Picture Books and Religion by Pamela Love

Brigid by Pamela Love

Yesterday I reviewed Pamela Love’s beautiful children’s book Brigid and the Butter: A Legend about Saint Brigid of Ireland. (Read the review HERE) Today I’m pleased to hand the blogging reins over to Pamela so that she can give us valuable tips on writing religious-themed picture books. Take it away, Pamela!



Pamela Love

Suggestions about writing picture books with a religious subject or theme:

1. Since the typical picture book has only 32 pages, and runs under (sometimes substantially under) a thousand words, consider focusing on just one person, ritual, or holiday. You may even decide to limit your topic further. For example, in my latest picture book, Brigid and the Butter: A Legend about Saint Brigid of Ireland, instead of describing her entire life, I relate a specific miracle she is said to have experienced as a child.

2. Be sure to provide the information needed to understand your book. Remember, not every reader or listener may be as familiar with the material as you, particularly since picture books are generally intended for children. This teaching may even include secular material. For Brigid and the Butter, I described the process of churning butter to children who’ve almost certainly never done it.

3. With #2 in mind, your publisher may ask you to provide additional information about the subject for your readers. Pauline Books and Media told me to include a separate, short biography about the life of Saint Brigid of Ireland. In any case, have a bibliography of any source material available in case the publisher requests it.

4. If your book relates something that happened long ago, consider connecting to the child by showing how something long ago affects us now. This may include a prayer (as in Brigid and the Butter) or a description of how children today celebrate a holiday or take part in a ritual. 

To order your own copy of Brigid and the Butter: A Legend about Saint Brigid of Ireland, click this link:


About the Author: 

Pamela Love grew up in New Jersey, and attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. She was a teacher and a marketer before turning to writing. Pamela is the author of numerous children’s picture books and has written many stories and poems for children’s magazines. She is also a contributor to Family Matters: Thirteen Short Stories, published by Pauline Books and Media. She lives with her husband and son in Maryland. 

My View Book Review: Brigid and the Butter by Pamela Love


Title: Brigid and the Butter: A Legend about Saint Brigid of Ireland

Author: Pamela Love

Illustrator: Apryl Stott

Publisher/Year: Pauline Kids/ 2017

Back Cover Blurb: Saints were once kids–just like you! Brigid was a child in Ireland a long time ago. Taking Bishop Patrick’s words to heart, she learned that you don’t need to have much in order to give. Discover how fresh butter and a generous spirit led to Saint Brigid’s very first miracle. 

Brigid and her mother were slaves in Ireland long ago. Brigid was just a young girl, but she worked hard everyday, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the cows. Twice a week, she spent hours making fresh butter. One day, as she and her mother walked the countryside, they came upon Bishop Patrick telling a small group of listeners a gospel story of Jesus and how he blessed five loaves of bread and two small fishes and fed a huge crowd of hungry people. Brigid listened intently to the story.

Sometime later, Brigid had just finished filling a small bowl with butter, the only food they had in the house, when an old woman came to the door. The woman was hungry and asked if Brigid had any food to spare. Brigid explained that all she had was the small bowl of butter. The woman’s eyes became misty at the sight of it. She hadn’t had butter in a very long  time. Now Brigid had an important decision to make.  

It seems fitting to share, this week, a story about a  young girl who knew Bishop Patrick, the man who would become Saint Patrick. Though the story isn’t about him, it’s clear that he had a big impact on the life of a girl who would one day become a saint herself.

Author Pamela Love’s Brigid and the Butter is truly a lovely tale about generosity and giving. It shows how even one small child can make a difference in the life of someone else. Really it shows how every person can make a difference, no matter our circumstances. We need only open our hearts and let our generous spirits flow out to others, just as Saint Brigid did as a girl and continued to do for her entire life. She is a role model for us all.

Apryl Stott’s sweet illustrations are a perfect match for the text, portraying scenes from long ago in muted tones, yet managing to infuse energy throughout the book, an energy that brings Saint Brigid’s story to life.

Brigid and the Butter ends with two fitting extras: An About page that gives readers more information about Brigid’s life and a Prayer to Saint Brigid.

Please come back tomorrow to read a guest article by author Pamela Love with suggestions on how to write religious-themed picture books.

“5 Tips for Writing Fact-Based Picture Book Fiction” by Pamela Love


Frog On A Blog Certified Guest Post

 5 Tips for Writing Fact-Based Picture Book Fiction

by Pamela Love

What do I mean by fact-based fiction? While obviously it’s not a “Once upon a time” fairy tale, I’m referring to something more specific. Unlike non-fiction, fact-based fiction uses story as the basis for relating information. It opens a window onto a different time or place. It allows a child to see an animal or person living his or her life. While staying true to the facts, it may include some invented incidents or characters. More than non-fiction, the emphasis is on showing, not telling. 

Here are five tips for writing this type of picture book:

  1. Find a topic.  Search the non-fiction shelves, adult and children’s, at the local library. Fascinating information about the past and nature is available. While reading a book about lighthouses, I learned that on one barren, weather-beaten rock off the coast of Maine, lighthouse keepers’ families planted a garden. This led to my picture book, Lighthouse Seeds.  (Which was published by Down East Books, along with all of my other picture books listed below.) Picture of Lighthouse Seeds
  1. Limit your topic.  It might be a day in the life, as in my book A Cub Explores, about a black bear cub. Or, it might be about one child participating in a specific activity, as in Lighthouse SeedsPicture of A Cub Explores
  1. Remember, it’s a picture book.  Try to find a story with multiple good illustration possibilities. In my book A Moose’s Morning, moose are shown pushing down a tree, splashing in puddles, being startled by a grouse, and fleeing coyotes. Picture of A Moose's Morning
  1. Stick to the facts as far as possible.  In this type of picture book, animals do not talk. In Lighthouse Seeds, I did invent a character who figured out how to grow flowers in a seemingly impossible location, but I used the method the keepers’ families, including children, did in real life. For any invented details or characters, see tip #5. Picture of A Loon Alone
  1. Send additional material to the publisher.  For animal stories, provide a list of “fun facts”. For example, in A Loon Alone, I noted that loons can fly and swim, but can’t walk. You may wish to suggest recent age-appropriate non-fiction books about your topic for interested children. Publishers often want to provide this type of information as end material. Furthermore, be sure to include your bibliography, along with a cover letter explaining where non-fiction leaves off and any invented details come in.

Additional examples of this type of book:  

Little Burro, by Jim Arnofsky

That Book Woman, by Heather Henson

Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys, by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard

New Shoes, by Susan Meyer

Naming Liberty, by Jane Yolen

Pamela Love worked as a teacher and in marketing before becoming an author. You can see her Amazon page with her picture books and other writings by using this link: