An Interview With Children’s Author Elizabeth Lymer
Your children’s book Religious Rhyme Time is due out soon. Please tell us about it.
Religious Rhyme Time is a collection of six action rhymes and a lullaby about early prophets (AS) and about belief in One God for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and global citizens. It is a short collection designed to be used from cover to cover as a rhyme time session, making it ideal material for toddler groups and kindergartens. The collection is on my YouTube channel.
Why did you write Religious Rhyme Time?
I began writing religious nursery rhymes soon after I became a mother because I wanted to nourish my baby with songful stories of historical and spiritual importance. During my second pregnancy I began the Religious Rhyme Time collection because I wanted my Christian parents to be able to celebrate God with their Muslim grandchildren without anyone being required to compromise their faith. So I developed content based upon concurrent verses in the Holy Qur’an and Holy Bible.
Why is Abrahamic interfaith literature for children important to you?
There is a widespread need for more diversity in children’s books so that more children (and, why not all?) can see people like themselves represented in stories and can develop empathy by exploring various children’s values and perspectives.
However I am also aware that, in the ‘Christian’ UK where I live, Christian values have often been eroded by well-meaning attempts to facilitate community tolerance/integration and I feel society has suffered a great loss. Many Christians do not feel positive about practising their faith in front of people of different faiths or none. Increasingly today’s UK population includes private Christians as well as people of various other faiths and currently that means an increasing proportion of society who have moral values but who are not confident to practise their faith fully – people who are even defensively private about any engagement with religious discourse.
Insha’Allah I want to provide literature for Jews, Christians, and Muslims to celebrate their own beliefs whilst positively recognizing each others’. I want to strengthen people of Abrahamic faith to act positively according to their own faiths and to celebrate their beliefs in ways which build and strengthen diverse communities. I want my Abrahamic nursery rhymes to help people warm up their moral, Abrahamic, harmonious voices from the cradle onwards, and to give people resources they can use with their children and grandchildren.
With all the world’s adversities to harmony that people have involved with interpretations of the Abrahamicreligions I feel this book will be an invaluable tool for peace-loving people of faith and of no faith – for global citizens – to facilitate peace by building diverse communities who choose to ‘sing about’ commonalities, and, in those safe spaces, discover and value each other and our beautiful diversities.
What other interfaith literature projects have you been involved with?
Alhamdulillah I was a contributor and co-editor of The Muslimah Speaks: Her Voice, Her Spirit (Volume 1) which is a collection of poetry by Muslim women which features beautiful quotations from the Bible and the Qur’an. One of my favourite poems from the collection is a poem about Jewish, Christian and Muslim women entitled ‘The Rough In The Diamonds’ by Sameerah El-Siraaj masha’Allah. Alhamdulillah I am still involved with this project and am looking forward to Volume 2 insha’Allah. Please find us on Facebook if you are interested in joining the project.
Link to book: The Muslimah Speaks Her Voice Her Spirit
Islamic Nursery Rhymes and a colouring book nursery rhymes collection called Hajj Harmonies have been published alhamdulillah and more of my books are on the way insha’Allah.
Link to Islamic Nursery Rhymes
Link to Hajj Harmonies
Link to page on my website about upcoming books
Where can readers buy Religious Rhyme Time?
Alhamdulillah you can pre-order your copy via the Mindworks Publishing website and insha’Allah the book will be available to buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US at the end of November.
Please like, follow and share the ‘Early Believers’ Facebook page for the book. Insha’Allah it will the first in a series and I will give away copies of the book via this page to celebrate Abrahamic festivals.
Anyone interested in a free review copy can email me their request via firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks very much for having me, aMuslimah. JazakAllahkhayr.
For more information, please follow the Early Believers Facebook page.
New Nursery Rhyme from Elizabeth Lymer:
Pray, Pray, People
(Baa, Baa, Black Sheep melody)
Pray, pray, people,
Who has special books?
We do, We do,
Come and look:
One called the Torah,
One the Qur’an,
And one Bible make the tomes
Of Abraham’s clan.
© Elizabeth Lymer November 2014