Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Introducing....Katie Grace!

Allow me to introduce to you...Katie Grace, a bouncy, bright, yet sensitive seven-year-old girl who in many ways resembles my own daughter. She is the main character in a new series of children's books that I am working on.

This is a rough sketch of Katie Grace and her friend. The illustrator, I Ketut Suraksa is a teenager who lives at the children's home where I work in Bali.
Let me back up a bit. In November, I participated In NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of authors and around the world participated in this event.The idea was to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month.

As it turns out, after thirty days I ended up with four small books that comprise the start of a series for early readers.

As Katie Grace experiences the everyday trials and challenges of first grade, her parents help her find her way through the problems. In the first four books, they use some of the parables of Jesus, told in a child-like manner, to guide her to a good response.

Along with Katie Grace, children can discover:
  • the importance of being kind to those that are different, even when it is hard
  • why we need to avoid having a "me first" attitude
  • that even when we mess up big-time, God's love never gives up on us AND
  • that when we say we will do something, we need to keep our word.
 Those of you who have children who are just beginning to read may be familiar with the Junie B. Jones series which is available pretty much everywhere. My daughter enjoys those books. The Katie Grace books, although about a girl about the same age as Junie B, First Grader, are intentionally different.
  • Katie Grace doesn't shout everything she says.
  • She isn't allowed to call other people names, although at some point, there may be a book that deals with that issue.
  • I haven't decided yet if she will use incorrect grammar. Perhaps she will, but mostly when she is upset about something. (Parents, do you have any preference on this point?)
  • These first four books, at least, have an overt Christian emphasis with the use of the parables. I haven't decided if that type of direct emphasis will continue in subsequent books or not. (Any thoughts?)
The first of the Katie Grace books is currently being proofread by several friends. I hope to have it available as an ebook within the next two months. 
Speaking of ebooks, at this point, I have one book for adults published on Amazon. I am planning to publish the Katie Grace books on multiple platforms. I am curious to know what platforms potential readers use for ebooks. 

I hope that the first Katie Grace books will be a good way for kids to learn about life. And...I hope they will be just plain fun.

I welcome any input you may have as I shape this series into something that will be fun, and a blessing to kids and their families. Please feel free to give me feedback in the comment section. What would you like to see in a series for your young children? What do you find in some series that you don't like so much. Any other thoughts are welcome.


  1. Congrats, looks great. Is this the series you talked to me about? I'm sorry I never got around to inquiring. The Holidays are busy around here, and I can barely keep my own home afloat.

    I, or I should say, my wife, gets her few ebooks via Amazon. While I'd like to read a book on a device, a blog is about the limit to how much screen reading I can do.

    I don't know the other series, so I can't say where Junie B. Jones is good or not. I know I'm not a fan of exclamation marks, so that seems like a plus one for your series. I'm also a fan of small doses of preachiness...a child's book that is like a parable is great, but a parable disguised as a child's book, is not something I'd like to read. In other words, if it looks like real life, with a few spiritual implications, I'm on board. If it is all Christianity and no human story, not my (or my kids) cup of tea.

    Again, Congrats.

    1. Yes, this is the series I was talking about. I understand about things being busy around the holidays.

      With Katie Grace, you get real life situations that a first grader might face. The parables come in as stories her mom or dad tells her because they relate in some way to what she is experiencing.

      For instance, when KG has had sticky fingers and taken money from her mom's purse, she feels very guilty and is sure her parents will be so mad at her that they won't love her anymore. Her dad tells the Parable of the Lost Son to show that no matter what she does, God's love never stops...and neither does Mommy and Daddy's love.

      That is how the parables show up. They are not disguised as anything. They are what they are. As KG's mom or dad tells the parable, wherever possible, they make the story come alive by giving the characters names and having them talk to each other. KG sometimes breaks in and asks questions...serious questions, silly questions. But there is interaction as the parents get KG to figure out what the parable means rather than just tell her. I'm trying not to be preachy.

    2. That sounds great, and something that kids would actually understand. Hope it goes somewhere for you.

    3. Me too...obviously. Still interested in taking one of these books on a test drive with your girls? If so, I need to know how to send it.

  2. Julie,

    This series sounds great! I have a seven year old daughter that just got the Junie B. Jones books for her birthday. She likes them okay but tells me about all the "inappropriate" things the character does, and it seems to bother her a bit. I was just thinking today it would be great to have an alternative! Can't wait to see the Katie Grace books when they come out!

    I don't have a Kindle...yet...but do use the platform on my computer.

    On the grammar issue, as much as I try, my seven year old doesn't use correct grammar all the time! But I do correct when I hear it. Maybe the KG character could have the typical grammar errors but is corrected occasionally by a parent in a humorous way? Just a thought.

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on this project! I think it's wonderful that you are doing this!

    Eve Mercer

    1. Thank you so much, Eve, for your thoughtful reply. My daughter and I read Junie B. together, so for now, we have a chance to discuss the "inappropriate things" and I use it as a jumping off point to further discussion. Not every time, of course, but on the important things.

      I like your suggestion for handling grammar mistakes. For now, Katie Grace uses fairly good grammar, mostly "losing it" when she is upset about something.

      I hope I can get this book out in the time frame I planned. When it comes out, I'll be sure to announce it on this blog. If you get it and like it, please spread the word!


Any thoughts on this post? I would love to hear from you.

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