Dr. Daresa Voss, professor of education at Howard Payne University, never really intended to write a children’s book but, according to Voss, God had other plans. In response to the 2013 Moore, Okla., tornado, Dr. Voss penned “Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange,” a book dedicated to all disaster survivors.
“I remember watching the tornado coverage on TV and wondering, as a former kindergarten teacher, would I have been able to stay calm and keep my students calm,” she said.
The answer, as written on the back cover of her new book, is “a definite ‘yes,’ but only with God’s help.”
Dr. Voss was on a road trip a few weeks after the tornado when God revealed the story to her in a “colorful movie format.” In a hurry to capture the story, she began dictating the scenes on her iPhone. When she arrived home, it took a day to transcribe everything into text and several months to revise and refine.
The story is designed to bring comfort to children, parents, teachers and communities following any tragic event. Intended for second- and third-grade audiences, the book contains the appropriate vocabulary and literary devices. It is illustrated by Dr. Voss’ son, Ben Voss, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Lubbock.
Dr. Voss has donated the book to many school districts, hoping it will be read in classrooms in towns that – like Moore and the fictional community in the book – have experienced disasters.
“This is God’s story and He wanted me to spread the word,” she said. “I’ve learned when God nudges you to do something, you obey.”
“Gavriel and Giselle: Anilange” is available for purchase at retailers including Barnes and Noble and Amazon. It may also be purchased through the publisher at www.westbowpress.com.