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Our Favorite Books for Kids and Adults

Updated: Jan 18

Welcome to Grace and Space, a weekly newsletter from the Deconstructing Mamas Podcast! GRACE for who you have been, are now and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be!

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We've done the "research" and "vetted" these and trust that they will be exactly what you need to put on your personal list or get as a "something to read" for your kids! As authors ourselves, we value the importance of words and how they can heal our souls, mostly because when we hear each other's hearts and listen to each other's stories, something mystical takes place inside of our shared humanity and divinity. Also, exciting news - Esther even has a new book about parenting teens and young adults!! Happy Perusing!!



My Love, God is Everywhere Cameron Vickrey and Victoria Robb Powers (also known as the @reverendmamas) Encounter God's unlimited presence and unconditional love in this joyful picture book for 4 to 8 year olds that helps kids discover God in all parts of creation, from the mountains to the anthills and, most of all, in our hearts amid joy, sadness, calm, and chaos.


The Dark is Your Friend Brittany A. Meng

As the sun sets, Little Hedgehog feels nervous. But Big Hedgehog reminds her baby of all the lovey, cozy experiences the dark brings—warm snuggles, nightlights, cuddles and kisses, and sweet memories of a happy day. Need a way to reframe the dark for little ones who are afraid? It's perfect for 2 to 5 year olds.



Dear Mama God Daneen Akers Combining stunning illustrations with simple yet profound prayers, It's the perfect children's book to introduce children (and their adults) to the heart-expanding practice of referring to the divine in feminine form. The illustrations invite readers into a luminous, comforting presence.


Tangled Up Jamie Edelbrock Studies show one in six kids between the ages of two-and eight-years-old have a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Navigating this world as a parent can be scary, but experiencing this as a young child can be even scarier. Tangled Up is intended to lessen the fear of the unknown and shines a positive, peaceful light on mental health and therapy. It colorfully shows how the beautiful threads of us can become tangled, and how therapists and counselors are here to help us twirl bravely through life.


Rachel Held Evans Children who are introduced to God, through attending church or having loved ones who speak about God, often have a lot of questions, including this ever-popular one: What is God like? The late Rachel Held Evans loved the Bible and loved showing God’s love through the words and pictures found in that ancient text. Through these pictures from the Bible, children see that God is like a shepherd, God is like a star, God is like a gardener, God is like the wind, and more. God is a comforter and support.

And whenever a child is unsure, this book encourages young hearts to “think about what makes you feel safe, what makes you feel loved, and what makes you feel brave. That's what God is like”.



Esther Joy Goetz (YAY!) and Melissa Faith Neeb (one of our podcast guests) Need some help, humor and a big dose of hope as you navigate the tricky tightrope of being a mom to teens and young adults?

If your answer is “yes,” this collection of heart-warming, tear-jerking and thought-provoking essays is for you.

This book holds wide-open space for your laughter and tears, your struggles and strengths and brings lots of grace to the mom you’ve been, the one you are right the very minute, and the one you’re becoming, hopefully the truest and most beautiful version of you.


Woven: Nurturing a Faith Your Kid Doesn't Have to Heal From Meredith Miller In this inspiring parenting book, learn how to create space for your children to get to know God in a way that focuses on trust instead of a list of rigid rules.

So many parents want to pass along their faith, but know that God is so much bigger than the list of do’s and don’ts they were taught about as children. They want to pass along a faith their child doesn’t have to heal from. Woven is the guidebook parents have been looking for. With a deep reverence for scripture and suggested activities to help your family grow in faith together, Woven is for parents who want to go beyond a list of do’s and don’ts and pass along a resilient faith based on genuine love for and trust in God.


In this book, Bekah gathers voices from history, scholarship, and her own community to guide others who, like her, are on a quest to shed the false certainty and toxic perfectionism of their past to become better, healthier parents—while still providing strong spiritual foundations for their children. She writes with humor and empathy, providing wise reflections (but not glib answers!) on difficult parenting topics while reminding us that we are not alone, even when we break away from the crowd.


