Children’s Book on How to Love like Jesus is Coming Soon!

Are you looking for a book to help your children learn how to be more loving? Not sure if my book is something right for you or your kids? Here is an excerpt from my first edition below! How to Love Like Jesus: A Guide for Children and Their Parents is a 32 page book that breaks down the famous verse “Love is patient, love is kind” etc for kid-friendly life-application. Each section is illustrated with examples and includes engaging questions to answer with a parent or alone depending on the child’s age. The book can be for parents to read with their kids or for kids to read on their own. It is written at a 2nd-3rd grade reading level but the content and application can be good for ages 3-12.

Some minor changes have been made since this draft that will make it even better. For example, I am swapping the pages so that the larger image comes first for context. Then there have been changes made with some of the wording in the text for easier readability.

The E-book will be out soon on Amazon for FREE! Would love people to download it and leave reviews. If you like it, the print version will also be available for purchase at a reasonable price. Hopefully in time for Christmas!!

excerpt_from_how_to_love_like_jesus

Illustrations and Layout Issues in Children’s books

the whites of this character's eyes will have to come from the paper.  I will probably need to remove the background color too so the ink doesn't get too expensive when printing.

the whites of this character’s eyes will have to come from the paper. I will probably need to remove the background color too so the ink doesn’t get too expensive when printing.

You’d think that if you wanted to illustrate your own book, you could just draw and color your pictures and then send them off to be laid out in a book with no issues, right?

Venturing into the world of book publishing I am learning about all sorts of technical considerations when putting a book together. The big one that is affecting me is this issue with CYMK color. Apparently this is the color mode that books are printed in and when we color in Photoshop, it is not the default. So all of it needs to be switched over to this other code, which is not as vibrant and it’s range is more limiting. For example, it does not even include white. So now I have to go back through all of my illustrations and remove the white color from it, instead making it no color and then request that it be printed on white paper so that the white paper will show through the areas where no color was placed and have that be the white instead.

The second issue is not considering how I want it laid out before I drew the pictures. I drew my cover photo in a portrait position before I determined later that I thought my book would look best if it were printed in landscape. I’m now going to have to keep it in portrait because my illustrations just don’t work well with those layout types.

Then there is the gamble when finding a designer. I want to eventually learn how to use InDesign and the other software out there that I can use to create the e-books, but I just don’t have the time. So I’m taking some advice I got in a Linkedin group for children’s books writers to pay someone to layout my first book and then use that layout as a template for my other books as I learn the details of the software. Not a bad idea.

But how much should I pay? I don’t have funds yet for my books. My books are my attempt at teaching and reaching children and their parents, but with the hopes of it generating some income so I don’t have to leave my own kids to be taught by others while I run off and teach someone else’s kids. The irony makes me sick when I think of it. The prices out there range from as little as $150 if I go over seas, to as much as $5k if I choose a really good professional here in the states. But the average seems to be about $1500 here in the states. I’m going to try the person I found overseas and hope that I am happy with the results and that my test run on Amazon proves others like it too. If not, I may have to start taking some courses and become a professional book designer myself just to avoid having to pay those ridiculous costs for my future books.

For anyone interested, I am going to release my first book as a free e-book. I would love to share it with many people and get many people to try it out on their kindles and with their kids and on their ipads (is that possible when downloading from Amazon? I’ll have to look into that one too) and hopefully give me positive feedback, but any feedback is good so I can use it to revise and put out a better 2nd edition that I will then have in print as well. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do the e-book thing with my kids. We still like good old fashioned flip through the pages books. And if we are like that, I can’t help but wonder if most parents are still like that with their kids. In effect, I think it is essential that my book be sold in print form.k (UPDATE: HOW TO LOVE LIKE JESUS: A GUIDE FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS IS NOW AVAILABLE HERE.)

Tonight’s Bedtime Story–Footprints on the Moon

The Hemsath Alteregos Watermelon Belly (me), Banana Face (Kanan), Strawberry Head (James), Cherry Buns (Ben), and Apple Brain (Owen). Peach Cheeks will be coming soon. :)

The Hemsath Alteregos
Watermelon Belly (me), Banana Face (Kanan), Strawberry Head (James), Cherry Buns (Ben), and Apple Brain (Owen). Peach Cheeks will be coming soon. 🙂

Tonight, my son Jameson took me by the hand and walked me to his bedroom, and asked me to tell him a story before bed. How could I resist? We have a running series of stories that we like to tell which are essentially about us, but use alter egos in order to make it fun and add a bit of magic to the story.

This was the story I told tonight:


Once upon a time there were three little boys named Banana Face, Strawberry Head, and Cherry Buns and they lived with their dad, Apple Brain, and mom, Watermelon Belly.

One of the things the boys loved to do was in the evening time–when Mom and Dad would make dinner, they’d go outside and jump on their trampoline. And they would jump so high, they’d fly high into the sky and visit the stars and the moon. Then right before dinner was ready, they’d fly back down, land on the trampoline, and come inside to eat a warm meal with their mom and dad, keeping their adventures a secret.

One day, when the boys were out flying in the sky and visiting the moon, Apple Brain and Watermelon Belly went outside to watch the boys jump.But when they went out there, they didn’t see them. They were gone.

They looked around all outside, calling “Strawberry Head, Banana Face, Cherry Buns, where are you?”

They looked all around inside, calling their names again.

But they could not find them.

Apple Brain and Watermelon were very sad. They started to cry.

