Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the privilege of interviewing author Joan C. Benson, who is here to share about her new children’s book, co-authored with Marjorie Wingert.
Welcome, Joan! Please tell us about your book, God’s ABCs.
God’s ABCs may seem like a fun-filled alphabet book with bright illustrations and rhyming text. Yet, it builds an understanding of God’s good plans and purposes for each person’s life. Gender identity is subtly addressed, affirming the concept that our gender is not random or changeable, but designed by God.
What inspired you to write this book?
God’s ABCs was written because of escalating pressures coming from our culture to reach even the youngest of our children with a gender-fluid ideology. As one who has written for the educational publishing market for many years, I found myself facing a conflict between what I was asked to write and what I believed as a Christian. I was expected to include LGBTQ+ characters in fiction and nonfiction for third-grade students. In thinking about it, I knew many parents would never know, while their children would be subtly indoctrinated to believe the gay and trans lifestyle is normal. I resigned from that contract job, knowing full well that other writers would be found, but I would not participate.
I felt a nudge from the Lord to write and speak about this evolving situation. I spoke at a local school board meeting that summer two years ago about impacting policies affecting children. Marjorie Wingert, a mother of a young daughter, and I started talking about how we can prepare our Christian children for these anti-biblical concepts. It seems the culture is intruding in revolutionary ways, making the old way of sheltering our children impossible. So, just as we would dress our babies for winter, we decided we must place the “armor of God” on the youngest of our little ones through Scripture.
This process inspired our Cornerstone Concepts for Kids books, four in all on different relevant and current topics. God’s ABCs is the first to meet the public, and we are excited for its initial impact.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Our hope is to encourage parents, grandparents, and Christian teachers so that they can have conversations with youngsters about challenging topics in fun and practical ways. We have also developed a parent/child devotional to accompany the book so families can tie the concepts to specific Scriptures and discuss relevant ideas, depending on the ages of the children. We decided even lap babies of two years old could enjoy the illustrations and rhyming text while beginning to grasp the idea that God’s plans and purposes are good. The older the child, the more truth can be explored.
What is your favorite scene in this book?
I love how our illustrator was able to show the meaning of the text when the letter X decides she is going to be a Z, no matter what. She rearranges her arms and legs to come close to resembling Z, but not quite. Her friends share, “God created you with talents galore. His plan is perfect—no less and no more.” X is encouraged that she is not random. Friends shout with glee: “Without you, dear X, there’s no word excite! How would we exit, or count up to six? Could we ever chop wood with no ax in our midst?”
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
As a young mom, I felt I was going to write to encourage other believers and help inspire and lift their faith. However, we adopted four children within three years (that’s another story for another day), and there was no time. Later, when the kids were out of high school, I taught middle school language arts using a literature-based approach. I was appalled at some of the unwholesome genres my students read when given free choice. It was then I wanted to write wholesome literature for young adults embedding Christian values without a direct message of faith. When I started that journey, resulting in His Gift *(2020), historical fiction for YA,I God urging me to express the book’s faith conflict, and openly turn it into a Christian-themed novel.
Tell us about your funniest moment with a reader.
My funniest moments with readers came from His Gift, which is based on a true conflict in my mother’s life at the onset of the Great Depression. I did not reveal who the protagonist married at the end—a high school sweetheart who was in the book throughout creating a “first love story,” or someone she met after high school who was older. People were calling me up from all over the place wanting to know who my mother married. One neighbor asked me what my maiden name was to see if she could figure it out that way.
Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
The most touching moment with a reader came recently when a parent of a fourteen-year-old daughter asked my co-author, Marjorie, to have her eight-year-old read God’s ABCs aloud in the teen’s presence. The mother said with moist eyes, “My daughter needed this story when she was little so she would be certain about who she is today.”
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I am involved in a women’s speaking ministry called “Women Victorious—Ordinary Women, Extraordinary God.” We share our God-stories and lead women to understand the power of their own stories when they share their testimonies. We believe this multiplication principle will empower women and spread the Good News to those who are hungry to hear how God showed up when we needed him the most.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I was an educator for many years which is what led me to write for educational publishing projects. Teaching as a reading/writing specialist helped hone my skills and prepared me for this craft of creative writing on subjects I feel God has called me to today. I have also been involved as an advocate-counselor at the local pregnancy center in recent years and feel those “stories of life” need to be shared. This has led me to another project in the works, a novel with fifteen chapters completed at this time.
What else are you working on, Joan? Please tell us about your next project.
Our next book in the Cornerstone Concepts for Kids Series is fully illustrated, waiting to go through the final design and editing process at Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. Entitled God’s Human Race, that rhyming story weaves the biblical concept of the Body of Christ throughout the text, illustrating how God sees our diversity as complementary parts of a whole. This Cornerstone Concepts for Kids book emphasizes God’s plan for our unique races and ethnicities was for unity and love, not hate and disparity. We hope this book will be in the hands of families, churches, and schools this summer.
Thank you for sharing with us, Joan!
To learn more about Joan and her books, please visit Joan’s website at https://www.joancbenson.com/ and Joan’s blog at https://www.joancbenson.com/blog .
Writing for Him,
Sarah’s website: https://www.sarahsundin.com/
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