Our goal at Redeemedreader.com is to shine a gospel light on children’s literature so that Christian parents, educators, and the children they nurture may read in a more redeemed and redeeming way.
WHO WE ARE
J. B. Cheaney (Janie to her friends) has always loved literature but never wanted to be a writer. Twelve fiction manuscripts and untold magazine articles later, it appears she changed her mind. Her first published books were the Wordsmith series, a creative writing program which grew out of her experience of teaching writing to homeschoolers (including her own two children). Her four published novels (so far) are The Playmaker, The True Prince, My Friend the Enemy, and The Middle of Somewhere. In 1992, her first WORLD Magazine article appeared, and she and the respected Christian news journal have been privileged to grow up together. She’s now a Senior Writer, contributing on aspects of culture and faith.
Janie still loves reading and finds some of her most interesting reads in the juvenile and young adult sections of the library and bookstore. Writing for younger readers has been good discipline for her, because kids are interested first in a good story—not literary flourishes! Children’s literature has opened up countless avenues of interest for her, as she ponders not only what kids like to read, but what they need to read. For more information on her novels and other published works, see www.jbcheaney.com.
Emily A. Whitten spent six years editing mostly kids’ books at Peachtree Publishers. If you’d like to see some of her editorial work, check out Pulitzer-prize finalist Philip Dray’s Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist and Grammy Winner Bill Harley’s book, The Amazing Life of Darius Frobisher. In addition to helping authors and publishers create books, Emily has hand-sold books in a nifty used bookshop and worked at a literacy council to help those with reading difficulties learn to read. (We won’t mention her short stint at a catfish buffet or the summer of 2000 disaster in a USDA genetics lab.)
Since then, she’s had two kids and gone back to school—preschool, that is. As a homeschool mom these days, she enjoys reading with her kids probably more than any other subject, and in so doing, she’s had a chance to see books in a new light. Not merely as a formal critic, or even as a technician, but with the eyes of a mother. As a Reformed Christian, she has sought to help her kids see reading not just as entertainment, but as worship. And she hopes to bring that perspective to the book reviews and cultural analysis at Redeemed Reader.com—when, of course, she’s not writing movie reviews for World Magazine or reading Make Way for Ducklings to her children for the 275th time.
Betsy Farquhar began reading children’s literature as a child, and some might say she’s never grown up. She prefers to think that she now brings a much more well educated and intentionally Reformed Christian worldview to bear as she reads children’s literature. Her favorite book as a child? The Secret Garden (although mysteries, the Anne books, and Narnia are close seconds).
Betsy took a break from children’s literature temporarily, went to CovenantCollege, earned her B.A. in English, and collected a teaching certificate along the way. It wasn’t until her Senior Integration Paper (SIP) on George MacDonald’s fairy tales that she got back to children’s literature and the delightful realization that she could study children’s literature instead of “grown-up” literature. One of her SIP readers, Covenant College librarian Ethan Pettit, also taught a children’s literature course. She and Megan both took that course and went on to earn M.A.’s in Children’s Literature from HollinsUniversity. But it was that class under Mr. Pettit that forever changed their understanding of children’s literature. Applying the concepts of TruthandStory to children’s literature has been their chief conversation topic ever since.
Betsy has taught middle and high school English in three different Christian schools, has nearly finished her M.S.I.S. (Information Science) from the UniversityofTennessee, is happily married to her best friend, and has three young children. Her children attend a universitymodelschool, so she teaches them at home two days a week.
Megan E. Saben was born and raised in Iowa. She was homeschooled through elementary school and loved visiting the library where she would fill her bag with fairy tales, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Her poor mother despaired that she would ever read the classics, but in spite of her early literary tastes, Megan developed a deep love for great stories. She also began to explore creative writing and drama, but her early efforts are best forgotten.
She attended Covenant College where she worked in the library for three years, and staged C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces for her senior project. During that year she and Betsy took a pivotal course on children’s literature from Ethan Pettit. In it he explained the difference between Truth and truth, Story and story, and how the great Truths of God may be revealed in literature and ought to be told in the Very Best Way. Inspired by this application of a biblical worldview to the pleasure she always found in books, she earned graduate degrees in children’s literature (Hollins University), and library science (University of Iowa).
Megan worked as a children’s librarian in Illinois for four years where her major accomplishments included developing a Homeschool Resource Center. Now she is married to her conquering hero, and they are currently living happily ever after in Virginia, homeschooling three little boys who also love stories.
When not reading, writing or thinking about stories, Megan likes to knit, make bread and quilts, and indulge in homemade lattes, good tea and dark chocolate.
Hayley Schoeppler was born in a library and raised by books. Well, not really! Born into a book-loving family and homeschooled through high school, Hayley aquired an early love of reading, writing, and literature. Following high school, she took a gap year (which became 3 years) and has interned in South Korea and Japan. She has also traveled within the U.S. and most recently to Ukraine. Needless to say, she loves traveling, learning about other cultures, and trying new food. She adores children, works part-time as a tutor, and serves as a 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School teacher.
Hayley’s specialty is children’s literature: from picture books (she is known as “the babysitter with the bookbag”) up to young adult fiction. She particularly loves anything British. When she is not reading, Hayley enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, baking, or writing at her blog, Catsinboxes. She will be attending Boyce College in the coming year and hopes to major in Elementary Education.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. And only through faith in his atoning work on the cross can we find access to that life. Yet they both agree that Christ calls his people to “think Christianly”–to follow God’s thoughts after him–and in so doing, he conforms our hearts and our culture to his glory.
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