Berger, Sara Anne
Sara Anne Berger is a 2011 MACE/MDiv graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary, and now the pastor of Whitmire Presbyterian Church, in Whitmire, SC. Her work there is primarily centered on older adults, although they do have a few children connected to the congregation, as well as a very popular “Mother’s Morning Out” program that her church hosts. The children’s literature website provides us with resources for both the children in the congregation and in the Mothers’ Morning Out program. I find that the adults enjoy the children’s literature shared in worship as much as the kids do! One of Sara Anne’s favorite children’s books is The Absolutely Essential Eloise, about a little girl who lives at the Plaza hotel, and one of my favorite older elementary books is Her Majesty, Grace Jones, about a little girl with a big imagination who thinks she may be the rightful Queen of England! Because I love both reading and sharing children’s literature, and connecting it with the work of ministry that I do, it is a thrill to read and contribute to this blog.
Rebecca L. Davis is the Assistant Professor of Religion and the Director of the Christian Education Program at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. She is a Minister of the Word and Sacrament and a Certified Christian Educator and holds a Ph.D. and two Master degrees from Union Theological Seminary and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education. Becky employs children’s literature throughout her ministry from exploring theology, nurturing discipleship and supporting pastoral care with young disciples, and she was one of the professors that taught the first children’s and youth literature course at UPSem in Charlotte. She never tires of Mem Fox’s writing or Timothy Ladwig’s illustrations and finds herself always on the quest for the best book to help illustrate baptism. Her favorite now is Because of You by B.G. Hennessy.
Landes, Elizabeth Boulware
After graduating from UPSem in 2012, my husband and I moved back to Texas, where I work as Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church in Aledo, TX and enjoy time with our toddler. Currently I am reading anything that will keep his attention. Some our favorites include I’ll See You in the Morning by Mike Jolly, and On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman.
Janet Lloyd just retired after a 35 year career as a librarian at the Harford County (MD) Public Library, so she is uniquely qualified to share her knowledge of children’s and adolescent literature. She is also a very active member of her Episcopal congregation, serving on the vestry and as a church school teacher. Her book series Joy and Wonder in All God’s Works was the impetus for our Lectionary Links. She continues to share the joy of stories by offering workshops/training on Telling Your Own Story as well as storytelling workshops in elementary schools.
Catherine Lovejoy is a 2013 MACE graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary. She currently serves as the Director of Christian Education at Shepherd of the Sierra Presbyterian Church in Loomis, CA, where she enjoys writing curriculum and working to make worship a welcoming place for children. Having been an avid reader all her life, as well as a secondary Language Arts teacher during her first career, Catherine enjoys reading literature through a theological lens and helping young students and parents to do the same. Her favorite books for children include Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy and just about anything by Kevin Henkes.
Krista Lovell is a 1983 graduate of PSCE and Certified Christian Educator who has served the past 30 years throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a church educator, curriculum writer, storyteller,retreat leader, Presbytery Moderator, Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Treasurer, and more. In addition, she and her pastor husband Tom have enjoyed raising three wonderful children. An avid lover of all children’s books, Krista is real fan of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. In her retirement, Krista is enjoying a slower pace that includes making wooden figures for others to use in passing along God’s Story to the next generation.
In a time long ago and far away, Beth Lyon-Suhring was a children’s librarian in a public library. Though she is no longer a librarian, Beth still loves being a part of the chemistry of story sharing and has been conducting preschool storytimes for over thirty-five years. She is now the Director of Christian Education at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Suffolk, VA and graduated from UPSem in 2013. Favorite books include More, More, More, Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams and anything by Patricia Polacco.
Dr. Pamela Mitchell -Legg serves as the Sarah Belk Gambrell Professor of Christian Education at Union Presbyterian Semnary in Charlotte and teaches the course that produces the student reviews on this site. Pamela has always loved Tokien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and rereads it every year! A recent title that she loves is The Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery and Jean Cassels.
