Covid has become the topic of conversation for months now, causing fear, stress, and disruption to so many people’s lives. Along with health and economic concerns, a lot of parents outside of the homeschooling community are now dealing with a whole new world of educating their own children.
In some instances, I’ve heard parents sharing their new love for educating their children. Even though remote learning through their children’s schools have not been ideal, their quarantine-schooling experience has them seriously contemplating fully homeschooling their children. In other scenarios, the prospect of sending children into a “new normal” world of schooling with masks and social distancing—among other concerning Covid guidelines—have encouraged parents to choose the homeschooling route also.
Are you one of these parents?
Regardless of why you may have decided to home-school, you’re probably looking for some guidance. After-all, September will soon be upon us, and decisions must be made.
There is an untold number of resources online, so many homeschooling parents offering advice, and so many curriculum to choose from. And while homeschooling can be rewarding and enriching, the prospect can be extremely overwhelming. It can also feel isolating as you try to determine which direction to go in.
But you don’t have to fret! You’re not alone! In fact, there is such a thing as a home-school community that is welcoming and excited to share ideas and tips and advice on how to navigate the homeschooling world. And the beauty of it all is that there is no one way to home-school. Which is cool, because there is no one kinda kid!
Any other year, homeschooling conferences would be offered in a city near you, with speakers and vendors eager to assist—well, maybe not every city—but Covid has caused all conferences to cancel their events or go online, such as The Catholic Homeschool Conference. Whether you’re a novice homeschooling parent, a veteran, or someone just looking for information on homeschooling in general, this conference is for you.
The Catholic Homeschool Conference is a 3-day online event June 25 – 27, offering 30+ speakers, curriculum ideas, and an Exhibitor Hall where you will find more information on vendors and resources such as Catholic Teen Books. I’m excited to add that fellow Catholic Teen Books author Corinna Turner and I will both be speaking. My topic will be on “Using Fiction to Instill Character and Virtue,” a subject I feel strongly about, not just as an author of fiction for teens and young adults, but also as a homeschooling parent of four children.
The awesome part about this online event is that you can access the conference and talks from June 25 – 27 completely free!!
Let’s be honest, consuming all that info in three days can be overwhelming in itself, so having this access for a WHOLE YEAR is awesome. You can check out all the speakers at your own pace, even re-listen to your favorite, plus have access to the exhibitor hall for a year. The price for this access does go up after the 3 day conference, so check out the different pricing and accessibility here.
As I mentioned above, Catholic Teen Books will be part of the Exhibitor Hall, so look out for us there and check out our page, learn more about who we are and our mission, and sign up for our giveaway!
I’m an author of Catholic fiction for teens. I’m a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and CatholicTeenBooks.com. I’ve received pretty awesome reviews for my novels and even an endorsement from Evangelist Alveda C. King and a first place CPA award for my pro-life novel, For Eden’s Sake. But if truth be told, my novels are not in high demand. And I’m not the only Catholic fiction author feeling the chill. Authors who I consider far better than I am are struggling to find the audience they’re writing for.
Around the time I wrote my first novel The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, I remember the cry of many a Catholic complaining that there just wasn’t enough good Catholic fiction out there, above and beyond the usual Chesterton/Tolkien offering. It was true. My desire was to make that change in that regard. Many of the authors I know did too.
Catholic fiction for teens is not an easy genre to write, not because it’s difficult to write, I love it. God picked it for me and it’s my ministry. But like all things Christian . . . music, movies, etc . . . Catholic fiction is not a popular genre. This makes it all the more discouraging for writers like me who have more than just a story to tell.
With an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, you’d think there’d be a high demand for Catholic fiction for teens. You’d think Catholic parents would be rapidly sourcing these books out . . . at least once the usual classics have been exhausted. And especially since many of the teen struggles of today go above and beyond the scope of the classics, concerning issues that I can almost bet Tolkien didn’t see coming. But sadly, no. The secular stories still prevail, and with them, a message often lacking God’s word that Catholics are supposed to thrive on . . . especially teens, who are soon expected to leave the security of the nest and enter an unforgiving, faith-lacking, temptation-saturated world. Such a sad revelation.
