Meet the I AM Endorsers

EndorsersLast week my publisher and I sent out four special copies of I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God to four special people—endorsers. I’m SO thankful for the words they wrote to affirm the book, and I want you to meet each one. I hope you’ll want to get to know them better and discover their wonderful books too!

Ann Spangler is an award-winning author who explores the connection between spiritual experience and everyday life. Her books Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus introduced me to getting to know God by learning about his names. Ann’s most recent book is Wicked Women of the Bible (“Some are wicked. Some are “wicked good.'”) You can find Ann’s blog, learn about her life and her books, and connect at her website, www.annspangler.com. Here’s what Ann had to say about I AM.

“A beautifully written, vibrantly illustrated Bible storybook designed to teach young children about God’s love by exploring the richness of his names and titles. I recommend it!” —Ann Spangler, author of Praying the Names of God

Amy Parker has written and co-written more than thirty books for children, teens, and adults, with over a million copies sold. Two of her collaborations won Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. But Amy says her greatest reward is being wife to Daniel and mom to their amazing sons, Michael and Ethan. Amy’s goal and motto is “Love the world.” She recently debuted The Plans I Have for You picture book and The Plans I Have for You Devotional and related journal for preteens. Learn more about Amy and her work at www.amyparkerbooks.com.

“When a truth older than time is set on the backdrop of breathtaking illustrations, it becomes a must-have for any child’s library. Diane Stortz has carefully knit these stories together to convey the message of the whole Bible and reveal the character our God. And what more could we hope for than for our children to know I AM?” —Amy Parker, best-selling author

I met Mark Atteberry when I was working as an editor. (He wrote a great little book for women called So Much More Than Sexy). Mark’s books for a male audience, The Samson Syndrome and The Solomon Seduction, are published by Thomas Nelson. Mark is a multitalented guy—he’s a pastor and he plays a mean sax. Discover all of Mark’s books and learn more about him at www.markatteberry.net.
“Diane Stortz has an amazing gift for creating books that make the profound truths of the gospel accessible to young minds. I can’t wait to share this book with my grandchildren.” —Mark Atteberry, award-winning author of The Samson Syndrome and The Solomon Seduction

After a successful corporate career in New York in financial services and human resources, Ava Pennington moved to Florida to begin her second career as a Bible teacher, speaker, and author. She’s written for Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, and Haven Ministries and been published in 25 anthologies, including 18 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her most recent book is Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional. Ava is on the board of the Christian Author Network and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Catch up with Ava at www.avapennington.com.

“Effectively spotlights God’s names with appealing and age-appropriate Bible stories that take the reader on a journey from Genesis through Revelation. The result is a book that will become an indispensable tool to teach younger children the joys of knowing God by name. —Ava Pennington, author of Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional

 

CoverI AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God
Bible Stories, Devotions, and Prayers About the Names of God
Learn more, see a sample, and find purchase links here.

– Diane

Lasting Gifts–10 Books for Valentine’s Day for Kids of All Ages

Valentine CollageValentine’s Day—all about love and friendship—will be here soon. This year, along with the cards and candy, why not give children a book to help them know the greatest Love and our best Friend?

I’ve put together a list of 10 books perfect for toddlers to tweens on this upcoming February holiday!

Most aren’t traditional Valentine’s Day books, but each one communicates that God is the source of love and all good gifts.

The Story of Valentine’s Day, a board book for younger children, by Nancy J. Skarmeas.

Saint Valentine, written and illustrated—with colorful paper mosaics—by Robert Sabuda. Elementary and middle grade readers who like biography will like this.

The Sweetest Story Bible by Diane Stortz. Especially for little girls, this one’s very pink and sparkly.

The Sweetest Story Bible for Toddlers, by Diane Stortz. The padded hard-cover board book version for little ones.

Love Letters from God, by Glenys Nellist, beautiful picture book featuring retold Bible stories with lift-the-flap “letters” from God for children to open.

