Since I have been writing children’s books for more than 20 years, I’ve seen some changes along the way–especially when it comes to illustrations. The traditional American family with a mom and dad, three sandy-haired kids, and a Cocker Spaniel, no longer define today’s families. Blended families and multi-cultural families are on the rise and need to be represented in the illustrations. Since authors have little say in the illustrations, I am thankful that my publishers have paid attention to changing times. Whether it’s in my picture books or devotional books, readers will find brown-skinned children as well as red-haired children with freckled cheeks. Kids with blue eyes or brown eyes, black hair or blonde, and even kids with glasses appear on many of the pages in an attempt to make every child feel a part of God’s family.
I am 100 percent Dutch. I grew up in a Dutch community and enjoyed celebrating the Tulip Time Festival every spring in Holland, MI. This year, my son and daughter-in-law and their three children were invited to ride on a float sponsored by my niece and nephew’s company. My daughter-in-law is Colombian and my grandkids look more Latin than Dutch. But they dressed in traditional Dutch costumes and celebrated the festival with their Dutch cousins as well as their cousin from Ethiopia. As I write this blog post, a song I learned in Sunday school comes to mind:
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world!
Here’s to little Colombians in wooden shoes!