Did I pick the wrong genre? I can easily write dark novels with tainted albeit likable characters, devoid of redemptive desires, but elevate them to positions of admiration and envy. I can write shallow tales of empty love, including scenes frenzied by desires of the flesh. I can write wicked stories, saturated in adventure, but bereft of light. They don’t even have to be masterfully written stories in order to gain momentum, as we’ve often seen far less exalted to supreme status simply for their perfectly progressive slant. And all these stories would probably get way more recognition, pleasing the social justice warrior to no end. But none of them would be the Lord’s.
It’s also been suggested to me that I should nix the “Catholic” in my fiction. That it discourages readers, and it may be more appealing to a wider audience if I just write the story and not focus it to a specific denomination. But the point of my ministry is that it demonstrates how teens and young adults navigate the world while still living as a Catholic. It’s not easy. We are all flawed, living in an imperfect world that’s saturated in temptation. As adults, we know that to be true. Which is why teens need all the help that they can get.
No. I cannot hide the Catholic in my stories. God picked Catholic fiction for me. It’s my ministry. Teens need it. So, I write on, along with my fellow Catholic fiction authors, touting the goods inspired by a good and loving God who shares His truth with our words. Yet, always wondering where all the Catholics are!
I don’t expect Catholic fiction to surpass secular . . . although, wouldn’t that be an amazing feat? And, boy, would the world be better for it. But with so many awesome stories out there, wrapped in God’s amazing Grace, I do urge young readers to give it a go, and parents to encourage it! Teens may just fall in love with it. It may just be the guidance they need.
Have you considered inviting an author to speak to your students?
One of the highlights of what I do is speak directly to young readers of my novels. As some of you know, I’ve written about these visits and how it’s such a wonderful experience. And I’ve also heard directly from the students who have expressed their appreciation at the opportunity to discuss the stories, as well as the characters that they’ve come to know.
Author visits are extremely valuable to the author and the students, and this month, you can read more about this amazing opportunity, including my own personal experience and advice—and that of some other amazing authors—in the summer edition of Today’s Catholic Teacher. The article, “Bring an Author to School,” profiles the benefits of inviting authors to schools to speak directly to the students. Whether via in-person visits or virtual, teachers can add a valuable dimension to a their language arts curriculum. Check out the article and see which other authors are available for school visits!
Fiction can have a huge influence in a person’s life, but much more so in a child’s.
Teens deal with a multitude of struggles, from fitting in to dealing with bullying, from friendships to relationships, and so many others in between. Teen years are one of the most difficult, especially in the current state of our society. And when it comes to Catholic teens, there’s the added concern of dealing with all these issues while remaining true to the faith. With so much pressure from society, parents, and peers, it’s hardly surprising that teens get lost in the world.
Fiction can make or break a teen in such situations, especially if they can relate to a character or admire one. We’ve seen it ourselves with stories that have had a negative impact on teens, encouraging them to be more violent or promiscuous, or to follow the world or lose hope altogether. And with the literary offerings focused more and more on spreading worldly views and lifestyles, we at Catholic Teen Books feel it necessary to write more stories with characters that radiate God’s Word, inspiring good morals and virtues. In a variety of genres, these stories provide real life situations that teens can relate to, characters that, although flawed, find hope in a dark world. Read more…
An odd surge filled my heart as I looked at him, sitting there in that chair: so old; so evil; so broken; so… alone. A warmth. A caring. A… love. I loved him. Just another poor sinner who need my care…
SAFETY IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DANGER, BUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
Fr Kyle Verrall is living a quiet life as a parish priest in Africa when he’s snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on taking revenge on the famous Margaret Verrall by killing her brother, just as slowly and horribly as he can.
What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenseless—or so Reginald Hill believes.
But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it.
Is Reginald Hill really the hunter?
Or is he the hunted?
In this new I Am Margaret installment, Margaret’s brother, Kyle, is a priest in Africa. But after being kidnapped by the notorious—and heartless—Reginald Hill, he’s pushed to his limit. Will he betray God in the midst of his suffering?
