Religious Books

Before You Were Born

The Story

What child isn’t curious about those first days of life? In Before You Were Born Nancy White Carlstrom celebrates the mystery of how each child is a part of God’s plan and the wonder of how a family grows and changes when a child arrives. With vibrant colors and joyful images, illustrator Linda Saport tenderly conveys the excitement and love with which parents welcome children into their lives. This lyrical celebration of every child’s life takes its inspiration from Psalm 139.

Review

“A luminescent tale extolling the miraculous changes wrought by an infant’s arrival. Expanding upon the greatly reassuring words of Psalm 139, Carlstrom details the myriad ways in which a couple’s life evolves with the birth of their child…A beautiful portrayal.” — Kirkus Reviews

Awards

Society of Illustrators “The Original Art” Annual Exhibition
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards Finalist

After writing this text, I read it, first to one son, age eight, then to the other, age five. Each responded with 'You wrote this about me, didn’t you Mom?' And I could say to both, 'Yes.'

Before You Were Born
Does God Know How to Tie Shoes

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?

The Story

Katrina wants to know more about God: “Mama, what does God wear? Does God like to paint? Does God ever cry, Papa?” Her parents’ responses, based on the Psalms, help Katrina to know God in ways that are very real to her. Poetic text and bright impressionistic illustrations combine beautifully to make this a gentle and affirming picture book that will encourage a child’s exploration of God. Ideal for reading aloud.

Review

“The questions raised are typical of those posed by young children, and the result is a book that presents the concepts in an understandable, concrete way.” — School Library Journal

“A graceful, quiet book to share on a lap or with a small group.” — Booklist

My faith has been important to me since I was very young, and I wanted to write a book about God for children, but didn't know how difficult that would be until I tried. Because I have always loved the Psalms, I chose to refer to them throughout the book.

Glory

The Story

With words that sing and colors that spill joy across the pages, author Nancy White Carlstrom and illustrator Debra Reid Jenkins celebrate creation and the way every creature praises God. Whether winged or finned or furry, each creature — by being and doing what it was made to be and do — gives glory to the Creator. And children do this too, especially because they have hearts and minds that can delight in and learn about all the rest of creation.

Review

“Glorious words and whimsical art leave children with a sense of the exhilaration that comes with the knowledge of Creation. Whether it’s a wide swath of red tumbling across the golden pages or the poetic text, this lovely jumble captures the feeling of life in motion.” — Booklist

Awards

Booklist Top Ten Religious Children’s Books

Our family made many trips to the island of Molokai where we enjoyed snorkeling. I think the beauty of that underwater world first sparked the idea for this praise poem. I also used the text at our church as a children's litany which we performed.

Glory
This Is the Day

This Is the Day!

The Story

Each day of the week our world holds a new surprise if we pay attention to what God has given us.  It is both the unnoticed cottonwood seed floating in the air and the familiar raven’s call that prompts children to listen, touch, be surprised, laugh, and celebrate the wonder of their creator and the beauty of creation. This enchantingly poetic story will delight children as they discover new ways to appreciate and interact with the world around them.

Review

“Carlstrom offers a poetic look at the connection between God and nature. Each spread offers a brief bit of advice in bold text about praising God or celebrating the wonders of nature.” — Kirkus Review

This is the day! This is the day the Lord has made!

What Does the Sky Say?

The Story

A child watches the sky in changing seasons and in all kinds of weather and learns to listen to its voice. In What Does the Sky Say? author Nancy White Carlstrom’s imaginative and poetic text encourages all readers, both very young and older, to wake up to and participate in the opportunities for joy and learning each day offers. And Tim Ladwig’s extraordinary illustrations perfectly capture the moods of weather and season, the magic of childhood, and our deep connection to all creation and its Creator.

Review

“…a joyous prose poem whose swirling, light-drenched illustrations by Tim Ladwig complement the text’s sense of wonder.” —Publishers Weekly, Religion Update

“…delightful, imaginative, and engaging text perfectly captures the wonder of watching the sky and listening to its many sounds both dramatic and subtle in the changing seasons and in all kinds of weather.” —Midwest Book Review

Awards

National Outdoor Book Award
Independent Publishers Book Award

What Does the Sky Say
Blow Me a Kiss, Miss Lilly

Blow me a Kiss Miss Lilly in several South African languages

Blow Me a Kiss, Miss Lilly

The Story

Sara’s best friend, Miss Lilly, is very old, but it doesn’t seem to bother her one bit. She eats ice cream for breakfast, brings birthday bouquets to all the neighbors, and makes plum jelly from her tree in the garden. Miss Lilly tells Sara stories of when she was a young girl as they cuddle under the rainbow afghan on her sofa.

One morning Miss Lilly gets sick and goes to the hospital. Sara misses her and makes a special card with her crayons.

Reviews

“Carlstrom treats her young character’s grief realistically, and lets readers share Sara’s gradual healing.“ — Parents’ Choice

“…offers perspective and lessons on coping with loss. It is a good book for a child who has lost a relative or friend to illness or death.” — Los Angeles Times Book Review

Awards

Children’s Choice Book 1991
Parents’ Choice Book 1991

In 1983 the real Miss Lilly, a Seattle neighbor who lived across the street from us, had a heart attack and I started this story. Only after finishing it did I realize that I was actually working through my own feelings of grief at the possibility of a dear friend dying. Thankfully, the real Miss Lilly lived for another five years, to the age of 94.``

I am Christmas

The Story

In the beginning come the words. Although I am a visual person, I do not choose the words to fit a particular picture for I know the illustrator will bring their own sense of what the words mean for the art. Hopefully the finished work, both text and art, will be greater than either one without the other.

When Dave and I lived in Boston and celebrated our first Christmas together we used a branch for our Christmas Tree, and I made simple ornaments based on the I Am passages of Christ. Years later I wrote I AM CHRISTMAS using those same passages to tell the Christmas narrative.

In 2002, the Shrine of LaSallette in Massachusetts used the book to feature billboard paintings based on the illustrations and reproduced by one of the Sisters. It was the centerpiece of their Christmas Lights Display for several years.

Years ago, I visited the illustrator, Lori McGrath-Eslik who explained how she illustrated the book. Different family members posed in Christmas pageant dress on the shores of Lake Michigan. Lori also illustrated my book DOES GOD KNOW HOW TO TIE SHOES?

I am the gift God gives to his children Sent down from above to the world. I am Christmas I am beginning, I am end The message foretold Scratched in sand, etched in gold. I am the story, I am the song.

I am Christmas
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