Happy Birthday Narnia and Everything C.S. Lewis

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The Magical Gazebo on Thorn & Vine blog with middle grade fantasy author Elizabeth Van Tassel.In honor of it being the birthday of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Narnia, which is sixty-eight years old this week, under the magical gazebo for MMGM I wanted to share some memories of my summer C.S. Lewis study abroad program. I also have some great Narnia-themed products and books to share.

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When I was a young girl, I discovered the world of Narnia and wonderful books by C.S. Lewis, never suspecting that those wondrous moments stepping through the wardrobe would shape my writing and love for portal fantasy stories. I didn’t know about the spiritual allegory elements until much later in life.

In college, I studied all of C.S. Lewis’ writing while in England for several months and it was such fun. Imagine re-reading your favorite books while you’re walking where C.S. Lewis got the idea for a scene, where he first thought of Puddleglum by the shining pond, thought of Aslan while gazing at a carved lion, or was challenged in his own life and blended it into one of his adult fantasies or nonfiction works. I followed an expert teacher around all summer and saw where C.S. Lewis went to church and we had private tours of his home (see article HERE) in the Kilns.

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That summer changed my life, after my grandfather had passed away I was looking for answers to life’s deeper questions. Re-reading his fiction awoke such a special understanding, and painted word pictures of concepts that can be hard to understand. And Aslan…need I say more?

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C.S. Lewis attended Holy Trinity Church

It was the most amazing feeling sitting in his church pew and visiting the tavern where the Inklings held their meeting with J.R.R. Tolkien and others near Oxford University.

Beautiful Narnia-related favorites

I wanted to share a beautiful Narnia children’s book and products which might be a great gift idea for an enthusiast.

We were gifted this gorgeous pop-up book with images by Robert Sabuda. It makes the world of Narnia come alive, going through the wardrobe and seeing Aslan’s face pop up out of the pages is very magical!

SabudaCSLewisTwo of my favorite things are my phone holder and the gorgeous book bag in the photo above by Chick-Lit Designs. It keeps me focused on my own writing and is a great conversation-starter too!

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And if you find yourself in Colorado Springs, the exhibit at Focus on the Family is so fun to walk through the wardrobe! You can see a preview hosted by my kids on my YouTube channel HERE and our review on the blog HERE.

Happy Birthday Narnia! What are some of your favorite books that have influenced your life?


Don’t forget to sign up on the home page for the blog email list to be entered in the winter book giveaways coming up soon! See the post HERE.

Fall Giveaway


­­­­Middle Grade author and gemologist Elizabeth Van Tassel with quartz gems.

Elizabeth Van Tassel writes compelling middle-grade fantasy. She brings her knowledge and expertise in the field of gemology to the page and infuses her love of folklore into modern adventures filled with mystery. A wildfire survivor, Elizabeth also understands the both power of loss and the power of hope. And she’s always on the hunt for a great story. Elizabeth currently resides in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She can be found wandering the gardens of Filoli House, enjoying her favorite coffee shops, and engaging with other writers.


You can find MMGM (Marvelous Middle Grade Monday) reviews from other authors, originally created by Shannon Messenger, and continued by author Greg Pattridge HERE.

15 Responses to "Happy Birthday Narnia and Everything C.S. Lewis"
  1. Pam Halter says:

    I love popup books! And Narnia? Aslan? SIGH … I wish I had been introduced to these books when I was a child. I may have started writing earlier. But I was in my late 30s or early 40s when I first learned of CS Lewis and Frank Peretti. I read The Hobbit and LOTR in high school, thanks to a friend. That was when I fell in love with fantasy.

  2. Great post and thanks for all the cool places to visit. I’m closest to Colorado Springs and will be looking to check out the exhibit. I’d have too many books to list that have influenced my life. It seems I get a new batch every year.

    • evantassel says:

      How fun! The exhibit is fun, and so is the Odyssey drink the kids have in the video. Walking through the wardrobe, even thought it’s just a small room, was pretty special as they have the story on audible going in the background. And it’s very kid-friendly there, too. Have fun! Yes on the books, too. So many, just glad my love of reading was kindled and my sons’ as well.

  3. I didn’t read these books until college but loved them. They really kindled a love of fantasy for me. Glad they helped you when your grandfather died.

    • evantassel says:

      They really did help, fun to “meet” someone else they touched as an adult. That love of fantasy has been a life-long gift!

  4. Sadly, I never read these books as a child. I read them 20 years ago and was totally engrossed in the series. Such writing. Thank you for sharing memories and photos about C.S. Lewis.

  5. What an amazing journey you took! Thank you so much for sharing your personal thoughts and excellent photos for MMGM. I enjoyed visiting your website for the first time today–I’ll be back.

    • evantassel says:

      Thanks so much June! Yes it was really the highlight of my college experience. A life-changer. Every time I re-read the stories I can picture where he had the original ideas. Where he sat, what his desk looked like. His home in the Kilns back then was just open to special groups, so seeing CS Lewis’ life was a real treat. Now I think you can schedule a tour if you’re in England. Seeing his own wardrobe, was pretty great too. I wish I had a photo! And the little pond next door where he imagined Puddleglum. We sat and had lunch there. Special times!

  6. Wow. That’s quite a love affair with Narnia. Lovely post. Thanks for that.

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