Sally Lloyd-Jones wanted to do something special for her niece who was being bullied at school, so she wrote a book to remind her how God actually sees her instead of the things being said by her peers. The book, entitled "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing," features Bible verses and beautiful illustrations both kids and adults will enjoy.
CP: What was the inspiration for this book?
Lloyd-Jones: My niece was the inspiration- she had been very vivacious and almost overnight turned into a little girl who was quiet, withdrawn because she was being bullied at school. I realized she was losing herself because she thought that if she wasn't noisy or changed who she was, she wouldn't be bullied. I wished there was something she could read that would tell her what God said about her instead of what the bullies were saying.
She still hasn't seen it just yet, but I will give it to her when I see her at Christmas. Her bullying got better because she left the school, but it's frightening to think that as adults it would be very hard; yet, children have to do it every single day, and sometimes they don't even tell us.
My heart was "let it be a book for any child" and wanted to make it very accessible or exclude anyone with the language. I wanted it to be a refuge for them … having their own special book to go to.
CP: Do you have plans for your next book? What are you working on?
Lloyd-Jones: Working on the text for an Easter book- I like having a lot of different things on the go so that I don't obsess just about one. I'd like to write a full range of books.
CP: Please talk about your Christian background and the influence it had on your life.
LJ: [I was] brought up in Christian faith and that was always strength for me. I was sent to boarding school when I was eight, and the knowledge that God was with me brought me comfort, even at that young of an age. Even though, like anyone, you can struggle with beating yourself up at times, the foundation that knowing that God was for you was revelatory. When I was in Sunday school, I felt cramped by the idea that the Bible was all about rules you should keep in order for God to love you … I thought it was unconditional love. As an adult, I realized it's an incredible love story … then, when you see that, your whole life becomes part of that story.
Then it raises the heights of what your purpose is and a sense of why they're here. I wanted to give children the knowledge I didn't have when I was six. That's why I want children to know what God thinks of them- there's so much misinformation. Children have to be trained, guided, but sometimes we forget to also just tell them and give them hope … We have to be careful that we're not just giving them the rules of the Bible … let them know that they are loved.
The book is available by Zonderkidz.