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Occasionally I like to change things up a bit. Today is one of those days! I’ve invited Wendy Dunham to share her children’s books with us because sometimes it can be hard to find stories for younger readers that teach the values we want to instill in our kids and grandkids. Wendy’s Tales of Buttercup Grove series is designed to do just that. Before we visit with Wendy, let’s take a quick look at these stories.
Readers journey with Skunk and Raccoon (along with their assorted woodland friends—Fox, Rabbit, Beaver, Mouse, and Mole), as they travel through the seasons in Buttercup Grove. Along the way readers learn life-long Christian values such as sharing, cooperation, compassion, kindness, acceptance, encouragement, and patience. Artist, Michal Sparks, provides delightful watercolor/pen and ink illustrations, reminiscent of Beatrix Potter and the dearly loved Winnie the Pooh books.
A Windy Spring Day: When the wind rips through the forest and meadows of Buttercup Grove, Skunk is afraid. Holed up in his windblown home, Skunk calls for his brave friend Raccoon to come to his rescue. Raccoon has an idea for a surprise, something that he and Skunk can make together and that may just make the wind a little less frightening—a kite! By dint of compassionate friendship and a little creativity, the fearful wind is transformed into a plaything.
For free downloads (educational worksheets, finger puppets, activities, and coloring pages) visit talesofbuttercupgrove.com.
Welcome, Wendy! What inspired you to write these books?
For the Tales of Buttercup Grove series, and the River books as well, the characters actually found me. It was as if each one of them came knocking on my door, welcomed themselves in, and then found their way to my heart. Writing is really a miraculous journey that can’t always be explained.
“Welcomed themselves in” — I love that! Do you have personal experience with any of the events in your story, and if so, could you share about that?
With the Buttercup Grove books, my life-long career working with children allows me to know what children are like—what they think about, what they value, and what might tickle their funny bone. It’s such a joy writing for this age group. In Hope Girl, my personal experience having scoliosis and growing up with a back brace, gave me personal insight for this story.
The fact that you walked that same road probably makes your character more realistic, especially for those who are struggling with similar problems. What do you hope your readers take away from these books?
With the Buttercup Grove books, I hope these stories not only help instill a love for reading in children, but also help instill Christian values that I believe are essential, and which should be taught at a very young age. Regarding the River novels, I hope that any 8-12 year-old who reads them comes to understand that life isn’t always a fairytale, but rather a mix of inconceivable highs and grievous lows, with every other piece of life, both beautiful and ugly, stuffed in-between. And even when we realize our own life isn’t turning out as we planned, we can rest and be at ease, because God’s love for us is more powerful than we can fathom.
That’s a lesson we all need to hear, sometimes on repeat. Authors are busy people. How do you juggle all of the demands on your time, so that you can maintain your sanity?
First of all, haha, let’s just say I’m not sure I’ve maintained any sense of sanity! But yes, it’s definitely a busy life when God calls someone to be an author—especially when they hold a demanding job outside of the writing world, as I do. I believe the only way we juggle demands (at least for me anyway) is by the grace of God.
What would we do without His grace?! Do you have a favorite or “life” verse? Why is that one important to you?
One of my life favorite verses, especially as it pertains to writing, is John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” ESV. This verse is so important to me because I know that with every writing project, I need to rely on God. Without him, I can do nothing.
Not just in writing, but in life… Thank you for taking the time to share with us today, Wendy!
Your turn! Do you have children, grandchildren, neighbors, or friends you’d like to share these stories with?
More about Wendy:
Wendy Dunham is an inspirational children’s and middle grade author, as well as a registered therapist for children with special needs. She is the author of Tales of Buttercup Grove, a series of four early readers. The first two in the series, A Windy Spring Day and Sunflower Summer, have recently been released. The second two, Autumn is for Apple Pie and Winter Snow Fun, release this August. Wendy is also the author of two middle-grade novels, My Name is River (a 2016 Selah awards finalist), and its sequel, Hope Girl (a 2017 Saleh awards winner). And with the book, Reagandoodle and Little Buddy; The True Story of a Labradoodle and His Toddler Best Friend (co-authored with Sandi Swiridoff, to be released October 2018), Wendy writes as the voice of Reagandoodle.
You can connect with Wendy online:
Also by Wendy:
It’s 1983, and twelve-year-old River Starling’s life is anything but normal. She was adopted on a whim and came without a birth certificate. Her adoptive parents gave her up to her grandmother when she was only two, but River is certain her parents will come back. River’s hopes fall apart when Gram uproots them from their farmhouse and decides to move to Birdsong, West Virginia. There she makes an unlikely friendship with an unusual boy and learns about acceptance, hard work, forgiveness, and the love of Jesus.
An unforgettable story of one girl’s search for a place to call home.
With the discovery of her birth father, 12-year-old River has definite thoughts about how her life should turn out—and that certainly does not include any of the challenges that keep popping up, such as being diagnosed with scoliosis and having to wear a back brace. When River makes a new friend, Carlos, she realizes that having scoliosis isn’t so bad when she learns what Carlos must face every day. As this tender-sweet story unfolds, River learns to persevere and stay hopeful that she will one day be part of a real family. Yes, her dream does come true…but not in the way she had planned.
Tales of Buttercup Grove Giveaway:
Wendy has generously offered to give away a set of the first two books in the Tales of Buttercup Grove early reader series: A Windy Spring Day and Sunflower Summer to one winner. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.