It's finally here! My picture book birthday. God's Earth is Something to Fight For (Sunbeam/Bushel & Peck Books) is out in the world! Would you celebrate with me?
Author/illustrator Miriam Arnold contacted me after reading my faith-based picture book, God's Protection Covers Me. Miriam had written a picture book, A Thick Whisper of Grace. In it, Moses tells God he is not worthy. On my favorite page God tell Moses:
"I know who you are.
I know where you've been.
I know what you've done.
I know of your sin."
It’s a story of acceptance, grace, and redemption. The story is told in rhyme and Miriam created the adorable characters and the brilliant burning bush.
I’d like to share Miriam’s self-publishing journey. She told me:
“I wrote and illustrated the book myself. It has been a 3-year journey—gaining and losing momentum at different times because I was overly concerned with the opinions of others. It was not until the end of last year that God finally convicted me of my inaction and I began the publishing process. I had a couple of friends that had published works through Amazon, so I thought that that would be a good place to start.
“I was primarily inspired by my own spiritual journey.
“About 5 years ago I was pretty unwell. Hair falling out. Panic attacks. The whole nine yards. The core lies that took root in my childhood had begotten many outwardly good, but inwardly toxic coping mechanisms. From the outside, I was killing it. Working hard. Juggling all of my responsibilities without breaking a sweat. Being everything to everyone in every situation. On the inside, I was drowning. Striving for approval. Trying to create my own worth. Simultaneously hoping someone would tell me that I was amazing while knowing full well that I would never believe it when they did. An empty bucket, full of holes, begging for more water.
My worldview needed a remodel, so I went to therapy. Part of the healing that God orchestrated in therapy involved thinking through what I would want my 5, 10, and 15-year-old selves to know if I were able to communicate with them. That was when I started feeling a nudge to write a book. I couldn't go back in time, but I would write something that could help other 5, 10 and 15-year-olds (maybe even some adults).”
Miriam’s journey parallels Moses. How wonderful she could take her struggles and create a book!
This sweet, inspiring, new picture book, Dear Mama God, refers to God as "Mama." I have traditional views, but am learning how to be open to different interpretations of God. Dear Mama God, by Daneen Akers with incredible art by Gillian Eilidh O’Mara, is an expansive, child's prayer of wonder, delight & gratitude addressed to God as Mama. Dear Mama God embodies the peace and comfort of God's motherly love. I'm being stretched by this new vision of God as Mother. The author, Daneen Akers, explains: “God isn't gendered, yet for too long we've exclusively used masculine language and metaphors, and this has harmed all of us. It's entirely scriptural too--Jewish and Christian scriptures have numerous references and images of a mothering, nurturing, and feminine God.” I received a complimentary copy of the book to help promote it. I gave it to my granddaughter. While the concept of God as Mama is included, the focus of the book is the prayer.
This new board book, My Tender Heart Bible, by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Sandra Eide, is written for young children. Fun rhymes employ onomatopoeia, alliteration, and imagery to create a clear, simple message so little ones can understand and remember. Twelve Bible stories, six from the Old Testament and six from the New Testament, are included. The Old Testament stories feature: creation, Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, manna, and Esther. The New Testament stories feature: Jesus’ birth, baptism, donkey ride to Jerusalem, the Easter story, and more. Each one ends with a simple prayer of thanks, the “heart” message. This book is a wonderful addition to Laura Sassi’s other faith-based books. It’s a special way to share the Bible with children and let them know how much God loves them. I was given a free digital copy to help promote Laura's book. I highly recommend it!
A precious new picture book, The Mouse in the Manger, retells the nativity story from the perspective of someone who is small and helpless. That’s one reason children like mice characters. Children sometimes feel that way. The book asks a question we ask ourselves. What can we give? What is worthy enough to give the Christ child? (I won’t spoil it by telling you the mouse’s special gift.) Authors Eric and Meredith Schrotenboer gentle rhymes give this story a new perspective. They add cultural and historical significance to the setting in the story and include information in the backmatter. Bathed in softness and light, the artistic illustrations by Wolfordeer Colony Studios pull back the curtain and let the reader glimpse at that fateful night. This book will be enjoyed by families every Christmas. I was given access to a digital copy to write this review, and I’m so glad I was! The mouse learned, “No matter how small you are, you can still make a big difference!”
The adorable illustrations by Gabi Murphy in Laura Sassi’s new board book, Happy Birthday Christmas Child, make you want to hug it. They are charming! The artwork is perfectly paired with Laura’s fun rhymes. She tells the nativity story in an engaging way by counting the shepherds, the angels, and more. Numbers are interspersed with rhyming verses so you might not notice them (except for the bold type). The sweet story is perfect for young children.
Characters include mice and spiders in the manger—of course, there must have been! Telling about the birth of Jesus will delight the whole family. I had a hard time choosing my favorite verse, but finally decided on the angels:
Eight angels fill the sky with light
and sing, “Good news! This holy night
to you is born God’s precious son.
You’ll find him in a manger. Run!”
I was given access to a digital copy to write this review. Highly recommended to read this Christmas season with your little ones!
This is a really sweet book with a great lesson from the Bible. I love the positive relationship between Oliver and his mother. She shows wisdom and kindness and helps Oliver in this "teachable moment." I really enjoyed reading it. I think it would be perfect read in a Sunday school setting as an extension of a Bible reading or at home as a family. The illustrations are charming. I was given an advanced digital copy of this book to help the author, Barb Seregi, promote it. What a great addition to her series!
As a grandmother of three grade school age children, twin boys and a girl, I've observed their struggles with big feelings and would love to help them learn how to cope. I can't wait to share Valerie Coulman's book, Dragons on the Inside (And Other Big Feelings), with them! Valerie uses ordinary, daily experiences--exactly the ones my grandchildren are experiencing--like playing soccer on a team for the first time and moving to a new place, attending a new school. I love the way Valerie includes what's going on "on the outside" and "on the inside."
The analogies, a dragon, a roller coaster, a walrus, and more are so relatable and fun.Artist Alexandra Colombo's warm, wonderful, colorful illustrations help to bring the boy's story to life. And the focus isn't just on experiencing bad feelings, but good feelings, too, like the happiness of making a new friend. Helpful parent pages are included at the end, "Talking to Children About Emotions." I was given a complimentary copy of this book to help promote it, and I'm so glad I did! Children today have to cope with so much, and this book will help start a conversation and a road to understand. I highly recommend it!
From my 5-star Amazon book review: I love this precious picture book, God Made You Too! This book helps children know how special they are. After God created outer space, Earth, and the sea, he wasn’t done—YOU are his most awesome creation! Author Chelsea Tornetto wrote fun, descriptive rhyme children will love: “The God who made the octopus and taught the hawk to soar; the one who made the peacock’s tail and gave the lion its roar…” Illustrations by Kimberley Barnes are colorful, endearing, and active works of art. This would be perfect to give as a baby shower gift or preschool age child. I’m so glad I was given access to a digital copy of this book to write my review. Hurrah for Chelsea and her picture book debut! –Amy Houts, Christian Q&A Book for Kids
I love reading and reviewing picture books!