Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mona Hodgson...A Kid Who Grew Up to Write for Kids


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?

Childhood Ambition:     

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.

Childhood Indulgence:

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.

Childhood Hero:

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!)

Bedtime in the Southwest

I Wonder Who Hung the Moon in the Sky


I Wonder Who Stretched the Giraffe’s Neck

I Wonder How Fish Sleep

I Wonder How God Made Me


I Wonder How God Hears Me

I Wonder What I Can Give God

Hide & Seek: A Devotional


Desert Critter Friends Series

Friendly Differences

Thorny Treasures
Sour Snacks
Smelly Tales


Clubhouse Surprises
Desert Detectives

Jumping Jokers


Campout Capers

Sticky Statues
Goofy Glasses

Crabby Critters

Spelling Bees

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!


Anonymous said...

Hey, I remember you, Mona! I sat in your children's writing workshop at Mt. Hermon in 2002. I recognize the book about the fish, which I bought and you signed for my grandson. I'm sure you don't remember me. LOL
Oh, your favorite Bible story is Esther. My favorite one is the story of Joseph. He had a lot of adventures--scary ones--and he remained true to God.
Please enter me in the drawing. I'd love that book for the rest of my grandkids. :-)
Oh, e-mail: susankmarlow[at]comcast[dot]net. But Crystal knows it already, anyway.

Pam Halter said...

Mona's favorite story was that of Esther.

Me, I don't remember one sticking out in my mind other than the usual childhood favs like David and Goliath, Noah and the Ark, Joshua and the Wall of Jericho, etc.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that Mona wrote so many childrens books. Wow!! I wish I had read those books when I was a child.

Please enter me in for the drawing. I would love to read these books to my kids.

Cara Putman said...

Mona's favorite is Esther. Mine were Esther, Ruth and Deborah. I loved reading about women that God used in might ways. I also loved Rahab. :-)

Anonymous said...

I just left my comment in the wrong place, so I apologize! Your favorite bible story is Esther. Mine is Noah's Ark. I love to imagine what it was like to see all the animals on the boat!
Please enter my name in the drawing. I work in the childrens department in a library. I would love to add this book to our collection! God Bless & Merry Christmas!
Kyndra Watkins

Pamela J said...

Mona's favorite story is Esther. Mine has to be the birth of Jesus which is significant throughout the year though we only officially celebrate just at Christmastime.
Please enter me in the drawing. I have no favorite books here to read to our grandchildren when they come from North Carolina to visit and that is a good start.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com