DianeI had the honor of meeting and interviewing Diane Stortz, children’s book author, at CBA’s International Christian Retail Show in Cincinnati.  I was inspired by her passion to share God’s Word with children through her books. 


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Diane Stortz:  After more than twenty years in publishing as an editor and editorial director, Diane Stortz now writes best-selling books for children and adults. Her goal: making God’s wonders known to the next generation.

Her books include I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers, and Say & Pray Bible (all Tommy Nelson); The Sweetest Story Bible and The Sweetest Story Bible for Toddlers (Zonderkidz); A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year (Bethany House); and Parents of Missionaries (IVP). Two books for babies and toddlers, Baby, Baby! (Worthy Kids-Ideals) and Say & Pray Devotions (Tommy Nelson) release in Fall 2016.

In 2003 Diane cofounded the National Network of Parents of Missionaries, a nondenominational ministry to help parents of missionaries connect with one another and learn to succeed and thrive as POMs. In 2008 she coauthored Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally.

Diane blogs at DianeStortz.com. She and her husband, Ed, a retired juvenile court probation officer, have two married daughters and four young grandchildren—all boys! When she’s not writing, Diane enjoys walking, gardening, and planning her next trip to visit her grandchildren.
diane stortz bk I AM

I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God

Creator. Comforter. Healer. Friend. God’s names tell us who He is, what He is like, and what He does. This beautiful book covers forty of the Bible’s many names and descriptive titles for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, including Jehovah Jireh, The Lord My Shepherd, Immanuel, Rabbi, and I Am.

Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. As they develop understanding of God’s character and His love for them, children will grow to know, love, and trust the great I Am more and more.

“Those who know your name put their trust in you.” —Psalm 9:10

 Donna: Tell us a little bit about your most recent book.

Diane:  Well, the current book “I AM” is a Bible story book, with a devotional component to it. It’s unique among Bible story books in that the stories were selected to illustrate a specific name or descriptive title of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The focus of the book is getting to know God by getting to know his names and the idea being that His names tell us who he is, what he does and as we learn to know him, we realize that he is someone to be trusted, so that’s the whole goal. And that’s where the subtitle came from ‘40 reasons to trust God’ because there are 40 stories in the book.

Donna:   What age group is the book targeting?

Diane:   Basically 4 to 8. However, it does depend a lot on the child. I know it can skew upward to a little bit older; maybe 10. And we’ve had many parents tell us that they’re reading it for themselves and they’re learning because they’re not familiar with these names of God.

Diane: The devotional content part expands how the name applies to us in our everyday lives.  You see it working in the biblical characters lives in the Bible story and then the devotional part tells you more personally what it means for you. Then there’s another little section called “Learn More” where there’s a couple extra references or something to look up, and then there’s a section “What Happened Next,” which links all of the stories in the book. The stories go through the Old Testament and New Testament from Genesis through Revelation. They are in biblical order but some of the stories are unusual and some of the stories that you would normally find in a Bible storybook aren’t there, so the “What Happened Next” section keeps everything in order and keeps the whole story moving so that you get the sense of the whole Bible.

Donna:  What led you to write kids books?

Diane It’s been a lifelong journey. I have a journalism degree from back when and I was hired out of college by Standard Publishing, which was a Christian publisher in Cincinnati, to develop Sunday school curriculum for two and three year olds.  My interest in communicating the Bible to little ones really began there, and then I had two daughters and we read a lot. Through working at Standard in a variety of capacities, I realized that I really enjoyed opening up the Word to kids in a variety of ways. Plus I love books and I learned the whole book-making process while I was there and it just feels good.

Donna: Do you feel that your books would be mostly for Christian families or would a non-Christian family lean toward the book?

Diane:  I think primarily Christian families on the whole. There is a new little board book coming out from Worthy Publishing and it is very general market. It is about how God loves every baby. It`s all about things babies do and then at the end it says, “Baby’s always loved by God.”  My books are very true to Scripture, so anybody who wants to learn more about Scripture would be a good audience.

Diane: On the website we have included some extras for families.

Click here to download free coloring sheets from I Am.

Download 40 Names of God: Free Printable Chart & Matching Game


Donna:  The pictures are beautiful.  Do you create the artwork?

Diane:  No. The Tommy Nelson team does the art and design but they include me. I don’t know if that’s because of my background in publishing or not, but I get to have input into the art.   For I AM, there’s glitter all over the front and people really love the cover.

Donna: A question I had posted on my Facebook page was “When did you feel like an author?”

Diane: Oh, that’s a good question. Well, for me it probably has been in the last 10 years.  I did writing at various times while I was an editor at Standard and I even did a few books for them. My first book after leaving full-time employment came out in 2008, but honestly it`s only been in the last year that I feel like a real author.  I think that’s partly because of the responsibilities authors have these days to be part of the marketing process, getting the word out. And that does not come naturally to me at all. And so as I have done it a lot more this year, I feel more and more like a “real author.”

Donna:  Is there anything else you would want me to share about the book with the readers?

Diane: I feel it’s so important for the next generation to know God and to know His wonders, who He is, what He’s done and what He says and what He’s going to do for us, what He does for us now. All of these things, it’s not enough to just know the Bible stories or to look at the Bible characters as heroes to emulate or just to learn information. That’s not what the Bible is really for.  It’s to show us who God is and who Jesus is and lead us to get to know Him. And I think that’s so critical for us but also for the generations behind us.

Donna: Well, and I think starting at such a young age is great because you’re building a foundation.

Diane: They’re so willing to learn and believe.  I think they have some kind of connection to God when they’re very young and they just need to know who that is that they feel connected to.

Donna: Will you share when your next book is coming out?

Diane: I AM released in February. Baby, Baby! will release in September and it is from Worthy Kids. And then in October from Nelson again, it`s Say & Pray Devotions.

Diane: And I could tell you a little bit about Say & Pray. The Say & Pray Bible came out last summer. It’s for toddlers in particular, two year olds who don’t have much of an attention span and so the story part is really short, about a sentence or two. And then, in the pictures, which are very simple and easy to look at, are labels that are prompts to the parent to involve the kid in pointing to items on the page. Children who are learning to read like the format also because they can read these words. And then there’s a short Bible verse and a thank-you prayer, so that’s the “Say & Pray” component. There are 20 stories, it’s a board book. Very sturdy. So the followup to that one is Say & Pray Devotions and that’s what’s coming out in October. It features all contemporary children with different races and there’s one child in a wheelchair too; we tried to be really inclusive.