tracey madder Posts

Teach Kids About the Power of Prayer with the Prayer Monsters Series by Tracey Madder

Tyndale Kids

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My daughter, Kiera, was the inspiration behind the Prayer Monsters. Kiera suffered from bedtime anxiety when she was younger. She would come to us each night with a million worries, thoughts, and fears running through her head. I would take Kiera’s hand and lead her back to her bedroom. Then, we would discuss her worries and pray about them. I told her, “If you hand all of these worries and fears over to God, he will take care of them for you. Then, you will never have to worry about them again.”

The wonderful thing about children is their unwavering faith. Together, Kiera and I would pray. Then we would physically toss each worry up to God so he could take care of them for her. When I saw what a powerful and profound effect prayer had on my child, I knew I had to share this with other parents. Prayer completely eliminated all of her fears.

bedtime-anxiety

I am often asked why I chose a monster family as the books’ characters. The reason is really a combination of things. At that time, Kiera had a fear of monsters, as most children ages four to seven do. Before turning out the lights at night, she wanted me to check under the bed and in the closet.

I also believe God placed the term Prayer Monsters in my head then basically harassed me until I used it! Just kidding! But I did feel a very strong calling by God to use the phrase Prayer Monsters. I was writing a book series for kids to help them with their fears. How could I ignore the fear of monsters? The more I thought about it, it was so wonderfully ironic.

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Why do monsters have to be scary? Why can’t monsters be friendly, lovable, and have a strong faith in our amazing God? My choice of monsters as characters has become a highly debated topic. Someone recently said to me, “No thanks, I’ll stick with veggies and bears.” That made me laugh. Aren’t bears scary? And after all, Pixar’s movie Monsters Inc. generated $577 million dollars in worldwide sales. Apparently, kids are not afraid of friendly illustrated monsters!

About a week after sitting on the Prayer Monsters idea, I attended a charity event at the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The speaker for the evening was Richard DeVos, cofounder of Amway. In his speech that evening, Richard said, “If there is someone in the audience right now that has an idea for something, go home and start on it immediately.” He said, “Don’t wait. If you wait until you know everything about how to do that idea, you will never do it. You have to learn along the way.”

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I felt immediately convicted by God and as if Richard were speaking directly to me. I had never written a book before. But I went home that evening and wrote the Prayer Monsters books. I pitched the idea to publishers a week later and had multiple offers for a book deal. I did not even have a literary agent. Truly, God had a hand in this.

Prayer Monsters is such a great book series, and I am extremely proud of it. Each book centers around a particular problem or situation a child might face, and that problem is always resolved with prayer. It could be a prayer of forgiveness, a prayer of healing, or a prayer for guidance. The objective is to teach children to pray about anything and everything!

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6-7).

I want kids to learn from an early age that they can go to God with everything. There are also a lot of character–building themes in the storylines. I am a mother of four children. I wrote a series I wanted my kids and future grandkids to read. And when life is difficult for my kids—no matter what age they are—I hope they always turn to God through prayer.


Tracey Madder began her career in the entertainment industry as a model, actress, and photographer. She has a BA in Communication from the University of Pittsburgh and has also worked in marketing and sales. Tracey is the owner of Super Faith LLC and Bus Stop Bible LLC, companies that create faith-based products for children. She is also the author of a children’s Bible story book and the Super Faith Blog, a Christian blog for families that inspires grown-ups and kids to “Be Super,” promoting character building and virtue. However, it is the title of stay-at-home mom that Tracey is most proud of. Married to her high-school sweetheart, Tracey has four little monsters of her own. Inspired by her daughter’s bedtime anxieties, Tracey created the Prayer Monsters to help children learn to pray and hand their worries over to God.

Ebenezer: Memorial Stones to Guide Our Children by Sarah Rubio

Tyndale Kids

memorial-wreath

Monday, we will celebrate Memorial Day. If you visit or drive by a cemetery or war monument, you’ll see wreaths and flowers laid to honor and you’ll remember those who sacrificed their lives while serving in our country’s armed forces. These flowers, and the stones they decorate, serve as memorials—reminders—to those of us who have benefited from that sacrifice.

Thinking about memorials reminds me of my favorite biblical monument, the one Israel’s last judge, Samuel, called Ebenezer: “Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means ‘the stone of help’), for he said, ‘Up to this point the Lord has helped us!’” (1 Samuel 7:12).

ebenezer-stone

The Ebenezer monument commemorates a miraculous victory God won for his people against one of their greatest enemies, the Philistines (see 1 Samuel 7:3-13). Following Samuel’s instructions, the Israelites had gathered at Mizpah to recommit themselves to God. The Philistines got word of this convocation and decided to attack. The terrified Israelites begged God to save them, and the Lord responded in dramatic fashion: “The Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them” (1 Samuel 7:10). After the battle, Samuel set up the Ebenezer stone to remind Israel of their God’s faithfulness.

