Books . . . wonderful, marvelous books! I’ve always loved books. Since I first learned to sound out words I have read pretty much any book I could get my hands on. The magic of getting lost in the make-believe world of a good fiction story or the excitement of reading about someone’s real life adventures always captivated me. Did I like to watch television or see movies? Sure . . . but using my own imagination to create a scene by reading how an author described a place was so much more fun. Imagining how a character’s voice sounded or what she was wearing, what her perfume smelled like and even giving her little mannerisms made the story more “mine.” I often got so lost in books that I read for hours on end and of course, when I finished a great book I actually missed the characters. My mom used to say that I even had a book with me when I went out to play third base for our local softball team. That may have been an exaggeration . . . but not by much!
I remember the excitement that came from reading biographies of people such as Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Frank, and many others who lived their lives in ways that helped others or moved society forward. The librarian in the little, well-stocked library of my small town knew me by name as I trekked in there every Saturday to return one stack of books and check out another. I couldn’t wait to get home and dive in to new adventures!
I truly believe that reading is one of the most important things a child must learn. It’s not possible to be a good writer if you aren’t a good reader. Reading helps you learn to appreciate the way that different writers put words together, and that teaches you to read your own creations with an objective eye and from the reader’s viewpoint. That becomes important, when as a student, you must write papers that make sense to a teacher who can’t see inside your thoughts.
When I accepted Christ I began reading the Bible. Its stories of people living for God, working through their problems, and seeing God’s hand and leadership in their lives became very important to me. However, when Dr. Kenneth Taylor wrote The Living Bible, those stories became so much easier to understand. Today, I pretty much exclusively use Tyndale’s New Living Translation when I’m writing and speaking because it’s true to the original text but written in a conversational way that makes it easy to understand. This is especially important when I’m writing for children.
You never know what God has planned for your life. He used my love for words to lead me to tell the stories of the Bible in a way that makes them understandable to children and young teens. I enjoyed writing Princess Stories: Real Bible Stories of God’s Princesses because the role model characteristics drawn from the amazing women of the Bible lead to positive self-image for young girls who read these stories and adapt those characteristics to their own lives.
Stories are so important. The stories of the people who lived the experiences of the Bible show us how they learned, struggled, and saw God’s hand in their lives. Our own stories are important to share, too, because they help others know they aren’t the only ones who have struggles and are growing in their walk with Christ.
So, a few tips on keeping stories alive:
-Read stories that will grow your walk with Jesus.
-Write your stories down.
-Share stories with your children to teach them about God and living for him.