I grew up in a large, lively missionary family in Colombia–a beautiful, complicated place. In recent years I’ve periodically had the privilege of providing accompaniment and advocacy to Colombian peace communities and human rights defenders. Naturally these experiences, and some of the many stories I’ve been told by Colombian friends, make their way into what I write.
I’m a visual artist too, working mostly in chalk pastels, collage, mosaic, and related digital media. My author-illustrator debut is Picturing God, a book inviting children and parents to meditate on some of the biblical God-metaphors; it was released by Beaming Books in September 2019.
My 2017 children’s picture book, Adriana’s Angels / Los ángeles de Adriana (published separately in English and Spanish; Sparkhouse Family), has a Colombian child protagonist whose family must flee danger. And then her new life in Chicago has its troubles too. Through it all, her brilliant guardian angels keep attentive watch and help her know she’s held firmly in God’s love.
Isaiah and the Worry Pack, in which a mother helps her son deal with nighttime anxiety through a quiet guided imagery, released from the new imprint IVP Kids in 2021. And several other books for children and adults are in the works! Currently I’m writing meditations on some of the beautiful writings of Julian of Norwich, and creating botanical art to accompany them. I’ve opened a Society6 store to allow some of these images to be seen and purchased in various forms! Check it out here.
Taking a phrase from “Las caras lindas de mi gente negra,” a song celebrating Afro-Latinx beauty, as part of its title, Caras lindas de Colombia / Beautiful Faces of Colombia was released in June 2018. I provided most of the text to accompany gorgeous, lush photos of Afro-Colombian people and communities by the distinguished photographer Michael Bracey. We self-published this book, which was beautifully designed by Cindy Grimes Kiple, and its presence in the world makes me deeply happy.
I’ve published two collections of poetry, Soap Is Political (Glass Lyre; these poems are rooted in Colombia) and Yellow Doors (WordFarm); several scripture study guides, including Singleness (InterVarsity Press–now in its 11th printing!) and Heart Renewal (WaterBrook); and the booklet Date Rape (InterVarsity Press).
My lifelong breadwinning work was in book and magazine editing, culminating in fourteen years as a senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press and a number of years as an instructor in the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies’ editing certificate program. It was wonderful work, and now I’m enjoying freedom to focus exclusively on my own creative projects.
You can get a copy of any of the books described above, plus a few others, by clicking on the Books tab on the upper right. Or consider booking me for a virtual visit to read and talk about one of my books with your child(ren). We can even make art together!
Linktree–Society6 shop, social media, SCBWI profile, more
Writings and interviews available online
(see also Press tab for interviews about my books & the writing life)
“Picture Books for the Kin-dom of God,” post on Mennonite Church USA’s Faith Formation blog
“Ávila,” poem after St. Teresa in Psaltery & Lyre, September 2021 (nominated for the annual Orison Anthology of the best recent spiritual writing, and for Best of the Net)
“Corona way,” poem in Psaltery & Lyre, March 2021
Excerpt from “America, if,” originally published in Iron Horse Literary Review