Episode 90 – Interview With Deb Gruelle and Helping Children Find Wonder and Security through Reading

In this episode we visit with author Deb Gruelle about her newest book launching this month. We also talk about the wonder and joy of reading and taking time with our kids as well as the security and bond built while reading books together. 

Our Guest: Deb Gruelle

Deb Gruelle is a best-selling and award-winning author for children and adults. She writes for children to entertain and offer them a sense of security. In August of 2020, she had Sleepy Time Colors release. And before that Little Night Stars. This month, in March, she will release her third children’s board book in this series called 10 Little Fireflies. 10 Little Fireflies is a board book that introduces little ones to numbers as they count down to bedtime. A recovering technical writer, Gruelle also authored a book on infertility for women, over 100 articles for national women’s and parenting magazines, as well as storyboards for children’s games. The second edition of her non-fiction book Aching for a Child released this month. She also serves as chaplain for Inspire Christian Writers. You can find out more information about Inspire at inspirewriters.com. You can connect with Deb at debgruelle.com

Freebies Deb is offering:

Ten Little Fireflies – Activity Guidehttps://landingpages.debgruelle.com/tenlittefireflies_activity_guide

Hidden Link: Get Ten Little Fireflies Activity Kit Free!

Aching for a Child – “A Psalm for the Desperately Waiting”https://www.subscribepage.com/o3y1e0

Hidden Link: Get Aching for a Child’s “A Psalm for the Desperately Waiting.”

Books Discussed in this Episode:

Transcript with Links:

Terrie:

Welcome to “Books that Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion, leading to teachable moments with our kids. We are so excited to welcome back Deb Gruelle today to our podcast. She’s going to share with us about her brand new book. Thank you, Deb, for joining us today.

Deb:

Well, hanks for having me, Terrie. I’m so glad to be here.

Terrie:

Well tell us about this new book. I’m really excited about it.

Deb:

It is called Ten Little Fireflies, and it’s the third in the series. It started with Ten Little Night Stars and then Sleepy Time Colors. And this is the third one. So it’s also a board book. It counts down fireflies at bedtime, but it has cute animals that are in a backyard that are doing all those summertime fun backyard things like making s’mores and swinging on swings and just looking up at the sky, and they see fireflies and get to watch that sense of wonder that comes with fireflies.

Terrie:

I love fireflies. So that made me so excited. In California, where I lived, we didn’t have fireflies, and I missed them from my childhood. And so when I saw your book was about fireflies, I thought, “I have to get this book and read it to any child.”

Deb:

Oh exactly. I am in California and miss fireflies too, but we went every summer to my grandparents in Ohio. So that’s where I was introduced to fireflies. And I went back as an adult and visited a friend in the south and I just– my mouth drops open. They just went along, and these fireflies come out, and I thought, “Wait, look what’s in your yard.” Oh yes, there they are. You know, wait, can we stop the world and just watch these? And it was, they just are amazing.

Terrie:

They really are. It’s just a time of praising God when I see them because they just seem so magical. Especially when I was a kid, we would always capture them and we put too big of holes in our jar lids, you know, for them to breathe. And so they’d get out. So our bedroom would have all these fireflies flashing around all night long. It was like having our own little, you know, planetarium. And stars.

Deb:

I felt the same way–that somehow it gives me the feeling of God caring for us and wanting us to delight in the world He created for us because He didn’t have to make them with bioluminescence. That is just something. So I feel very comforted that the God who is creating fireflies is caring about us.

Terrie:

I love that. So you said you have some ideas of what we could do to slow down during the summer months and spend time and marvel at not only fireflies, but things we could do on summer nights. Do you have some suggestions for families of things they could do to make it special?

