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Third Printing, New Book News, I Pod, Author Talks, & More or Less…Let’s Blast March To Smithereens


I’m delighted to be sharing this newsletter with you. It has updates on my next book(s), a link to a recent interview I did, and fewer jokes about essential oils than ever! Like the lemming said to the other lemming, let’s jump right in.

Classy Appalchians

The Pods That The Pigs Did Eat

I want to share my news about upcoming books, but first this. I was thrilled to be the guest on the most recent episode of The Read-Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie. Now, Sarah has been a champion of The Green Embersharing it with so many families, and I was profoundly honored to be her guest. I love the pod and have listened for months, so it was a thrill to be on. Here’s a quote someone grabbed out.

“We do need to go for the heart. The heart is where the affections are moved. A good story aims for the heart and it carries the mind in the same action… sometimes we have loved truth so much that we have scorned beauty and scorned grace. I feel like we need to lay hold of one and not neglect the other. I feel like good storytelling is dripping with truth, but it goes for the heart, it goes for the affections.”

I also said “sort of” and “kind of like” a lot. Something I was thrilled to notice. <—not in fact true.

Like I said, Sarah has been an advocate for our book and I’m so grateful for her. It’s amazing to me that someone I had nothing to do with connecting the book to (she found it browsing one night) has been one of—if not—THE most influential people recommending the book. I have her endorsement prominently placed on the book page at my site, along with other reviews.

“I don’t usually tell people that there is a book they absolutely-must-no-questions-HAVE-TO-without-a-doubt read. But this one? How shall I put this? If I could choose only one book for my kids to read this year, this would be it. How’s that for a recommendation? Go get it! Officially our favorite read-aloud ever. I’m recommending this to everyone who happens to lend me their ear for 5 seconds. From the Read-Aloud Revival to S.D. Smith: thank you for giving us this beautiful gem!”

—Sarah Mackenzie

Wow. What an honor. We are so thankful for Sarah!

So give her podcast a listen. It’s always great. Also check out her site, and her wonderful book which my wife is soaking in, Teaching From a State of Rest. Absolutely excellent stuff. Soon she’ll have a membership site starting. We are definitely going to jump on that day one.

(The brilliant Burr children newly of Franklin, TN. Loved meeting them!)

Third Printing of The Green Ember!

Yes, you read that right. Thanks to people like you, Sarah, and a growing many more, we are prepping to order our third printing of The Green Ember in as many months. I’d like to play this cool, but this is so exciting! I absolutely cannot believe it. And although it’s terrifying, we are going to order more this time. So we hope sales won’t stop, or we’ll have a LOT of books to prop up broken stools, or whatever. So please don’t stop sharing the book. 🙂

It’s exciting to be on this journey and so I’m grateful that you have been along for the ride. It means so much to have friends sharing links, photos, and stories of families enjoying The Green Ember. It bucks us up!

(Our friends in Capetown, South Africa, the Haynes family!)


Four Steps to An Amazing Gift That Will Change Your Kids’ LivesTGE-Audio-CVR-HR_large (2)

1. Get each of your children an MP3 player (affordable),

2. Buy the audiobook at our store or Audible.

3. Load it up!

4. Give it to the astonished kid.

5. Pat yourself on the back. You are a great parent.

Note: Later, if you add more audiobooks, you will be sharing something genuinely transformative. 


New Book News

I mentioned this in the pod with Sarah, but I am very excited about the fact that we are working on a shorter novel, a prequel to The Green Ember called The Black Star of Kingston. I can’t wait to share this with you. Some of you may have received a special limited edition of this where my son Josiah did the illustrations. But this is an expanded version with Ember artist Zach Franzen back with a cover and interior illustrations you will love! He’s a genius. He’s working on it right now and I assure you that YOU (subscribers) will be the very first ones to see the new cover.

Zach’s been sending me little preview sketches, not by any means fully formed. But I’ll share one with you here.


Pretty exciting, right? Yes, this adventure will have rabbits at sea. But they will also have swords. And they will use them. I’m finishing up the writing now and we are hoping the book will be available in time for Inkwell.

What is Inkwell?

I feel bad for mentioning it now, but it’s our Story Warren Family Conference set for June 20th in Charlotte, NC. Why do I feel bad? Because it’s already sold out. It sold out in just one day. You can still get on the waiting list, here.

Inkwell is about unbottling imagination. It’s a chance for kids to meet and learn from incredible, humble heroes like Zach Franzen, Randall Goodgame, Rebecca Reynolds, and Andrew Peterson. It’s a day to experience mentorship, instruction, and delight!

I loved Inkwell last year and I can’t wait to meet and serve families from all over once again. I’ll be speaking to parents and taking responsibility for all the mess-ups. (They will probably really be my fault.)

