Former Observer journalist pens book about parenting

Former Observer staff writer Jess Kastner will be holding a book signing this weekend.



Domestic motherhood can be difficult. Sometimes you burn meals, can’t get the kids’ socks to match, or you’re forced to deal with a small crisis in aisle 12 at the grocery store. At least, that’s what Jessica Kastner has to say in her debut book “Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet: Finding Grace and Laughter When Motherhood Gets Real.”

The public is invited to indulge in what TV personality Rhonda Rhea called a “mommy-manifesto that’s relatable and encouraging” during a local book signing event on Saturday, July 29, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Apostle Store, 50 Spring Street, Southington.

Kastner will be on hand to meet readers and sign books in her hometown.

Born and raised in Southington, Kastner spent much of her life writing. She is a former Observer staff writer who covered local news in the mid 2000s before writing for other local papers. Kastner also became an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network’s website,, The Huffington Post’s Christianity blog and

“I feel like I’ve always been writing,” Kastner said, adding that she always wanted to write books. “One of my biggest dreams was getting signed by a publisher, and now I’m living my dream.”

The book, published by David C. Cook, went on sale to the public just over two weeks ago and already has a following. Kastner’s frequently used term “un-mom” drew followers to a Facebook group titled #UnMom where women post funny and positive pictures or stories about their daily challenges with motherhood.

“Clinging to joy instead of trying to make everything perfect” is how Kastner describes her parenting style as an un-mom—one who loves her kids more than she loves the daily experience of mothering.

While it is branded and sold as a Christian book, “Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet” didn’t start out that way. Kastner said she wrote down challenges she faced when her children were young, and after a long break, the project became a published book.

“It was like therapy for me,” the mother of three said. “I wrote a chapter and just kept going.” Kastner started when her children were babies but put it on hold for a few years. Once she picked it back up, a publisher proposed that she lengthen the story by adding elements of faith.

Now, the chronicles of her seven, nine, and 16 year old sons are bound in a full-length Christian book.

The book is available in-store at Apostle or online at,, or For more information, visit

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