I recently had the chance to review a precious children’s book, called Before I Was Me, written and illustrated by Frank Fraser. The book is based on the idea of a little child who is up in heaven with God and about to go down into the world. The little child begins to wonder what they’ll be on Earth, and the story sends the readers on a beautiful adventure, exploring the possibilities for this little life. Will this little child become an astronaut — or a baker, a teacher, a parent, or a child?
The illustrations are so entertaining as this little child jumps from adventure to adventure. The beautiful underlying message is that no matter what this little child becomes in life, God speaks to them, saying, “You are a very important person, whom I will always love.” God’s sweet, encouraging love is laced throughout the book as a reminder to both children and adults of His great love for us.
Before I Was Me is published by Sophia Institute Press. If you’re looking for an inspiring, hope filled book to share with your children about God’s love for us, this is a perfect fit!
I was privileged to interview author and illustrator Frank Fraser about his book.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
The truth is I didn’t — the truth is, it came to me in prayer. I was praying one day and then all of the sudden the whole book was in my head. Maybe not the whole book; I added a few things, I added a lot of silly things later, like a hippopotamus learning how to ice skate and a little baby boy blasting off in a rocket and on their way to Mars, stopping off for some milk and cookies. All the silly stuff, that’s mine; all of the good stuff, that’s God’s. You’ll know which is which when you read the book.
Why do you think then, that God called you to write this book?
I think what God invited me to do was to create a book that was an expression of one of my favorite scriptures: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” WOW! He knew you and then He made you and He knew me and then He made me and as my wife once added, and He made you anyway! That’s pretty funny and fortunately for me, it’s true, but that truth that God loves us into being and then He places us in the world and He’s there with us and He always loves us. That’s such a beautiful truth and it’s so important that we know that, but most important for kids to know that, and that’s what Before I Was Me is really all about.
What’s your goal for children when they read this book?
In the story, the little should looks up to God and asks, who will I become and God says you will become a very important person whom I will always love. The little soul’s imagination just runs wild, first he imagines himself as an astronaut, then a doctor and a teacher, and after each idea, God gently leads the little soul, a little closer to the truth, until He finally reveals that it’s not what you do that makes you important, it’s who you are that makes you important. So who are we? We are children of God and we are His love, that’s what makes us important. I hope they know that they are, and always will be a very important person whom God will ALWAYS love.
Kids will also get to know God a little bit more through the text and images. Kids will see how much God is in love with us; how he holds us up and gazes with joy upon us. And through the book, he gently guides the little child to the truth with whispers and gentle questions. There are some really sweet images of God I hope kids will keep in their hearts.
And the last thing I’d note is the interconnectedness of God’s creation. In the story, the astronaut needed the baker who needed the farmer who needed … and so on. We can’t do much without each other, and for sure we can’t do anything without God. Fortunately, he’s always with us, because we are all very important persons whom he will always love.
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Copyright 2018 Courtney Vallejo