Rhonda Robinson: Thank you so much for joining me, Melissa. And I’m really excited about your new children’s book. When did it release?
Melissa Henderson: Grumpy the Gator released in November of 2020.
RR: What inspired you to write a children’s book about an alligator?
Melissa: Well, this is my second in a children’s book. The first one was Licky, the Lizard written for our grandson who is now three.
Because I wrote that one when we lived in Virginia, then we moved to South Carolina and lizards are everywhere. And I was afraid of them, and they’re running in the house. So I wrote a book about it and decided that I wasn’t going to be afraid of the lizards anymore.
So then I decided that I needed to write one about alligators because in our neighborhood, we have a lot of ponds and we had to learn about all the alligators that are here. When we moved from Virginia to South Carolina, as I said, and so I thought, huh, there’s all these signs say beware of Gators.
I didn’t want Grumpy the Gator to be so cutesy like Licky the lizard was, or so I decided to write more of a “be aware.” If you see an alligator tell an adult, tell your parents, tell someone.
Don’t try to approach the alligator. So in Grumpy Alligator, there is a group of friends playing outside and all of a sudden they hear a splash in the water and they look and there is an alligator. Instead of running over to see the Gator they go and tell their parents and their parents come and look, of course, yes, that’s the Gator. We don’t get near the Gators. And they suggest let’s go to the library and look at books about gators and learn about gators. But in both books, we are reminded that God created all the creatures and we don’t have to be afraid of them. We just have to be aware of them. But God loves all the people and God loves all the creatures. So we just have to remember that they are God’s creations.
RR: What is your age range for this children’s book?
Melissa: That’s a question I get often. I have grandparents, aunts and uncles buy it for newborns to read to little ones. But mostly, I would say up to third grade, depending on the reading level. Because we do have children that will sit down and read the book to each other read the book aloud. Preschools use the book churches use the book in the nursery, but I can say grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents get the book, the books for reading to all ages. It’s fun to sit down and read together.
RR: What is what is the main thing that you would want parents to know about this book?
Melissa: The main thing I want parents to know about this book is that God created us all. God created those animals. God created the people. We are all different. We have different gifts, different abilities, we look different. But God created us all. So we can learn something from each creature from each person. We don’t have to be afraid of those lizards. We don’t have to get near the alligators, but we can have a healthy awareness of them.
But the basic message is God created us all. And God loves us all.
I would love and I have heard conversations, that once they read Likey the lizard and Grumpy the Gator. There’s a conversation of, Look, there is difference in all of us. But we are all created by God.
We, like I said, have unique abilities, unique gifts. The lizards are here for a reason the Gators are here for a reason. And we can learn from them all. But just don’t get near those alligators.
Buy your copy of Melissa Henderson’s Grumpy the Gator.
Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers. Melissa is the author of “Licky the Lizard” and “Grumpy the Gator”. Her passions are helping in the community and church. Learn more at MelissaGHenderson.com
Rhonda Robinsonis a speaker and the author of Freefall: Holding Onto Faith When the Unthinkable Strikes, offering women spiritual wisdom to transform the darkness into a season of profound change and emerge with vision and purpose. Learn more at RhondaRobinson.tv
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