Farley’s book helps kids learn how to handle bullies
By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau
Kristan Farley, like so many moms, once struggled to console her young daughter after she was punched hard by nasty words on the playground.
For advice, Farley turned to her sister, who told her to ask her daughter a simple question: Is that true about you?
To Farley, a counselor at Grand Canyon University, the question was a powerful way to help her elementary school age daughter deflect criticism and shun negative messages.
The question also inspired her to write and self-publish in 2011 a children’s book titled, “What’s True About You?”
The paperback recently caught the attention of a North Carolina-based Christian publishing house. Impressed by the book’s encouraging messages, New Growth Press plans to republish Farley’s book next spring in hardback.
“We don’t typically republish books, but we loved the message. It’s such a good book for kids,” said John D. Walt, New Growth director of acquisitions and sales.
Publishers also were impressed that the book has sold nearly 3,500 copies without the backing of a marketing campaign or distribution channels such as Amazon. The book is sold from whatstrueaboutyou.com.
The book takes readers on a lyrical journey, one that inspires them to listen to God’s truth.
Written in rhyme and illustrated by Farley’s friend, Mindy McNeiece, the book helps children define their worth. Its messages also help children escape the pain of being bullied.
“The message is clear. God loves you as you are. You are His delight,” said Farley, who moved into counseling about three years ago after two years as a GCU theology instructor.
At first, Farley wrote the book for younger versions of her two children, Kennedy Sue, 14, and Jameson, 12.
Friends and family, touched by the message, encouraged her to publish the books for others.
Farley, a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University with a master’s degree from GCU, packs the book with messages to make children feel safe and loved.
“I believe the earlier the right message goes in, the longer it lasts. The good messages overcome the negative, the shameful messages so many children receive,” she said.
She also wrote the book to connect children to God’s love.
A few examples:
- “Jesus has made a way for you. And I feel about Him as I feel about you. You are mine, my joy, in you I delight, through the brightest day and the darkest night.”
- He’ll speak in your thoughts so soft and so clear. Sweet child of mine, you are safe, I am here.”
- Although you are tough, some things bring you pain. Remember God’s near through the sun and the rain.”
Farley feels honored that New Press is publishing her book, one she still devotes to her children.
New Press plans to follow Farley’s example and offer two versions, for boys and girls. The publishers, however, will be able to offer the customized books Farley sells, books with a child’s name in the story.
So what’s next for the author, singer, counselor, associate professor and ordained minister? A second book titled, “What’s True About God?”
“He’s a brilliant mystery, and I want to teach kids about Him, not just His rules,” she said.
Both books share Farley’s prevailing message.
“Those who bless themselves,” she said, “bless everyone else.”
Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.