It’s not often that a story remains in my mind. There are a few that I’ll never forget even though it’s been years since I read them. Henry James’ “The Beast in the Jungle” and C. S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce,” and now Corinna Turner’s The Siege of Reginald Hill. An extremely powerful example of what it really means to love our enemies, this novel provokes a whirlwind of emotions. Turner is an amazing storyteller who really delves into the souls of her characters and then relays their every emotion so that we too can connect with them and empathize with their plight.
Sharing God’s love and amazing forgiveness, Turner reminds all Catholics about the depths we must all go to sacrifice in order to really love. I highly recommend this story to young adults!
Check it out below: Buy Now, Blog Tour Schedule, About the Author, and find Corinna Turner on the the web and social media.
CORINNA TURNER has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She has an MA in English from Oxford University, but has foolishly gone on to work with both children and animals! Juggling work with the disabled and being a midwife to sheep, she spends as much time as she can in a little hut at the bottom of the garden, writing.
She is a Catholic Christian with roots in the Methodist and Anglican churches. A keen cinema-goer, she lives in the UK with her classic campervan ‘Toby’ (short for Tobias!), her larger and more expensive substitute for her lovely Giant African Land Snail, Peter, who sadly passed away in October 2016.
The world continues to press in on Gabriel Livingstone’s quiet life when fifteen-year-old Aaron Buckley enters Yeung’s Martial Arts Studio looking to learn kung-fu. Gabriel knows there’s a desperate secret behind the boy’s bruises, and secretly vows to be his guard, with the help of his friend Christian. But when Tanner Rose pressures him for strength and direction, and Faith’s continued rebellion send him and his friends to the hospital, jeopardizing Tanner’s career, Gabriel is forced to reexamine his decisions. Is he called to the priesthood or is life behind the monastery walls merely an escape?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
(Ephesians 6:10-11 RSVCE)
Sixteen-year-old Eve Donahue’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man.
Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainness to convince his father to run for political office.
When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. As they follow century old clues, they realize God can call us all in big and small ways. We just need to listen and say “Yes Lord, I will go where You lead.”
Leslea Wahl’s newest release Where You Lead is a fun adventure that takes the reader on an exciting journey through American history. With colorful characters, witty dialogue, and a search for lost treasure, Wahl knows how to keep the reader on the edge of his seat. My favorite character was the grumpy elderly neighbor, and the interaction between her and the main character Eve was very entertaining.
A suspenseful mystery with tons of twists and turns and a dollop of romance, Where You Lead is a wonderful reminder that God has a plan, and if you follow His will, He will lead you to where you are needed most. What a great addition this book would be to a home-school history curriculum.
WHERE YOU LEAD for HOME-SCHOOL HISTORY
Where You Lead is a fun, adventurous YA novel filled with mystery, Christian values, and could be a great book to add to lesson plans about American history. The story is set in Washington DC and is full of ideas for students to explore. Here are a few to consider.
1 – In the book, the main characters set out on a treasure hunt for lost confederate gold. Students could investigate the different aspects of the civil war.
2 – Eve and Nick become involved with someone who lives in one of the embassies along Embassy Row. Students could explore the rich history of these grand manors in Washington DC and how they became embassies. They could even choose a country to research.
3 – One of the prominent buildings in the story is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Students could study President Kennedy and even why this theater was dedicated to his memory.
4 – There are many locations that Nick and Eve visit that are named after famous people from our past. Students could choose one to research: The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The Francis Scott Key Bridge, Roosevelt Island, Jefferson Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museum.
I’m Leslea Wahl. For as long as I can remember I have been a creator of stories with ideas swirling through my head. I am thrilled now to be able to share some of them with others. For many years I have been driven by a belief that our purpose in life is to use our gifts to glorify God and lead others to Him. I am blessed to have found a way to intertwine my two passions by creating adventurous stories with positive Christian messages for today’s youth. Not only do I hope to entertain with my writing, but also to inspire others to find their gifts as well.
After my visit to Miss Abramson’s sixth grade class to talk about their assigned book, The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, I received some awesome letters from the students. Wow! I wish I could share them all with you. I loved every single one and really appreciate the time the children took to write to me. I feel so blessed because, as a writer, I seldom hear back from my readers. I write for the Lord, sharing His word, with the hope that I inspire my readers and really strengthen their faith. I don’t always know whether I’m doing that. But in the case of these letters, I feel so humbled and blessed that God was able to speak to many of these readers through this story. It’s really the reason why I write.
