Little Mona with her daddy, who was a California Highway Patrolman (CHiPs!)
Mona Hodgson has written beautiful children's picture books. You can see a long list of them at the end of this interview. I've given her books as gifts myself, and they are always wonderfully received.
She didn't plan on being a children's author when she was growing up--she just lived her life as a child, which gave her a firm foundation.Camping trips, mission trips, backyard Bible adventures and living with her three sisters and parents, Mona's curiosity about her world served her well when she finally answered the call to write books. Her parents, as you will see, gave her that foundation.
Her dad was a real "CHiP": California Highway Patrolman. Back in the '70s we watched the show, CHiPs on TV, and the life Mona's dad lived was worthy of being a hero, both on the highway and at home with his girls, or helping others learn about Jesus.
If you are looking for a beautiful picture book to give to a child this Christmas, you have some wonderful choices here. And look below to see which book Mona is giving away in a drawing here on this blog!
What was Mona like as a child?
I wanted to be a nurse like my Aunt Marian and my cousin Irene. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of hurting people. Then I met Bob, my husband of 35 years. My plans changed and I was 30 when a desire to be a writer surfaced. As a child, I'd enjoyed words and writing, but being a "writer" hadn't been an option, even a consideration.
Fondest Memory (then):
Camping with my dad and my sisters at Lake Arrowhead, California and a family camping vacation at Lake Sabrina in California.
Proudest Moment (then):
When I caught my first fish while fishing at a lake with my dad. I never did get comfortable with skewering a worm on the hook, but getting myself to wait for a fish to take the bait and then reel it in with my dad beaming beside me was a proud moment.
Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:
Besides living through the 8th grade? The biggest challenge as a child and into my adulthood was reconciling the doctrine of "appearances" and "performance" with freedom in Christ. Living in the freedom I have in Jesus Christ through His grace and God's mercy remains a challenge that requires intentionality. It's not natural to live and breathe in the belief that you can't and don't have to earn God's favor; that it truly is a free gift because of Jesus' sacrificial death on the Cross and His victorious resurrection.
My First Job:
When I was 16, I waitressed at Diane's Cafe in Temecula, California, a small diner where my dad ocassionally took his lunch breaks.
Wearing red nail polish with my Granny.
Favorite Outfit as a Child:
A red and black print sundress my mom made for me, and matching ones for my sisters.
Favorite Childhood Movie:
I remember piling in the back of our pickup truck at a drive-in theater once, maybe twice, but that was the extent of my movie going until after I left home. "Dr. Kildaire" was my favorite TV show. Knowing what I know of myself in my early teen years, I'm guessing that his image is what really cemented my ambition to be a nurse. =-O It's probably a good thing that my plans changed.
Favorite Childhood Book:
Clip Clop by by Nancy Hoag was one of my favorite books as a child. My sisters and I had a stack of picture books we read over and over again. As a teenager, I devoured Grace Livingston Hill novels.
Favorite Childhood Activity:
I loved to roller skate and ride my bicycle. On rainy days, reading was my favorite pastime.
Dad was a California Highway Patrolman, working to make the world safe.
Did you have a favorite childhood Bible story?
Esther. Her story is one of displacement, loss, beauty, intrigue, courage, and obedience. Her story showed me that God provides and He does have a plan for redemption.
Anything else as a child that affected the author you became? Any special memories that contributed to today's work as a children's author?
My mom and dad had hearts for children. Not just for their own four, but for children throughout our communities and throughout the world. I participated in many children's camps where Dad was the camp director and Mom was the Bible teacher. My mom held Good News Clubs in our home from the time I was in elementary school.
In my teens, I became involved as a leader in children's ministries--Sunday School teacher, a camp counselor, and a Backyard Bible Club leader. My parents took our family to visit orphanages in Tecate, Mexico and I went on a couple of short term missions trips with my dad. My parents encouraged me and my sisters to step out of our little world and into the bigger picture of God's Kingdom.
Books available by Mona Hodgson:
Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional (Zonderkidz, Feb 2008)
(Notice that this book is releasing in February 2008, so look for it then!)
I Wonder Who Hung the Moon in the Sky
I Wonder Who Stretched the Giraffe’s Neck
I Wonder How God Hears Me
Desert Critter Friends Series
Mona's books are available through www.monahodgson.com or at your favorite bookstore.
Mona says: It is my pleasure to schedule school visits each year and to speak at events for girls. With the anticipation of the February 2008 release of my newest book, Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional, I'm already booking Real Girls Retreats -- a day of fun for girls and the women in their lives.
(Now that sounds like a lot of fun! Check out Mona's web site. These are events in Arizona.)
How Did Bible Heroes Pray?
Would you like to win this beautiful autographed hard cover edition of Mona's books? Leave a comment and tell us what Mona's favorite Bible story was as a child--and your favorite Bible story as a child, if you had one. PLEASE leave your email address in this form Name[at]yourISP[dot]com and I'll email the winner whom I will draw on December 8, Saturday. (U.S. addresses only, sorry.)
Feel free to leave Mona a comment, even if you are not entering the drawing, too!