Bestselling Children's Author Bob Hartman Offers Some Exclusive Information About the Latest Clever Cub Adventures

Bob Hartman

Bestselling Children's Author and internationally known Performance Storyteller Bob Hartman brings to life two all new stories poised to entertain and inspire young children with the recently released Clever Cub Learns to Share and Clever Cub Trusts God. Featuring the inquisitive Clever Cub, a curious little bear who LOVES to cuddle up with the Bible and learn about God, these new adventures in Hartman's popular series of pictures books from David C CookClever Cub Bible Stories, remind kids of their part in God's story.

Known for its vibrant illustrations, kid-friendly questions and engaging Bible stories geared to little ones ages three to six years old, the Clever Cub picture books series makes reading time a faith-building adventure for children along with sweet reminders of their part in God's story. Each book incorporates timely themes and age-appropriate lessons as Clever Cub invites young readers to learn about the God of the Bible.

With these new adventures, God's Word comes alive through the gifted storytelling of Bob Hartman and the colorful illustrations by Steve Brown as Clever Cub learns the joy of sharing and the peace of trusting God in these delightful retellings of Jesus feeding the five thousand in the New Testament and the story of Caleb and Joshua in the Old Testament.

Q: Bob, thank you for doing this interview with us. Let's start with you: Tell us a little about yourself and your current ministry.

I am from Pittsburgh, PA, but currently live in England, where I write children's books (mostly retellings of Bible stories), and visit schools and churches and conferences, telling stories and teaching other people how to be more effective storytellers, as well.

Q: When and why did you decide to write children's books?

I began writing children's books in 1988, when my children were small. They now have children of their own! Prior to that, I had pastored a church (again, in England), and discovered that the congregation really enjoyed retellings of Bible stories that came from some different angle or were told from the perspective of a "surprising" character. So I decided to write stories along those lines and submit them to a U.K. publisher whose books I had used in my ministry. They thought my approach was more appropriate for children, and seeing as I was also, by then, telling stories to kids in schools, along with my brother, it just seemed right to move in that direction.

Q: Being a pastor, I am sure you have had experience working with people across a wide age-range. What are some of the unique challenges in ministering to children?

There is the language, for a start. Vocabulary needs to be appropriate to the age of the children for whom the book is meant. And subject matter. There are obviously some Bible stories that children need to hear later rather than sooner. Otherwise, I think working with children is less a challenge and more of a joy. Playfulness lies at the heart of both the books I write and my "live" storytelling, and children are always willing to join in where "play" is concerned.

Q: Tell us about the "Clever Cub" series.

The Clever Cub series is an attempt to welcome the reader into a loving relationship between Clever Cub and his parents, where they share and consider the meaning of Bible stories, together. My hope is that the books offer an example of how God's word can be shared with children in a day by day, situation by situation, manner. I'd like to think that Clever Cub's experience mirrors the kind of things that children face, and that what he finds in the Bible is truly helpful in helping him to deal with those experiences. It's a reflection of Deuteronomy 6, I guess, where parents are encouraged to pass on God's truth to their children in a matter of fact, everyday, getting up and living life and lying down again kind of way.

Q: What inspired you to create this series? How do you come up with new story ideas?

I am always looking for unique ways to retell Bible stories. In this case, my hope was that the children would be able to see the Bible stories through the eyes of a character with whom they could relate. As for coming up with the ideas, I do that in collaboration with my editor, who suggests themes that might be explored. Sometimes she has a story in mind. And sometimes I suggest stories that fit the theme.

Q: How can parents use these books to help children understand more about God and His Word?

In addition to reading the books with their kids, I hope that the example of the Mama and Papa Bear in the books will also help parents see how they can naturally weave the sharing of other stories into their kids' lives.

Q: What other resources would you recommend that parents and/or Sunday school teachers can use to teach God's Word to kids?

Well, I'll be really selfish, here! I have written several books that use interactive devices to help families and Sunday School groups experience and engage with the Bible together. The Playalong Bible does that for every very young children. Each line is accompanied by an action that children and parents/teachers can do together.

The Lion Storyteller Bible is one of my earlier books, and it provides an interactive experience for older children, with stories that are punchy and engaging. It has been used for over twenty years by Open the Book in England, to tell God's story to schoolchildren on a regular basis. There is also a Storyteller Easter Book, and Christmas Book, and Book of Parables.

And, finally, even though it is not interactive, I would suggest my Rhyming Bible, because kids just love rhyming! 

Tags : Bob Hartman Bob Hartman interview Bob Hartman children's author Clever Cub Adventures Clever Cub Learns to Share Clever Cub Trusts God

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