“God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” Psalm 68:6a (NLT)
If you haven’t already become acquainted with author & Bible teacher/speaker Lisa Harper, you are really missing out!
“Hilarious storyteller” and “theological scholar” are rarely used to describe the same person, but Lisa Harper is anything but stereotypical! A gifted communicator, she writes and speaks using colorful pop culture references that connect the dots between the Bible era and modern life. Lisa holds a Masters of Theological Studies with honors from Covenant Seminary.
If you follow Lisa Harper on social media (@lisadharper) , you are already acquainted with her precious daughter Missy. Her joy is effervescent and you can’t help but smile along as she dances with delight over Mexican food or praise music or just life itself.
The mother-daughter duo have a lot to dance about! Their journey to becoming a family was not easy - Lisa fought for over two years to adopt the little girl. Missy’s own health journey has also been a tough road - when Lisa adopted her, she was dying of HIV, tuberculosis and cholera. But today her progress is ‘nothing short of a miracle’. You can learn more of their touching and inspiring story through the video below.
Their new children’s book Who’s Your Daddy is based on a real-life conversation that Lisa had with her daughter, after a little boy at school asked Missy that very question.
Missy has lived with her new mommy ever since she was adopted from Haiti. But when someone asks little Missy a BIG question—"Who's your daddy?"—she starts thinking and learning a lot about daddies.
Missy could be sad that she doesn't have a "skin" daddy who can make her pancakes and take her to soccer practice. But through lots of talks with Mommy, Missy realizes that she DOES have a Daddy! In fact, no matter what our family looks like, we all have the same amazing Daddy; and Missy can't wait to tell everyone about the Daddy who loves us more than all the stars in the sky.
Told mostly through a mother-daughter conversation, this sweet story is careful to affirm relationships with the good, strong daddies here on earth, but it is also comforting for children who might be struggling due to divorce or the loss of a father.
What inspired you to write this sweet story?
Lisa: I was inspired to write “Who’s Your Daddy?” after an experience Missy had in kindergarten. Not long after I’d brought her home from Haiti, a little boy in her class innocently asked her that very question after noticing I was the only parent who came to parents’ day at their school. Since I'm a single parent, my parents divorced when I was five years old, and my dad was missing from a big chunk of my childhood, I’m especially aware of potential bruises on the tender hearts of children who experience the absence of an earthly father, whom we call “skin daddies” in the book.
Who is this book for? What need does it meet?
Lisa: First of all I have to confess that asking an author who their book is for is like asking an essential oils rep who should slather on their wares! EVERYBODY! Seriously, I do think Missy’s story will appeal to and encourage all kids because even if they’re blessed with a present and engaged dad, no parent is infallible (I had to apologize to Missy for raising my voice yesterday and have to send myself to timeout on a regular basis!). Therefore, I believe ensuring every child’s emotional scaffolding is built on the perfect love and permanence of our Heavenly Father is critical for their identity and emotional security.
Have you always wanted to write a book for kids? How was the process of writing it the same and also different from Bible studies and trade books?
Lisa: While I read voraciously and habitually perused children’s classics like “A Wrinkle in Time” long before becoming Missy’s mom, it wasn’t until I began reading to her that I considered attempting a project for a younger audience. And frankly, I knew I was in over my head before typing the first word because children’s books typically contain less than 1,000 words while an adult non-fiction work is typically more than 40,000, and brevity has never been one of my strong suits! Thankfully, my daughter/co-author is not nearly as verbose, and we had an incredible editor who helped tame my tendency to be a total windbag.
How did you chose the illustrator? (Olivia Duchess)
Lisa: I told our editor that my stylistic preference was whimsical yet realistic and while I liked the work of every artist she suggested, I was especially fond of Olivia’s work. She’s very gifted and is based in London, which also happens to be one of my favorite cities in the world!
What do you hope kids learn from the story?
Lisa: That they are never alone because Daddy God is always with them, and His love for them will never fade or fail, no matter what.
How do you hope parents, grandparents, and other adults use it with their kids?
Lisa: I hope this book will help facilitate safe conversations between kids and adults about topics that often seem to be, at least from a child’s perspective, scary and/or off-limits. Hopefully, this tiny tome will not only help kids lean further into the waiting arms of their Daddy God, but it will also help deepen their relationships with their parents, grandparents, extended family, or caretakers through honest and loving dialogue.