Nothing yields greater returns than teaching your child about missions – helping them to see and respond to human need around them whether that’s across the street or across the ocean. And with many local congregations becoming more intentional in their missions and outreach strategies, you’re likely to find multiples opportunities to participate in missions with your child at church.
But are you just as intentional to teach your child about missions at home? As part of our “Back to Skool” Book Fair, Hive Resources is letting you eavesdrop on our Q&A session with children’s book author Kelly Davis Shrout, who recently self-published “Sam and Scratch Explore the World: Africa.” Davis, who co-wrote the book with her mother, Jenny Davis, is a former missionary and LifeWay Christian Resources editor. She is now a stay-at-home missionary mom, who is passionate about instilling a missional mindset in her son, Sam.
Sam and Scratch Explore the Word: Africa by Kelly Davis Shrout and Jenny Davis
Book Summary: Sam & Scratch is the story of a little boy (Sam) and his pet cat (Scratch) who embark on a discovery trip around the world in a whimsical rocket ship (Galaxy Max). During their travels, the duo is introduced to the beauty of Africa and the value of helping others, while trusting in Christ for ultimate direction.
Hive Resources: Why did you choose to write a children’s book?
Shrout: I wrote the book in honor of my son’s first birthday. I wanted him to have a gift that would last for years to come.
Hive Resources: What was the inspiration for your storyline?
Shrout: The setting of the book is Africa. Years ago I was a Journeyman Missionary with the International Mission Board and spent several years traveling around Africa and the Middle East. I wrote the book to help my children gain a perspective of God’s love for the nations.
Hive Resources: You co-authored the book with your mother. How did that mother-daughter relationship impact the brainstorming/writing process?
Shrout: My mom lives in Texas and I live in Tennessee, so all the work was done long distance. There were many late nights with brainstorming, planning and executing the project. We spent many months working with the illustrators to get the art just right. I have told many people that it took longer to complete this children’s book than it did for me to complete my master’s degree thesis. My mom and I have a great relationship. I often say she is one of the brightest theologians I know, despite not having a seminary degree. She also brings to our writing team a great understanding of children’s literature. She has always dreamed of writing a children’s book. I have dreamed of teaching my own children about missions. In many ways, this book has fulfilled both of our dreams.
Hive Resources: Tell us a little bit about your characters Sam and Scratch – who are they?
Shrout: Sam is a little boy who lives on a farm in Nashville. Sam has a rocket named Galaxy Max that lives in a barn on the farm. Scratch is Sam’s pet cat. The pair travels the world helping anyone who is in need. The first book takes the duo to Africa, where they help a baby baboon find his way back home. The underlying spiritual message is that God helps us when we are lost and afraid.
Hive Resources: In the book, Sam and Scratch travel to Africa. Why did you choose this location for part of the story’s setting?
Shrout: Africa is one of my favorite places in the world. The continent is a contrast of beautiful lush gardens (as in Rwanda and Kenya) and dry barren land (as in Niger and Sudan). More than that, I see God working in incredible ways in many parts of Africa.
Hive Resources: Can we look forward to future installments of the adventures of Sam and Scratch?
Shrout: I wrote the inaugural “Sam and Scratch” book in honor of my first-born son. My husband and I are expecting our second son in the fall, so, yes, there will be a second “Sam and Scratch” adventure. Look for it in early 2013.
Hive Resources: As a mother, what are some simple ways you engage your own son in missions?
Shrout: One practical way we teach our (almost) three-year-old son about international ministry is by sponsoring a child from Compassion International. Our little boy, Aimable, lives in a region of Rwanda that I visited in 2007. We hang Aimable’s photo on our refrigerator, and often pray for him at meal time. Since I have been to the village where Aimable lives, I show my son photos of the town and explain that God has a plan for Aimable. My husband and I write back and forth to Aimable. As my son gets older I will encourage him to write letters as well. In the future, I fully intend on taking family missions trips with our church.
Hive Resources: What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in teaching your child about God’s Word?
Shrout: Children do have an inherent sense of the holy. My son knows that his children’s Bible is different from his other books. (In fact, we keep it next to our grown up Bibles in a special location.) He knows that the Bible talks about God and Jesus. At this point, my son is not quoting Isaiah 53, but he does understand that God loves him, cares for him, and has a plan for him.
Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your heart with Hive Resources! We’ll be on the lookout for future installments in the adventures of Sam and Scratch! To find out more about Sam and Scratch or to purchase this beautifully-written and illustrated children’s book, visit www.samandscratch.com.
As part of our “Back to Skool” Book Fair, we’re excited to offer Sam and Scratch to one lucky reader of Hive Resources.com! How can you win this amazing missions study guide? Share this article on facebook and come back and leave a comment telling us you did so! (Non-facebook users may simply leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway).
Contest ends at MIDNIGHT tonight! Contest has ended!