Episode 79: Something Better Coming with Megan Saben

I'm very excited to be talking with Megan Saben on today's episode of the Library Laura Podcast. She's the author of Something Better Coming, a children's picture book about the resurrection of Jesus that just released this fall. She's also a writer for Redeemed Reader and the mother of 5 boys living in Virginia. We have a lot in common, which you'll see throughout the episode as we discuss knitting, baseball, books, writing, tea, and more. We originally recorded this episode in early August, but I've been holding onto it until her book arrived state-side and is ready to order. You can get a copy today through her website: literariteapress.com

Connect with Megan Saben and Literaritea Press online on FacebookInstagram, and the website.

Books from today's episode are on the Library Laura storefront on bookshop.org

Follow the Library Laura Podcast on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and on the Podcast Blog.  

Literaritea Press

Megan's blog and company, Literaritea Press, started as a project with her friend Betsy from Hollands University, where they reviewed children's picture books from a Christian perspective. 

Later, Emily Whitten from Redeemed Reader asked them to come over and write for them, so she did that during naptime. 

One of Megan's early assignments at Redeemed Reader was to round up Easter picture books for a post. She found a few issues:

  • Much fewer Easter books compared to the number of Christmas books
  • All very narrowly focused on Holy Week (or from the perspective of an unlooker), or...
  • Many were trying to harmonize spring, chicks, and bunnies with the biblical concept of Easter

She felt like they the available Easter books were missing the point of there being "something better coming." There were all these miracles that Jesus did throughout his ministry that were leading up to his power over death and his resurrection from the dead. And the story doesn't end there! For those who trust in Christ, his resurrection is our assurance that there is something better coming. It's all part of a much bigger story.

Something Better Coming

After pondering all of this, the idea for Megan's book was born. Something Better Coming focuses on three miracles throughout Jesus's ministry and then the resurrection and our future hope. It's great for a wide age of readers, but is certainly appropriate for children ages 6 and older. It's a story that, because it is in verse with a repeated refrain, it resonates well with children. But adults can relate to the themes strongly throughout as well. Megan has a great story about getting to read the book aloud to an elderly woman in their church. Her joy as she nears the end of her life is in anticipating something better coming. She loves talking about it!

When Megan first wrote the book, it got picked up by an agent right away, but then things fell through and it hit a dead end, with nothing happening for several years. 

Megan has been writing for quite a while, and even started submitting work to publishers when she was about 14. She always thought that self-publishing was inferior to being published by a "real" publisher. But here she was with a book and a passion to see it brought to life. Ultimately, it wasn't until the pandemic came and her calendar was all the sudden cleared of baseball games and other commitments, she and her husband agreed to decide looking at ways to independently publish this book because they believed in it and wanted to see it in people's hands.  

Megan with her advanced copy of her book (a.k.a. her sixth child) 

Her artist actually ended up being a man named Ryan Flanders from their small church who had come back quite recently from doing missions work in Senegal. They worked together to bring these biblical concepts to life in a beautiful and worshipful way. 

When things get rough, "there's something better coming" has become a mantra in the Saben household. "It's been really exciting and hopeful," Megan explained.

Fun fact, you can sing the narrative (not including the refrain) of Something Better Coming to the tune of Amazing Grace or  to While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks by Night and several other hymns because it's written in iambic heptameter. Megan grew up singing hymns, which she feels like nurtured the love of poetry without it feeling forced or highly academic. 

The books finally arrived!! 

The book ended up being published thanks to a Kickstarter campaign in Fall 2021, with an initial print run of 2,000 copies thanks to surpassing the goal. The copies have been delayed several times throughout the printing and shipping process. But now the books are here and available! Yay! 

Buy your copies of Something Better Coming by Megan Saben at: https://literariteapress.com/shop/ 

Redeemed Reader 

I asked Megan to tell me more about Redeemed Reader, because it came up several times in our conversation and I wasn't too familiar with them previously. Redeemed Reader is a website that offers reviews of a wide range of children's literature, both classic and contemporary, so that parents can more easily find books for their children to read. They look at themes, summaries, and issues that parents may have with a particular title. They want to promote Truth and Story and read through a biblical lens. There's reflections, book reviews, book lists, and more. 

"We love talking about books, but we love Christ first." They're so glad to be able to help parents navigate bookshelves, not by telling them what they should or shouldn't read, but to equip them with information to make good decisions. 

