It was my delight to be asked to make a review of a beautiful little children’s book and share it with you all. It arrived in the mail yesterday.
My Little Book of Patrons:
Discovering How the Saints Help Us in Our Everyday Lives
by Katie Baklinski
If you aren’t familiar with Katie’s illustrations, I suggest you check her magical gift HERE.
My Little Book of Patrons is a children’s story book, highlighting four different saints: St. Anthony (who isn’t a fan?), St. Cecilia (my own daughter’s patron!), St. Elizabeth of Hungary (patroness of bakers, yum), and St. Joseph (a heavy hitter in our household also).
In the voice of a Catholic mama, lit up with faith, we are told a little background of each saint, and, woven in story, given examples of their intercession and their role in our lives. One of my favourite lines in the book actually comes from the author’s note:
I interview Katie in this blog post, I hope you can capture her faith and whimsy.
ME: Katie, you’re writing is as charming as your illustrations! What got you started drawing? Did a love of writing happen at the same time (did your creative gifts grow together)?
KATIE: I’ve been drawing since I can remember, making homemade books as part of my early schooling, and using any art supplies my mom had on hand. Later in high school, my best friend and I used to write novels and then make illustrations for each other. If I had to choose just one, illustrating is my greater passion, but it was a wonderful opportunity to get to write the stories for “My Little Book of Patrons” and be able to craft the art and text to work in unison.
ME: How long was your book in the making?
KATIE: The entire process, from discussions with the publisher to the release, took two years. They were patient with the fact that I needed to work around family life. I took a full year to illustrate, beginning with layout and character design, sketching, submitting initial drafts, and then the most enjoyable part – painting! I do continue to touch up and edit on an ipad afterwards, but I always paint using real materials. There’s nothing like the texture and blending on good watercolour paper.
ME: The children are so beautiful and so natural in their activities in your illustrations. Do you use your own beautiful children (and all those nieces and nephews…) for inspiration?
KATIE: For sure! Children are just so delightful to draw, and it helps to have adorable specimens around. It also inspires me to see what they enjoy, and to remember what children would like to look at in a book. Illustrations of adults were often trickier, and I recruited my husband Ben and some other family and friends to pose if needed.
ME: Your Catholic formation was clearly important to you – it shines in your work. What advice would you give parents who want to provide beautiful formation for their young ones?
KATIE: My best memories of childhood faith formation are of traditions in our year, and the picture books that went with them. From Advent wreaths and “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey”, to Easter baking and “The Tale of the Three Trees”. We have many beautiful and tangible options for making present the story of God’s love and showing that it is worth celebrating. I’m excited that “Patrons” has been released in October, since it pairs so well with the upcoming season of Hallowtide.
ME: Will the book be a part of a series? It has all the makings of one! Probably difficult to consider immediately after this one launches…
KATIE: TAN Books has mentioned the possibility, so I guess it could depend on how well this one does. The format would certainly work easily with new patrons. It was such a big job though, with over 80 pages full of pictures, that I will need a good long break before considering that size of project again!
ME: And I know every mom of littles will want to know…how do you create the time to share your gift?
KATIE: With difficulty! I of course couldn’t leave art supplies and half-finished paintings anywhere in reach, so nap times were a rush to get a bit done and everything put away again. Ben was wonderfully supportive in providing chunks of time for me to get away or even just into our bedroom to work. Other good things had to drop off the priority list for a while. Motherhood is legitimately full and exhausting, but if you have a strong enough desire to do something, it is possible to find ways! Even now after the intense process of making the book, art and creativity are still a fulfilling part of my life that I want to make space for and share.
ME: I’m grateful that you were able to create the time and space for this in the midst of your busy life. Children and adults will love this book, and how it draws us closer together and closer to God and His holy saints.
I’m very particular about what I’ve read to my kids over the years, I need to enjoy reading the book for me to keep it in my home…a tough litmus test, Katie, but your book absolutely takes it place on my shelves to read to my grand babies. It was a delight to read and a reminder to me of my desire to seek heaven daily. Katie’s book, “My Little Book of Patrons” can be purchased in the USA, here on amazon.com and in Canada, free shipping worldwide from The Book Depository.
Thank you so much, Katie, for sharing yourself with us, in this interview and in your work. God bless you on this journey!