Valentines Special–Free Download of Children’s Book on Love

agape heartValentines Special–Free Download of my Children’s Book, “How to Love Like Jesus: a Guide for Children and Their Parents.” Now through January 20th.

One of my students came in yesterday and asked if I could read a definition paper she wrote on love. She chose to focus on what love is versus what love is not. I breathed in a sigh of relief when I read her quote from the Book of Corinthians where the Apostle Paul defines love. And I then knew for sure she had taken it to heart when she went on to explain that love was not a hormonal feeling but a committed action that someone does for the ones they love. She went on to bring up Romeo and Juliet and typical high school romances that more often fall in to other categories outside of real love, and it hit me–Valentines Day will be coming up soon and so many people will be speaking about love without really knowing what it is.

Wouldn’t it be appropriate then as a Valentines Gift to give our children a book that helps them understand what love is from a biblical standpoint so they too can start their lives off on a strong foot, as my student has? It is so rare. And the world bombards us with lies about what love is.

The front and back cover of the children's book How to Love Like Jesus: A Guide for Children and Their Parents.

The front and back cover of How to Love Like Jesus: A Guide for Children and Their Parents.

My children’s book “How to Love Like Jesus: a Guide for Children and Their Parents” has not only helped children, but many of their parents better understand what real love looks like in real life.

For this reason, I am starting a promotion. You can get a FREE DOWNLOAD of the kindle version of my book starting today from January 16th through January 20th. If you like it, I encourage you to read the book to your children on Valentines Day or as you approach the holiday. Even better, if you like it, I encourage you to Buy “How to Love Like Jesus” . At $9.99 with numerous, colored illustrations and engaging questions for your children to ponder, you will see from the free-download that is worth it.

The book is appropriate to read to children as young as 2 to as old as 12. You can use just the illustrations with your younger ones, but use the written text with the older ones. You can read one section at a time, or all at once if they have the attention span.

Don’t have a kindle? Don’t worry, the link HERE will give you a safe download of an app that will help your iPhone or computer be able to read the kindle file for free.

I hope you enjoy the book. Please leave any comments or suggestions below or on the Amazon page. I do use affiliate links on this blog to help support it. It does not cost anything extra for you, just allows Amazon to share a few pennies with me for linking the books they host.

 

Love is not Jealous. And Benny agrees!

I got a chance to read How To Love Like Jesus: a guide for children and their parents to my 2-year-old son, Benny. I used different questions with him than what I have in the book because the questions are fit more for a 6-8 year-old child.

Here are some ideas on how to modify the questions.

  1. Change a question like the following into a yes or no question: What makes you feel jealous?

Instead ask:

Do you feel jealous when your brother gets a new toy?

[Wait for response]

That’s not very loving is it?

[Wait for response]

2. And instead of asking your child how they can think and act differently next time they feel jealous, ask a more leading question like the following:

Should we be happy for him next time because we love him?

[Wait for response]

You can see me do this with Benny. He loves the camera so don’t mind his flirty brown eyes. Oh and when I ask how the boy feels and he says “Goppy” he means “grumpy.”

My Proof Copy is Here!

book proof 2I have been going back and forth with the book designer I hired to make sure the layout looked good in print when using Amazon’s self-publishing contractor called Create Space. But I finally got my proof and I am very happy with it. The skin shade of my darker-skinned characters is a bit darker than it looked on the digital pdf, so their facial features are a bit harder to see, but otherwise, my characters look mostly close to what I had intended. The picture of me at the back is slightly warmer in its color than the original but still looks like me so that is good. 🙂

But here is the most exciting part: The book is effective. 

How do I know?

I tested it out last night on my son, Kanan, for whom I originally wrote this book!

  • We sat down and read the book, making sure after each section to go over the questions and talk about it. He thoughtfully reflected on each one–thinking about how he could demonstrate patience, politeness, kindness, etc.
  • At the end of the book, I prompt the child to think about which areas of love they struggle on most. Kanan was able to go back and flip to 4 different areas where he struggles: jealousy, counting wrongs of others, delighting in wrongdoing, and losing hope in others.
  • Then I prompted him to pray to Jesus to help him in those areas, just like my book advises. We prayed together. It was so awesome watching my son become convicted by the Word of God.

No, my book is not the bible, but it takes a verse from the bible, and breaks it down word-by-word to help them understand. A child cannot be convicted by the Word of God if the child does not understand it. And if we only tell them what love is, but don’t show them, and give them time to think about their own actions, they won’t think about it long enough to become convicted and grow.

I love God’s word. His word convicts us of our sin, but thankfully, it reminds us as well that we have a savior who paid the price for us and with his spirit, can give us the power to change. And if we mess up and stumble, he is there to help us up to try again, washing every stumble away. We can then do well in our actions, not to save us, but because we are saved. It is a beautiful, harmonious, dichotomy. 

I’ll approve the proof tonight and keep you posted on it’s release.

UPDATE: The Book is now available for purchase! Check it out here or click on the link on the side bar to the right.

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.)

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. 🙂