Twelve years ago, Lorie Shiveley had difficulty finding children’s books about Catholic traditions her young children would find interesting and entertaining.
Shiveley searched and found “nothing out there,” so she created her own in 2002.
Today, many religions recognize both Ash Wednesday and Lent and many more do not understand the tradition. Why choose to give up a luxury during Lent season? What is the significance of purple on Ash Wednesday?
To answer such questions, Shiveley wrote the informational and biblically based story of Chester the Church Mouse and Lent and Chester the Church Mouse and Ash Wednesday, and bound them for her children to use.
Chester takes children through his church as he explains Catholic practices, citing biblical verses to show why Catholics recognize these special times of the year.
Amazingly, Shiveley found 12 years later that she still couldn’t find children’s books supporting Catholic traditions. Upon a family member’s suggestion, she sent her hard-bound, homemade books to Tate Publishing and recognizing the need, the company offered a publishing deal.
As an eighth-grade language arts teacher for Pike Township, Shiveley has had the opportunity to use her experience in the classroom, as well as share with others. She’s made author’s visits to area grade schools and discussed her experiences with different age groups.
Students find the process interesting and have helped Shiveley in some of the decisions made throughout publication.
“It’s good for the kids to see that I’m learning too,” Shiveley said.
Chester the Church Mouse books are available for download and online.
Shiveley feels there are other areas to be explored by Chester but is waiting to see what kind of interest the community has in the first two publications.
It’s her goal to help children understand the religious traditions and ultimately, be able to educate others.