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‘A Message in the Moon’: Roma Downey Shares Message of Hope in New Children’s Book

Father Dave welcomes back actress, producer, and New York Times bestselling author Roma Downey to discuss her new children’s book, “A Message in the Moon.

The cover of the book features the moon, but also introduces many butterflies which are seen throughout the story. Roma explains the butterfly’s symbolism and says, “The book is about leaving messages of love with the moon, and when I was working with Holly Hatam, the wonderful illustrator that I collaborated with, we were brainstorming on how we would communicate the love. In [one of] my previous books, ‘Box of Butterflies,’ the butterfly became the symbol of love, change, the Holy Spirit, and a reminder of my own mother who had passed away when I was a child. So I said to Holly, ‘What if we try to make the love message look like a butterfly?’”

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The book seeks to help children feel connected to their parents and loved ones when they are apart. Roma describes how the story was inspired by her own life and childhood. “My connection with my father became very close, because he stepped into single parenting, and he was a great dad,” she recalls. “When I was leaving home for college – this was the early 80s; well before we had cell phones and the ability to communicate with such ease and speed with each other – he took me out into the garden and he said, ‘Listen, look up there, do you see the moon shining in the sky? Wherever you are it will be the same moon that’s shining on you, that’s shining on me, so we will never be that far apart. If you’re missing me, or if you’re homesick, I will leave you a message at the moon, and you can always pick it up.’”

Roma remembers how she took these words to heart in her first few months at school, and how the moon has grown as a source of comfort for her own family and for those reading her book. She continues, “I decided to use [the moon and my father’s words] as the general theme for this children’s book, so that whenever [a child] would look at the moon, they wouldn’t feel alone; they would feel connected. At the end of the book, I tried to tie it into the greater expanse of God’s love. We don’t always see it, we don’t always feel it, but God is always there. Like the moon in the sky – we don’t see it during the day, we don’t see it on a cloudy night, but it’s always there.”

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She includes common examples of why a child may be separated from a loved one for a short time, such as a first sleepover or a parent’s work trip. “There are so many anxiety issues that little children can have around separation and the idea of feeling alone,” Roma says. “I was a working mother my whole career. My kids [would say], ‘I don’t want you to leave, why do you have to go away for a few days?’ I thought this story was particularly pertinent to offer reassurance to children using the moon as the symbol of connector.”

Roma also includes a prayer at the end of the book for parents and children to recite together. “I don’t know if people are still in the habit of praying with their children; I think it’s a wonderful thing to do,” she says. “That’s where patterns get established, and lifetime habits get formed in early childhood. There’s nothing [better] to help you drift off to sleep, feeling safe and loved, wrapped in the wings of angels.”