It’s the 4th Tuesday, and that means it’s book-give-away day! But today is especially special since we’re also looking ahead to Christmas for the kids!
Friends, what an honor it is to introduce Angie Martin to you today. Angie and I met at a writer’s conference and I was immediately impressed with her work. My goodness, just wait until you see what she has available for you and the children in your family!
Are you like me and hesitant to add another secular focus to the Christmas season? Then you’re exactly the kind of person who needs to meet Angie Martin and get to know her materials! Be sure to read her bio below, but for now, just trust me that this is something you want for kids in your realm of influence.
Be sure to leave a comment for Angie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.
Okay, let’s get started. Angie, I’m going to state the obvious. Itâ€™s September, not December. Why are we talking about a childrenâ€™s Christmas storybook now?
Operation Birthday Celebrationâ€”A Journey to the Manger is a storybook with interactive features. Jesse, a shepherd-drummer boy, and his feisty lamb, Bongo, are part of a drummer squad whisked away by the desert wind from Bethlehem on a special Christmas adventureâ€”leading families to the manger and the true meaning of the season. These adorable characters must be hand-crafted to â€ścome to lifeâ€ť in time for their visit in December. Now is the perfect time to order! The storybook comes with instructions for crafting the character dolls (which could be as easy as repurposing dolls already available). An â€śAssignment Manualâ€ť suggests activities and teaching moments for twenty-five days, ending with a birthday celebration for baby Jesus. Because each book is personalized with the childâ€™s (or childrenâ€™s) name, city and state, deadline for ordering books is November 16 to ensure delivery by December 1.
This is such a great idea! What inspired you to write such a book?
The idea for Operation Birthday Celebration came during a conversation with my daughter. She and her husband had decided not to facilitate the Santa fantasy in their home, rather focusing on the birth of Jesus. Many of her mommy-friends posted on social media about family fun involving a popular secular childrenâ€™s book and activities featuring a magical elf. Feeling sad that her two young sons were missing out, she said, â€śMom, itâ€™s just not fair!â€ť She vented a frustration of many Christians living in a media-saturated world with strong secular influences. Theyâ€™ve bought into the misconception that the â€śworldâ€ť has captured the corner market on entertainment and believers are missing out. I wanted my grandsons to enjoy the holiday fun, but my main motivation for the book was to affirm our identity as children of God. Heâ€™s the Master Creator and since weâ€™re created in His image, He endows us with the gift of creativity. We should be setting the standard for entertainment! I felt commissioned to create a faith-based alternative to that popular elf. What a surprise that God allowed me not only to write the story but also to illustrate the book!
Why do you think Operation Birthday Celebration is a better choice for Christian families?
Christian parents want creative resources that capture a childâ€™s imagination and fuel curiosity while staying true to biblical teaching. Operation Birthday Celebration is entertaining while supporting Christian values and doctrine. Children enjoy the characters Jesse and Bongo as they learn about the birth of Jesus. Crafts and service projects help grow their faith and love for Godâ€™s Word. Although the book is designed for ages three to nine, older siblings can join the fun by crafting the Jesse and Bongo dolls and leading the daily adventures for the younger ones. Grandparents also love participating.
Whatâ€™s in store for Jesse and Bongo in the future?
Initially, I conceived the story and characters as a gift to my grandsons. But writing colleagues believed Jesse and Bongo would be welcome in many more homes and encouraged me to consider a wider audience. I introduced the book and characters to a dozen test families, whose enthusiasm confirmed the bookâ€™s appeal and purpose. Through social media they connected and shared holiday excitement and fun. God is able to do more than we can ask or imagineâ€”and Operation Birthday Celebration is making its public debut! Besides enriching family life during the Christmas season, this innovative educational tool is useful for childrenâ€™s ministry leaders, Sunday School teachers, Christian pre-school and elementary school teachers, childcare providers, and the Christian home-school community. Anyone involved with the developmental growth of young children will appreciate this creative approach that brings Scripture to life and presents on a childâ€™s level such concepts as sin, a need for a Savior, Godâ€™s grace, and theÂ perfect gift of His Son Jesus. Wondering whatâ€™s next for Jesse and Bongo? New adventures are on the drawing board!
This is exciting, Angie! Where can we get Operation Birthday Celebration?
Please visit www.JesseAndBongo.com. A little drummer boy and his spirited lamb are eager to make friends with you!
Oh, Angie, what a joy to hear more about your interactive book and products. And although my grandkids are teenagers and have outgrown such a gift, I know of other little ones who would love to have their own adventures with Jesse and Bongo! Thank you for working so hard to help parents teach their little ones the true meaning of Christmas!
And friends, remember to leave a comment and then come back next week to see if you’re the winner. What an awesome gift for the kids on your Christmas list this year!
Grace and peace,