literally falling apart. When my children were small my mom discovered that the book had been published again and bought a copy for them. they loved it too, and their copy looks just like mine, fallling apart due to frequent readings!

    Of the more recent children’s books that have been published I am very impressed with A chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams. It is a heart warming story about a family that lost everything in a fire. It contains many character forming messages, such as: one does not need material possessions to be happy and it is important to think of others. The illustrations draw the reader into the story. The bright colors catch the eye and the borders around each page are unique in that they relate to the illustrations they are surrounding. For example, the first page shows a picture of the Blue Tile Diner, and the border for that page is blue tiles! it is a good read, and you could have many discussions with your children about the messages it contains.

    • Dee–don’t you just love those old books that are so tattered and worn around the edges from years of loving use? Beautiful.

      Can’t wait to find A Chair for my Mother…having been through so many fires recently, and having had friends who have lost everything, I’m sure the message will hit in the just the right spot. Thanks for passing along your thoughts!

  35. Hi Jane!

    Being “bunny-oriented”, one of my favorites is The Velveteen Rabbit. I, also, love your book: “The Man and the Vine” and have just ordered “The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare”as a Christmas gift.

  36. The Giving Tree comes to mind.

    I don’t have an extensive familiarity with children’s literature. I think I’m missing out!


    • Elisabeth–indeed, children’s literature is rich with wonderful stories for every age.

      This Saturday, when I draw the winning name, I’ll list all of the books mentioned here, as a resource. Then, we can all plan trips to the library and our favorite bookstore to find some new favorites!

  37. Ah, I was reading down the list, agreeing with so many titles, and thought, “But nobody has mentioned _The Five Little Peppers_ or the Little Women books.” And then last of all was Babushka Joanna’s post. πŸ™‚

  38. Hi Everyone:
    I’ll be doing the drawing for The Woman and the Wheat first thing Saturday (tomorrow) morning–at about 7:30 am Pacific. Once the name has been drawn, by my esteemed and competent Madeleine, I’ll rush to the computer to let you know who won!
    Can’t wait πŸ™‚

    • Stefi–fun to have you here! I got your name into the drawing, but Samantha won… Very fun.

      Hope you have a wonderful holiday–and if you end up getting the book for your niece I’d love to know what she thinks πŸ™‚

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