Little Love Letters from God, by Glenys Nellist, the just-released board book version for toddlers, with stories written in rhyme.

The Plans I Have for You, by Amy Parker. Fun to read and look at, this picture book assures children that God is involved in their lives.

The Plans I Have for You Devotional, by Amy Parker, helps tweens explore their heart connection with God.

God Gave Us Love, by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Little Cub and Grampa Bear talk about different kinds of love, God’s love, and showing love to others in this picture book.

Every Day a Blessing, by Jean Fischer. This 365-devotional for the elementary years helps kids explore God’s love and thank him for his blessings.

– Diane

Getting to Know God by Name

Tomorrow’s the official pub date for this new book. Isn’t the cover beautiful? I love how it sparkles.IAMAdvance600x700You can often guess someone’s age by considering their name. Diane, for example, was popular in the 1950s, so . . . that tells you something about me.

But God’s personal name? Well, it’s ageless. Just like him.

When Moses met God at the burning bush and received the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, he wasn’t exactly thrilled at first. He peppered God with questions, including, “When I tell the people that I met you here and you gave me this assignment, they’re going to want to know your name. What should I tell them?”

The Israelites had just about forgotten who the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was.

But God hadn’t forgotten them. Not at all.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” (Ex. 3:14)

I AM WHO I AM. I always have been. I will always be. I will never change.

When God revealed his name to Moses, he used the Hebrew YHWH (the Hebrew language has no vowels). Some English Bible translations use Yahweh wherever God’s name occurs, but most follow the tradition of replacing Yahweh with “the LORD” (using large and small caps).

Eventually the term Jehovah appeared. It’s found throughout the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, and today many of the descriptions added to God’s name in the Bible are popularly known using Jehovah (for example, Jehovah Jireh, “The LORD Will Provide” and Jehovah Rophe, “The LORD Who Heals”)—even though Yahweh is a much more likely accurate pronunciation.

But however I AM is written or pronounced, it IS the name God gave us to tell us about himself. And it is the name Jesus used for himself when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58)!

Choosing a book title is rarely easy. Choosing a title for this book about the names of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit took a long time. I couldn’t be more grateful to the Tommy Nelson Publishing team that developed and settled on the title I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.

As our children and families go through the book together, may we all grow mightily in our understanding of who God is and our relationship with him!

– Diane

Coming Soon! I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God

CoverCreator. Comforter. Healer. Friend. God’s names tell us who he is, what he is like, and what he does. My new book covers forty of the Bible’s many names and descriptive titles for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, including Jehovah Jireh, The Lord My Shepherd, Immanuel, Rabbi, and I Am.

Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. As they develop understanding of God’s character and His love for them, they will grow to know, love, and trust the great I Am more and more.

The editorial and design teams at Tommy Nelson have created another beautiful book! The cover literally sparkles! Diane Le Feyer, who illustrated Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers, was chosen to be the artist for I AM too.

Children will recognize many of the Bible characters Diane portrayed in Words to Dream On in this new book!

Here’s a link to an early review of the book: https://edifier1.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/phone-tree-reviewi-am-by-diane-stortz/

I AM releases February 2 and is available for preorder now. You can view a sampler here.

“A beautifully written, vibrantly illustrated Bible storybook designed to teach young children about God’s love by exploring the richness of his names and titles. I recommend it!” —Ann Spangler, author of Praying the Names of God

– Diane

An Interview with Author Glenys Nellist

Author PhotoIs going to the mailbox a highlight of your day? (Maybe not if all you’re expecting is bills.) But what if you’re looking for a letter from someone special?

A love letter, perhaps!

Children especially love to receive and open mail. So a picture book filled with letters … love letters … love letters from God—what could be better?

That’s what Glenys Nellist decided, and her debut picture book Love Letters from God was published by Zonderkidz in 2014. (Read my review here.) Now there’s a lift-the-flap board book version too—Little Love Letters from God. It features rhyming text that toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy.

