People say that becoming a mom changes everything. I definitely found this to be true. I have always loved art and creating things, and when my daughter Campbell arrived, even this artistic area of my life was influenced. Campbell was a lot like most babies when it comes to books. She loved them from the time she could grab one and use it as a teether. As she got older, it was fascinating to see her engage with the stories I read aloud and to watch the way the artwork caught her eye. She particularly loved books that rhymed, such as Goodnight Moon, Dr. Seuss books, and the Madeline series. When she was about eighteen months old, I could read any line of a book, and she would be able to say the last word. Even though she could not speak in sentences, she was beginning to understand and really absorb what I was reading to her.
This is when I started to think about writing and illustrating my own children’s book. I thought it would be great if I could write a Bible story for kids that contained all the elements that really caught my own daughter’s attention. I wanted to write something geared toward her age group at the time—a story that was short enough to hold her attention span, but also memorable. I knew I would want the story to rhyme because rhyming books held her interest the most. I was nearing the completion of a degree in graphic design and had come to really love illustration. The thought of illustrating an entire children’s book seemed like a huge undertaking, but also an incredible amount of fun.
I was very excited about the idea, but I did not work up the courage to even attempt it for about six months! At this point, Campbell was two and was enjoying books even more. One day, during her nap, I decided to get started. I felt that the story of creation was the one I should tell. It seemed intuitive, not only because it is the first story in the Bible, but also because I believe it is extremely important for children today to know that God made the world. I also knew it would be both fun and challenging to illustrate this story. After I finished writing it, I immediately began working on the pictures. My goal was to make the artwork appealing to both kids and their parents. I wanted the pictures to be modern and sometimes abstract, but also colorful and childlike. Each page presented a new challenge as I tried to incorporate these elements and still effectively portray the story.
My hope for this book is that it will tell the story of how God created the world in a way that young children can begin to absorb the wonder of these events. I also hope the book is something both parents and kids will enjoy. Since I began this creative process, I’ve had another baby, a little boy named Houston. I am so excited to share this book with both of my kids, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to share it with the children who are special to you, as well!
From now through October 31, 2017, when you buy God Made the World at Tyndale.com using the code GIVEABOOK, Tyndale House Publishers will donate a copy to kids in need. It’s that simple.
Sarah Jean Collins is an artist and graphic designer from Bradenton, Florida. She graduated from Samford University in 2008 with a BA in history. Three years later, she decided to go back to school to pursue her lifelong love of art by obtaining an AS degree in graphic design from State College of Florida. While in school, Sarah Jean realized that she is passionate about illustration. She is inspired by minimalism, world cultures, and life on the Gulf of Mexico. In 2012, her design was used for the 30th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival T-shirt and poster. She and her husband, Tim, have two children.