Some years ago I was part of a team of child advocates that brainstormed how we could produce new resources that would help us pass on our Anabaptist Faith heritage to a new generation of children. A woman with a heart for peace as well as for children had left our publishing company a good sized bequest, so we had the luxury of a face to face brainstorming session which could entertain the possibility of contracting good writers.
Part of that process included contracting Cindy Snider to write a junior fiction novel, set in a Mennonite Day Camp, which would include lively characters, time travel, and child appropriate interactions with Anabaptist martyrs and other faith heroes that would teach them first-hand about Christian faith heroes-and about themselves, each other, and the way of peace. The result was the 161 page book, Finding Anna Bee. When the book was published in 2007 I eagerly bought my copy and tucked it away until my granddaughters would be the right age to experience it.
Well, last weekend, when our eleven-year-old granddaughter came to spend several days with us, and her IPod had little charge left in it, was the right time. I thought I’d just read the opening chapters to her to get her hooked on this fine piece of junior fiction, but we both enjoyed it so much that we took turns and read the whole book aloud in the space of two days. The personality quirks of the main characters, the mystery of the various forms of time travel, and the powerful stories of faith heroes, sometimes told from the perspectives of their children combined to make it a book that she wants to read again, and that I’m convinced will root her identity more strongly into my Anabaptist faith tradition.
And so I’m grateful to that generous donor with a passion for passing on our faith heritage in new ways, to our Mennonite publisher, now called Menno Media, the team of child advocates who brainstormed so creatively, to Cindy Snider gifted writing, to the limited charges of Ipods, and to the Holy Spirit who breathes life, mystery, and joy into our days as we seize the opportunities to share stories that matter.