Different Like Me (Our Daily Bread Publishing, August 2020) is a 2021 ECPA Christian Book Award® Finalist in the Children’s book category.
To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!
The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association is an “international non-profit trade organization comprised of member companies that are involved in the publishing and distribution of Christian content worldwide. Since 1974, ECPA has strengthened Christian publishing by building networking, information, and advocacy opportunities within the industry and throughout multiple channels so that our members can more effectively produce and deliver transformational Christian content.”
“The Christian Book Award® program recognizes the highest quality in Christian books and Bibles and is among the oldest and most prestigious awards program in the religious publishing industry. Presented annually to the finest in Christian publishing since 1978, the Christian Book Award® program honors the best of the year in twelve categories.”
Different Like Me is one of the five children’s book finalists. Hallelujah!
I would like to thank all of the ECPA and Christian Book Award members who organized and participated in the selection process, as well as those who are faithfully serving in various roles within these organizations each year.
I’m excited to announce that my mentor and friend Crystal Bowman, the author of I Love You to the Stars: When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembers, is also a finalist in this category.
Praise the Lord!
Crystal wrote a beautiful endorsement for Different Like Me and has offered me wise counsel, encouragement, and prayers as I continue following God’s leading through the wonderful world of children’s book writing.
I’m thanking the Lord for every person who helped me prepare Different Like Me to be placed into the hands of readers.
Special thanks to Bonnie Lui, the amazing illustrator who put the heartbeat in Different Like Me, to my Our Daily Bread Publishing family, and to my Credo family.
I’m grateful for every book reviewer, bookstore, public and church library, teacher, children’s ministry leader, nursery leader, little free library steward, and patron of the arts.
Thanks for helping me spread the word about Different Like Me on your social media pages, for writing reviews on Amazon and any other platforms you enjoy, and for loving your neighbors by ordering extra copies of Different Like Me to share with God’s little image-bearers.
Please continue helping me spread the word about Different Like Me by sharing photos on your social media pages, writing reviews, letting people know what you enjoyed about the book, and considering Different Like Me whenever you need a gift for a little one.
Every review makes a difference and helps place Different Like Me in front of potential readers.
The Children’s Book Award® ceremony will be hosted by Max Lucado on May 6, 2021 at 1 pm Central (11 am Pacific).
I’ll share an update on my blog and on social media as soon as I receive the results.
No matter what happens, I’m grateful to be included on a list alongside so many respected partners in ministry.
I am especially excited to share this honor with some of my personal friends who I have learned from and served alongside over the years.
Congratulations, Crystal Bowman (I Love You to the Stars), Michelle Medlock Adams (They Call Me Mom: 52 Devotions for Every MOMent), Pam Farrel (Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament), and the beautifully diverse writers of the (in)courage ministry (Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay).
Please join me in praying for every author and publisher on this list and for those who are not on this list but are faithfully sharing God’s truth and love through Christian publishing. It is a pleasure and privilege to serve with you all!
You can pray over the complete list by clicking here.
I thank the Lord for you, Blog Family!
I can do nothing without God or without your ongoing support, encouragement, prayers. I thank God for the opportunities He gives us to be rooted in His Word while growing with His people.
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In “How Fear Can Lead to Faith” (Matthew 10:26-31, CSB), I shared how God used His definition of fear and the reputation of the sparrow to help me understand the extent of His love for His children.
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What are you?
That question used to trigger anger, frustration, and sadness, especially when people responded in disbelief because my answer didn’t fit the stereotypes they’d accepted as truth. My insecurities deepened, causing me to hate my own light-but-not-white reflection.
Years later, when I became a mom of two black sons, I didn’t want them to suffer similar insecurities. I didn’t want them to think their worth as people could be determined by the opinions, expectations, or biases of others.
I wanted my sons to love God, to love the way God created them, and to love all the people God created.
But my desires and best-intentions couldn’t protect them the ignorance and hate so prevalent in our fallen world.
One day, during a trip to an ice cream shop, an adult male glared at my five-year-old son and said, “What are you?”
The sting of his words ripped the scar off the wound on my heart that I thought had healed.
Asking God to help me forgive, I sought ways to help my sons rejoice in their uniqueness and God’s creativity in designing all of His people. While studying my Bible, I began learning how to embrace my identity in Christ.
The more I learned about God’s love for me, the more I began to accept I worth loving and the more I began to love others.
I wrote Different Like Me in 2001, shortly after receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Originally, I had planned to use the poem to teach my sons how to celebrate our differences and our sameness as God’s beautifully diverse and purposefully connected people. But the Lord kept nudging me to share the story with others.
God didn’t roll out His plans at the pace I’d expected.
In 2016, my agent and an editor read Different Like Me, loved it, but couldn’t move forward with publication.
The following year, I signed a contract for my first full-length devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.
I set Different Like Me aside as I worked on the other projects the Lord had entrusted to me.
