Episode 185: Glenys Nellist and Singing a New Song to God

We’re so glad to be back for Season 7 of “Books that Spark”! Our friend Glenys Nellist is here with us today to introduce her newest book–it’s a special one you’ll want to check out. 

Our Guest: Glenys Nellist

Glenys Nellist was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple award-winning children’s books, including the bestselling ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas, The Wonder That is You, and five popular series: Love Letters from God, Snuggle Time, ‘Twas, Good News and Little Mole, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy and hope in the world. Glenys lives in Michigan with her husband, David.

Book Discussed in This Episode:

Show Transcript:

Terrie (00:09):

Welcome to “Books That Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that help us with everyday discipleship every day, sparking important conversations with our children. Well, I’m happy to let you know that we have one of our favorite guests back with us today, Glenys Nellist is with us today to talk about her newest book. So Glenys, thank you for joining us.

Glenys (00:32):

Oh, thanks for having me again, Terrie, I always love to chat with you.

Terrie (00:36):

Well, tell us about this new book that’s just come out.

Glenys (00:40):

Well, it’s called Song of the Seasons. It is published by Paraclete Press. It’s actually my first picture book with them, which I’m really excited about. It’s a picture book that is based on Psalm 98, where the psalmist suggested that we sing a new song to God, but it’s interesting, Terrie, because he begins with saying, let’s sing a new song to the Lord, and a few verses further on, he includes the earth. He says, how about all the Earth sings to God, and then by the end of the Psalm, He’s got the mountains singing and the rivers clapping their hands, so it’s just this really beautiful picture that captured my imagination, so it’s a rewriting of Psalm 98 and imagining that all creation sings in praise of the Creator.

Terrie (01:36):

Oh, that’s beautiful. I love that. When we were in Taiwan, a group came to Taiwan and we were in the Marble Gorge, which is just a beautiful area in Taiwan, and they said, they felt the verse that says, the rocks will cry out, and they said, you just sense that there because it’s so beautiful. You can’t help but realize God created this. This book is a picture book, so it’s four ages. What would you say the age range is for this book?

Glenys (02:05):

Yes. I think on the back, the listings, it suggests age 4 through 8, but it’s hard, isn’t it, Terrie? Because I really think picture books are for everyone.

Terrie (02:15):

Yes, I kind of agree with that, and especially one that’s celebrating scripture in the Psalms. Anybody’s going to enjoy that. That’s just fantastic. Alright, and are you going to do more along this genre of taking scripture and making it more accessible to little children? Is that something you hope to do more of?

Glenys (02:34):

Well, Terrie, it has always been my favorite thing to do, to take scripture and write it in ways that are meaningful to little ones. Very often in rhyme, this book is written in rhyme. I don’t know if there’ll be any more in this series, per se, but yes, I’m working right now on another project that takes scripture and rhyme for slightly younger children, that project they’re going to be called See and Find books, so I’m excited for those books, but yeah, the Bible is just so full of inspiration, isn’t it? But this book in particular, I think it’s interesting because the Psalms are not normally what you would think of as being really accessible for children. When you think about the really popular, iconic Bible stories that all children’s authors write about, like David and Goliath or The Creation, or Jonah and the Whale, or Jesus bobbing in the boat in the Storm.

Glenys (03:34):

So the Psalms are not typically found in children’s literature, but they’re so rich and full of these pictures that I think really resonate with children, because what I love about children is they have no problem imagining that the mountains could sing, or because they’ve just got these great minds that are full of wonder, and you know, and the river’s clapping their hands. I just thought, yeah, children would resonate with that. So I think it’s really good to take something perhaps a little more challenging like the Sams, and think about ways to make that accessible to little ones.

Terrie (04:14):

Oh, I love that. That’s really nice. So this is airing right after Easter as we come into the spring, so what a beautiful book to enjoy with your children, to celebrate God’s creation and nature is all of Earth is coming back to life after the long winter. So I think this is perfect timing for this book to be released. It’s wonderful.

Glenys (04:36):

Yes. It’s interesting, Terrie, because originally this book was called Creation Song, and it did explore all the things like perhaps the trees sing or the rivers clap their hands. It did have all those details in it, but it wasn’t a journey through the Four Seasons. It wasn’t until my editor sort of took it and said, you know what? This is good, but it could be better. I’ve learned to trust my editors because they know what they’re talking about, then it became Song of the Seasons because then I realized maybe I can take readers on a journey through Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, and talk about how each season celebrates God as the creator. I love what happens in the creative process that you begin something and you never quite know how it’s going to turn out.

Terrie (05:32):

Yeah, that’s wonderful. It’s just so much fun to take children through the seasons and then to also help them connect that with scripture and connect that with God seeing him in all of creation. I think that’s wonderful.

Glenys (05:44):

Yes. It’s interesting because the illustrator is called C.B. Canga. I’ve never met him as a traditionally published author. We typically don’t have much contact with the illustrators, and this is the first book of mine that he has illustrated, but all his use of color is just so splendid. Every page. It’s really color rich, but the interesting thing is, I live in Michigan, which of course has all the four seasons like I celebrated in England, which of course has all the four seasons. He’s in California. Yes, and apparently- I’ve actually never been to California, but they don’t have snow there, for example. They don’t really have fall, apparently not in the same way that we do, so yes, it was really interesting for him to have to represent this book. Well, even though he hasn’t really experienced living through all the four seasons, but you’d never know because his pictures are just amazing.