Jason and Brandi Elam

After experiencing an extreme makeover of their faith, Jason and Brandi Elam found themselves wondering if their fear-based parenting methods might need to evolve as well. They reached out to several brilliant friends who had experience parenting through their own faith deconstruction and invited them to write about their journeys. These contributions offer hope and hard-fought wisdom for weary parents desperately trying to forge real connections with their kids before time runs out and the babies fly the nest.


How do we build a better world? One key way, says Cindy Wang Brandt, is by learning to raise our children with justice, mercy, and kindness.

Brandt equips Christian parents to model a way of following Jesus that has an outward focus, putting priority on loving others, avoiding judgment, and helping those in need. She shows how parents must work on dismantling their own racial, cultural, gender, economic, and religious biases in order to avoid passing them on to their children. “By becoming aware of the complex ways we participate in systems of inequal­ity or hierarchy”, she says, “we begin to resist systemic injustice ourselves, empower our children, and change our communities.”


It's easy to lose our sense of self in the all-consuming process of raising our children, but Sarah reminds us that the best gift we can bring to our kids is our true, authentic selves. Through vulnerable and relatable stories, no-nonsense wisdom, and a compassionate perspective for all the joys and challenges of motherhood, Sarah provides shame-free practical help to surviving right where you are in life, in relationships, in work, and in faith.



Your Body is a Revolution Tara Teng This book is an invitation to reclaim what has been stolen from us, to embrace the wisdom our bodies long to share, and to fully inhabit our lives--perhaps for the first time. Embodiment coach Tara Teng helps us untangle ourselves from centuries of body-based oppression built into our societal systems or masquerading as religion and teaches us to slow down and listen to the wisdom that comes through somatic practices. When we embrace right relationship with our bodies, we also come into right relationship with all things: ourselves, each other, the earth, and our spirituality.


Let's Talk About Doubt Kat Wordsworth

Although doubt is a normal part of Christian life, it is not a visible discussion within most churches. This tension led Kat to experience acute shame and isolation when she was overwhelmed with doubt while working for a church. This book offers an antidote to this silence by combining Kat's story of doubtful faith with a wider look at the attitude towards doubt within contemporary Christian culture. Kat doesn't pretend to present a cure or step-by-step guide to eliminating doubt. Instead, she recounts how she found a way to accept her doubt, reclaim her faith and engage with church. Brutally honest but ultimately hopeful, this book is essential for all those who experience doubt and all those who want to support them.


Pete Enns Life throws us “curve balls”—from devastating personal losses to world tragedies. These events often leave us doubting God, the Bible, and our faith. But instead of pushing away our reservations, we should embrace them, Peter Enns argues. A leading biblical scholar and Christian mentor, Enns has never been afraid to question the Bible or Christian beliefs. Such thoughtful inquisitiveness, he argues, is part of God’s plan. He wants us to question, because doing so actually leads to a stronger, lasting faith.


Has loss stormed into your life? Has a dream shattered before your eyes? Has a relationship ended? A job? Has a healthdiagnosis taken you by surprise? Have you helplessly watched a lovedone close their eyes for the last time and slip away?

When these carefully constructed Holy Temples of our lives come crashing down on top of us, sorting through the rubble and finding the strength to take a step forward can feel next to impossible.


Using his own story and the stories of a diverse group of struggling believers, Brian D. McLaren, a former pastor and now an author, speaker, and activist shows how old assumptions are being challenged in nearly every area of human life, not just theology and spirituality. He proposes a four-stage model of faith development in which questions and doubt are not the enemy of faith, but rather a portal to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith.

The four stages - Simplicity, Complexity, Perplexity, and Harmony - offer a path forward that can help sincere and thoughtful people leave behind unnecessary baggage and intensify their commitment to what matters most.


One last thing. We want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.

Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,

Lizz & Esther P.S. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE! **All of these links will bring you to our Amazon Affiliates page...thanks for your support**

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