Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, Robin Currie, but she is no newcomer to children’s book writing. Robin has an impressive of list of titles, including the Baby Bible, a popular staple when my kids were little—and now!
Welcome, Robin! Please tell us about your book, The Very Best Story Ever Told: The Gospel with American Sign Language.
The Very Best Story Ever Told shares the Gospel in a unique way: each line of this story includes important words reinforced with American Sign Language. As kids learn the signs and words, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning to equip them to retell the Gospel story again and again.
WINNER: 2020 Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade; Focus on Family Top 10 Family Friendly Picture Books 2019; First Place, Wright Medal, North Carolina Christian Writers Conference, 2019; Finalist: 2019 Selah Award.
What a great concept! How did you come up with it?
As a children’s librarian, I have seen the effectiveness of learning by the addition of actions: “Itsy-bitsy Spider” and “The Wheels on the Bus.” I apply this story-sharing principle to all my writing: Baby Bible Story Book (DC Cook) has sold over 1 million copies because of the interactive text –actions the adult and child do together for each line. I took that concept a step further in The Very Best Story Ever Told. I incorporated American Sign Language as the movements rather than just clapping or wiggling.
As a mom of a kinesthetic learner and a Sunday school teacher, I can testify to the power of movement! What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Participants in this story will be able to retell the Gospel story in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic ways. It will remain in their minds and bodies to tell and tell again.
I’m sure it will, but it must have been challenging to write. How did you put it together?
Each page has a picture and short narrative supporting the rhymed line containing one word in an easily explained ASL sign. For example:
ART: baby Jesus in Mary’s arms
Text: The most loving thing God did was to send Jesus into the world. Now Jesus could have come as a powerful ruler on a mighty horse, but he did not. Jesus came to the world just like all of us did – as a tiny baby. The sign for baby is to act like you were rocking a little one to sleep.
(Add to rhymed text) A baby born for you and me.
I still don’t know how the graphic designer pulled all that together!
It sounds darling. What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
God’s love and grace for all people and the world.
What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
I dreamed one day of having a quiet organized room overlooking a lake. Since Covid I have shared my space with my work-at-home husband. We have 5 computer screens and two cell phones going at any given time. But we are both productive and I now think I’d be lonely in my own space.
Why do you write for children?
Mid life I was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. I am licensed in both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. I believe the most important people to hear and learn the stories of God’s love are children.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I am in part-time ministry with children at three area churches and travel annually to developing countries to teach English. These activities make it easy to stay in touch with current trends in picture books.
That’s so important! What’s your favorite bookstore—and why?
During seminary I worked at Anderson’s Bookstore, a family-owned business in the near west suburbs of Chicago. They stock and promote more interesting titles than the chain stores and have many author opportunities.
Tell us about your favorite library memory.
Having spent many years on the floor telling stories, it is always a thrill to run into one of my little ones years later and have them remember Miss Robin’s story time!
Children’s librarians have such a lasting impact. So you’ve been quite busy in your writing career! What do you have planned next?
In 2022 Familius will publish my book How to Dress a Dinosaur – for every mother for a child who resists clothes!