Glenys is a wife, mother of four sons, and grandmother to three little boys and one little girl. She also serves as children’s ministry coordinator for the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. I’m happy to welcome Glenys to my blog today!

Glenys, you grew up in England and have family there. Do you visit there often? What are your favorite things to do on visits home?

I was born and raised in a little village in northern England, where I lived until we came to the United States fifteen years ago. I am so blessed that I get to go back “home” every year, to visit my seven siblings and numerous nieces and nephews. Whenever we go back to England, we love to walk by the side of the canal where we lived (usually in the rain!), eat fish and chips—and Cadbury’s chocolate!

How did you come to live in the United States?

My husband is a pastor, and our denomination offers an international exchange program for pastors and their families who want to participate. Basically, this means that for six weeks, you swap pulpits, homes, and cars (that’s scary because you guys drive on the wrong side of the road!) with another pastor anywhere in the world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience life, culture, and ministry overseas.

In 1999 we asked our four young sons, where shall we go? Their immediate reply, in unison, was  “AMERICA!” (This was really because they wanted to visit Disney World.) So we came to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for the summer of 1999. We absolutely fell in love with the USA and the possibilities of ministry here, so much so that we came back one year later, and have been here ever since. But we still haven’t been to Disney World.

Did you read a lot to your children as they grew up? What were your favorite books?

I’m so glad you asked this question! Yes! As a primary school teacher in England, and an avid reader myself, our house was full of books. Our all-time favorite book was published in 1986, and I still have our battered copy. It was called The Jolly Postman, and told the wonderful story of a postman who delivered letters to nursery rhyme characters. Written in rhyme, its innovative feature was that the pages were actual envelopes that contained real letters.

I can still remember the joy of snuggling with my four young sons on the sofa as we poured over its pages, and the delight of my youngest son as he reached his chubby little hand inside the envelopes to take the letters out. It was this little book that would inspire me to write Love Letters from God.

Do you have more book projects underway?

Yes! I’m so happy to say that Christmas Love Letters from God and Girls’ Love Letters from God, along with their board book versions for toddlers, will soon be available. Beyond that, I have more Love Letter projects in the works and a new board book series, called Snuggle Time—Snuggle Time Prayers, and Snuggle Time Psalms—to be published later this year. God is good, and all the glory for the words I write goes to him.

What do you hope to be doing in five years?

I hope to be doing what God wants me to! But if it is part of his plan, then I’d love to have more adorable grandchildren (to add to the four I already have), be able to be writing more books, and perhaps live on a little lake, where we might have room for the wooden boats my husband builds in his spare time. (We are already up to boat number four, so living in the city is not very conducive to his hobby!)

Thank you for visiting, Glenys!

Zonderkidz is offering a free copy of Little Love Letters from God to readers of my blog! To be eligible to win, you must live in the US and have a street address (no PO boxes.) To enter, just post “I’d love to win” in a comment below. The giveaway will stay open through 11:59 pm EST on Friday, January 22.

Little Love Letters CoverWant to know more about Glenys and Little Love Letters from God? This post is part of a once-a-week blog hop. You’ll find the full blog hop schedule at Glenys’s website.

– Diane

My Video Interview on Heritage of Truth

Many thanks to Jeanne Dennis and Heritage of Truth for interviewing me about Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers—my first-ever video interview!

Jeanne brings families a wealth of information and encouragement to live biblically through Heritage of Truth TV and the ministry’s blog, worldview information, and children’s site, Heritage of Truth Jr. To learn more, start here.

Diane Stortz: Words to Dream On – Bible Bedtime Stories for Children from Jeanne Dennis on Vimeo.

SmallWTDOWords to Dream On calms, quiets, and opens hearts to hear faith-building Bible stories and prayers. Over 50 stories—from the Old and New Testaments—create an overview of the Bible with a focus on God’s love, care, protection, trustworthiness, and power.

What better way to spend the last few minutes of the day than snuggled up with your children, pouring God’s love into their hearts?

