Why We Need Faith-Based Fiction For Our Kids
By Rachel LaMonica Pellegrino
As a publisher of faith-based fiction, I can tell you without hesitation that there’s a hole in the market for faith-based fiction for kids.
Walk into any major bookstore, and while there are shelves full of interesting books for young readers on everything from dystopian worlds, royal contests, and magical mutants, generally-speaking you’ll be lucky if you can find one shelf labeled “Religion/Spiritual” in the back corner. If you do find this shelf, it will contain the evergreen copies of devotionals, biographies, activity books, and Bibles, but hardly any fictional stories.
Why is this?
It’s hard to understand why there is such a shortage when there is a huge hunger among parents and grandparents as well as young children, tweens, and teens for stories that affirm a biblical-worldview and celebrate God’s presence in our world as well as stories that answer the request for colorful, entertaining, and yes, even humorous examples of characters overcoming obstacles, engaging in positive relationships, and shining a light in a dark world.
You can find many wonderful board books, picture books, and early readers for elementary readers and chapter books and novels for upper elementary, middle grade and young adult readers that don’t have a faith-base. But, the count is far, far less for those same types of books that tell our children it’s okay to lean on Christ, that it’s okay to love the Lord who made them, it’s okay to stop and pray when you are afraid or worried…far less that offer biblical references for encouragement, strength, love, joy, and support.
Now more than ever, we need writers wanting to take their God-given talent and their calling to write and create wonderful fiction that enriches the imaginations of the readers and inspires their love for reading even further while still incorporating scripture, faith, values, and salvation.
If you write from a faith-based perspective, remember that your story should weave a strong main character together with an engaging plot to overcome a conflict and reach a satisfying resolution. Each story, whether for elementary, middle grade, or young adult readers should show and not tell and should always keep your audience’s attention.
Children read books to be entertained, to be inspired, to be humored, to travel to new places, to have adventures, to fall in love, to discover their own strength, to not feel alone, and so much more. We need to give them those kinds of stories and allow there to be the discussion about the challenges of loving an almighty God we cannot see and we cannot touch.
Write stories for the elementary readers forming their own opinions and viewpoints with grace and dignity, strength and kindness.
Write stories for the middle grade girls and guys learning to stand up for themselves among their peers and to value truth amidst the onslaught of messages that distort the truth daily.
Write stories for the high schoolers longing to be seen and heard, and who value new worlds where love is real, friendships are valued, and diversity is accepted.We need more faith-based fiction for elementary, middle grade, and young adult readers, and I know that at Little Lamb Books, we are doing everything we can to make that happen.