I always like to know a little something about an author before I sit down and open up his or her book. Today, I interview my friend Christina Fox (again!)—this time about her very first children’s book, Tell God How You Feel. It releases this week on March 5, but you can pre-order it now!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Like a lot of women, I wear many hats. I am a wife and mom. My husband and I will be married 25 years at the end of this year. We have two teen boys, one of which is a homeschooler, and the other attends a hybrid Christian school.
I serve on the PCA’s national women’s ministry team, helping develop our conferences and resources for ministries in our denomination. I’m the editor of our ministry blog, enCourage, and I’m also an advisory board member at Covenant College, my alma mater.
My professional background is in counseling, and I have a counseling license in the state where we live. I’m currently working with my church on developing a counseling ministry at my church. I’m a writer, retreat speaker, and author of several books, including A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament, Idols of a Mother’s Heart, and A Holy Fear: Trading Lesser Fears for the Fear of the Lord. And, of course, my most recent: Tell God How You Feel.
What do you enjoy about writing?
I love digging into one topic, exploring all that Scripture has to say about it. The process encourages my own heart. In addition, writing has combined two loves: theology and counseling. I love helping readers see how the gospel intersects with their daily life, bringing hope and life to the brokenness of our fallen world.
What led you to write Tell God How You Feel?
My first book was A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament. It’s about the difficult and hard emotions of life and how God’s Word shows us what to do with those emotions—specifically to bring them to him through the process of lament. The book goes through those psalms. This children’s book is inspired by that book.
We learn at an early age how to deal with emotions. Sometimes, we learn they are bad and to stuff them down or ignore them. We might develop poor ways of dealing with them, such as eating when we’re stressed or attempting to control all the details of our life. Instead, I want children to learn to bring their sadness, their fears, and their hurts to the Lord, and this book helps them do that. It gives them a beginning understanding of the psalms of lament.
Who is it written for? How do you hope it is used?
Tell God How You Feel is a discipleship tool for parents to use with their children. Emotions are not easy to talk about for most of us. As parents, we often have difficulty identifying and verbalizing our own emotions, so when our children are feeling sad or worried, we’re uncomfortable navigating that with them. This book is designed to help parents have those discussions with their children using stories of other children who are feeling sad, lonely, or afraid.
The book focuses on one family with a brother and sister. There are separate stories about these siblings facing difficult situations. For example, in the first story, Mia is afraid of a thunderstorm. Her parents talk with her about her fears and share with her about the fear David felt in the Bible. They teach her how David prayed to God when he was afraid, and they help her do that too.
The other stories focus on sadness, loneliness, rejection, and even gratitude. At the end of each story there are questions parents can ask their children to help them talk further about their emotions and learn to lament to God all that they feel. It is ideal for children 4–8 years old.
How was the process of writing a children’s book different from writing your other books?
This is my first children’s book, and it was a fun change to think about the topic of lament from a child’s perspective. I especially enjoyed the process of selecting the illustrator. The publisher had various illustrators pitch illustrations, and we selected the one that best fit the story. It was fun to see how each of these illustrators interpreted the stories I wrote. Once we chose Lisa Flanigan as the illustrator, I enjoyed watching the illustrations progress. I’m thankful she understood what I wanted to accomplish with this book.
What is your hope for Tell God How You Feel?
My hope is that parents would find it to be a useful tool to help children learn to identify what they’re feeling and learn to talk about it. I hope they learn that God wants to hear from them; he wants them to pray and tell him how they feel. I hope they grow up knowing God is their refuge in times of trouble. And as they mature, I hope they learn to see the Psalms as a book which speaks to all the emotions they feel—a book which points them to the truth about who God is and what he has done.
For a sneak peek, you can access a sample of the book here.
Here are some endorsements:
“Children are often unsure about what to do with their emotions. Whether they are feeling happy or sad, peaceful or anxious, angry or joyful, they can learn healthy ways to share their emotions with God. Christina Fox’s new book, Tell God How You Feel, is a wonderful book to help parents and children discuss their feelings, as they consider the ways people have prayerfully talked to God all throughout Scripture, especially in the Psalms. This book is a wonderful way to talk with your children as you help them learn to talk to God.”
—Melissa B. Kruger, author and director of Women’s Initiatives for The Gospel Coalition
“Tell God How You Feel is unique and badly needed. Many children’s books deal well with particular emotions, but no book I’ve ever seen gives children such a clear, concrete, relatable framework for dealing with any and all emotions by engaging their Heavenly Father with the weights and dreams in their hearts. Illustrated in an ethnically inclusive, warmly inviting style, Tell God How You Feel fills a vital niche in nurturing a living faith in our children.”
—Alasdair Groves, Executive Director of CCEF
If you had an afternoon to do whatever you’d like, where would we find you?
The perfect afternoon would include a hike in the woods, followed by a trip to my favorite antique shop. And a stop at a coffee shop is a must as well!