– Diane

Start the New Year Right–10 Devotionals for Kids of All Ages

DevoInside2Your kids love spending time with you. How about investing together in reflective time with the Lord?

Big dividends await! Knowing your children better. Guiding their paths. Teaching them the joy of exploring God’s Word and giving God our attention day by day.

Maybe a regular “quiet time” isn’t a discipline you’ve mastered yet—so how can you possibly teach it to your children? Or maybe you just don’t know where to begin. Good children’s devotional books can help by providing a structure and choosing the Scripture and topics to focus on.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite devotional books, for children from toddlers to tweens:

Baby Bible Sing & Pray, by Robin Currie. New words to familiar tunes, short prayers, sweet art.

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers, by Crystal Bowman. This one’s a classic.

Every Day a Blessing, by Jean Fischer. Stories and thoughts focused on developing a grateful heart.

My Sing-Along Bible, by Stephen Elkins and Wonder Kids. The 52 songs on CD with this book are a treasure.

Devotions for Beginning Readers, by Crystal Bowman and Christy Lee Taylor. Let your new reader read aloud to you. My grandson loved this one.

Duck Commander Devotions for Kids, by Korie Robertson and Chrys Howard. Excellent content for the elementary grades.

Dare U 2 Open This Book (for boys) and Just Sayin’ (for girls), by Carol McAdams Moore. Creative and innovative formats for tweens and preteens.

The Plans I Have for You Devotional, by Amy Parker. Encourages tweens and preteens to find strength in God to use their gifts to serve the world. An accompanying journal is available too.

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of the popular Jesus Storybook Bible. Sing you will.

Be intentional and invest time with God and your children. Start the new year out right!

What devotional books for children have you enjoyed?

– Diane

Read Through the Bible with Me in 2016

I wrote A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year because of the wonderful experience and life change I found as part of groups that read through and discussed together each year for most of a decade.

Here’s a photo of one of those groups, right after the book was published.Beginning January 4, I’ll be posting the weekly readings each Monday morning on this Facebook page: www.facebook.com/diane-stortz-books.

And now through January 9, the Kindle version of the book is just $.99 at amazon.com!

But whether you’ve purchased the book or not, you can still read through with me in 2016. Just be sure you’ve Liked my Facebook page and check in every Monday! Feel free to leave comments and ask questions there too as we go through the readings.

I’ll be looking for you there!

– Diane

Second Annual After-Christmas Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Sandra Conary, Leah Bayhylle, and Corine Hyman–the 1-2-3 winners in my Second Annual After-Christmas Giveaway!

I’ll be contacting each of you in order by e-mail so you can choose the book you’d like to receive and provide your mailing address. You’ll also receive a copy of my newest book, Say & Pray Bible.

Thanks and blessings to everyone who participated in the giveaway!

– Diane

Second Annual After-Christmas Giveaway!

GiveawayCollageAll through 2015 I’ve enjoyed buying a book a month to support fellow authors and retailers and to recommend them to you. Now I’m hosting my second annual after-Christmas giveaway—to give you an opportunity to win one of those books for a child you know!

I’ll choose three winners to receive (in first-, second-, and third-place order) their choice of the books I spotlighted each month. (They are all available except the Easter books.)

Say&PrayFinalPlus, each winner will receive a copy of my newest book, Say & Pray Bible.

To enter the giveaway, you need to be signed up for my newsletter. (I fill it up with tips, book suggestions, inspiration, and book news several times a year.) To get signed up, use the box at the left.

Everyone who subscribes to the newsletter during the giveaway will automatically be entered. If you already receive my newsletter and want to enter, just tell me “I’m a subscriber” in a comment below!

The giveaway starts December 26 and ends December 31 at midnight EST. I’ll announce the winners January 2.

If you want to learn more about the books, just use the links below. Thank you for caring about children and the best in Christian books for them!

You can find the posts about this year’s picks at these links: JanuaryFebruary, March,  April , May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

– Diane

Freebie

You CAN Read the Bible in a Year … Here’s How!