My friend Abbie has written her first children’s book: What is beautiful? She sent me an advanced copy and asked me to write a short blurb. This is what I wrote:

“Reading What is Beautiful? I had the sense that for a few minutes I was back in the Garden of Eden, in the cool of the day on a walk with God. This small book speaks volumes with lyrical prose and engaging illustrations about how we are each made in the Image of God, beloved from the beginning, and unique in our own way. Though a book for the ages, it is a must read right now.”

Obviously I loved it. You must read this book!

I also love hearing about the process for an idea to become a book and asked Abbie if she’s be up for a few questions. She graciously said yes! Yay!

Abbie, what seeds planted the idea that grew into What Is Beautiful?

Honestly one could find plethoras in the soil of my last fifteen years of writing. Both Celibate Sex (through singleness) & Stretch Marks I Wasn’t Expecting (through early marriage & motherhood) spend many’a pages unpacking God’s beauty & “what is beautiful.”

More immediately though, two years back we were hosting friends for New Year’s Eve and decided to have everyone share something “beautiful” & “brutal” from their previous twelve months. On the way to buy food that afternoon, I was sitting at a red-light thinking about the semantics of the word beautiful, when “be-you-to-the-full” felt like it dropped in my lap. That seed has been filling-out ever since.

This is your first children’s book, I imagine it’s different writing a children’s book from your other books. I’m curious how this project was similar to and different from other projects?

Different, indeed! The red-light revelation, plus seventeen lines that came to me in a few hours (versus years) was a distinctly new experience for me. Thus far, my experience of children’s writing seems night and day from grown-up people writing. Truth be told, however, the words and message of What Is Beautiful? had been growing in me for years. 

Although I chuckle and say the children’s book took me only an afternoon to write, it’s important for me to remember that God had been birthing the lines for months and years, and many carry layers of wounds and journeys and hardship (like eating disorders & shame). In other words, I don’t want to underestimate the road that led me to that red-light, prompt thought it was in the moment. 

What is it like working with an illustrator? (Ashley did an amazing job!!) Did you know her? Did the publisher introduce you? Did you finish the words first and then she did the illustrations? So many questions :)!

Oh wow, I don’t know enough about children’s realms to know if this is often the case, but I LOVED working with Ashley. She’s a 20-something bundle of joy with utmost humility and talent, which was blissful to work alongside. Frankly that “working” and friendship were developed by us though, and not necessarily a norm for author / illustrator relationships. Once Parent Cue had my words, that was really all they needed from me; from there, they did all the work of hiring and steering illustrations with Ashley. (And I’d guess stacks of children’s books will be in her future; that girl is gold.)

Any other children’s books in your future?

Haha, not that I know of. For whatever reasons, I’ve not been writing much lately. Hard to fathom any other books on my radar right now, but I’ve been known to say that before.

What is your hope and prayer for What Is Beautiful?

What a lovely question. Unlike other writing and books I’ve done, What Is Beautiful? seems to be connecting with readers who aren’t followers of Christ. It would be my highest honor as an author to hear that someone discovered more about, or maybe even for the first time, truths of God & his beauty through these pages.

Thank you Abbie for offering us a peek behind the curtain!

Abbie’s publisher is sending me a copy to share with one of you! I’ll mail it within the US, so you could get it yourself or win as a present for someone.

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to possibly win of What is Beautiful. Comment ideas: What stood out to you in the interview? How’s the Summer Reading Challenge going (note next Tuesday the 18th is the end!) What’s a favorite children’s book?

See you next week with the Summer Reading Challenge roundup!

Leave A Comment

  1. Hannah August 11, 2020 at 7:39 am - Reply

    As I’ve been reading oodles of books to my toddler these days it was insightful to hear about the process of writing the book! It was a good reminder that some of these books may be years in the making and someone’s heart on the page. Thanks for sharing.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:47 am - Reply

      I find the writing interesting too!

