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It is my pleasure and honor to have a “virtual book launch” of my first children’s book… The Forgotten Rabbit Tale! The experience has been both humbling and enlightening. I’ve had quite a few people ask me “How’d you do it?” I was thinking of telling people that I was inspired by a beautiful piece of scripture I had heard during Sunday service while admiring the sunrise during my morning five-mile run.
*insert bahahahahahaha gif of your choosing*
The truth is, I was a mom with a problem that needed a solution. I didn’t do this on my own, thank you, Lord! And, I truly believe the old saying “Everybody has at least one book in them.” Turns out, mine is approximately two, double-spaced, pages. I’d like to share with you how it came into being. If I could do this, so can you.
The Encouraging Husband
AG, you made this virtual book launch possible!
We’ve read A LOT of books. I’m not trying to brag. Most of them are made of cardboard. Yep. Our family a connoisseur of board books. Be it many-legged insects with absurd appetites or farewells to celestial bodies, we’ve read all the classics to our kids.
We’ve also read a few books that left us scratching our heads. One, in particular, is about a crime-fighting dog with a gastrointestinal issue. Don’t get me wrong, we laugh. As we walk down the steps from their rooms at night, I often found myself saying “If THAT qualifies as children’s literature, I could write a book.”
One night, I was feeling very mommstery. The kids BEGGED me to read them a book I had fished out of the boxes destined for the dumpster at one of my schools. (Teacher friends, we’ve all done that before!) I thought it was about milk. It was. More specifically, it was also about a couple of kids who had been abducted by an alien and taken to a planet made entirely of dairy products. It did sound delicious. It was also ridiculous. Their favorite part? The end of the book when they are back on Earth and their Dad takes them for an ice cream AND a milkshake.
That was it.
“How is this a book?!” The kids and my husband looked a little surprised at my outburst. Since I have emotional regulation issues, I continued to banter. “No one drinks a milkshake and orders a sundae. I love ice cream but even I know that a violation of food ethics. I should just write a book.”
My patient husband had heard this rant approximately 3,000 times. He looked me in the eye and said: “Then DO it.” That shut me up.
It’ll Never Happen
The next few weeks, I kept thinking about writing a book. I’ve always wanted to write a non-fiction book about my kids. I kept starting. I stopped. Starting. Then stop. I decided that starting out in that genre meant writing prolific amounts of words.
How about a children’s book? That’s less words! But, what should I write about? I hadn’t a clue. Like so many other of my “great ideas”, it went on the mental bookshelf. It looked nice next to my aspirations of being an Olympic female gymnast. I would never have guessed I would be writing this virtual book launch
The Big Question
A couple of weeks later, the kids and I were having a conversation about absolutely nothing. They love to ask questions. The love stumping me even more. One of them asked “Where does the Easter bunny come from?
Hmm. That’s a good one. Back in the day, we would go grab the ol’ encyclopedia. Now, I can ask Ms. Siri what she knows about that rabbit. I punched in the question. As the results populated, I started reading them to the kids. Don’t EVER do that.
The first few were pretty innocuous. The first one I read was about the “Osterhase”. It was a German tradition about a rabbit that would leave treats for children. Farther down the list, it was a little more scandalous. Turns out, an ancient fertility goddess has a bunny for her calling card.
The words “prolific fertility” make for interesting conversation for elementary kids. We talked about rabbits and their babies. Their many many many babies. At the end of the conversation, I decided that we really didn’t have an answer.
I love Easter
Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the contrast of Good Friday’s sadness to the Sunday morning gladness. I love the hymns, the lilies, and the saving grace. The candy filled eggs aren’t too shabby either. It’s no secret. I love candy.
The kids look forward to the annual Easter egg hunt down at the park. They also took to the Bunny better than Santa. While we enjoy all the traditions as a family. It also felt a little hollow at times. Just like those chocolate bunnies. I wish there was a way to put Jesus back in the Easter basket.
My cousins always tease me about being a “whopper teller”. If they told a story about a friend they knew that got kicked on the leg by a cow. I knew a kid that got kicked by a cow. And, my friend that got kicked by a cow got kicked in the head! This talent for tale-telling never really amounted to a whole lot other than some timeouts by my parents.
The journey into motherhood was the renewal of the tale-telling from my childhood. As the number of children increased, so did the chaos that consumed the house. The one thing that grabbed their attention and grounded the insanity was a story. The kids loved hearing stories. Stories in print, stories of my childhood, stories about their grandparents.
I didn’t know it then, but I was practicing the art of story-craft with my kids. The “Forgotten Rabbit Tale” was my way of piecing together the things in a way that made it easy for them to understand. We humans have been doing this for thousands of years.
The Tenents of the Tale
The Forgotten Rabbit Tale, at its roots, is the retelling of the Easter story through the eyes of the child. I asked myself a simple question. “If I was a kid and I saw Jesus walking down the road, what would I do?” While I want my children to focus on the religious aspect, I also want them to see the social impact Jesus had on the world. He was not restricted by the bounds of class. He ate with the “unclean” and commanded care for the poor. A radical in his day.
The main character of the book is Joses. It’s a very common name for a little boy in Jesus’ time. I don’t really care how you pronounce it but the guy on the internet says it like this “https://biblespeak.org/joses-pronunciation/ I’m a mom of two rambunctious boys. All I have to do is watch them walk to the bus stop to imagine the kinds of adventures they might find.
A white rabbit?!
You might find your self saying “Christy, a white rabbit. In the desert… really?!” If you really want to nerd out in your history, you can read about different desert rabbit breeds here: https://nhpbs.org/wild/leporidae.asp. Not native to Israel, t is believed that rabbits were brought through trader routes. Ironically, they escaped from Egypt.
The bunny in the story is white because he suffers from albinism. Albinism is a genetic abnormality that causes animals to be born without pigment in their skin. These young can often be the “runts” of the litter. In the animal world, it is not uncommon for mothers to abandon young that are different from their littermates. This is why the little white rabbit was alone on the side of the road.
How do the eggs and the rabbit come into the story? I do want to save some surprises for the book. However, the idea for the eggs came from the after-school art club. I’m not an artist but an “art fan”. Our junior high/high school art teacher was super cool about my groupie tendencies. She let me hang out with her students and observe local artists. One week, she had a spinning wheel demonstration. The artist demonstrated the various yarns she spun and how she dyed them with natural substances. My after-school art club experience was the final piece in the book project.
FREE Children’s Activity
Click on the picture for an activity that will work well for kids and church events!
The Forgotten Rabbit Tale can be used at churches, youth groups, or Easter gatherings. If you would like to purchase a copy, it’s available at www.westbowpress.com, www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com. You can also leave your email address below to get a copy of the accompanying activity sheet. It includes discussion questions and a natural egg dye project.