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Meet the authors and illustrators of our Pauline Kids editions. Sometimes quirky and always fun, these are the people whose passion inspires us to see things from a fresh and creative point of view.

 
Meet Nicole Lataif!
Meet Nicole Lataif!
Posted by Brittany on November 12, 2012 15:16 Article Rating
The author of Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body, Nicole Lataif, shares her insights about foundational values and the creation of her picture book. 
  • Forever You (adorable and a great read-aloud, by the way) is more than your average picture book! What inspired you to write about the soul, especially for this age group (4-8 years old)? 

Thank you! What inspired me to write this book may shock you. I taught chastity to 6th, 7th and 8th graders. We asked the children in a survey, "do you think sex should be saved for marriage?" A 6th grade boy answered, "it's too late." 6th grade! I couldn't believe that a child as young as 11 years old had experimented with things so far outside his realm of understanding. So, as a children's book writer, I prayed about creating a way to safely and smoothly introduce to young children the concepts that could have prevented such a tragedy. At this young age, we cannot talk about sex, but what can we talk about? We can talk about everything in the book: that we have souls, that our souls and bodies are for God, for heaven and for showing the love of Christ to others. I pray that parents start this kind of conversation early, so that by the time their children hit 6th grade, kids know that they matter, both soul and body.

  • What is the most important take-away for children in Forever You? What about for adults?

The most important take-away for children from this book is to understand that their bodies and souls are meant to express and communicate the love of Christ, and that they can choose to do this. Children should also identify their gifts and talents to begin to think about how God made them unique. The most important take-away for adults is that a person’s potential is achieved and expressed through a communion of soul and body. Both body and soul can be holy. Adults, especially those with children in their lives, should ask themselves if they strive to live a virtuous life in Christ, or if they play by their own rules. In the words of Robert Fulghum, “Don’t worry that your children will never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

  • You do a great job of bringing your own faith into your work. How can parents and teachers help the kids in their lives bring their own growing faith into their daily “work” – learning and playing.

St. Therese of Lisieux shows us so clearly how to bring faith into our daily work! Parents and teachers can help kids bring faith into their daily work by encouraging kids to develop and use the gifts they have received to pass on the love of God. Let your child's talents blossom. Also, remind children that without love, even the greatest, most brilliant deeds mean nothing. With love, however, even the smallest thing counts. Encourage children to offer a friend a smile or a kind word. St. Therese gives us not just a road map, but an entire atlas full of ways to bring faith into daily work; these are just a few.

  • What are three things parents and teachers can do to help convey to their children some foundational concepts of the Theology of the Body?

1. TOB Principle: The fulfillment of man’s solitude is giving to others through love, which leads to happiness.

a.  Teaching Example: At the age of 6, I stood up at a fundraiser in front of hundreds of people and read a poem I wrote encouraging people to give money to the poor. However, if you gave me a math problem, I froze. Numbers are not my thing! My parents never pressured me to crunch numbers as quickly as my math-savvy brother. They only encouraged me to do my best with what God gave me. Children will be happy and able to express love if you encourage them to do their best, not be someone they are not. As St. Therese so eloquently stated, “The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

2. TOB Principle: We were created as “helpers” for one another.

a.  Teaching Example: I babysat for a family with four kids for many years. The mother allowed her youngest children to have responsibility. The five-year-old made her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (messy, of course!). The seven-year-old made her own bed. Give children an opportunity to be helpful, with limited correction. Allow children to express their love to others in their own way. Sometimes imperfection is God's perfection.

3. TOB Principle: The human body was created to express love to others

a.  Teaching Example: Recently, I was sitting on a bench outside eating ice cream with a friend. A mother and son walked by, holding hands. The boy looked about 4 years old and quite unhappy. As they passed our bench, the mother barked at the boy in frustration. She was saying one thing with her body by holding hands, but quite another with her words. Sometimes we don’t even realize how mixed our messages can be. Remember to think before you communicate with your child. It’s important that words and actions are saying the same thing. Teach by example.

  • One line of your book says “Your soul shows through in what you like.” What are some things that you like and show your soul?

I like silly things: candy, ice cream, sleeping in! I also like—no love—children. I enjoy just hanging out with kids – watching movies, playing music games, coloring together. I think children need to know they matter by spending time doing the simple things together. Spiritually, the rosary is my favorite prayer, specifically the 54-day novena. And my favorite "like/love" of all is my family. I wish the family unit was emphasized more in our society; it is an irreplaceable and blessed gift!

Nicole Lataif is the Founder and Editor of www.KidsFaithGarden.com, which offers free tools to help kids and adults grow in Christian virtue. She is the author of Forever You: A Book About Your Body and Soul. Nicole served as the project lead for Bostons Papal Pilgrimage to attend Holy Mass with Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, edited and taught a Catholic high school chastity curriculum, organized Catholic conferences, founded two young adult Catholic groups, and taught Sunday school at parishes in Florida and Massachusetts. Learn more about Nicole here.

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Anonymous
# Anonymous
Monday, November 12, 2012 4:35 PM
http://kidsfaithgarden.com/wp/?p=996
Anonymous
# Anonymous
Monday, November 12, 2012 4:35 PM
http://kidsfaithgarden.com/wp/?p=996
Anonymous
# Anonymous
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 1:08 PM
http://kidsfaithgarden.com/wp/blog/thank-you-to-the-maximus-group/

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