Just then, Strawberry Head, Banana Face, and Cherry Buns landed on their trampoline and came inside to eat dinner.

“Here we are Mommy and Daddy!” They called.

“Where were you boys?” their parents asked, “We couldn’t find you and we were very scared.”

“We went and visited the moon!” They exclaimed! “Sorry we didn’t tell you.”

“Boys, you have to tell us when you want to visit the moon, so we know where you are and so we can make sure you are safe. You can’t just leave without telling us. It’s just not safe.”

“Ok, Mommy and Daddy.” They said with heads down.

So the next day when Watermelon Belly and Apple Brain were about to make dinner, Banana Face, Strawberry Head, and Cherry Buns asked if they could go visit the moon.

“Sure,” they said, “but that sounds like so much fun, we’d like to go with you too.”

“You want to go with us?” They asked, jumping with glee.

So the whole family went out, climbed into the trampoline and started jumping.

They jumped higher and higher and higher until all 5 of them, Apple Brain, Watermelon Belly, Banana Face, Strawberry Head, and Cherry Buns were flying in the sky, on their way to the moon.

And when they landed, they all put their feet on the dirt floor of the moon and left their foot prints. And you can still see their footprints to this day.


crecent moon through treesI then asked Jameson if he wanted to go look at the moon and see if we could find our footprints. He eagerly nodded his head. So we held hands and walked outside. I picked him up and held him high enough to peer through the branches of the big tree in our backyard where the moon hung. It was a crescent moon tonight. And the man in the moon stood on the glowing right side. I asked him if he could see our footprints their in the dark patch. He smiled broadly and nodded yes.

Then we went back inside. He kissed his dad goodnight and went to his room, ready for prayers and snuggles, and sweet dreams.

It was a great end to a great day.

Thought I’d share.

Maybe one day, I’ll write some children’s books about all of our adventures. More will surely come, especially when Watermelon Belly has the fourth baby, Peach Cheeks.

How Do You Teach a 6-Year-Old to Love in Action?

how to love like jesus cover picture (1)About a year ago, my oldest son was 6-years-old and struggling with the typical issues 6-year-olds struggle with: selfishness, boasting, being rude…just a me-first attitude, really. I remember telling him that what he was doing was not showing love. He immediately defended himself–” I love you all, Mom!”

That when I realized, I hadn’t really showed him what loving in action looked like. I just said he needed to love.

That’s when I went to the only source I trust for truth and teaching– the bible. I found that famous scripture in 1 Corinthians.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable, and does not count up wrongdoing. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (ESV 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)

So I read it to him.

“What is patient, Mom?”

” Patient means we wait for what we want without whining, crying, or screaming. Jesus is patient with us when we make mistakes. He waits for us to do the right thing without acting unloving.”

“What is counting up wrongdoing mean?”

I realized then, that I needed to come up with a way to explain it to him. So I went on Amazon to look for books on the topic. Nothing but silly stories out there with rhymes and such that never really explained it.

That was when I knew I just needed to write the book myself. So I did. I started writing it that summer. Even started the illustrations. And I used those to help teach my son how to love like Jesus. So I wrote the book. Its called How to Love Like Jesus: A Guide for Children and Their Parents.

It has been a year, and I’m finally back in that book. I’ve revised it. I’ve finished the illustrations (pretty much) in Photoshop, and I”m almost ready to venture into the self-publication stage. But the added beauty to it is–I’ve written 2 more and co-written another 2 more with my friend Kelly. So there is much more to come. And I’ve got a few ideas for even more when I’m ready for the second and third wave of writing. This summer has been a turbo-charged writing session, but I’m excited about where it might go. For my kids. And for others.

I will definitely be thanking my son Kanan for being the inspiration for my first book. And my hope and prayer is that there are other children and parents out there who could use this book too.

What do you find your kids need help in understanding? What books do you use? What books are not out there and need to be written?

Finishing up the Manuscript for my First Children’s Book

initial sketch of a photo to put on the first page or two of my children's book on love.

initial sketch of a photo to put on the first page or two of my children’s book on love.

I thought I was done with the illustrations for my first children’s book How to Love Like Jesus: A Guide for Children and Their Parents, but as I was formatting the manuscript to send off to self-publishing company that designs layouts, I realized I still had a few extra that I added in last minute in order to keep consistent with having an illustration for each section of the book.

This process takes a while! First I draw the pictures in black ink, then I have to scan them, then I need to import them into Adobe Photoshop. From there I have to color them and add necessary changes.

what the scan looks like at first in Photoshop

what the scan looks like at first in Photoshop

Once I get my groove going, I can get a few done in a day. I was able to scan and digitally color almost all of the illustrations for this first book in two working days. But now I’ve got these 4 extra. Whaaaa!

No really, I enjoy coloring them. Its just that I’m so excited about getting a quote and a dummy copy out to have my friends’ kids preview, I don’t want to wait.

But patience. I need patience. Which is actually a form of love according to the bible and of which I talk about in the book. If I am going to love this book, I need to love it. Not rush through just to get it done. And I imagine if I want my readers to love the book, they’d appreciate the details.

What it begins to look like as I color them.

What it begins to look like as I color them.

With just 2 weeks left of summer vacation, I am realizing, I should have allocated the entire summer to working on these books, not just the month of July. Looks like I will be continuing to work on them through the school year. But hey–if I can get just one children’s book out there and test it out on Amazon and work on developing my marketing skills through that one, maybe by the time I get the other 4 finished, I will be a pro with a big enough following. 🙂 We shall see what God has planned. 🙂