Friday, August 17, 2012

An Interview with Catherine Mackenzie

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Catherine Mackenzie about her latest title, How to Be a Bible Princess. I think her responses to my questions speak for themselves; had I not already read a copy of the book, I certainly would have purchased a copy following our interview!

Q1:  How did you come to write How to Be a Bible Princess?

A: For years I’d been thinking about a particular princess in the bible – Jehosheba – because I’d listened to a sermon by Dale Ralph Davis on her which he’d entitled “The woman who saved Christmas.’ I thought the title to his sermon showed creativity and the sermon itself was a real insight into the ancestry of Jesus and God’s plan of redemption. It made me think that there should be a children’s book that covered her story. The more I thought about that the more I thought about the other female characters in the bible that often do not make it into a children’s book. Roughly about the same time my two sister’s between them produced six nieces. One or two of them are definitely ‘girls’ and definitely like pink. One niece for her birthday got a big pink blanket – and someone asked, ‘How many flamingos did you have to kill to make that?’ You get the picture. Therefore princess stories are big hits with these girls. That’s what made me think about how these stories from the bible could be joined together by the common theme of royalty/princesses.

Q2: The princess theme is popular these days, both within Christian circles and without. However, your book is different from the standard "God's princess" fare. In your estimation, what makes How to Be a Bible Princess unique?

A: I think what makes it different is that it keeps referring the child/reader back to Jesus Christ; it isn’t making these women appear to be Disney princesses; it shows the best and the worst of the princesses in the bible; and those that follow God aren’t shown to be perfect – they’re women chosen by God with faults and virtues. There’s application in the book to show young girls how the important thing is not about being a princess – but about being a child of God.

Q3: What do you most desire that the reader will take away from How to Be a Bible Princess?

A: That there is a true royal family, the family of God, and that princesses are all very well but being a child of God, having Christ, the King of Kings as your Lord and Saviour is the one thing needful.

Many thanks to Ms. Mackenzie for taking the time to answer my questions! May God continue to richly bless her work as she seeks to bring glory to Him, and may many young girls be drawn to Christ as a result of her labors!!

Book Review: How to Be a Bible Princess 

    The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17, ESV, emphasis added)

Catherine Mackenzie's book, How to Be a Bible Princess, is like a breath of fresh air for girls aged 5 to 11. Ms. Mackenzie shares the accounts of a number of Bible princesses, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses while making much of God and His work in each of their lives. From the outset of the book, Ms. Mackenzie makes it clear to her readers that being a Bible princess is about trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to save them from their sins as opposed to status, power (being in charge), physical beauty, material possessions, etc. Through the example of many Bible princesses, this princess book calls the reader to live a selfless life, making sacrifices for the good of others and the glory of God.

How to Be a Bible Princess isn't a book about building self-esteem but esteeming God highly. It isn't a book about seeking glory for ourselves but of doing all for the glory of God. It isn't a book about self-confidence but confidence in what God has done for the believer in Christ's life, death, and resurrection. After all,  the reason that believers can be called children of God is because of Christ's finished work on the cross. He lived the perfect life we should have lived and died the death we should have died so that we might become heirs with Christ, having a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father.

My daughter, age nine, said that one of the things she most appreciated about How to Be a Bible Princess was how simply it is written. She found it very easy to understand. Her favorite story was of Jehosheba because she rescued baby Joash (2 Kings 11). "Jehosheba put her life on the line to save someone else" (pg. 50). In retelling accounts such as this, How to Be a Bible Princess will challenge its readers to count the cost of following Christ (Luke 14). Furthermore, each chapter of this book includes a few paragraphs of "Princess Tips", as well as, a few paragraphs which help the reader to "Think about Jesus". For example, we see that God used Jehosheba to "rescue a family line for another baby boy and another king...--a Saviour--Christ the Lord. The King of Kings" (pg. 51).

Ms. Mackenzie reminds girls that the things of this world (beauty, clothes, etc.) will pass away and encourages them to seek first the kingdom of God whose Word will never pass away. In the concluding chapter, Ms. Mackenzie writes:
"The princesses of the Bible have taught us that it's not being a princess that's important, it's being a child of God. It's not about being born into a royal family, it's about trusting in God and being part of his heavenly family" (pg. 122).
Catherine Mackenzie is a gifted author who consistently uses her gift for God's glory. Time and again, she points her readers to God's faithfulness in the midst of man's weaknesses, failures, and shortcomings. How to Be a Bible Princess is no different. Ms. Mackenzie keeps the Gospel central throughout the entire book resulting in a work with a depth which is woefully lacking in most other "princess" books. It is my joy to commend How to Be a Bible Princess by Catherine Mackenzie for the enjoyment of all little girls!

*Many thanks to Christian Focus Publications for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

Thanks also to the ladies @ the Fellowship of Reformed Homeschool Moms on Facebook for helping me articulate my thoughts concerning the latest princess fad!! ;)