This type of book is different from what you have published in the past. Tell us, what inspired you to write The Moon Speaks?
In my house, my children call me “The Lorax.” The Lorax, of course, is Dr. Seuss’s character who famously speaks in defense of nature: “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. My children call me The Lorax because I like nature and the outdoors. My favorite color is green. When my son is building spaceships out of Legos, I build trees. During church services while listening to sermons and taking notes, I also sketch and usually am sketching trees and mountains.
When I travel, I am always looking for ways to see what is nearby in nature. This is so much the case in our home that my youngest children crafted a song about nature and creation that served as the inspiration for this book. The Moon Speaks has been an enjoyable project for our entire family to work on with the guidance of the great team at B&H Kids.
Who did you have in mind when you were writing The Moon Speaks?
The Moon Speaks started as a family song that turned into an illustrated conversation about the world God has made. I wrote this book for families of all kinds who have ever looked outside and wondered or were inspired to sing. I hope this book might help them look further upward to see and learn more about the God who made it all and them.
What do you want children to take away from The Moon Speaks? What do you want parents to take away from The Moon Speaks as they read it to their children?
I hope The Moon Speaks will point the youngest readers and listeners, and those reading to them, to God and to aid them to grow in their understanding of God and how he wants them to understand the world around them.
Believers are like the Lorax—they are called to speak for the trees, taking God’s revelation and proclaiming his glory and the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. I hope this book will help you and yours find joy in the world God has made and in this grand task of making him known to the world.
Tell us what the process was like working with the illustrator. What is your favorite illustration in the book and why?
Working with the illustrator has been one of the more enjoyable creative experiences I’ve had in writing a book—and I stress “creative.” Essentially, she would take my words and thoughts and bring them to life with these magnificent portraits of nature and wildlife.
My favorite illustration, if I had to pick only one, is the mountain lake only because the illustrator captured almost precisely what I described in words. I was inspired by a family summer hike around Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, and without having seen that lake, the illustrator created an almost exact replica. So much so, when I see those pages, I think immediately of our family experience there, which was a wonderful time.
What is your favorite spot in God’s creation? What happens when you go there?
I enjoy America’s National Parks a great deal primarily because of what has been preserved in those places on such a large scale. Spending extended time in these places, even in a rigorous activity like hiking or fly-fishing that requires intense concentration, I am usually moved to a mindset of great thankfulness to God for the world he has made—and that he came into this world as a man to redeem man from it to restore fellowship with himself. In other words, I love to talk to and with God while active in his creation.
This book is about the theological concept of “general revelation.” Why do you think it’s important for children to understand this concept and to not lose sight of it as they grow up?
The funny thing is, in our world, trees do have “tongues.” Or at least, Scripture says they can speak and do speak for themselves. Ps 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Indeed, God’s creation speaks, but there is a limit to what creation can say and about what it can speak. Therefore, what does creation say? Why does creation say it?
The answers to these questions is what Christians call the biblical doctrine of general revelation. Though God’s revealing himself through creation has limits—it does not show salvation through Jesus Christ—it points humans to God and reveals parts of God’s attributes and character. Romans 1:20 states: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” God is invisible (1 Tim 1:17), but he has made his invisible attributes known to the world or made visible through what he has made.
For believers in Jesus Christ, general revelation calls them both to praise God and proclaim God. Believers, armed with God’s special revelation, the Bible, are to help others to understand what they see in creation and how that is meant to point them to God.
For children, who haven’t yet seen fully the effects of sin on the world and throughout humanity, to grasp the goodness of God in what he has made is a strong foundation upon which they can build their faith as they grow.