In 2018, shortly after submitting Waiting for God to my editor at Our Daily Bread Publishing, my agent and the editor who had loved Different Like Me in 2016 requested a complete proposal for the manuscript.
I scrambled to prepare my first children’s picture book proposal with the help of my friend and prolific children’s book author, Crystal Bowman. I submitted the proposal to several editors before prayerfully deciding to accept a contract from Our Daily Bread Publishing.
Then, I began praying for an illustrator who would avoid stereotypes and include children with special needs as heroes, not sideline characters.
Bonnie Lui (pronounced Louie) did a fabulous job. She weaved her own beautiful story into the gorgeous illustrations that breathe life into the whimsical rhyming text I’d written almost two decades earlier.
Bonnie even created a character inspired by my service dog, Callie, a Border Collie/Hound mix we rescued in 2018 from a kill-shelter and trained through Tails for Life after God moved us from California to Wisconsin.
Earlier this year, as I prepared for the August 2020 release of Different Like Me, tragedy divided our world.
I truly believe God delayed my path to publication so that He could prepare hearts to receive the message of love, unity, peace, and hope that He has brought to life through each page of Different Like Me.
This week, Celebrate Lit is going to be hosting an exciting blog tour with a mega giveaway!
The Different Like Me Celebrate Lit Blog Tour Mega Giveaway includes: a signed copy of Different Like Me with a bookmark and sticker, an exclusive coloring page signed by the illustrator, Bonnie Lui, a Different Like Me full-color 8 ½ x 11 poster, one box of Crayola’s Colors of the Word crayons (24-pack), a 4-pack of crayons, a Different Like Me fish shaped key chain, a fish-out-of-water finger puppet and lollipop, Swedish Fish, a colorful fish book bag, a custom made Different Like Me cup, and a $25.00 Amazon gift card to encourage readers to build up their collection children’s picture books that celebrate diversity.
Be sure to comment on the blog stops (posted below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Inklings and notions, September 14
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 15
Texas Book-aholic, September 16
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 17
Splashes of Joy, September 18
deb’s Book Review, September 18
For Him and My Family, September 19
A Reader’s Brain, September 20
Simple Harvest Reads, September 21 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Mary Hake, September 21
Book Love, September 22 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 23
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 24
Artistic Nobody, September 25
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 25
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 26
Sara Jane Jacobs, September 27
I’m looking forward to interacting with you in the comment sections of each blog post!
(Book Giveaway: Details in this post.)
God blessed me with a wonderful opportunity to chat with Mr. Timothy Hodge from The Timothy Hodge Show on Blog Talk Radio.
The Timothy Hodge Show started in August 2008 and was announced as the winner of the prestigious Hal Jackson Radio Award from the National Radio Alliance in Las Vegas on June 20, 2020.
This American talk radio show hosted by DJ Timothy Hodge shares live music, celebrity interviews, current events, entertainment news, live media events and much more. You can listen to the show on Power 93.4 FM and on the Blogtalk Radio Network, a subscription based internet radio service.
The Timothy Hodge Show is one of the highest rated syndicated radio shows on the B.T.R Network and has featured a variety of guests, including but not limited to: Montell Jordon, Keith Murray, Yolanda Adams, Jesse McCartney, Gloria Gaynor, Brandy, Regina Belle, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Winans, Mario Winans, Jasmine Guy, Nia Long, Oleta Adams, Evelyn “Champange” King , Stephanie Mills, Cissy Houston, and Regina King.
I enjoyed a great conversation with Mr. Hodge, who happens to be a fellow dog lover!
We discussed my children’s picture book, Different Like Me, our shared love for dogs, working to change the perception of people with special needs, and advocating for mental health awareness.
We also talked about how to stay encouraged and make a positive impact as we navigate through the pandemic and continue standing against racism, discrimination, and injustice.
Please leave comments on the show’s page and under this post.
I’ll be giving away one free signed copy of Different Like Me on Sunday, September 13, 2020, at 8 pm Central.
To be entered for your chance to receive that signed copy of Different Like Me, please listen to my interview on The Timothy Hodge Show then return to my website and let me know what you thought about our discussion (in the comment section below).
I look forward to hearing from you!
PRAISE: As of today, Different Like Me is still the #1 New Release on Amazon’s Christian Children’s Social Issues Category and the #1 New Release on Amazon’s Children’s Special Needs Category. Different Like Me has held that spot numerous times since its August 4, 2020 release date.
You can order your copy of Different Like Me or love your neighbors by ordering extra copies to share as gifts on Amazon today.
If you enjoy Different Like Me, please write a short review on Amazon and any other review platforms you enjoy. Every review makes a difference and can to help place God’s message of love and unity into the hands of more readers around the world.
I thank God for your prayers, your encouragement, and your help spreading the word about Different Like Me so that more children will learn to celebrate our differences and our sameness as God’s beautifully diverse and purposefully connected people!