My latest book, Matthias and the Miracle Meal is now out. The publisher is Hodder Education and it’s one of four faith-based books in their Reading Planet scheme for schools. I got to write the one about Christianity.
Having completed The God Files for Hodder Faith it was a nice surprise to be approached by Hodder Education to write this title for KS2 readers and which I also got to illustrate.
The brief was to write a work of fiction aimed at 8 year olds under the heading of A Christian Tale. In that the Bible is essentially a Jewish tale a lot of creativity was involved in setting the story in a Jewish context but linking it to the birth of Christianity.
Matthias lives in Israel and spends as much time as he can investigating Roman spies. But when he and his family hear that Jesus is on his way, they set off to meet him. The narrative centres on the Feeding of the 5,000 and Matthias is the boy who offers his loaves and fish from which a miracle ensues. As the story unfolds, inquisitive Matthias comes to the conclusion that Jesus is their promised Messiah.
Bringing together Jewish history and Christianity wasn’t the only challenge. Fulfilling all manner of educational requirements to conform to the national curriculum also kept me on my toes.
Fortunately, the editorial feedback was good, which was a huge relief.
I’m not usually one to blow my own trumpet, but allow me to break the habit on this occasion.
“The range of verbs to express movement is impressive.”
“The content is engaging and this modern retelling of the Christian tale is refreshing.”
“The text has the potential to develop a range of reading skills.”
“The author’s informal ‘voice’ makes this an ideal story for reading out aloud with opportunities for choral and echo reading to develop fluency.”
“Settings are well described and readers will be able to visualise the ‘stony paths’, ‘the rocky slopes and ‘the Sea of Galilee glistening in the sun’.”
A funny story with regard to the above quote. Recognising that Jesus had firsthand knowledge of the Galilean landscape I decided to pray and ask him to give me a feel for what it was like. Another editor told me that as she read the story she could feel she was actually there. It’s worth having friends in high places!
My hope and prayer is that Matthias and the Miracle Meal will not only be a good read for children but help them to understand who Jesus is and how Jewish history and Christianity are intertwined.