24 Oct 2018 - Children's Books Interview with Jenny, the Shy Angel author Anne Booth

Wonderful children's writer Anne Booth has a new picture book, Jenny, the Shy Angel — out now!

Jenny, the Shy Angel is a delightful rhyming tale about Jenny, a shy angel, who doesn't like lots of noise and rushing about. When the other angels ask her to go with them to see the newborn baby king, she decides to stay behind. In the quiet night, she learns about love and nature, and that being shy doesn't matter because silent moments are special too.

Lion Children's is thrilled to publish Jenny, the Shy Angel, and we're sure the book will become a much loved, Christmas classic.

Here's an interview with Anne about her new book, how the story helps children during the busy and noisy time of Christmas, and the inclusive and multicultural message reflected in the fabulous illustrations of the book.

What inspired you to write Jenny, the Shy Angel?

Lion Children's asked me to write something after the publication of I Want a Friend. I had an initial idea about a shy fairy, and I prayed for inspiration. I thought that writing a Christmas story about a shy angel would be fun and helpful to children and adults — reminding us that God loves us as we are and there are many different ways for Christians to worship God.

Jenny is a shy angel who doesn’t like lots of noise and rushing about. How does the story of Jenny, the Shy Angel help children during such a busy and noisy time?

The central message of Christmas is that God loves us, and part of being loved is being accepted and valued for who we are. Whatever personality we have. There is always a place for gentleness and quiet, and our churches benefit from the presence of quiet introverts as well as enthusiastic extroverts — as St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, there are many gifts but the same Lord! I hope that Jenny, the Shy Angel will help all children, and adults reading the story with them, to see that not everyone is the same but we all have gifts to be valued.

We’re thrilled to see that the angels are inclusive and multicultural. Is this something you envisioned and wanted to be illustrated in the book?

Absolutely! I specifically asked for this. God made and loves us all, and children need to see themselves reflected in the books they read — and why shouldn’t an angel have darker skin, hair and eyes, than the standard blonde haired, blue-eyed ones? Lynne Humphreys, the editor, and Ruth Hearson, the amazing illustrator, shared this commitment.

What is your best Christmas memory from your childhood?

I remember I used to love toddling into the stable scene my church put up, looking at the baby Jesus, and throwing my arms around the donkey and giving it a kiss. I'm sure that baby Jesus didn’t mind!

What does your writing space look like?

At the moment, I am sitting in an armchair typing this, and very often, my little spaniel, Ben, curls up behind me like a warm cushion, and my golden retriever, Timmy, lies at my feet. I often write in bed before I get up, and when I need to get lots done I can go into the writing shed my wonderful husband built from scratch in my garden!

What are the best bits about being a writer?

I love the actual process of writing, thinking about stories, researching and crafting them. That is a very solitary process, but I also love working in a team, and feel very blessed to have a wonderful agent, Anne Clark, and to work with the publishers I do. I was so happy that Lynne approached me on behalf of Lion Children's as I had bought so many Lion books for my own children growing up. I love writing picture books, and a picture book needs fantastic pictures — Ruth Hearson's illustrations are what will draw people to pick up the book in the first place and are completely enchanting. I cried when I first saw them. I love working with illustrators and seeing what they bring to the text. Amy Proud, the illustrator for my first Lion Children's book, I want a Friend, did a wonderful job. I feel very blessed to be part of this world.

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

Meeting children and getting letters from them. It's such a privilege and so much fun to work with them. I feel so happy when a child says they love my books — it makes everything worth it!

Enjoy reading Jenny, the Shy Angel! Buy your copy here.

Interested in learning more about Anne? Follow her on Twitter here.