Noell Rathbun-Cook is a 2010 MDiv graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary and recipient of the E. T. George Award for Excellence in Homiletics, Worship and Public Speaking. Noell is the daughter of a children’s librarian, so she’s always been surrounded by wonderful books. She currently serves as Minister of Children and Youth Discipleship at Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. Noell loves liturgy, beautiful illustrations, and opportunities to wonder together with children. She uses a number of the books highlighted here during children’s time or in sermons when she is leading worship. Noell’s favorite books as a child were Blueberries for Sal and Make Way for Ducklings, both by Robert McCloskey. Noell has a soft spot for books that include quilts or knitting. Her current favorites are The Story Blanket by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz and Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett.
Mary Florence Taneti is currently ministering the children and youth of First Presbyterian Church, Goldsboro, NC. She completed the MACE program at Union Presbyterian Seminary of Richmond, VA. She enjoys the ritual of reading and storytelling to her son and daughter every night. The Little Engine That Could is one of her all-time favorite books. She finds it inspirational for children of all ages.
As parents we had the joy of reading George Macdonald’s fairy tales to our children as we vacationed at the beach. As a grandparent I shared Maurice Sendak’s The Nutshell Library with our twelve grandchildren. As a great grandparent ,I’ve read Moo, Baa, La, La, La by Sandra Boynton as a first book for six great grandchildren. As a church school teacher I read The Little Leftover Witch to an elementary class on a pre-Halloween out-of-school-day. As an adult I read everything that Katherine Patterson writes. I had the pleasure of writing a book with the Florida State Children’s Libarian, Betty Davis Miller, that attempted to connect this rich resource with the life of the church (Children’s Literature for All God’s Children). I love the Seminary’s blog that continues to make this connection. I graduated from the Assembly’s Training School (which became the Presbyterian School of Christian Education…which became a part of Union Presbyterian Seminary) in 1949.
Katie Barrett Todd is a 2011 MACE/MDIV graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary currently serving as Campus Minister for UKirk Murray State in Murray, Kentucky. She lives in Mayfield, Kentucky with her husband Mason M. Todd, pastor at First Presbyterian Church and fellow Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate, and their two children. As pastor’s wife, Katie serves in ministry wherever she is needed, and she serves on the Leadership Development Committee of Western Kentucky Presbytery where she focuses on youth and young adults. Katie has previously served churches in Blythewood, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. She was published as the younger youth curriculum resource writer with Chalice Press for their camp and conference resource Inside Out 2014, Get Real: Finding Your True Self in Jesus. Katie loves to utilize books in worship and teaching with audiences of all ages. Having hardly read a book twice, it would be very difficult for her to choose a favorite, but if you forced her to decide she’d probably have to choose The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney. Her favorite time of day is story time with her kids curled up in her lap to read, and she especially loves when her toddler son reads the stories to her!
Union Presbyerian Seminary Students
The following students were all participants in the Children’s and Adolescent Literature course taught by Dr. Pamela Mitchell-Legg from 2009 – 2012 and it is the class of 2009 whose work launched this website.
Becky Albright, Megan Argabrite, Cyndi Beerbower, Shasta Brown, Christopher Burton, Ashley Cheek, Jim Collins, Cheryl Couch-Thomas, Gina Craft, Robin Crawford, Nadine Ellsworth-Moran, Donna Fair, Chris Feno, Wade Halva, Kelly Hames, LaDonna Harrison, Bakhelwa Imatha, Jill Kimbirl, Phanta Landsden, Kim Lee, Catherine Lovejoy, Bob Martin,Lisa McLennan, Erin Mills, Amanda North, Russ Pearson, Marcia Rauch, Lorenzo Small, Jessie Smith, Kim Stamey, Tim Tate, Katie Todd, Mason Todd, Mary Anne Welch, Susan Wills, Vera Witherspoon