Deb:

I was thinking back as a parent, I did not do a great job of this. And a lot of it was just an awareness. So I would need to stop and become aware. I just have a mind that thinks on, “Okay, we did that. What’s next?” And I just am constantly looking forward and thinking of productivity, and God is really teaching me to slow down–that He’s much more about the process, and He could create all the products Himself, but He invites us in because we grow in the process. And so it’s just a matter of changing a mindset to, “Okay, I’m going to stop and rest.” Just like the idea of Sabbath that I’m going to a stop. And the world is not going to fall apart if I don’t do something, you know, in the next 10 minutes, if my child looks down and sees a bug, I can stop and enter into that with him or her rather than, oh, come on, we’ve got to get going. And that’s where the wonder is–just stopping and looking at what’s around us–these little miraculous sightings that are all around us–a flower booming or a cloud in a funny shape or those things that are in nature that God puts for our pleasure. I just think I need to, I’m learning to, slow down, and I wish I’d done that more as a parent to enter into the wonder and build that in my child–to say that is a marvelous thing to stop and wonder.

Terrie:

Yeah, we’re used to it just like the people who are used to the fireflies in their yard–to see the world through the children’s eyes, with that childlike wonder and faith and joy. It’s such a blessing to us as well.

Deb:

Yes. And I think if we look for those things, if we practice looking for those things like treasures that God has left for us along the path of our life, it changes our life.

Terrie:

It really does. Yeah. You’re also a big proponent of reading bedtime stories to our children. Can you talk about some of the benefits of preparing a child for bedtime?

Deb:

Yes. I think that transition period is incredibly important. Just like adults. We have our bedtime routine that tells our brains to slow down and get ready to shut down for the night. Children need us to help them create that in themselves. You can practice with your child. My first book has a bedtime routine. I got one response from a parent saying, we like your book, but now my child insists on doing things in the exact order of your book only. That was not my intent, but things like, you know, taking a warm bath to just help them relax. Or obviously reading is one of things that I think promotes wonder and also creates, you know, a reader which opens worlds in the future of that child’s life. But also sitting on a parent’s lap while the child’s reading brings together those feelings of, wow, look at this story. And I am feeling this great feeling of bonding with my parent. It grows into this love for reading that is born on a parent’s lap.

Terrie:

I love that.

Deb:

I think it’s a gift we can just give to our children. If we are aware of the huge benefit that comes from reading to our children. I loved that part of bedtime, even though I was dead tired. And I, so I wanted short books sometimes, but I just knew that was a gift to both me and my child to just take those moments and read a story.

Terrie:

And it promotes such security.

Deb:

Exactly. Yes. That routine is part of that. It can be just a very small thing. It’s a touchstone for a child. Oh, we always do that. And that is part of what builds security in their life.

Terrie:

That’s good. We’ve talked in the past–your last interview was about your other book that came out this last year: Aching for a Child. And so just briefly tell us about that one as well. And then we’re going to talk about a giveaway.

Deb:

Okay. Aching for a Child was written because of the years of infertility and pregnancy losses and adoptions that fell through that happened to me as we were trying to build a family. So it’s just a book of my heart for women going through that and struggling to create a family. And it has lots of research and lots of medical parts. And one of the things I’m excited about is that it has a list of questions you can take to your doctor to discuss the ethical issues as Christians, how they would handle it. I am hoping that’s going to be a real help for Christian women.

Terrie:

Oh yeah. Such an important tool. I mentioned to give away. And so Deb has graciously offered to give away one of her books, Aching for a Child. And so we’re going to do two giveaways. We will have one giveaway for Aching for a Child and one giveaway for the brand new book, Ten Little Fireflies. It comes out in March. So if you are listening to this episode, it will be coming out in the next week or so, but you can pre-order it now, but we are doing a giveaway of Ten Little Fireflies and one of Aching for a Child. So two different prizes, and you can be entered to win by commenting on this blog post–the podcast blog post. And you could just put which one you would rather win, which drawing you would rather be in. And if you share about this podcast on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and tag us with a hashtag–#booksthatspark–then we will know that you’ve done that and you can be entered again into the drawing.