The reason why I want to share these letters with you is because I feel that as parents, we often make book choices for our children based on other parents’ suggestions. But a child’s feedback, I feel, is so much more valuable. Here are just snippets of the letters!
God is good!
Dear T. M. Gaouette
“Your book is one of my favorite books and the whole class is waiting for a second book.” (Ben)
“The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is one of the best books I have ever read. If there is a sequel, I would read it in a heartbeat.” (Aidan)
“Thank you for letting us ask as many questions as we could in the short time we had. I learned a lot from you and your book. Your book had a very strong effect on me and m classmates. I absolutely fell in love with your writing, it was unlike any of the other books I have read.” (Hayley)
“Thank you so much for answering all my questions. I’m so glad you came in! It made me so happy.” (Adam)
“Your book was very fun to read and kept us all on the edge of our seats! Without Mrs. A, I would’ve never thought to read that book because I’m mostly interested in fantasy books, but reading that book helped expand my interest.” (Jagger)
“Thank you for visiting us! I enjoyed your time here, your questions to us, and answers to our questions! The blog post…I loved it!!! You were very understanding, and very outgoing! Not a lot of people take time out of their day to talk to 6th graders. I found that very awesome!” (Audrey)
“I want to read some of your other books in the future!” (Dani)
“I learned so much about your thought process and other authors’ thought processes in general. The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch taught me so much about love, trust, and above all, God…The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch is hands down amazing.” (Susan)
“I loved your enthusiasm while you talked about the book. It really made me want to talk about it more.” (Sam)
“The way you spoke about God, faith, and trust really inspires me. The novel was a page-turner, for I never wanted to put the book down! I believe that God has blessed you with an amazing talent in literature.” (Aimee)
“Thank you for coming into 6A. It was a very amazing experience, and enjoyable time as well. This book was one that no one could put down. It was very kind of you to come and answer our questions.” (Alivia)
“My name’s Francesca, I’m going to be a nun, so don’t fall in love with me.”
Watch the clip below to find out what this statement is all about, how it relates to our recently released anthology SECRETS: VISIBLE & INVISIBLE, how dreams, aspirations, and God’s will fit into the equation, and what each of the contributing authors wanted to be when they were teens! (One wanted to be a fighter pilot!)
Trust me! There is a connection. A point will be made. And secrets will be shared.
Secrets: Visible & Invisible
by Corinna Turner, Cynthia T. Toney, Theresa Linden, Susan Peek, T.M. Gaouette, Carolyn Astfalk, and Leslea Wahl
A collection of short stories by seven CatholicTeenBooks.com authors. As described by Mark Hart of Life Teen International, who provides the foreword, “Each story reveals something different about the human heart and our constant (though, often veiled) desire for truth and virtue.”
Secret (n.) – something kept hidden from knowledge or view; a mystery.
In a dystopian future, an innocent picnic turns deadly!
Elijah knows nothing of an elderly stranger’s secret past—until her disappearance changes everything.
A mysterious, ever-changing painting alarms a group of teens.
A cannonball took Dario’s legs . . . Will he lose his soul too?
The arrival of a mysterious girl challenges everything about Jason’s life.
An unlicensed driver. His dad’s truck. What could possibly go wrong?
An old tale of murder and forbidden love leads to a modern-day treasure hunt.
“For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17 RSV-CE)
“There is a little something for everyone in Secrets, a short-story anthology for Catholic teens. Seven authors cover an array of genres, including dystopian, historical fiction, and romance, while masterfully developing interesting characters and meaningful storylines. Faith is thoughtfully woven into the plots that also creatively incorporate mystery, intrigue, and heart-felt emotion. Fans of these Catholic teen authors will appreciate reading new stories about familiar characters. And first-time readers will be eager to read more in the full-length novels by their new favorite authors.”