  2. Jo August 11, 2020 at 8:15 am - Reply

    I’m so excited to see and read this book! I have two new grandkids coming and I can’t wait to start reading to them.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Reading to little family members is so fun!!! Enjoy :)

  3. Nita Kulesa August 11, 2020 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Amy … I found the interview with Abbie to be insightful and revealed so much about the author and her writing process through only a few excellent questions! Nicely done! I too want to red this book to grands and great grand!

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Wasn’t Abbie generous and thoughtful with her answers :)!

  4. Lisa Anderson August 11, 2020 at 10:51 am - Reply

    “be-you-to-the-full” Wow! I’ll be thinking about that for a while! :)

  5. Michele August 11, 2020 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Wait- Summer Reading Challenge is over?! I completely missed summer this year. I’m going to have to look back at what I read and see how much of it fit in the challenge categories, because I really didn’t pay attention this year. I did read some good books, though!

    I’m in love with the cover of What is Beautiful? It sounds like a wonderful book and I’m *Lord willing and this third plane ticket actually gets me to America* –going to be homeschooling my grandniece this year, so I’m on the lookout for good children’s books these days!

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      Amy August 11, 2020 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      It’s not over yet :) . . . I bet you’ve read enough to find seven books in seven categories :) . . . be generous with yourself. That’s how I’ve had to approach reading this summer!! Isn’t that cover amazing?!

  6. Elaine August 11, 2020 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Thank you for letting us know about this book! I’m always on the look out for books to read to my son. The cover is beautiful!

    And about the Summer Reading Challenge…..I finally finished my Penalty Book! It had been sitting in my To Be Read pile for 10+years!?! Thank you for the encouragement and incentive to tackle it!

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:49 am - Reply

      I need the penalty book category so much :)!!!!

  7. Jody August 11, 2020 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Amy, this looks like such a good book. I should probably find it for my newest granddaughter and my grandnieces.

    Thanks for sharing it.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:50 am - Reply

      I can picture you reading to your cuties and it makes me smile!

  8. Christi August 12, 2020 at 7:58 am - Reply

    The notion that this book could be an opening to sharing the gopsel with those who aren’t following Christ excites me more than anything! ANY opportunity to reach young and old for Jesus is a resource worth having.

  9. Kim Greene August 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    I really liked how the book is appealing to non-Christians, yet still filled with truth. So many things are dividing us. Thanks for sharing about this book.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:51 am - Reply

      I agree Kim! There are things that unite us, but they aren’t screaming for our attention. Many, like this book, are quietly inviting. I need to look for these invitations instead of only listening to the noise :)!

  10. Paulette Cross August 17, 2020 at 7:20 am - Reply

    What is Beautiful sounds like an amazing book! Might just put it on my “gifts-for-nieces” list!

    A Favorite Children’s book: You Are Special, by Max Lucado.

    Summer Reading Challenge: I was going to end a restful Sunday night by finishing the last 30-some pages of Book #7, Amy! Two days ahead….woohoo! (I normally meet deadlines, but usually in a very last-minute fashion, haha).

    But, lo and behold, Book #7 was nowhere to be found! After over half an hour of searching, I realized I probably left it at my brothers’ English school on Saturday. Hopefully they can find and bring it back tonight, so I can finish the challenge just in time.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:54 am - Reply

      Paulette! :) . . . your comment and the insight the last few days of the challenge makes me smile :)! You are so close, even if your bothers didn’t find it, go ahead and count the book! 30 minutes hunting = time you would have read :)!

  11. Mary Ellen Kelly August 17, 2020 at 9:09 am - Reply

    I believe books are the best gift to give new parents so they can start reading right away to their new loved one. This just might be my go to. Going to order right now on Amazon. Thanks for the insiteful interview of my dear friend Abbie.

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:55 am - Reply

      Mary Ellen! It’s so nice to meet a friend of Abbie’s :).

  12. Amy Large August 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to getting this for my daughter. I always enjoy checking out your recommendations, Amy!

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      Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:56 am - Reply

      Amy, I love that we can stay connected :). Facebook recently popped the memory from the Great Wall where you took my picture with the apple glasses :)

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    Amy August 19, 2020 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Winner has been drawn :). Thanks everyone!

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