Terrie:

And we will draw the winner on the 20th of March. And as soon as Ten Little Fireflies ships, the winner will receive that book. And as soon as we draw the names, Deb will be sending you Aching for a Child. And so the way you enter is to comment on this blog post on my website, there’s the podcast transcript. And down below you can comment. And when you comment, if you have a preference for which one you would like: Ten Little Fireflies or Aching for a Child put which one you prefer. If you would like to possibly win both, you can say that too. And if you share on social media and you put the hashtag booksthatspark (#booksthatspark), and then the hashtag either Ten Little Fireflies (#tenlittlefireflies) or hashtag Aching for a Child (#achingforachild), then that will also enter you into the drawing. So be sure to do that after you listen to the podcast, after you download the podcast, and we will get you entered into the drawing. And the drawing will be on Sunday, March 20th. If you have any questions, you can certainly email me or comment on the blog post, and I will be happy to answer your questions. Okay. Well, Deb, I love your books. I love the board books. And so I want to just go over those again. The Ten Little Night Stars counts one through ten, correct?

Deb:

That’s right.

Terrie:

And Ten Little Fireflies counts from ten to one.

Deb:

Yes. that’s correct.

Terrie:

I love it. Okay. And then the colors, all the little animals are getting in their jammies, and it deals with all the different colors.

Deb:

Yes, their favorite color jammies.

Terrie:

I love that. It’s so cute. And it’s a lift-the-flap book. So it’s a lot of fun.

Deb:

That’s right.

Terrie:

So these are great board books. They make great shower gifts for new moms, and they are just wonderful books to read with your kids at bedtime. And Aching for a Child offers so much good information and so many tools for families that are going through those difficult times of miscarriage, infertility, wondering what their next steps are or they’re feeling alone. And you’re not alone. If you’re going through that, there are many of us who have gone through that, and God has been so gracious to carry us through and to walk with us through it. And Aching for a Child is a book that will minister to you. So I highly recommend that.

Deb:

Absolutely. Nobody is alone.

Terrie:

And I know many of my listeners are writers. And I just want to let you know that Deb is also a coach for writers. Can you tell us a little bit about that part of your ministry?

Deb:

Well, I love encouraging writers. I also serve on the board of a nonprofit for writers. I think that’s part of who I’m made to be is someone to encourage writers to get their message out. And so I became a certified writing coach through Hope Writers. I am enjoying helping others get their messages down and out into the world. And it’s just such a thrill.

Terrie:

So if you are an aspiring writer, or you have the dream of being a writer, and you feel like you’re stuck or don’t know next steps, consider checking out Deb’s website and seeing if she can help you in setting up those goals and those steps that you need to do–those next steps to reach toward your dream. I think you will be very blessed to do so. Well, Deb, thank you so much for coming by and sharing with us. I appreciate your time. I appreciate your ministry, and I love your books. Thank you.

Deb:

Thank you so much, Terrie. I really appreciate it. And I love that you’re offering this podcast for encouraging reading for parents and kids alike. It’s just a great gift to the world.

Terrie:

Oh, thank you. And reading is just so important for our children. When we read aloud to them, we are doing more than just reading a story, like Deb was saying. We’re helping them feel secure. We’re building that bond between us. And we’re helping them to fall in love with reading. And that’s so important.

Terrie:

Thank you for joining us for “Books that Spark,” a podcast, celebrating books, that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussions, as we disciple our children and help them follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you would like to get in touch with Deb, you can reach her on her website at debgruelle.com. And I’ll also have the link to her coaching website on the show notes as well. And you can reach me at TerrieHellardBrown.com. We would love to hear from you, and we respond to every message. So feel free to message us today. And remember to comment to enter the giveaways. And also remember when you share on social media to be sure to add the hashtag BooksthatSpark (#booksthatspark) so that I can find your entry and then put the hashtag for Aching for a Child (#achingforachild) or hashtag Ten Little Fireflies (#tenlittlefireflies). If you want to be entered into both drawings, just put all three hashtags on your comment. We’ll be sure to put your name in both drawings.

To schedule a free 15-min. call to discuss coaching with Deb: calendly.com/deb-gruelle

Your Host:

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.

Giveaway!

Comment below to enter the giveaways. Share on social media and be sure to add the hashtag BooksthatSpark (#booksthatspark) so that I can find your entry and then put the hashtag for Aching for a Child (#achingforachild) or hashtag Ten Little Fireflies (#tenlittlefireflies). If you want to be entered into both drawings, just put all three hashtags on your comment. We’ll be sure to put your name in both drawings.

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