We had a lovely visit with author Julie Cantrell last week during the Sycamore Bank sponsored Reading Round Table. We found her perspective on writing Into the Free very interesting. Can you imagine writing a book while raising two small children, feeding a husband, keeping a household and teaching full time? She actually got up at 3:30 a.m. and wrote until 6:30 a.m. five days a week!
After everyone left the book club and it was just the two of us, I asked Julie if I could purchase her two children’s books. We have an Early Childhood Development program and the students do story time with our collection. She mentioned them during her talk and I was intrigued.
The family had recently moved to Mississippi from Colorado and her small daughter was having nightmares. Julie told her that she need not be afraid, “God is always with you.” The following week they made a book together and the two would share it before bedtime.
Julie passed the book around to family and friends once it was no longer needed at home. After sharing it at her church, someone said she should publish it. She found Zonderkidz books and with stock photos published God Is with Me Through the Night.
Many moons and stars drawn on blue sky greet readers when the board page is opened. The title page contains a photograph of an adult and juvenile owl. The story begins, “At night I play with my family.” Below the sentence two polar bears covered in snow look to be playing patty-cake.
Through photographs of animals, Julie’s words come alive. For instance, above these words, “But sometimes after Mama kisses me goodnight,” an adorable picture of an adult seal touching noses with a pup appears. “I start to feel afraid” and readers see a small white terrier shaking in the dark. “I hear weird noises” features a tree frog with his head cocked to one side.
At the end of the story a short Bible verse from Isaiah 41:10 is included. “Do not fear for I am with you.” The picture on this page is a mother lion lounging in the grass with her cub’s head resting atop her own.
The companion book, God Is with Me Through the Day, is equal in quality to the first. I believe everyone in attendance will agree with me, to hear Julie’s talk was a blessing that day. Oh, and she donated her copies to the library.