Author Talks

I recently went on a little trip, speaking in Charlotte a couple of times, in Nashville, and Memphis. My partner and publisher Andrew Mackay drove me all over and we had a great time. It was a really fun trip and I enjoyed each stop, but especially meeting kids. This included some very special kids who have read and loved The Green Ember (and I know this because they actually quoted long passages to me). So fun! What a treat.

One highlight among many was meeting Dr. George Grant. We had the privilege of listening to Dr. Grant give a history lecture at Franklin Classical School and then I had the honor of speaking to the students.

I also got to spend time with a great pal and fellow Mountaineer, Eddy Efaw. Eddy is an amazing artist with a heart of gold and we did a little scheming about some stuff I hope to be able to share with you soon. As always, you’ll be the first to know. I loved being at Harding Academy. What wonderful people.

Here are some images from the trip!

If you’re interested in me coming and giving a little talk to parents, kids, convicts, or some combination of all three, let us know. The best place to contact is andrew@storywarren.com. I have limited opportunities, sadly, but if you are interested, let us know. And do not fear, I will wear that grey sweater no matter what temperature it is.

I Know What You’re Thinking

Where are the essential oils jokes?

Well, as someone probably never might have said, “All bad things must come to an end.”

I kid. It can never, ever stop.

The Blast to Smithereens One Question Essential Oils Quiz of All Quizzes

What did one Essential Oils purveyor say to two of her friends? Answer at bottom.

Interviews and Reviews

Seattle Friends
Our friends in Seattle, the Haney Clan!

I’ve been floored by how The Green Ember has been reviewed at Amazon (nearly 100 5 star reviews!), especially since I don’t know 99% of the reviewers! But more than that, it’s been a pleasure to read emails, letters, and other comments from families who have shared their experience. I’m so happy when you reach out and I try to get back with you (or your kids) fast-ish. There were a few reviews and interviews on blogs and these were my favorites.

Kindred Grace—I loved doing this interview and I’m grateful for how elegantly Gretchen Louise presented it. Gretchen Louise also did a kind review.

Imagination, Family, and Masculinity: An Interview With S. D. Smith –Tim Briggs of the Church at Charlotte asked some good questions ahead of my visit there.

Things of the Month Things

Book of the Month: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. An insiders look at the founding and flourishing of Pixar. This book is full of insight for creative people, leaders in particular. Why is Pixar so far ahead of its peers? This book reveals much.

Color of the Month: Not Clear

Quote of the Month: “It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men.” Fredrick Douglas

Music of the Month: Drew Holcombe & the Neighbors. I took Gina to see these dudes at Mountain Stage for her birthday and they were great. We’ve been fans of Drew’s wife, particularly through Rain for Roots, but we’re new to Drew. Worth it. Check out this video for proof.

Quiz Answer

A: “Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

Okay, this was a long one, I know. Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring.

God bless you!


(Our family recently, while our friend Breann was visiting! Grey sweater alert.)


  1. Just wanted to say that I purchased your book upon Sarah’s recommendation, because I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. I just finished reading it and had to tell you how awesome it is. I will be eagerly waiting for your next book. Defintely getting added to our readaloud list. Your book reminded me of another series we really enjoyed: The Mistmantle series (McAllister, I think). I have 8 children or varying ages, many of them voracious readers, so I am always looking for good literature to read with them and have them read on their own. thank you. And now hurry up and write some more! 😉

  2. Reading aloud to my 4 kids is my favorite part of the day! My older two and I are finishing Green Ember now. I found it from a recommendation from singer/songwriter Jason Gray. We are loving the book and having so many good discussions about honor, bravery, courage, shame, etc. I got so into the story one night last week that I finished reading the book after they went to bed. They were a bit angry when I confessed. Please keep on writing! I find it difficult to find high quality read alouds that appeal to both my son and daughter, but this one gets universal praise! They will be so excited to hear you are working on the next one.

    1. I love Jason. Such a great guy. Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I am doing my best and comments like this are very encouraging. God bless you.

  3. I just finished reading The Green Ember aloud to my 6 kiddos, ages 10,8,6,4,and 9 month old twins… (to be fair, the babies didn’t do much listening…) :). To say that we all really, really, really, enjoyed it is an understatement! We read it in 3 days, and basically spent most of the day today lying on a blanket in the yard saying we’d read one more chapter… until the next thing we knew we were neglecting cooking dinner in exchange for finding out what was going to happen. What a lovely, wonderful, exciting, moving story! It’s rare to find a story that can delight a 4 year old boy, have a 10 year old boy jumping up and down slashing the air in triumph, and two 6 and 8 year old girls begging for more. Even better that the same story caused the mommy reader to choke down tears of emotion at times for the lovely pictures of bravery, goodness, and the true and the good. Thank you for writing! Please write more! My 10 year old especially will most likely pester me daily to find out when the next book is coming!

    1. Ashley! That is so encouraging. Thank you! I’m so delighted to hear about your kids’ reactions, and your own. That means so much. Wow.

      I’m working on the next ones as fast as I can. 🙂

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