Stories We Shared


In this article we reviewed Doug McKelvey and Jamin Still’s beautiful picture book, The Wishes of the Fish King. In that article we explained that the picture book was published because of a Kickstarter campaign. In the middle of their Kickstarter campaign, Doug asked our Potato Peel Pie Facebook book club what other interesting things he and Jamin could do to encourage backers to get interested in the campaign. A number of group members expressed a wish for a family friendly read aloud book journal. What our group was asking for was something pretty ordinary but not truly available on the market today. Doug, the creative soul that he is, took a simple idea and made it remarkable.


In The Stories We Shared: A Family Book Journal, Doug and Jamin built on the idea behind The Wishes of the Fish King, a concept of parent-child shared story-telling, to create a beautiful journal that families could use to record their favorite family read alouds. But, they went farther than that. They made it an exciting resource for enhancing family read aloud.


First, let’s deal with the physical set-up of the book. This hardcover is substantial in size measuring at 11 3/4″ tall by 8 1/2″ wide with 186 pages. The colorful cover is taken from one of the The Wishes of the Fish King illustrations. The ship stranded on a cliff with a meerdeer frolicking below in the crashing waves clearly communicates that this journal is for those who love to get lost in an imaginative story.


Inside the beautiful cover, families will find 109 pages for book entries. Most of those 109 pages are divided into space for 4 books. Every 3rd page or so, however, yields one box to illustration from Jamin or a carefully selected, family-friendly literary quote.

The real magic of the journal, however, is in the next two sections. Starting on page 113, the next 45 pages are dedicated to eight “Feature Lists.” These lists provide spaces for families to record really neat things from their reading experience, like “Most Memorable Characters,” or “Most Surprising Story Twists.”

After the Feature Lists, readers will find 10 “Adventure Quests,” like “The Literary Zookeeper” and “The Serial Bookworm.” These quests provide families with the opportunity to go on a literary treasure hunt for the right books to fulfill their quest requirements. We think this will be a wonderful tool for families and would make an excellent tool for helping a reluctant reader get excited about reading through a stack of books!


In fact, we like these quests so much that we are going to be tagging all of our book reviews with the appropriate quest names so that families can search our site for books that meet the requirements of whichever quest they are venturing on! In addition, we will be writing one post per quest with links to all of our reviews. (More details on that to come in the very near future.)



In our busy lives, a journal like this can serve as a wonderful invitation to families to sit down and read aloud together. I purchased one for each of my children as well a family journal. In this way, I will keep the family copy as a legacy item and each of my children will have their own copy to put in their hope chests. The PPPS Book Fairy, Jennifer Halverson, has purchased them for her children as well, but she has also purchased one to have at “Grandma’s House” to record the books that she reads to her granddaughter.

Confession: Jennifer and I also purchased extras so that we can record the books that we read together as book buddies.

This beautiful journal can be purchased at Amazon, but we beg you to consider buying it from The Rabbit Room Press. Not only will it ship to you faster, but books purchased at The Rabbit Room more substantially support living authors.










  1. Heather says:

    Oh, my family *needs* this! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sara Masarik says:

      My pleasure! It is so so so wonderful!!

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