Chelsea Tornetto is an author, world geography teacher, and mom who has been writing ever since she was a kid. Her first book, Conquering Content Vocabulary, was published by Scholastic in 2018, but now her passion is picture books. In both the classroom and in her books, her goal is to help kids fall in love with the wonders of our world and to introduce them to places and people beyond their own backyard. She lives in Jackson, Missouri, with her husband, Mike, her two kids, Tessa and Milo, and a miniature dachshund named Stella. She loves snow days, lattes, and summer. She hates spiders, her sinuses, and laundry.
- What inspired you to write this story?
Believe it or not, I was online shopping—as I too often do 😉—and I came across a beautiful piece of art that had the quote, “How cool is it that the same God that created oceans and mountains and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too!” That really struck me and made me feel both small and special at the same time. I wanted to find a way to convey that same sense of wonder to kids!
- God Made You Too introduces children to multiple aspects of God’s love and being made in His image. What are you hoping children will learn from this book?
I really want readers to first, realize just how amazing God’s creation is! As a world geography teacher, I get to share that amazingness with my students everyday, and I am constantly blown away by how unbelievably awesome this world is. Places like the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, and Mt. Everest – are so breathtakingly beautiful! So I really want kids to appreciate the beauty of the world that God gave us to call home. But in the face of all that majesty, it’s easy to feel pretty small and insignificant. So, I also want kids to understand that they are one of God’s masterpieces too! That even though we might feel like we can’t compare with the wonders of nature – God thinks we are just as special!
- I think this book is an important reminder to all of us, not just children. Who else do you think could benefit from this book?
I think at some point, everyone has felt like they aren’t quite good enough. Maybe we wish we were taller or faster or prettier or more talented. (And this goes for kids and adults!) The more we focus on comparing ourselves with others, the worse we feel. I hope this book encourages anyone who’s feeling that way to look at themselves the way God looks at them – as a work of art! And I hope it reassures them that they are more than good enough – they are perfectly created.
- There’s an important underlying theme in this book about how God created us, and in turn, our self-worth and self-image. Why do you think this is an important topic to begin teaching to children?
In today’s world of social media and photoshopped perfection, it’s easy to compare ourselves to the images on our screens and feel like we can’t compete. As our children are exposed to digital media at younger and younger ages, it’s more important than ever to give them a firm foundation of confidence in themselves and in God’s plan for them. And where better to start building that foundation than on a parent or grandparent’s lap with a great book!
- As a teacher yourself, can you give any tips or tricks to other educators or librarians on how to introduce these topics to kids or incorporate them into the classroom?
Well, the geography teacher in me would definitely recommend starting by showing students some of God’s most awesome creations. Maybe a slideshow of photos of amazing places and creatures? (National Geographic is a great place to look for ideas!) Or, you could have the students come up with these things and create a slideshow of their ideas. Once you’ve discussed how awesome those things are, add in photos of the students themselves! Encourage them to see themselves as a world wonder.
- What’s next for you? Anything else in the works?
Yes! My next picture book, Gardens Are For Growing, releases in April. It is a sweet, rhyming story about a little girl who grows up in the backyard garden with her dad. As the garden grows, so does the girl, and in the end she brings her own daughter back to the garden too! The illustrations are soft and nostalgic, and really highlight the beauty of nature and of childhood. It’s based on my husband and daughter, so it is super special to me.
In addition to Gardens Are For Growing, I have several other picture books in the works. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates!
- Where can people find you?
You can visit my website at www.chelseatornetto.com or find me on Twitter @MrsTornetto and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MrsTornetto. And if you’ve dreamed of writing children’s books yourself, you can find my coaching and editing services at athomeauthor.com.