I'd like to welcome author Rachel Pellegrino to Whispers in Purple today as she shares her thoughts on n important...and timely...subject. Her article title tells it all.
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Why We Need Faith-Based Fiction For Kids
By Rachel LaMonica Pellegrino
As a publisher of faith-based fiction, I can tell you without hesitation that there’s a hole in the market for faith-based fiction for kids.
Walk into any major bookstore, and while there are shelves full of books for young readers on everything from dystopian worlds, royal contests, and magical mutants, generally-speaking you’ll be lucky if you can find one shelf labeled “Religion/Spiritual” in the back corner. If you do find this shelf, it will contain the evergreen copies of devotionals, biographies, activity books, and Bibles, but hardly any fictional stories.
Why is this?
It’s hard to understand why there is such a shortage when there is a huge hunger among parents and grandparents as well as young children, tweens, and teens for stories that affirm a biblical-worldview and celebrates God’s presence in our world as well as for stories that answer the request for colorful, entertaining, and yes, even humorous stories that include strong examples of characters overcoming obstacles, engaging in positive relationships, and shining a light in a dark world.
You can find many wonderful board books, picture books, and early readers for elementary readers and chapter books and novels for upper elementary, middle grade and young adult readers that don’t have a faith-base. Books that build creative settings, share strong characters, have colorful covers, and yes, even teach character traits through interesting plots.
But, the count is far, far less for those same types of books that tell our children it’s okay to be a Christian, that it’s okay to love the God who made them, it’s okay to stop and pray when you are afraid or worried…far less that offer biblical references for encouragement, strength, love, and support.
Aren’t there writers writing faith-based fiction for kids? Aren’t there publishers publishing faith-based books for kids?
The answer is yes and yes, but they are too few and far between, and now more than ever, we need writers wanting to take their talent and their calling to write and create wonderful fiction that incorporates salvation, faith, values, and morals, and still enriches the imaginations of the readers and inspires their love for reading even further.
When it comes to the process, faith-based fiction is not any different than writing secular fiction for kids. It should weave a strong main character with an engaging plot through a conflict that needs to be resolved. Each story should have an attention-grabbing beginning, an interesting middle, and strong, satisfying ending. Each story, whether for elementary, middle grade, or young adult readers should show and not tell.
The difference is that faith-based fiction should be written to subtly or overtly highlight the influence of faith or the impact of faith on the person, place, situation, or outcome.
Children read books to be entertained, to be inspired, to be humored, to travel, to have adventures, to fall in love, to discover strength, to not feel alone, and so much more. We need to give them those kinds of stories and allow there to be the discussion about the challenges of loving an almighty God we cannot see, we cannot touch, or we cannot hear.
We need to write stories for them that teach them how to stand up for themselves and their viewpoints with grace and dignity, strength and kindness.
We need to create new and unique worlds so they can understand how to honor diversity, love their neighbors, and share the gospel.
We need to write relationships that are good and bad, perfect and so-not-perfect to show them what to do in any of those types of friendships, relationships, or family settings.
We need more faith-based fiction for elementary, middle grade, and young adult readers, and I know that at Little Lamb Books, we are doing everything we can to make that happen.
Rachel Pellegrino is the publisher and managing editor of Little Lamb Books, an independent publisher of faith-based fiction for elementary, middle grade, and young adult readers. She is passionate about empowering authors who write faith-based fiction and providing them with a positive publishing experience. Rachel lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her husband, daughter, and their lab mix, Daisy. She blogs on the Little Lamb Books website, and is a current member of IBPA, ACFW, and SCBWI. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Little Lamb Books website: http://littlelambbooks.com/
Little Lamb Books Twitter: @Little_Lamb_Books
Little Lamb Books Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/little_lamb_books/
Little Lamb Books Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littlelambbooks/
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Rachel is generously offering not one, but two gifts for your readers:
A $20 Starbucks gift card, AND a beautiful travel mug.
(Hmm, whaddya know...it's trimmed in purple!)
Entering is easy: Just leave your name, where you live (State or Province), your email, AND answer this question:
As a parent, or grandparent, what kind of books/stories do you like to see your kids reading?
Contest EXTENDED! Ends Tuesday, April 4, at Midnight, Central time. Winner will be notified via email...that why it's required :)
Thanks, Rachel, for being my guest today, AND I'm looking forward to having you back again next week for more about writing fait-based fiction for kids!