Anne Pilmoor has written more than 10 books for children or children’s ministry. She recently retired after serving the church in the United Kingdom in various roles, including teacher, principal and departmental director, editor and author. She spoke about some of her recent books.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I am a trained teacher with more decades of experience than I’d like to admit! My specialties were in effective learning, school effectiveness and school improvement. I believe one of the best gifts we can give our children is to develop their competency in reading and to foster a love for books. The church pioneers understood the power of text and left us a wonderful legacy we must continue to use to reach adults and children today.
What made you start writing books for children?
Fifteen years ago, I took on the role of assistant editor at Stanborough Press, specifically to develop and source children’s products. My first books were simple board books for the very young. It is quite astonishing how the key elements of a Bible story with no more than three words on each page can begin a very young child’s love of reading God’s Word.
Tell us about some of your recent publications.
I spent many hours at my computer in 2020! I wrote 52 5-minute sermons from Nature for Kids, with a specific focus on spiritual illustrations from nature. It was fun to develop and I enjoyed sharing them with my granddaughter. For the older primary/lower secondary age range, God’s Champions covers 24 stories that are told from the perspective of the supporting characters in the Bible rather than the key characters. It is based on the theme of courage, which is so important for children to internalise. And there was The Cabbage Storm—a story about health for children.
The Cabbage Storm starts off with a food fight at school. Did the idea come from your experience at schools?
In the UK, where I live, I don’t think there is a school dining room where food has not been flung off a fork as a joke or used as a missile. So when I was asked to write a book about health I thought a food fight seemed like something that would resonate with children. The Cabbage Storm is the story of two children who were a bit devious about getting rid of the healthy food on their plates but end up learning about what their bodies need to function well. It teaches interesting facts about our bodies and health—about food, sugar, exercise and sleep.
What is one of your favourite illustrations from your books of sermon ideas for kids?
I think my favourite one—from 52 5-minute Sermons for Kids—is about gossip. It uses a large wooden spoon and a teaspoon plus a glass jar of water with some earth or sand to illustrate how small things like a note spreading a lie about someone else can stir up trouble. These sermon ideas can be used in many different ways, perhaps a special Friday night worship at home or as a resource for the children’s story on Sabbath morning, or in school assemblies, Adventurer camps and so on.
You’ve also produced a number of colouring books with spiritual themes—My Gifts, Christ’s Object Lessons and Steps to Christ. As an educator, how do you see these colouring books being best used by families?
I see the purpose as being for the parent (or caregiver) and child to talk about the deep truths or values in the book as the child colours. The line illustrations are lovely but the colouring itself is secondary to me! I hope these books will draw the parent and child into meaningful engagement and develop depth to the child’s spiritual thoughts. There are also suggestions of what to think about and activities to apply.
The Cabbage Storm and other books by Anne Pilmoor are available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, or online.