“This anthology of short stories for Catholic teenagers is a true literary treasure. It provides genres for every type of reader, each so well written that the reader is invited to fully escape into many different worlds and places. The short stories will take its readers to dystopian Europe, high school hallways, a city block in summer, and a soldier’s medical ward in 16th-century Italy, just to name a few. The characters are diverse, exciting, relatable; their adventures are accessible, mysterious and enthralling. But within these different settings, there is one uniting comfort: God is always there, whether revealed in a desperate prayer to a guardian angel, through pure romantic love, the presence of Christian charity, men and women religious, or within the sacraments. The hope that comes through Catholicism and Jesus prevails in each vignette, and yet there are still heavy doses of drama, suspense and tactful violence. So if your teens seem totally spaced out and properly engrossed, take courage knowing their love of reading and their love of the faith is being fed through these beautiful stories.”
“This anthology of Catholic fiction for teens will introduce readers to seven diverse authors. Many of these stories, in a variety of genres but linked by a common theme, offer a peek at characters from full-length novels. Readers already acquainted with these authors will enjoy new perspectives on favorite characters. Kudos to CatholicTeenBooks.com and these seven authors for dreaming up this excellent collection.”
“Featuring seven fabulous stories from top authors in Catholic teen fiction, Secrets is as entertaining as it is relevant and thought-provoking. It’s sure to capture your imagination, move your emotions, and stir your soul. Teens and adults alike are sure to enjoy the variety of tales, which are cleverly united by themes of secrets and faith. Packed with powerful, meaningful, memorable stories, this anthology is so good, you won’t be able to keep Secrets to yourself!”
“Seven Amazing Secrets . . . At a time when so much entertainment and fiction for teens is saturated with envy, lust, pride and other moral toxins, the book Secrets: Visible and Invisible is a powerful, and FUN-to-read, virtue-rich alternative. The talented team of authors behind CatholicTeenBooks.com has created the perfect way for readers to enjoy a taste of fresh new fiction that satisfies a deep hunger in the teen soul. Teens . . . you need to get your Catholic parents, grandparents, or teachers to get this book for you. Really. You’ll be glad you did.”
“I knew I was in for some great reading when I picked up this collection. What I was not prepared for was how exceptional this collection was. . . . Every story was a remarkable story. Some of the stories were so good, I immediately went back and reread just that story. And then when I finished the book, I reread the whole thing again a few days later. I have a great deal of respect for the seven authors who contributed to this series. And even more so after reading their pieces in this collection.”
“Know a teen reader looking for a book filled with the unexpected? Look no further than Secrets: Visible & Invisible an anthology of 7 short stories from CatholicTeenBooks.com. From tales of bicycles to cars and even a saint standing on the threshold of the “dark side”, there’s plenty here for teen readers to sink their teeth into.”
CORINNA TURNER is the author of the I Am Margaret series for young adults, as well as stand-alone works such as Drive! and Elfling (for teens) and Someday (for older teens and adults). All of her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the Seal may be in process).Liberation (‘I Am Margaret’ Book 3) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Award 2016 and won 3rd place for ‘Teen and Young Adult Fiction’ in the Catholic Press Association 2016 Book Awards. I Am Margaret was one of two runners-up for the ‘Teenage and Children’s Fiction’ Catholic Arts and Letters Award 2016.
Corinna Turner is a Lay Dominican with an MA in English from Oxford University, and lives in the UK. She has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She used to have a Giant African Land Snail called Peter with a 6½” long shell—which is legal in the UK!—but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan. You can find out more at www.IAmMargaret.com.
CYNTHIA T. TONEY writes for preteens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable God made them. Her novels employ hope and humor to address some of the serious issues young people encounter.
Cynthia is the author of the Bird Face contemporary series, including 8 Notes to a Nobody, 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, 6 Dates to Disaster, and soon, 3 Things to Forget. A coming-of-age historical, The Other Side of Freedom, is set in a 1920s farming community. Her novels have appeared on numerous Catholic bloggers’ Top 5, 10, or 20 book lists and favorites lists. They have also been featured in Catholic Teacher magazine.
She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and whichever author association or writing guild is available in the state in which she might currently reside, which so far has stretched across the southern U.S. to Texas. She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and lives with her husband and several canines. She loves hearing from readers, who can connect with her through her website, www.CynthiaTToney.com.
