Crop of New Books Explains the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Religious families know that sharing their basic beliefs with young children helps form their faith foundation early. A new book, Stella Strawberry: the Fruit of Love aims to show little ones how to love those around them. This book, the first in a collection of nine, uses rhythm to capture a child’s interest about the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The books are written by Yira Jones, who was inspired to create the collection after a bible study course that focused on the fruits of the spirit. Jones, a devoted wife and mother of two girls, holds a business degree from the University of Southern California and also has experience in corporate sales. She feels that teaching moral character from a Biblical perspective opens children’s minds as it engages their hearts. With vibrant, full-color illustrations on every page, Stella Strawberry draws young readers and those who read to them into Stella’s world.

Stella is not the only Fruity Friend in this heart-warming and heartening series that targets kids aged four to eight. The others are Priscilla Pineapple: The Fruit of Joy, Willy Watermelon: The Fruit of Peace, Leo Lemon: The Fruit of Patience, Gabriel Grape: The Fruit of Kindness, Barnabas Banana: The Fruit of Goodness, Charlene and Charlotte Cherry: The Fruit of Faithfulness, Patti Peach: The Fruit of Gentleness, and Adam Apple: The Fruit of Self-Control. Instead of teaching traditional bible stories, the author uses animated fruits to teach character building based on the biblical fruits of the Holy Spirit –– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

On each of the book’s thirty-two pages, Jones shows Stella in action and cites verses from the Bible, providing young readers with a simple, understandable translation of scripture; for example, Luke 6:37 is stated as “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged… forgive others and you will be forgiven.” The book’s central theme is that loving everyone as God does can bring peace and happiness. The book ends with a children’s prayer that thanks God for His love and asks Jesus to “come into my heart and love me forever”.

The purchase of Stella Strawberry will help children in need, as proceeds are being given to ZOE, a non-profit organization that cares for orphans and rescues children from human trafficking.

Stella Strawberry is illustrated by David C. Rhoades, an ambitious, young artist in the process of finishing his college education this year. Rhoades and Jones both attend the same church, The Sanctuary in Canyon Country, California, which is where they met. Both are also connected through mission work in Thailand that helps support ZOE.

The concept of the book and others in the series has broad appeal and will stay fresh and relevant. The next book in the series, Priscilla Pineapple: The Fruit of Joy, is currently being illustrated and is scheduled for publication by spring 2013.

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