Roberta Simpson has a new book out called Nana's Bible Stories. It's a really beautiful book and Roberta has a fascinating life history. I invite you to keep scrolling and see what she has to share with us!
It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share some of my personal thoughts and experiences as a new author with you, Amy, and the My Friend Amy ladies! I am so blessed to see the work you are doing to help and encourage each other!
There are so many gifts lying dormant in the lives of women—just waiting to be discovered or understood. I pray not only that my book, Nana’s Bible Stories will be encouraging to the children in your life—but, also that my personal story will be of encouragement to many of you as you pursue your calling.
You have been telling stories to your five children and nine grandchildren for many years. Why do you believe the art of storytelling is so important…and why do children respond so well to stories?
Answer: Storytelling is so important firstly because you are engaging a child or children for a special time. I love to use my grandchildren’s names in the stories as I have done in Nana’s Bible Stories.
I believe storytelling is an adventure, and what you are doing is bringing children into the story. It is also a great time for cuddling, and being close to the kids – it is a time for bonding, and engaging their trust. I find there is not a child I have met who does not just LOVE having a story read, or told to them!
I believe that children respond to stories (if they are good stories!) because it is a time where they can listen to a story about someone or something else other than what they see and feel everyday, and many times can place themselves into the story – e.g. “What would I have done?”
While playing with kids, I love starting a story – “Once upon a time, there was a…” then I would point to one of the kids, and they would have to make up something. I would continue this way until all the kids had a turn, and we had a story! It was crazy, fun, and lots of loud laughter.
Your personal story is one of obedience. You didn’t plan to become an author. Tell us about some of the challenges you faced from family, friends, etc. on your journey.
Answer: Challenges do come, and they come often. Some years ago, I did a writing seminar, here in Barbados. I remember being so excited, as I did want to write, but up until then, I had only written articles for the newspaper, and a few plays for church.
The gentleman who read and corrected all that I had written scribbled all over them with a nasty little red pen. On the bottom he wrote, “You can’t write!” I shrugged and thought, “I have five kids to raise and I have lots to do, so never mind!” He was a very influential man in Barbados Barbados – in fact, he was a well known Pastor! Lesson to be learned in this? When God says you can do it, even a well known Pastor cannot get in the way with his negative comments!
Years later, when I knew God spoke to me about writing, I felt excited and flew home (I mean drove!) and started to write. I believe what was important at that time, was obeying God, and not listening to man!
Friends and especially family have totally encouraged me on my adventure, and this is really special!
You are a Jewish believer. Do you think your Jewish heritage played a role in the telling of Nana’s Bible Stories?
Answer: Yes, yes, absolutely yes! I always look on the Bible as a Jewish book to begin with. However, my love for Israel and the Jewish people is a big help. I have been to Israel too many times to count, and am in touch with the people and the culture. The land is exquisite, and when I am writing stories, I can picture the people, and the place in which the story takes place.
I do believe that often, we forget Jesus was Jewish, and many things He said and the content of the stories He told were very Jewish.
I have worked closely with the illustrator, Susan Mitchell, who was wonderful illustrator for my book. It was great fun inspiring her with pictures and describing the people as she brought Israel to life through her illustrations. I think she did a great job, in color and characters!
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, wrote the foreword for Nana’s Bible Stories. Tell us how she became involved in your work.
Answer: My husband and I have been friends with Prince Andrew for many years and were invited to Fergie and Andrew’s wedding.
We met Sarah the evening before the wedding and soon after they came to Barbados for a short holiday. Even though we do not see each other often, we have remained friends through the years.
I was speaking to her one day, after I had started writing my book. I asked her about the illustrator she used for one of her books, as I loved the illustrations. She was very kind, and really enjoyed my stories. She told me that when I was ready to publish she would write a foreword for my book. I am very grateful for this, and appreciate very much her offering to do this for me.
Some of your royalties from Nana’s Bible Stories will be going to children’s charities. Please explain.
Answer: While we were working with Jane Seymour on her narration, we learned about all the wonderful work that she was doing on behalf of various children’s charities. It was touching to see first hand the work that is being done and actually meeting some of the young people who are benefiting from her charity work. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book will go to these charities, including City Hearts in Los Angeles. I am also involved the Children’s Trust in Barbados. They do a marvelous job of helping, sick, and underprivileged children on this island.
It is a great joy to be writing, knowing that the Lord is blessing children both spiritually and financially through Nana’s Bible Stories.
Thank you for allowing me to share a part of my life and calling with you. If you would like to learn more about me or my book, please go to www.nanasbiblestories.com. You may download one of my favorite stories, The Butterfly and the Cross—the story of the crucifixion as told through the gentle and tender eyes of a butterfly. I have also included a special devotional for the story which you may share with your children this Easter season. Cuddle up with a child and enjoy!