I think remembrance is one of the most important reasons we start recounting the Bible’s historical narratives to our children from such a young age—not just because they are entertaining, or an engaging entry point into Scripture, but because of what they help us remember about God. The creation account reminds us that God is our Source, that he is joyful and creative, that he delights in what he has made. The story of Noah and the Flood reminds us that God preserves even as he purifies. In the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac, we remember that God provides (see Genesis 22:14); his provision of a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s place foreshadows his greatest provision of all—Jesus, the perfect sacrifice and substitute.

It has been my privilege in recent years to edit some beautiful Bible storybooks for Tyndale Kids—books that I use to set up “memorial stones” for my own children, and that I hope and pray will become such memorials for thousands of other parents and children. Here are some of my favorites:

 

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God Made the World by Sarah Jean Collins—Author/illustrator Sarah Jean Collins celebrates God’s artistry with her beautiful geometric illustrations. The fun shapes and bright colors are a feast for grown-up and tiny eyes alike, and the sturdy board-book pages are easy for little hands to turn. This is the perfect first Bible storybook for babies and toddlers. (Releasing October 2017.)

 

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The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower—These four cumulative rhyming stories (The Beautiful Garden of Eden, A Patch on the Peak of Ararat, The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt, and The Frightening Philippi Jail) commemorate big moments in the history of God’s people in a fresh way. Each book points the reader back to the Book with a key Scripture verse and a reference to the entire passage the story is taken from.

 

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The Story Travelers Bible by Tracey Madder—This 85-story volume is a great entry into the world of the Bible for young grade-schoolers. Kids join Lana, Munch, and Griffin on an epic adventure to find out more about the people, places, and events of the Bible. The book includes informational features, application points, and memory verses to help kids go deeper, and each story includes its biblical source reference.

It is good and right for us to place or contemplate one of the memorials honoring our fallen soldiers this weekend. But I pray that you will also take some time to place a memorial of God’s faithfulness in the life of a child dear to you. “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”—and because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)—we know that he will help us through every point ahead.


sarah-rubioEditor Sarah Rubio grew up as a missionary kid in Ecuador and holds a bachelor of arts in communication from Wheaton College. She joined Tyndale’s editorial team in 2007, working mainly on Spanish books until transitioning to English nonfiction and children’s in 2014. One of the first Tyndale products she encountered was a One Year Bible that her father read with her every year from the age of eight to eighteen. Sarah loves challenging authors to be better writers while they’re challenging her with the ideas in their books. She lives in Chicago’s northwest suburbs with her husband and children.


Find more #tyndalekids books today for your young readers at tyndale.com/youth.


 

Have a Family Fun Night with The Story Travelers Bible!

In The Story Travelers Bible, the Story Travelers—Lana Griffin and Munch—hop on an extraordinary bus and take a tour through some of the greatest stories in the Bible.

The kids watch Noah build his ark, see Moses discover the burning bush, and stand on the shore as John baptizes Jesus.

If you don’t have a time-traveling bus like the Story Travelers, you can still take your kids on a trip through Bible times with a family fun night!

Make biblical foods, turn your living room into a game board with The Story Travelers Printable Game, and then finish up with a bedtime story from the book.

For biblical foods, make authentic Middle Eastern food like lentil stew and roast fish, or try some themed food like “quail and manna” chicken and dumplings or some “locust and honey” sweet rolls. Hummus and pita bread are simple and always a win with kids! 

Then, download and print the Story Travelers game. You and your kids are the pieces in this game where the players must act out Bible events to make it to the finish line.

You can make the game as long or as short as you want by printing out extra blank spaces!

The game could go over furniture, under tables, up stairs, or even outside!

Finish your night with a bedtime story from The Story Travelers Bible.

Choose a favorite story, or pick the one that your kids had the most fun acting out.


What to Eat:


What to Play:


What to Read:

Read a story from The Story Travelers Bible that goes along with one of the night’s activities, or pick one of these classic favorites!

  • “An Overnight Stop in the Den of Lions,” p. 163
  • “A Very Long Walk for a Queen,” p. 167
  • “Staying with Friends,” p. 239
  • “Children Welcome,” p. 243

We’d love to see your kids playing The Story Travelers Game! Tag #tyndalekids when you share photos on social media!