In her book Angels on Your Pillow, which I got to review, Karen Kelly brings an awareness to these wonderful beings that kids can understand and adults can be comforted by. The illustrations are whimsical and fun, and tell the story by themselves, with some narration by the goldfish.
I had a chance to interview Karen to learn more about the book.
What was the inspiration for this book?
My inspiration for writing "Angels on Your Pillow” and future angel adventure books actually came to me in a dream; I woke up one morning and said, “I have to write a children’s book about love, pure unconditional love.” I knew it would have the words angels on your pillow in the title (my mother said that to me every night and I did the same for my daughter) and it would be meaningful, whimsical and not just for children. It was a work in progress for years and went from 800 words to no words because I wanted the pictures to tell the story, once they did I added about 125 words (mainly from two goldfish named Bubbles and Sushi who kind of narrate the story).
How can books help kids understand spiritual concepts?
Books such as “Angels on Your Pillow” help kids process the spiritual concept and give adults a platform to share their beliefs and invite conversations about faith. For example, Brittany, the 5-year-old girl in my story, thinks a feather is an angel and that her whole pillow is filled with angels; which is a relatable misunderstanding because her mommy says “Good Night, Sleep Tight, Angels on Your Pillow” and her mommy would never tell a lie. Real angels are in Britt’s moonlit bedroom; the fish can see the angels but the little girl cannot which I included to demonstrate how some people go through life not realizing how much they are loved and the power of pure unconditional love over everything else.
How can parents help their kids differentiate between religious beliefs and fairytales?
One of the most important things a parent can do is spend time sharing their own beliefs and explain to their children (regularly) that faith is something real that we feel but cannot see; that we believe. Seeing God in nature or in the miracle when a baby is born are two examples. If a family doesn’t believe in God I suggest they use the words “love" or "universal love” to differentiate between religious beliefs and fairytales because when it comes down to it love is the essence of all that is good no matter your faith or beliefs.