Recently, I sat down with new Christian children’s author, Lauren Nelson to talk about her journey of faith, the process of writing a new children’s book and how using a study Bible impacted her writing process. Below we discuss her new book and how it might be a great match for you and your child.
Tell me about yourself?
My name is Lauren Nelson and I am a mother of two beautiful children; Kyah, who is 8 years old and Noah, who is almost 4 years old. I am married to a pastor and he is my best friend! This past year I became a published author of a children’s book entitled, “SHEroes of the Bible: Women of the Old Testament.” The book is a compilation of 9 stories of 14 women from the Old Testament who trusted God in the midst of some scary situations.
I have always connected with the women from the Old Testament. From the time I was a young child, there was something about their determination, their bravery and courage that I wanted, that I knew was buried somewhere deep within me. I especially connected with the women who were warriors and fought in battles against those who wanted to oppress them. I wanted to be just like them!
Tell me about your walk with Christ and how you came to know Him.
I have had a personal relationship with the Lord for as long as I can remember. God has been my comforter, healer and protector since I was a young child. When I was young (between 4-6 years old), I experienced abuse from some of my extended family members. I was made to believe that I was worthless and that God would be silent and unmoved by my cries for help. But God made himself known to me through the scriptures. He spoke his words of healing, empowerment and hope to me throughout the Bible. Psalm 18 says that my cry reached heaven and that God parted heaven and earth to reach down into the deepest ocean to rescue me from the pain I was living in. It says that He drew me out of deep waters and set my feet upon a rock of safety. It says He equipped my hands for battle – He was making me a SHEro.
He taught me about women in the Bible who trusted in Him and who were brave. They were not worthless and weak as many in that day called them. They found their strength in Him. They knew who they were and whose they were. They loved boldly and faithfully because they were loved first by a big, strong God. How could I not love the Lord and trust Him when He so clearly was with me, strengthening me and making me a SHEro for Him?
What is the story behind how you wrote the book?
About a year ago, I was driving with my daughter, Kyah. We were on our way to church when she gently and curiously said from the backseat, “Mom, I have a question…why are boys more important than girls?” I was stunned and said, “What do you mean?” She said, “It just seems like God thinks boys are more important than girls because all we ever learn about in church are boys.”
Her question ran through my head and my heart for several days. I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something God was saying to me through my daughter’s question. I have always loved the women of the Bible and I was very surprised that my daughter had only heard of a couple of them.
I began to research on the internet to find a children’s book about women from the Bible that my daughter could relate to and enjoy. As I searched, I only found books featuring primarily Caucasian images of biblical women portrayed as princesses. It was important to me to ensure these women of the Bible were portrayed accurately as female heroes, not as princesses, and that girls of all ethnicities would see themselves in the images. Because of the lack of children’s resources, I decided I would retell Kyah the stories of women from the Old Testament who trusted God and did amazing things in their lives because of their love for Him. We called them SHEroes (girls who are heroes!). I began to write out their stories in a fun and dramatic way that Kyah could relate to and she begged me each night for another story. I couldn’t write fast enough for her! And that’s how “SHEroes of the Bible” came to be.
I wanted Kyah to know that the Lord had a personal relationship with each girl in the Bible. God loved to watch them respond in faith and trust Him when He asked them to do something. I wanted Kyah to know her importance as a daughter of God and for her to know that He values girls and has a great plan for their lives, just as He does for boys.
What was the writing process like and how did you accomplish that with all of your other responsibilities in life?
The process went really quick, a total of 8 months; about four months of writing and four months of working with Westbow Press, the self- publishing division of Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. I wrote any chance I had. I wrote when my kids were napping or in the evenings when they were sleeping. God put a passion on my heart and I could not stop writing until the book was finished. I spent hours a day writing or thinking about the book.
Part of the four months with the publisher was spent working with the illustrator. Because it was a children’s book, there needed to be colorful pictures to capture children’s attention. I told the artist my vision and how I wanted the women portrayed. It was a lot of fun seeing my vision come to life in a matter of months!
How did having a study Bible help your writing process?
There is no way that I could have written this book without the aid of a study Bible! It was very important to me to understand the cultural and historical context of each of the women that I wrote about. I wanted the women to come to life and for children to understand them and relate to them in their accurate context. Each study Bible I used were absolutely essential in helping me understand the women of the Bible.
How can people find out more about you and what you are up to?
I have a website in which you can learn more about the book, see illustrations and read an excerpt from the book. I have a passion to share with as many as I can about these amazing women’s stories and if anyone would be interested in having me speak they can contact me through my website!