Children’s author to be at arts, crafts show

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, October 24, 2007

From angels to Zacchaeus, this Bible alphabet book colorfully captures people, places and things from the Bible in lyrical rhyming verse and unique collage artwork. Thought-provoking scripture is worked into the alphabetical format as well, making “A for Angels” a beautiful book for both children and adults.

“A for Angels” will be available this fall at Parker’s booth at the 20th Annual Natchez Fall Arts Crafts, and Gifts Show on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3 and 4 at the Natchez Convention Center. Author Laurie Parker will also be signing at Mistletoe Marketplace and Handworks in Jackson (both at the Trademart in November).

“A is for Angels” that come from above.

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These beings are agents of God’s light and love.

Mississippi wordsmith and collage artist Parker, creator of such rhyming favorites loved by both children and adults as “Everywhere in Mississippi,” “Louisiana Alphabet,” “The Turtle Saver,” and “It Really Said Christmas,” has now crafted a beautiful Bible alphabet book.

The author/illustrator’s 10th book, “A for Angels” is meant to have something for all ages. Younger preschoolers can enjoy the colorful Bible story illustrations in their ABC format. Parker’s trademark well-crafted meter makes her rhyming text a pleasure for adults to read aloud to children, who will enjoy the cadence.

As always, Parker does not water down her vocabulary, as she believes that it is in the context of stories or poetry that children develop language skills. So reading-age children, even those who are at the chapter book level, can enjoy classic Bible stories told in a unique way.

“The idea for the book came to me one day in one of those wonderful, light-bulb moments,” Parker said.

“In years past when brainstorming for a book ideas, the thought of a Bible story told in rhyme, as in just one Bible story for the entire book, had come to me several times. This is in part due to the fact that as an 8-year-old child, I wrote a rhyming version of David and Goliath for a church puppet ministry. People often ask how I started writing, or how long I’ve been writing, and I always say that I’ve been writing in rhyme since childhood. I wrote many rhyming narratives for school, church and personal projects, and one of many that I recall doing is the David and Goliath story told in rhyme.” Parker states that in years past, she has considered doing something similar for a book, but just never could sell herself on the idea of a book that consists of just one Bible story and no more.

In November of 2006, she was trying to come up with her next book idea, and was needing to settle on something soon, as her only real window of opportunity to create one in its entirety for the following year’s release is in the months of December through February.

“I needed to get busy on a new book soon, but had no real direction for one,” she admits. “I was in the car one Sunday morning on my way to my mother’s house. The Saturday before, I had just finished and dismantled another week-long retail show, and as it was ‘the morning after,’ I was absolutely worn out.

“I turned on the car radio, and they were playing Tennessee Ernie Ford music. It was very comforting to hear, as I used to hear him as a child on Sunday mornings in the car on the way to Sunday school. Anyway, he was singing ‘Go Down, Moses,’ and hearing him tell the story in song of how Moses helped free the Israelites in Egypt again brought it to mind that a Bible Story told in rhyme was a possible theme for a new book. But I still didn’t like the notion of settling on just one Bible tale as the make-up of an entire book.”

So as she revisited that concept it came to her this time that she could do a collection of Bible stories told in rhyme. But she wanted an angle, or something to make it unique. The idea of doing it as an ABC book was an almost immediate solution for this author who already has three alphabet titles under her belt! And a Bible theme met the most important criteria for doing an alphabet book — there is something to represent every letter, even the “trickier” ones, like Q, X and Z!

“After settling on the plan of doing a Bible Alphabet book, I immediately thought about going a little further with the ABC theme by also incorporating scripture into the alphabetical layout,” Parker said. “It was actually this aspect that got me the most fired-up about the project.” The writer says that adding carefully-selected scripture was a way to make the book have something for adults, and that she endeavored to choose scripture that is personally meaningful to her and when possible, “a little deeper” than verses that many people just know by rote.