Janie B. Cheaney

Janie is a senior writer who contributes commentary to WORLD and oversees WORLD's annual Children's Book of the Year awards. She also writes novels for young adults and authored the Wordsmith creative writing curriculum. Janie resides in rural Missouri.

The trouble with perpetual victimhood

Society | Suffering is real, but it shouldn’t change our identities
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 2/25/21, 12:04 pm

Back in the early 1970s, my husband worked as assistant manager of the local drive-in in the west Texas town where we were attending college. Since he didn’t get home until after midnight, I had those long evening hours to myself. When the weather cooperated, I took long walks. Most of it was along streets and avenues, but one route took me the long way around campus, past the far-flung tracks and ballfields, where there were no houses, little traffic, and few streetlights. 

One night, in the silence under the stars, I began hearing footsteps besides my own.

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Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Rare gems among trendy titles

Children’s Books of the Year | 2020 made it even harder to find good reads for young minds. Here are our recommendations, along with resources for the adults helping them
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 2/11/21, 04:00 pm

Year 2020 was as interesting in children’s publishing as it was everywhere else. Authors who normally keep a busy schedule of school visits and library conferences found themselves learning to knit or bake or speak to grainy classrooms on a screen. Publishers scrambled to offer free readings and programs for children to watch at home. Creative librarians put together activity packets for homebound kids.

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The red coat

Grief & Suffering | Take perfection when you can get it
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 2/11/21, 02:08 pm

Does anyone know what perfection looks like—until they see it? We know imperfection well enough: “I expected better.” “It’s not supposed to be this way.” “What am I missing?”

I was missing family, community, even purpose. I knew enough to doubt myself and be wary of expectations. I knew that nothing on this earth lasts forever, good or bad, and that my hope is in heaven (nearer now than ever before). But I was missing gut-level assurance in the pall of winter. I wasn’t getting it, and couldn’t ask for it, because wasn’t simple faith enough? 

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