Sarah Parker Rubio edits children’s and young adult books by day and writes them by night. She was born in the United States, grew up in Costa Rica and Ecuador, and now has a bilingual and bicultural family with her husband, Colombian composer Gary Rubio. They live in the Chicago area with their two sons, Gabriel and Adan; two sassy cats, Perry and Bono; and a giant white dog named Finn.
- What inspired you to write God’s Love Is Like Sunshine?
- I kept finding myself saying to my kids, “Be loving, be loving! Show love to your brother.” But then I wondered if they really knew what that meant, if they could think of concrete ways to show love. Probably the thing I want most for my kids–and all kids–is that they know, deeply and truly, that they are loved. I want them to know that God’s love is not just a thing we talk about in church, but it’s real and reliable and happy and fun. If we truly know that and internalize it, we will naturally share that love with others. And the world will be a much brighter place.
- God’s Love Is Like Sunshine helps to remind kids that God’s love is all around us. Is there something in the ordinary that reminds you of what God’s love is like?
It’s right in the title–sunshine! That was the image that started the whole book. Where I live, winter is cold and dark and feels like it will last forever. When the sun comes out on a cold day and warms up my face and makes the snow sparkle, it feels like God’s love to me every time. It reminds me that he’s still there, still caring for me and for his creation, and spring will come again
- The sensory language and imagery in this book is gorgeous! Dream Chen does an amazing job with the illustrations. Do you have a favorite element or scene that is your favorite?
Yes, Dream did such fabulous work! Probably my favorite scene is the one with the pancakes. My husband makes the best pancakes, and our kids get excited every single time we have them for breakfast. They wish they could have stacks as tall as the ones in the book! And that baby in the highchair in the background being fed a huge bite of pancake just cracks me up. That will absolutely be my baby girl once she grows some teeth.
- You do such a good job at introducing such an important topic to kids! How were you able to explain God’s love in a way that children will understand?
Every stanza of the book was inspired by a verse in the Bible about God’s love. Then I thought about things my kids love and think are great. For example, I love Zephaniah 3:17, which says that God rejoices over his people with joyful songs. It reminded me of how my boys can’t help themselves when they hear one of their favorite songs–they just have to dance and sing along. That feeling–that’s how God feels about us.
- This message isn’t just for kids! It’s an important reminder to us all. Who else might this book be for?
- Anyone who needs to feel loved–so, everybody! I think it would make a great Valentine for anyone on your list. Or an encouraging gift for someone who is going through a hard time or who maybe is feeling sad or lonely, or someone who’s starting a new chapter in their life. There really isn’t any time when we don’t need to be reminded about God’s love for us!
- Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process?
It was the most fun I’ve ever had writing something. I usually do a lot of writing in my head before I sit down and actually start typing. I spent a lot of time thinking about fun, happy, beautiful, wonderful things that reminded me of God’s love. I paid attention to what kinds of things made my kids happy. I played with rhymes. Most of the Scripture verses I based the stanzas on came to me from my years of reading the Bible. And a lot of the things I’d been thinking about fit together with them naturally. Then I got a draft typed, and then it was revise, revise, revise until I loved it.
- What do you hope children will learn when they read this book?
I hope they learn that God’s love is super great–it’s free, it’s fun, it’s happy, and you can always count on it. God thinks you are just fabulous and he wants to give you good gifts. And when you remember that, you’ll want to share that amazing love with other people too.
- Where can people find you?
- I’m on Instagram and Facebook – @sarahrubiobooks. You can also find out more about me or send me a message through my website, sarahparkerrubio.com.