Storyformed Project – What Starts in a Story Grows into a Life


The heartbeat of Storyformed Project is simple: getting great books into the hands and hearts of children everywhere. We believe that what starts in a story grows into a life—the stories that children feed on in their formative years will shape their lives for living a story worth telling. That all starts with books, but the stories need good soil in which to grow.

Storyformed Project is also about promoting what we call the FIRST Learning family priorities:
Faith, Imagination, Reading, Story, and Talk
These five critical influences are how you will cultivate the soil of your child’s heart. Together they will form and indelibly inform your children’s developing identities, worldview, purpose, and vision for life. They are the parental priorities for discovering and exploring the truth, goodness, and beauty of the life that God created you and your family to enjoy.

The Storyformed life is wholehearted parenting. The spirit of the Storyformed life can be found in all our teaching on Christian parenting—it influences and is expressed within every other Whole Heart initiative in some way. Storyformed is at the heart of Whole Heart—stories that shape and feed the thoughts, habits, and beliefs that make us who we are, and who our children are becoming. We all are storyformed, so let them be the best stories.

Every book I’ve read and every story that has made itself a part of my imagination has taught me something about what it means to live life well. I’m passionate about reading because I’m passionate about life. —Sarah Clarkson (Read for the Heart)

About Storyformed


Sarah Clarkson is the founder of Storyformed. It started in her heart as she read great books as a child and grew as she wrote Journeys of Faithfulness at sixteen, novelized stories of four single women in Scripture. It became a full-grown passion in her book-on-books for parents, Read for the Heart, and later in her narrative description of a storyformed life in Caught Up in a Story. She conceived the original website in 2014 to promote the soul-forming power of imagination, story, books, and reading in a child's life. Since that time, she has moved to England, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theology from Oxford University, won an annual international Frederick Buechner narrative writing contest four times, and written the popular books Book Girl (about the reading life as a woman) and Girls’ Club (about friendship, with Sally and Joy Clarkson). In her new season of life, a book on beauty is under contract, and more nonfiction and fiction are on the way. Sarah is a storyformed woman, pastor’s wife, and mother, passing on the beauty of a storyformed life to her own children. You can find her at

Storyformed was also shepherded for a time by Holly Packiam and Jaime Showmaker, two storyformed young mothers carrying on Sarah's passion for books and imagination. They continued the blog and initiated a new Storyformed podcast. You can read more about Holly and Jaime in their Storyformed profile blog posts.

A story-formed imagination is naturally driven to real-world action. The great point of excellent stories is to wake us up to beauty, dress down our pride, and teach us how to live with courage, compassion, and creativity. — Sarah Clarkson (Read for the Heart)

Storyformed books

Read for the Heart 800pw - Copy.jpg

Read for the Heart — Whole Books for WholeHearted Families
by Sarah Clarkson (Whole Heart Press, 2nd edition, Q3/2020)

Great books spur imagination in childhood, inspire dreams in adulthood, and nourish the soul with depictions of life fully and courageously lived. Give your child a storyformed life—a love for reading and a passion for books. But how do you sort through the countless books available to your children to find those that are worthwhile? In Read for the Heart, Sarah is your guide to more than 1,000 of the best books for your family—timeless classics, modern favorites, picture storybooks, adventure novels, read-aloud favorites. Make good literature a lasting part of your child's life and education.

Caught Up in a Story 800pw.jpg

Caught Up in a Story
By Sarah Clarkson (Whole Heart Press)

What is imagination, and why is it vital to childhood education? What role do great books play in shaping a child's perception of self, life, and even God? In Caught Up in a Story, Sarah Clarkson answers these vital questions, demonstrating how great books can be a parent's best ally in shaping a child to love what is beautiful, pursue what is good, and grasp what is true. Drawing on her own storyformed childhood and her long study of children's literature, Sarah Clarkson explores and celebrates the soul-forming power of story to help children imagine, and live, a great story of their own.


Journeys of Faithfulness 800pw.jpg

Journeys of Faithfulness
By Sarah Clarkson (Whole Heart Press, 3rd edition, Q3/2020))

Esther. Ruth. Mary and Martha. Mary, mother of Jesus. Their stories reveal how God can reach into the life of an ordinary girl and, through her love and obedience, bring his beauty and grace to bear in this world. Celebrate the sacrifice and courage that made these women biblical heroines with this collection of inspirational stories and devotions. In Journeys of Faithfulness, Sarah explores their journeys while challenging today's young woman to reach higher and deeper in her walk of faith with Jesus Christ by choosing well and staying faithful to his call. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Book Girl 800pw.jpg

Book Girl
By Sarah Clarkson (Tyndale Momentum)

Books were Sarah’s delight—Anne of Green Gables, the Pevensie children, and Austen heroines were her literary friends. Reading was a way to encounter the world in all its wonder that shaped how she would live her own story in the world. In Book Girl, she sets out to convince readers it can do the same for them. She explores how reading strengthens spiritual life and deepens faith, meets you where you are in life, and companions you on your journey. She suggests practical ways to cultivate a love a reading, and offers over 20 annotated book lists to get you started on living a reading life.

If a book is worth reading, it is worth buying. No book is worth anything which is not worth much; nor is it serviceable until it has been read, and re-read, and loved, and loved again; and marked, so that you can refer to the passages you want in it, as a soldier can seize the weapon he needs in an armory; or a housewife bring the spice she needs from her store. —John Ruskin, 1819-1900

Storyformed connections