Terrie (06:43):

Well, that’s cool. Yeah, we lived in California for many years, so for my children to even experience snow, we had to go up to the mountains. Like when Easter, we left right after church on Sunday, and my kids are in their Easter best, their little dress and cute little suit, and it’s spring in the air and daffodils everywhere, and we go up to Tahoe and a snowstorm hits. They got to build a little snowman on the balcony and experience snow for the first time, and it was just so much fun to do that, and that’s the weirdness about California is you can go two hours, one direction and be at the ocean two hours the other direction, be in the mountains with snow. You can experience four seasons in one or two days if you do it right, so it’s really interesting.

Glenys (07:29):

Oh my gosh, that does sound interesting.

Terrie (07:32):

Yeah, it is. It’s a lot of fun. So you usually have several books on the horizon. Do you have any books coming out soon after this one?

Glenys (07:43):

I’m working right now. I’m in the editing stages of some little board books that I mentioned earlier with our Daily Bread. Those are going to be Seek and Find, but first, I think before those are released, I’m also editing some other picture books for Paraclete Press, the publishers of Song of the Seasons, so they will come out after this communion book that’s a series of three, and it’s called Bedtime Blessings, again, written in Rhyme, the 24 page picture books, so they’re a little shorter than your typical 32 page, but they offer parents and grandparents a way to bless their children at bedtime. So you know, the Bible’s full of these wonderful blessings, like the ironic blessing with the Lord Bless You and Keep You. I took the idea of blessing your children at bedtime and put it into a book, because I’ve done that with my grandchildren at bedtime. I’ve drawn a little heart on the forehead and said, “Sam, you are a blessing, and I love you,” then he would do that back to me. Yeah, so it’s really a sweet way, I think, to instill scripture and blessing in little hearts because I think how powerful is it, Terrie, for a child to fall asleep knowing that they are a blessing, that they are loved by God, blessed by God, and loved by their parents or grandparents. Yeah, so that’s three Bedtime Blessing books. The first one is God’s Perfect Peace, then God’s Great Love, and the third one will be God’s Constant Care.

Terrie (09:25):

Oh, nice. I can’t wait to see those. Those will be such a blessing to families. I look forward to reading those.

Glenys (09:32):

Oh, thank you. Well, I hope so. Yeah, they’re kind of dear to my heart.

Terrie (09:36):

Yeah. Oh, I think it’s such a powerful thing when parents take the time. I think I call those defining moments because when we bless a child, we’re defining for them how we see them and what we see God doing in their lives. It’s more than a teachable moment. It has more weight to it because it helps them see who they are and helps define who they think they are. I think it’s a powerful thing, so that’s going to be wonderful.

Glenys (10:02):

Thank you so much. I think it’s a very powerful thing too, yeah. I’m really excited to partner with on those three books.

Terrie (10:11):

I love that publisher. I think just about every book they’ve published, I really resonate with and enjoy sharing on this podcast because they have such good theology and really strong ethics and everything and what they do, so I’ve been really pleased with them. So I’m glad you’re with them, that’s awesome. Well, you’ll have to come back and share with us when those books come out, and we can talk about them a little more deeply once they’ve been published. I just have to ask one thing. Are there any more Little Mole stories coming out in the future?

Glenys (10:44):

Oh, I’m glad you asked about Little Mole. I hope so, yes. I’m talking right now with beaming books about two more possible titles. We’re just figuring out the details and the timing of those. But yeah, I’m so excited to maybe offer some more Little Mole stories into the world.

Terrie (11:04):

Oh, I hope so. He’s still my favorite little guy.

Glenys (11:08):

Before we go, could I just tell you that first, Song of The Seasons, they’re on the Paraclete Press website. Well, the book actually has its own website, which is SongOfTheSeasons.com, but I just wanted to tell your listeners that there are two free downloadable activity packs available. One is really robust. It’s a five day curriculum that could be used for perhaps vacation Bible school or summer camps. There’s also a downloadable resource aimed more for parents and grandparents with coloring sheets and bible verses about creation, so I wanted to just make sure that your listeners know about those.

Terrie (11:48):

Oh, good. I will put the link in the show notes, so be sure to look for that and remind us how we can get in contact with you. What is your website’s address?

Glenys (11:58):

Yes, just GlenysNellist.com. G-L-E-N-Y-S, Nellist, N-E-L-L-I-S-T .com. I’d spell it for people because I know it’s a very unusual name.

Terrie (12:10):

Surely they know it by now though.

Glenys (12:13):

I hope so. I’m the only Glenys Nellist in the whole world. That’s pretty amazing.

Terrie (12:20):

That is. And again, we’ll have all these links in the show notes. Be sure to check those out. And Glenys, thank you again for being here today. We’ve enjoyed talking with you.

Glenys (12:30):

Thank you so much, Terrie. It was a joy. Thanks for your time.

Terrie (12:34):

Thank you for joining us for “Books That Spark,” where we encourage each other to grasp those teachable moments sparked by great books, and to live out everyday discipleship, helping to equip our children to follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you enjoyed this episode, please like and share on social media so people know we are here or leave comments on one of the podcast host sites. We truly appreciate you. If you would like to connect with me, you can join my mailing list or comment on TerrieHellardBrown.com. We love to hear from you, and we respond to every comment and question. We pray you feel empowered as a parent or caregiver to walk by faith and to embrace everyday discipleship every day with the children in your life.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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