When I was a kid, my mom had "Honey for A Child's Heart" that helped her with some of this information, and this was sort of a precursor to what Redeemed Reader is doing online now. It turns out that Zondervan is publishing a 50th anniversary edition and Megan Saben got to write an endorsement for this new edition! (Woohoo!) She and her mom both used this book to find books for their children, so it's been a great resource for her reading life, too. In this new edition of "Honey for A Child's Heart" , they actually recommend Redeemed Reader to parents as another resource... so it's all coming kind of full circle. 

Books (and other things) We Talked about in Episode 79

(As an Affiliate with Amazon and Bookshop, I may earn money from purchases made through the links on this blog)

We talked about kids going through phases with books, including the Minecraft books (Bookshop | Amazon), which my friend Kendra's kids loved, and Boxcar Children books (Bookshop | Amazon), which I devoured as a child. Megan's kids particularly enjoy the Garfield books, which Megan finds to be essentially the same joke repeatedly...but the kids love it. (Bookshop | Amazon)

Megan's kids also read richer books and are learning to listen and engage. They're having a wide and varied diet. "It's like asking them if they would prefer to eat Jolly Ranchers or broccoli...we know what they're going to choose. It's a matter of having balance and not fretting about it." 

Hunger Games books - I mentioned that a friend's kids are reading these now, and Megan's oldest was interested in reading them as well. Redeemed Reader has a review of the series here. (Bookshop | Amazon

I recommended that Megan and her children would enjoy reading A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus (Bookshop | Amazon). I love all the books that the kids read throughout the series, and there's a knitting librarian and found family themes. So wholesome and lovely. Megan read it recently and loved it! 

On the topic of going through phases with books and finding the right book at the right time, Megan recently finished reading Les Miserables (Bookshop | Amazon). She wasn't ready for it as a kid. And even now it took her 2.5 years (but the unabridged version was totally worth it). She's glad she waited until the right time.

"There's other classics I haven't gotten around to reading. It's not that I'm opposed to them; I know I'm going to love them...I just had to finish Les Miserables first!" ~ Megan

Similarly, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis wasn't for her the first time she read it at age 14. "I didn't get it and I hated it," she said. But then she came back and read it again, and then again. She even produced it on stage as her senior college project. It has now become one of her top three books about women struggling to know God and it's profound and beautiful. Now it means so much more.  (Bookshop | Amazon)

I talked about not being allowed to read Harry Potter as a child, but then really loving it as an adult. (Bookshop | Amazon) We talked about how it's important for parents to be able to discuss themes of books with their kids. Megan lets her kids read the first three books when they turn 10, and then start the rest of the books at age 13. Her 14-year -old has finished the series, and Megan personally is on book 6 (she finished book 5 since we recorded the podcast!) and plans to finish the series soon. 

She's currently trying to keep up with her boys reading for school, her oldest is doing Challenge 1 in Classical Conversations. Megan just finished reading The Scarlet Letter, which she also appreciated much more the second time through reading it. (Bookshop | Amazon) Having finished The Scarlet Letter, she started about 6 books in the past week!  

"It is a burden and a blessing to love books!" Megan exclaimed as we were talking about our endless to-be-read lists. She mentioned that she just wrote a post for Redeemed Reader titled "Are You Reading Under Law Or Under Grace?" that tackles some of these feelings. 

We also talked about my recent realization that I like mystery tropes better than romance tropes. I think I like the worst thing to happen at the beginning and to get better from there. Megan likes to read fairytales with romance. "Fairytales were shaping my understanding of Truth and Story and the Happily Ever After. There's something better coming, right? It points to that bigger picture." She enjoys stories like Anne of Green Gables (Bookshop | Amazon) or Pride and Prejudice (Bookshop | Amazon) where you have more depth and complexity, or Gaudy Night, a Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane mystery with a side romance (Bookshop | Amazon). She loves a happily ever ending. 

Megan's grandmother was a librarian, reader, knitter, and famous for baking chocolate chip cookies. She inherited her love for all these things from her grandmother and mother. She grew up surrounded by books. Megan perfected her own chocolate chip cookie recipe during quarantine this past year, and you can find that here: 

Megan also makes fantastic chai tea, and has shared that recipe on her blog"It's very good for my marriage," she says. Apparently her husband drank chai before they met, but usually from a concentrate. She decided she could do better than that and started making her own, which they drink gallons of. She also enjoys drinking Yorkshire Gold tea, which she says is great for making a whole pot of tea (she discovered in England) or she makes her own chai. 

