Book signing, Rudy's Family Restaurant, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5.
Leetress M. Burris feels education and faith can go hand in hand for young people, so she’s put that into a tangible form: children’s books.
Her books “Heroes of the Bible: The Stories of Joseph, Noah, and Jonah,” and “A Wish for Snuggles,” teach reliance on God and developing self-esteem in a way that talks to children, not at them.
The Bible stories are told in short sentences in a rhyming style that’s both pleasing to the ear and easy to understand. “Snuggles” is prose but in easy sentences.
“My words are simple so kids can understand them and will be able to understand the moral of the stories, regardless of whether it's read to them or if they read it themselves,” she said. “I think they’ll be able to identify with the stories and the characters, regardless of whether they’re an animal or a person.”
Written with preschoolers to 9-year-olds in mind, each book is about 35 pages and vibrantly illustrated, she said. Both came out in June 2017 and are available either in soft cover or as an e-book.
Dover native Burris got her love of reading from her mother, Margaret, who once worked for the Delaware Division of Libraries.
“I discovered I could go anywhere by reading a book and using my imagination,” she said. “Later, I noticed I would be doing impromptu stories with my first-graders, and decided I should start writing some of them down.”
You talk about self-esteem through the experience of a Chihuahua. Who inspired Snuggles?
My Chihuahua, who’s named Snuggles. He has a bit of a Napoleon complex. In the book, Snuggles wishes to be any other animal but himself. He believes that other animals are more beautiful and special. Through talking with the animals on the farm, he learns an important lesson about his own uniqueness. He realizes that he is special just the way he is.
Why is faith so important for young people?
Children should realize the young and the old can do great things for God if they have trust, courage, and faith. I want readers to realize they have a purpose in life regardless of their ethnicity, status or gender.
Why do you tell Bible stories in rhyme?
I wrote them in kids’ terms. Basically, I don’t go into the details, for example, of the stories of Joseph, Noah, and Jonah, but the stories show that God used ordinary people to do extraordinary things and that they, too, can become heroes by following God’s plan for their lives.
What’s your next project?
I’m working on several books. The next one to be published is called “Maps Are Amazing.” Actually, I wrote it before the others, but they were published first. I found when I was teaching there wasn’t a lot available for teaching geography, so I thought what a better way to teach geography than with a rhyming book about maps.
I’m also working on another book about the Wonders of the World.