THERESA LINDEN is the author of the Chasing Liberty dystopian trilogy and the West Brothers series, including Catholic Press Association award-winners Roland West, Loner and Battle for His Soul. She resides in Ohio with her husband and their three teen sons. A Secular Franciscan and a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, her faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the realities we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She hopes that her stories will spark her readers’ imaginations and awaken them to the power of faith and grace. Learn more about her and find her social media links at www.TheresaLinden.com.
SUSAN PEEK is the author of the young adult series, God’s Forgotten Friends: Lives of Little-known Saints. All of her novels received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval and are used in Catholic schools across the English-speaking world. The King’s Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland was voted one of the Top 10 Best Catholic Books of 2017 and Crusader King was listed with The 50 Best Catholic Homeschooling Books of 2013. Although Susan’s first love is writing for teens, she’s also authored several children’s books.
Susan is a Third Order Franciscan and mother of eleven children, including two in the Religious life and a son in the U.S. Air Force. She lives in Kansas, where she usually has her nose in a book, finding obscure saints to write about.
T. M. GAOUETTE is the author of the Faith & Kung Fuseries for young adults, as well as The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild, her novels Freeing Tanner Roseand Saving Faith have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. (Others are in the process). Born in Africa, raised in London, England, Gaouette now lives on a small farm in New England with her husband where she home-schools her four children and raises goats.
A former contributor on Project Inspired, she now writes fiction for teens and young adults. Her desire is to instill the love of God into the hearts of her readers. You can find out more at www.TMGaouette.com.
CAROLYN ASTFALK writes from The Sweetest Place on Earth, Hershey, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. In addition to her contemporary Catholic romances (sometimes referred to as Theology of the Body fiction), including the young adult coming-of-age story Rightfully Ours, she writes for CatholicMom.com and Today’s Catholic Teacher. When she’s not washing dishes, doing laundry, or reading, you can find her blogging about books, family life, and faith at www.CarolynAstfalk.com.
LESLEA WAHL lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and children. The furry, four-legged members of her family often make cameo appearances in her novels. Leslea’s writing career began when she was searching for faith-inspired books for her own children and the idea for her first novel popped into her head. That divine inspiration has led to a successful writing ministry that she hopes encourages teens to grow in their faith through fun adventures. For more information about her faith-filled young adult mysteries, visit www.LesleaWahl.com.
How appropriate that for Catholic Schools Week I visited a Catholic school! I spent an hour with some pretty awesome 6th graders in Miss Abramson’s class to discuss The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch which was assigned as part of their Language Arts curriculum. And the consensus is that they loved it!
From realistic characters to real life situations, these children were quick to share the reasons why they were able to relate to the story. One young man said that he enjoyed the characters, especially Benedict, because he could connect to him. In fact, all the children raised their hands when asked if they could relate to any of the characters portrayed in the story. They shared their favorite characters and why they liked them, what surprised them the most about the story-line, and what they believed the moral premise of the story to be.
And when my questions for them were done, there were many waiting for me. Along with a copy of The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, each child had a list of questions in front of them. Questions about character development, plot, the moral premise, point of view, the writing process, the publishing process, and so on and so on. “Will there be a sequel?” “When did you start writing?” “If you could change any part of the story, what would you change?” “Who’s your favorite character?” “What’s your favorite quote from the book?” “Do you have any experience with foster children?” “Did you base any of your characters on your own experiences?” “What was your favorite scene to write?” “How long did it take you to write this book?” “What happened to Melanie?” “What did the other children think about Benedict and Mel coming to the Ranch?” “What inspired you to write this story?”
Nineteen children had read this story and each had a list of questions. Needless to say, there was a lot of discussion.
And in answering their questions, I was able to expand on the moral premise of this story which was based on Philippians 4:13.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13.)
Benedict’s baggage is reflective of a lot of issues that children experience in their youth. They may not be the exact same conflicts and struggles, but the response is the same. Trust in the Lord. Put your faith in Him and find your strength to overcome all obstacles with His Word. And they took it all in. They were fully engaged in the conversation and it was a pleasure to be with a group of 6 graders who got it! They read my book, a book inspired by a faithful God, and they heard His Word ring through, and it was awesome!
This school visit was a success, for sure. And just spending time with these children, I felt blessed that God has given me this gift and this ministry. I truly hope that these amazing children were just as much inspired by this experience as I was. God is good!