She's currently knitting a cotton striped sweater! She might start some socks or hats for her boys next. "I like knitting because it's more socially acceptable (than reading) when I'm with other people. I can focus better on the conversation and on being with them and it helps pass the time. It works very nicely with audiobooks, too!" 

I shared about how much I appreciate books like Fry Bread that have simple starting points to engage with young readers, but also have deeper themes or more information for adults who are engaging with the books alongside their kids. Sarah from Read Aloud Revival has a whole post and episode about reading picture books to older kids and teenagers. 

Picture books have a unique value to offer and can engage such a wide audience through picture and story. Megan mentioned this article from the Gospel Coalition about why suffering adults need picture books, which is a fascinating read as well. "Sometimes the simplicity of the truth conveyed in a picture book is all that our souls can handle," explained Megan. And sometimes we need to just engage with beautiful artwork in a book like Heckedy Peg (Bookshop | Amazon) or Paul O. Zelinsky's illustrated editions of Rapunzel (Amazon). All of this is is why Megan loves reading and writing about children's literature! 

Megan's personal top three books of women seeking after God: 

Saben Family Favorites

Writing nonsense is harder than it looks. Alice in Wonderland is a great example of this. Lewis Carroll was a mathematician... his "nonsense" is still logical and ordered and Through the Looking Glass is even based on a chess game. 

 I think Megan might enjoy Telephone Tales by Gianni Rodari, which won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award award from the ALA, which is for children's books in translation (Bookshop | Amazon). Quirky short stories! Definitely get the hardcopy of this one, because the book design is interesting. There's fold-out pages and interestingly cut pages that you don't want to miss. Includes a story about an accountant that saves the day that i couldn't help but read aloud to my husband. 

On the topic of awards, a 2021 Geisel Award winner, See the Cat: Three stories about a Dog, is a book that Megan's kids love. It's quotable, simple and well-done. We talked about this book on the ALA awards episode with Kris earlier this year and I'm glad Megan reminded me. 

AJ Vanderhorst's Casey Grimes books, I think would be fun for Megan's older boys. Secret communities, tree fortresses, magic, and monster-fighting. What more could you want? (Bookshop | Amazon | AJ's Podcast Episode) 

Ken Priebe's books of poems are also quirky and fun. He was a recent podcast guest and we had such a fun conversation. (Bookshop | Amazon) He's got Where the Wild Things Are vibes plus the artwork from the Dark Crystal meets Shel Silverstein's poetry. 

Megan has a Redeemed Reader post about finding poetry that is enjoyable and fun. Sometimes rhyming books for children aren't good poetry, but sometimes they are! 

Poetry that I've enjoyed includes novels in verse like Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Li (Bookshop | Amazon), which was beautiful on audio and on the page. It's a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award winner. Mary Oliver's poetry is lovely too. 

Megan is currently reading the new Little Pilgrim's Progress, which is Helen L Taylor's text that has been newly envisioned and illustrated by Joe Sutphin, published by Moody Press. (Bookshop | Amazon) Joe Sutphin is the one who did the illustrations for the Wingfeather Saga! Megan said that Little Pilgrim's Progress has been one of those books for her that you feel like you ought to read, but none of the prior editions on the market had good illustrations. So Megan's a lot more interested in reading this one! They've made it very appealing. She's reviewed it for Redeemed Reader and can't wait to share it with her boys. Every October they've read Dangerous Journey - an abridged and illustrated version of Pilgrim's Progress. The illustrated Little Pilgrim's Progress is what they're reading this year.

With lots of literary love from my library to yours, 



My photo
Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


The Library Laura Podcast


Affiliate links disclosure

As an Amazon Associate and Bookshop.org Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through links on this blog. Thanks for your support!

Popular Posts

Laura 's Goodreads bookshelf: read

The Slug Queen Chronicles: Season One
Christmas Night 1776
A Perilous Undertaking
The Mostly Invisible Boy
Please Close It!
On the Bright Side: Stories about Friendship, Love, and Being True to Yourself
The Giving Tree
At Home in Mitford
The Last Year of the War
The Goblin Emperor
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Goodnight, Anne
Such a Fun Age
Every Heart a Doorway
The Underground Railroad
The Hate U Give
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
A Kind of Paradise

Laura Miller 's favorite books »

@library.laura on Instagram

The Library Laura Podcast on Facebook

Laura's Profile

Contact Form


Email *

Message *