About the BookBook: Building Character Through Picture Books: 25 Family Devotions Based on Favorite Picture Books Author: Terrie Hellard-Brown Genre: Devotional Release Date: May 27, 2023 Bring the Bible into bedtime. After reading the picture book together, families can read the short devotion, discuss compelling questions (questions for younger and older children provided), and end with prayer together as the children prepare to sleep. The book includes 25 devotions matched with 25 popular and classical picture books. Each devotion includes a section for parents to go further in the discussion or to add an activity to continue the conversation the following day.
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About the AuthorTerrie Hellard-Brown uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on the autism spectrum), 35+ years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 35 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers. She writes and speaks to empower children and adults to embrace everyday discipleship every day. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials. Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her blog discusses living as a disciple of Christ while discipling our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of life to disciple our children.
More from TerrieAs an English teacher, pastor’s wife, and missionary, I LOVE books. I’ve taught every grade from pre-K to community college in my career and taught the Bible to people who didn’t know anything about the Bible or Jesus, and through it all, I’ve come back to the joy of picture books and the simplicity of sharing stories that change lives. Of course, I love teaching Shakespeare, Dickens, and C. S. Lewis, but picture books are still where my heart is. So, it was only natural that I combined my two favorite things: picture books and the Bible. My friends affectionately call me the Picture Book Lady since I have one to offer for almost any topic, event, or purpose. This new devotional book is no different. A dear friend said one day, “You should write a devotional book based on picture books!” Who wouldn’t jump at such a fun project!? I chose some of my favorite picture books where I found connections to Scripture, and I began to write devotions to go along with each book. I wanted to use general market books so that we can use whatever book we’re reading with our children to make spiritual connections and bring in lessons naturally in those teachable moments. That’s how Building Character Through Picture Books was born.
Interview with the Author
Do you read books in this genre? If so, who do you like to read?
I read children’s fiction/Picture Books almost daily for my podcast. My friends call me the Picture Book Lady because whatever we’re talking about, I usually have a picture book for that! On the podcast we talk about picture books and how to use them to disciple and delight our children. Some of my favorites are included in my devotional book. Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang is a favorite, as is Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. I love picture books that a clever, thought-provoking, and funny while either supporting or not contradicting a Christian World View, and by that, I mean a historical Christian Worldview. Many of these stories are timeless and enjoyable for people of any age. Who doesn’t love a meaningful story that only takes a few minutes to read!
As a teacher, I enjoy using picture books to help identify and explain literary devices. As a literature teacher for middle school and high school over the years, and a former kindergarten teacher, it was natural to join the two together. Using picture books allows us as teachers and homeschool parents to easily explain literary devices in a way that is clear for students, and then they can apply their understanding to more challenging, grade-level texts. A couple of favorite books for doing this are My Best Friend by Rob Hodgson for dramatic irony and The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood for introducing conflict.
So, I’m a huge fan of this genre as well as most other genres of literature. Truthfully, I love teaching Shakespeare as much as I love teaching with Picture Books. Great stories change our lives.
What helps you to write? Do you eat snacks, listen to music?
As much as I love to read, I also love to write. I’ve been writing since my second-grade teacher introduced us to poetry and asked us to write a poem. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer. The main thing that helps me to write is having a comfortable place to write where I can think and focus on it. I prefer to type on my laptop. I have some friends who like to curl up on the couch in the early morning hours and hand-write in a notebook. I think that’s a lovely picture, but that’s not me. I prefer to sit in my office that has quotes on the wall from famous authors including C.S. Lewis and Dr. Seuss. It’s a comfortable spot for me to think and create.
If ever I’m stuck or thinking through what I’m writing, I make jewelry. It relaxes me and helps me think while using my hands to create something fun or beautiful. I especially love making wire-wrapped jewelry from beautiful stones. Another activity I use to help me think is book folding. This is where you measure points on the pages of a book and then fold them. When done, I’ve created a picture or a word from the book’s pages. I use old books that would otherwise be thrown away, or I buy books with pretty covers of classic books and create a picture that illustrates that story. It’s a tedious process, but very relaxing, and I love the finished product.
What is your favorite book and why?
The answer I should give is the Bible. It’s the only book I’ve read over and over again and still discovered new understanding each time. Of course, it is the book that is central to everything else. But if is so much more than just a book, a work of literature.
So, if I’m answering the question aside from the Bible, I would probably have to answer The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I find reading Lewis’s work challenging because I don’t agree with all his theology, but I love the way he writes and the conversations that his writing sparks. I love The Last Battle in the series because it reminds me of so many biblical truths: Jesus is going to return, others will try to deceive people and claim to be Christ, and when we die, it is a split second from this world to the next. As hard as that book is to read, and as questionable as some of the theology is, it is also very comforting.
What is your favorite hymn and why?
That’s a tough question! I love “It Is Well” because it is like an anthem of commitment and submission to God and His will and rejoicing in His forgiveness. I love “My Lord Is Near Me All the Time” which is not as well-known, but is a beautiful old hymn. Living in the Midwest where the weather changes all the time and can sometime kill you, I love this reminder that God is always with us and reveals Himself through nature like the Bible says in Romans. I also love two modern hymns from CityAlight: “Your Will Be Done” as a hymn of submission to God, and “There Is One Gospel” which is just some of the best theology I’ve heard in a beautiful hymn in a long time! It celebrates the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross and through His resurrection. The Gospel is so clear in the song. Love, love, love it!
What inspired you to write this book?
I have been writing devotions for years, and I deal with picture books on my podcast each week. A friend said, “You should join them together and write a picture book devotional book!” When she said it, I knew this was the gig for me! I started writing immediately. This book is such a reflection of my heart.
Share with me a few of your favorite things.
I collect bird cages and birds. There was a song back in the 80’s by Joni Eareckson Tada called “Spirit Wings.” As a shy introvert at the time, that song resonated with me. It’s about a caged bird that only sang for God, but He set her free to soar. I loved that she sang of freedom and soaring in Christ while confined to a wheelchair. It’s a powerful testimony. The birdcages remind me of where I was in my fear and sin and how Christ has set me free to share His love with others.
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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To celebrate her tour, Terrie is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift card and paperback copy of book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.