Children’s Book “Susie Blu and a Love Rediscovered”

I’m very happy to tell you that I am now an officially published children’s book author —in Italian no less! It was about two years ago I entered a competition to come up with a story based on four illustrations by Rossella Tauro which you can see in the book images below. I was ecstatic to learn I was chosen as the winner.

My impression was that the girl in the illustrations was longing for some kind of lost connection. In the charitable projects which I lead with Peace Gospel and She Has Hope in Asia and Africa, I have worked extensively with orphans who have suffered great loss in the death of their parents.

This coupled with memories of one of my favorite French films (Ponette) about a young girl struggling with the death of her mother all converged to inspire this story I imagined about a girl finding reconnection with her deceased father via her dream life.

In my story, the dreams of my fictitious character Susie Blu take her on a deepsea adventure that mysteriously collides with reality.

I wanted to write a story to inspire children experiencing traumatic loss with the hope of the everlasting and mystical connection between parent and child.

I’m including the original English of the story here. The Italian translation was graciously provided by Sofia Conti.

I am trying to work with the publisher to get an English version released on Amazon. I will keep you posted!

Susie Blu and a Love Rediscovered

Little Susie Blu’s father was the captain of a ship that had crashed in a very bad storm last year. He had never returned. He was lost at sea and Susie Blu was very sad.

So she made a wish with all her heart that she could be with her father again. And she dreamed a dream of the sea where her father’s ship had crashed and saw the beauty of the ocean and whales of all kinds gathered under the water.

She awakened from her dream to find herself there in that same sea, and somehow she could breathe naturally! And an old whale named Mr. Humpback began talking to her in a human voice!

He said to Susie Blu, “Yes dear, I saw your father fighting to save his ship and his crew. He stayed on his ship until the end. He was very brave.”

Susie Blu replied, “But Mr. Humpback, do you know what happened to him? Did he survive?”

To which Mr. Humpback answered, “Yes, my dear, he did survive, but not as you might expect. Mother Nature honored his bravery by letting him live on with a new body, the body of a whale.”

Little Susie Blu asked, “Oh thank you for letting me know about my father! Do you know where he is?”

Mr. Humpback replied, “I’m not sure, but you can ask Mr. Bignose, he has the nose that always knows.”

So Susie Blu swam over to Mr. Bignose and said, “Hello, Mr. Humpback told me that you might be able to help me. I’m looking for my human father who has become a whale. Do you know where he is?”

Mr. Bignose replied, “Hello there Susie Blu. It’s so nice to meet you. Yes, your father has told me so many good things about you and we wondered if you might ever come looking for us. He is usually fishing over on the second cove of the bay. You might find him there.”

“Oh, thank you so much Mr. Bignose, it’s nice to meet you too! I’ll head that way now. Good day to you!” Susie Blu replied.

And sure enough, there in the second cove of the bay where her father’s ship had crashed, was a beautiful whale smiling and happy.

“Father, is it you?” Susie Blu asked eagerly.

“My precious Susie! Yes, it is me, your father!” He answered her with love in the song of his voice.

“Climb on my back, we have adventures to follow, and many miracles of the sea I would like to show you! There is so much down here, you will never believe all the treasures of nature the sea contains.”

And so little Susie climbed on his back and they swam off into the deep blue sea.

Susie was so proud of her father for his bravery, and her heart was nearly bursting with joy that he had lived on in the form of this beautiful whale.

Suddenly, Susie awakened back in her bed to her mother’s voice, “Susie, wake up, you’ll be late for school!” And Susie Blu thought that what she had seen, felt, and heard, was just a dream.

But that bracelet adorned with a small shell, how did it end up on her wrist?

Was it really just a dream?


Day 4: Sea of Galilee, Magdala, Rosh Pina, Mt. of Beatitudes

I’m here documenting a unique Christian pilgrimage to the holy land with Ecclesia Houston guided by Breaking Bread Journeys. I hope you’re enjoying my photo-journal of our experiences. After our breakfast at the U Boutique Kinneret Hotel with the breathtaking view of the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, we embarked upon a boating excursion where our guide David took us out on the waters. Pastor Chris Seay shared with us from the account of Matthew’s Gospel describing Jesus walking on the water and Peter’s struggle with his faith to follow Jesus onto the water.

We then headed to an archaeological site called Magdala, the site of at least two places in ancient Israel mentioned in the Jewish Talmud and possibly a location mentioned in the Christian New Testament. They have discovered an ancient Jewish Synagogue which would have been active during Jesus’ time. Pastor Chris told us it is almost 100% certain that Jesus would have visited this Synagogue. A church is also located at the site with a beautiful view of the lake and very impressive and inspiring murals and artwork throughout. The discovery at Magdala is said to be on par with the Dead Sea Scrolls in historical importance.

After a much-needed afternoon break at our beautiful hotel property, we enjoyed an wonderful meal at a local French Restaurant, the Auberge Shulamit, in the town of Rosh Pina on the northern side of the Sea of Galilee. The owner personally introduced us to the menu and helped serve with a very friendly staff.

After dinner Pastor Chris led the group in an after-hours visit to the Mount of Beatitudes where he read us the entire Sermon on the Mount at the location it is traditionally believed to have been preached by Jesus. It was an unforgettable evening standing there listening to our pastor read what is regarded as the most famous sermon of all time, near what would have been the spot that Jesus shared it almost 2000 years ago. I’ll share some of the beginning verses of this beautiful and timeless message here:

Blessed are the spiritually poor—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Blessed are those who mourn—they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek and gentle—they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful—they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are those who are pure in heart—they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers—they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness—the kingdom of heaven is theirs.