What better way to end this year and start the new one than to teach our children about forgiveness?

I am thrilled to introduce my friend Donna Perugini today. I met Donna through the Northwest Christian Writers Association and am privileged to know her. Donna is an children’s author and has such a fun website for those who teach and mother children.

I love her book Don’t Hug a Grudge and Donna is generously giving away a copy to my readers. To be entered to win,leave a comment on this post telling us what you love best about the child/children in your life. Drawing is on January 8th!

Donna, welcome to Generational Womanhood. Thanks for stopping by!

I’m so glad to be here, Jill.

When did you begin writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer? What motivates you?

I began writing stories in high school. Even then I began with a childrens book. It never occurred to me that I could be an author. The desire was really planted as I stood speaking with a group of women at a company home party. One of them posed the question, “What do you want to do next in your life?” The first thing that came to my thoughts was, “I want to write a children’s book. Not too long after that, that’s exactly what I did!

What motivates me is teaching children. I was the childrens church leader for 30 years in various churches (we moved every few years due to my husband’s job). I’d put together a program with puppet skits, object lessons and needed stories to get the point across to the children. The stories that are now in books were first tested on our childrens church.

Why do you write for children? What do you want to communicate to children through your books?

I write for children because that’s what I do the best! I’m a teacher that wants to ‘cut the Word of God into bite-sized pieces’ for those precious little hearts. A woman was in touch with me about The Flight of Orville Wright Caterpillar. She relates that the book was so much a part of her life that she held on to her dream like Orville did. This girl was 16 when she entered a tragic time in her life. “I TOLD MY MOM ABOUT THE TIMES I WOULD THINK ABOUT ORVILLE AND HOW THE STORY REMINDED ME TO KEEP DREAMING (GOD’S DREAM!) DURING THE DIFFICULT TIMES YOU KNOW, THE DREAM GOD HAS PUT IN EACH ONE OF US TO BE WHAT HE HAS PLANNED FOR US TO BE.” She told me she is now living God’s dream for her life.

In my books I want to teach children about close friendships (especially with Jesus), the dream that God has put in their heart, prayer, overcoming fear, angels and forgiving.

Who would benefit from these books? Are they sermons? For Sunday school? What creative ways can they be used (besides reading them to a child).

Every child that is read or reads the books would benefit. They have been turned into sermons. Joyce Meyer of Joyce Meyer Ministries International used the book, Don’t Hug a Grudge entirely in her teaching on “Bitterness, Resentment and Unforgiveness”. It’s tape # 2, “Are you holding a grudge or is the grudge holding you?” in the tape series. I received letters, emails and phone calls from all over the world asking about the book described and used in Joyce’s teaching.

I’ve been putting up curriculum that goes with the books on my blog(www.DonnaPeruginiChildrensAuthor.com) so Sunday School and Children’s Church teachers can use the books as lessons. The curriculum has an explanation of each part of the book, The Flight of Orville Wright Caterpillar, along with coloring pages, a craft and a crossword puzzle. It’s also set up to use for Easter time lessons with a place to order cocoons that will open for a real life butterfly experience, just like Orville.

Each of the first three Orville series books has songs written for them as guitar chords and put into video format with the illustrations from the books. The songs would be wonderful as the children sing for adults on Easter morning!

For the aspiring writers among us, tell us how you write. Do you keep a daily schedule?
I haven’t put a lot of time into writing children’s books, but keeping up the blog keeps the ‘juices’ flowing. If you are an aspiring writer, you need to have an ‘author’s platform’ in place before sending out your manuscripts. The publishers expect authors to be out selling books through blogging, social networking, speaking engagements…any and all creative ways to sell books.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share with those who want to write and be published?

Join a writer’s group like Northwest Christian Writers or Society of Children‘s Book Writers. Your group choice would depend on your genre. Get into a critique group. Publishers expect you to be professional and understand the ‘making of a book’ to the ‘distribution’ of a book. They believe you will become professional if you are a part of the professionals…”birds of a feather flock together”. Look for Chip MacGregors blog, one of many out there. He’s putting out very professional explanations for manuscripts, querying, etc.

Tell us about the book you are sharing with us Don’t Hug a Grudge (love the title by the way!). My six year old really liked this book but you recommend it for 8 and up. Why did you write it?

I recommended it for 8, but parents can decide if it fits their child’s age. Your 6 year old is very perceptive!
Looking around at my own children and the children at church led me to notice a lot of grudging going on. As parents we think that it’s just a phase our child is going through…a sandbox-fight type of grudge. Leave them alone and they’ll get over it. We are to be teaching our children what the Word says in their terms.

As adults we use a lot of terms like, ‘hold a grudge, nurse a grudge, feed a grudge’. I took the stages of unforgiveness and show how a grudge is so innocent looking, you pick it up and hold it in the beginning, but given time it grows into resentment (where you don’t hold it….it holds you). Then it grows into bitterness (whose root goes deep). Bitterness causes you to hate the ones you love.

In the same book you’ll find both English and Spanish. A Spanish speaking blog is using the Book Trailer, Don’t Hug a Grudge as an engaging way to teach adults and children Spanish. The Book Trailer has the words spoken in English first and then Spanish. The Book Trailer is downloadable.

A prison chaplain requested some Don’t Hug a Grudge books for their jail in Illinois. It’s also been used by recovery groups, bible studies, Operation Shoebox, and missionaries in foreign countries. Children who read the book are taught how to recognize a grudge when it’s small and send it on its way with the Word of God.

I know your blog has a number of great resources for those who have children in their lives. What are they?

My blog is full of useful resources that are free for the downloading. Look under the top tabs on the blog. You’ll find Songs, Guitar Chords, Coloring Pages, Crossword Puzzles, Curriculum with Craft, and Music Videos.

Be sure to sign up by email on the right side of the blog. You’ll be updated when new curriculum is added. If you sign up on Google’s Friend Follow, keep in mind that it will be discontinued in March 2012 for those who are not using Blogger. By signing up by email it will always be in your email box, along with other announcements for newly added items. I blog about child related helpful info for parents and grandparents.

Thank you so much, Donna, for stopping by my little corner of the web today. May the Lord bless you as you minister to the next generation through your writing!

I know that my book, Don’t Hug a Grudge, will find a good home and be useful to some parents somewhere. If people don’t win and are looking to purchase the book, they can find it on my author website http://www.DonnaPerugini.com or through my blog by clicking on the Amazon changing book covers on the right side of my blog. They’re $4.99 each plus shipping and the other three books are $7.99 each plus shipping.

To be entered to win a copy of Donnas book Don’t Hug a Grudge, leave a message sharing what you love about the children in your life.The drawing will be on January 8th so the child in your life can enjoy a new book in the New Year!