With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, we, like many others, closed up the shop to customers and went to an online-selling-only format for a few weeks. That period coincided with the closure of libraries, schools, and many other activities families participated in, so demand for reading books became intense! We had never seen fiction fly off our shelves like that before! And customers weren't bringing us used books to keep those shelves full, so we quickly had large gaps in our inventory.
We had a decision to make. We could simply start ordering more at a time of the books we normally carried; or, we could start using all of our free time (ha!) to expand our selection. If you know us at Exodus at all, you know which path we took.
Now, we like to read, but we pull ideas for titles from all over. Along with suggestions from friends, book lists and curriculum catalogs have been our main go-to for years. But they tend to focus on the tried and true, and while wonderful, they can get a little stale.
Enter Redeemed Reader. This blog, written and administrated by four remarkable ladies—Janie Cheaney, Betsy Farquhar, Megan Saben, and Hayley Schoeppler—is an excellent answer to the problem. Primarily focusing on new books, they rate and review books from a Protestant Christian perspective, and they do it extremely well. Active for 9+ years, they have several hundred reviews on the site, and include picture books, easy readers, books for middle grades, teens, and adults. Their rating system is designed to show how well a book reflects Truth & Story. Since it's possible for a book to be excellently told artistically, yet be antagonistic to Biblical faith; or the converse: a story may be Biblically sound, yet poorly written—so their ratings (scales of 1-5) show both, and then are averaged. If that average rating is 4.5 or higher, they might give the book a "starred review," meaning the book is among the best of the best. It's a book worth owning or giving as a gift, and will probably bear potentially frequent rereading.
Although they've reviewed many other books we carry as well, we've decided to intentionally carry as many of the starred reviews as we can, and those are collected here. We'll continue to add more as they do!
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