Bestselling Children's Author Laura Richie Shares How Her New Book Connects Children to the Story of Jesus

Laura Richie

Bestselling Children's Author Laura Richie offers the next highly anticipated title from her beautifully illustrated Bible Storybook series with the release of The Go-and-Tell Storybook: 30 Bible Stories Showing Why We Share about Jesus today. The newest and third title of this successful series from David C Cook follows The Advent Storybook and The Easter Storybook, each featuring simple, engaging Bible retellings to inspire children and their families to "go and tell" the story of Jesus, the Rescuer. This new release further addresses why Jesus came, who He is and how His work of rescue and hope continues, spreading from His first-century followers to the whole world, even today. 

We are honored to catch up with Laura for this exclusive interview.

Q: Laura, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: Tell us a little about yourself and your current ministry?

Thanks for having me!

Besides writing children's books, I stay busy working as a nurse and homeschooling my four children. I couldn't do any of it without my husband, who is a true partner and friend in the sometimes-chaos that is our life right now.

Q: When and why did you decide to write books for children and also for families?

It all started with The Advent Storybook and my desire to hone our family's focus onto Jesus around the busy holiday season. I realized that I couldn't clearly explain why Jesus' birth still mattered 2,000 years after the fact, so I set out to study the Old Testament and find the answer so I could then explain it to my children. I discovered that Jesus is the Rescuer first promised by God immediately after evil and death entered creation through Adam and Eve. The rest of the OT traces God's promise to rescue and befriend us, culminating in the long-anticipated birth of His Son.

Although I grew up attending church, I didn't see the overarching theme of God's rescue and love in the Bible until I became a mother. As a result, I had a skewed view of God- deep down, I saw Him as a Taskmaster who was always watching me, rewarding me for following the rules and punishing me if I messed up. I didn't trust Him or love Him-I was scared of Him! I was constantly striving to live up to His standards.

All of that changed over a period of time that culminated in one particular evening. By this point, I was a mess. I had finally reached the point of giving up-not on God, but on trying to please Him and follow the rules. I've always known that God is real, but I just couldn't do it anymore-I couldn't keep striving, couldn't keep trying to force myself to love Someone who I secretly resented for being so unrealistic in His expectations.

So I let go of it all-the good things I had done, the bad things I hadn't done. I let go of trying to hide all the ways I couldn't measure up. It felt like stepping off a cliff blindfolded. Then something very unexpected happened. Instead of falling into a void, or sensing divine rage at my lack of effort, I felt peace. I felt love. I saw Jesus-not physically, but spiritually-for the first time. And He was beautiful. He knew I couldn't follow the rules or love Him or love others well enough.

That's exactly why He came! He came to rescue us-all of us, anyone who realizes their need for Him and believes. That's the message my books convey to families. Jesus is the Rescuer for all who realize their need for Him and believe. I don't want my kids-or any child anywhere-to grow up terrified and resentful of God because of a skewed understanding of who He is. He truly is Love, and He wants us to be with Him forever in a perfectly renewed world free of sin and death.

Q: Briefly tell us, what is latest book about?

The Go-and-Tell Storybook is the third book in the series, and it picks up where The Easter Storybook left off. Jesus recently returned to the Father, and His friends are waiting for His promise to come true. I love the illustration of God's Spirit coming to them! The rest of the book shows their adventures as they spread Jesus' rescue and hope to people far and wide. This third book focuses on stories from the book of Acts plus a few of the letters written by Jesus' friends.

Q: Tell us a little about illustrator Ian Dale and what you appreciate about his drawings?

I love Ian's illustrations! They're detailed and colorful and realistic, with characters that are all unique and facial expressions that clearly communicate emotions. Ian's characters also look like they're from the Middle East, Africa, and Europe with skin tones and features that match their country of origin. His illustrations really bring the stories to life, especially for this age group.

Q: How can families as well as churches read this book together?

The format is ideal for reading one story each night for a month, because each of the 30 stories is one page long with a full-page illustration opposite the text. It works well as a bedtime story or just a way to connect as a family, taking 5 minutes or less to sit down and enjoy something together, building memories and engaging in conversations.

It could work in churches in many ways, whether through reading that particular day's story all together with your church family during an agreed-upon month or spreading out the stories over a longer period of time as part of the Sunday School lesson or children's message. Even reading several stories at a time may work better to meet the church's goals.

Q: What are some insights you discovered about Jesus while writing this new book?

One of the biggest things I discovered in the book of Acts is how Jesus' work of rescue and renewal didn't end when He returned to the Father-God's Spirit came to continue the rescue through Jesus' friends. As a child, I felt a little cheated that many of these people were able to literally walk and talk with Jesus, unlike me. But Jesus didn't abandon us or give up on His mission when He left. He sent His Spirit, which means we, too, are able to walk and talk with God. We, too, are a part of this Story of rescue and hope!

Q: What other books do you have planned for (your) Bible Storybook series?

The Go-and-Tell Storybook wraps up the inspired Story told in the Bible, but that isn't the end of the Story of rescue and redemption. I would love to write a few more books that journey chronologically through the Middle Ages and into modern times, sharing stories of Christians from around the world and through the centuries. I've actually started writing the book that would come next.

I think it's easy to forget that the Church is a worldwide entity, giving life to people in every nation-and that together, we make up the Body of Christ. As a Body, we all need each other. It would be really fun to trace that truth through history, showing children their connection to this ongoing Story of hope. 

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