An interview with Faith Abraham and Family
The Children’s Book Review
In this episode, I talk with child-author Faith Abraham and her family about Faith’s picture book, Superhero Faith.
We talk about how when Mama (her grandmother) was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was inspired to create a story with the help of her mom. This book, Superhero Faith, is a demonstration of ways a young child can support a family member in need.
Faith is creative, curious, adventurous, and loves life. She enjoys learning new languages (French and Spanish), reading, making music, experimenting in Mad Science, studying jiu-jitsu (she is in ninja training), and being outside. Faith is loving, caring, and kind, and loves dreaming up her next adventure with her grandma and her dog, Sparkle.
Listen to the Interview
Read the Interview
Bianca Schulze: Hello, Faith and family! Welcome to The Growing Readers Podcast. We are so glad to have you here today because we are dying to hear about your book Superhero Faith. So, welcome!
Faith Abraham: Hi!
Bianca Schulze: Faith, would you like to tell everybody how old you are?
Faith Abraham: Four.
Bianca Schulze: So, you are very special, Faith. To be four years old and to have created such a fun story. But before we talk about your book, will you tell us a little bit about what you like to do when you’re not reading books or writing stories with your mom?
Faith Abraham: I did cuddle with Teddy today!
Delisa Abraham: Yeah. And what else? What fun things do you do?
Faith Abraham: I like to pick up fall leaves. And my mom and Mama say, why do you pick up all the fall leaves? And I say they’re only flowers!
Delisa Abraham: Yeah, she picks up leaves because she says, I’m bringing you flowers every day.
Bianca Schulze: Aww! Do you live in Canada? Is that where you live, Faith?
Faith Abraham: Yes.
Bianca Schulze: That’s amazing. So, I live in a state in the United States, in Colorado, and it’s fall here too, and we have so many beautiful leaves as well. I wish you could come to my house and pick up all the fall leaves at my home. Would you do that?
Delisa Abraham: I don’t know if you want all those flowers inside the house? Do you think all of the leaves would be nice inside her home as flowers, Faith? Yes? You could say yes. You don’t have to nod.
Faith Abraham: Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Oh my gosh. Ok.
Delisa Abraham: What do you do after school, Faith?
Faith Abraham: Sometimes I go to dance school.
Delisa Abraham: Yeah. And you go to art school and music school.
Bianca Schulze: Well, I love that you do dance and art class. I’m starting to get to realize here that you must be a creative person, Faith.
Faith Abraham: Thank you.
Bianca Schulze: You’re welcome. Faith, I was wondering, would you like to introduce your mom to us and tell us a little bit about why your mom is special to you?
Faith Abraham: Mommy does workouts. And that’s why I love her.
Delisa Abraham: You love me because I do workouts.
Faith Abraham: Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Does that inspire you? Do you love it when you see your mom taking care of herself?
Delisa Abraham: Does that inspire you when you see that I’m taking care of myself and putting on the face mask while exercising?
Faith Abraham: Yeah, that’s funny because you look like a different person.
Delisa Abraham: Hi, Bianca, thanks for having us on. Well, my name is Delisa. What can I say? She wants to tell me what to say. Ok. You don’t have to whisper.
Faith Abraham: You can say you work out, and you take me outside.
Delisa Abraham: But everything that I’m going to tell her about myself seems like it’s about you.
Faith Abraham: It has to be about you and me.
Delisa Abraham: Keep that, ok?
Bianca Schulze: I will keep that. We know a little bit about you, Faith. That you love to be outdoors. You love to be creative. We know that you love the fall leaves. So, will you tell us what your story Superhero Faith is all about and how you came up with the idea for the story?
Faith Abraham: My Mama had cancer, and so God made my Mama have no more cancer.
Delisa Abraham: So, I’ll fill in here. So, because my mom had cancer, yes, God healed her, and we did the Terry Fox Run. But we also support the Canadian Cancer Society, and Faith has been raising funds throughout the year to support research and help others in need. We did the Daffodil campaign. And this summer, she wanted to make a lemonade stand. Which I thought, ok, just right outside, it’s not a big deal. But Mama and her turn everything into an event, right? It’s not even just a little lemonade stand.
So that’s been fun to see them working together and continuing to support the cause—the reason why she wanted to write the book.
Bianca Schulze: Your mom got cancer, and that’s a hard thing.
Faith Abraham: Mama.
Delisa Abraham: Yes, Mama.
Bianca Schulze: Mama got cancer. And as family members, you know, sometimes that’s challenging because it feels like there isn’t anything you can specifically do. But it sounds like both you, Faith, and your mom stepped up and found ways to support not only Mama but other people that have cancer, too.
You’re doing all these things like having an amazing lemonade stand and trying to raise money and raise awareness for cancer. So, when did you write your story, and when did you know that you needed to have a book?
Faith Abraham: Because I wanted people to feel better.
Delisa Abraham: You wanted people to feel better. Ok, anything else?
Faith Abraham: I wanted people to feel better and the God to bless them.
Delisa Abraham: You want God to bless them? Do you want everybody to feel better? So you wrote the book for that, right?
Bianca Schulze: Were you trying to give Mama some extra love so that that could help her heal?
Faith Abraham: Yeah.
Delisa Abraham: It was very hard. I was thankful for the school that she was going to. At the time, they knew my mom had cancer. [Faith] was still going to school. We were speaking with Faith about what was happening. She knew my mom had appointments. It wasn’t until the radiation that the burns came, and she started to see the burns. That’s when there was a breakdown in the middle of winter, and I took her to school not knowing what was wrong because we thought she was fine.
She seemed fine because we were speaking, and we had the open communication, like the doctors say, to have. We were talking with her. We were explaining the process. And then, in the middle of winter, in January 2019, she just was like, I need this jacket. And it was about a jacket, and it took 20 to 30 minutes to get into the school.
Her teacher saw us, and I held her in one hand, the jacket in one hand; Sparkle jumped up. Because Sparkle goes to the daycare, to the doggie school sometimes, he’s like trying to say, come on, let’s go. And so, it was a hot mess. I was so thankful that the teachers were there, and they asked her after, do you know what happened? They knew what was going on, but they had never seen her to that extent. So, I was very grateful. Thank you to all the teachers who support these children every day, who support families and these children, and are pillars to them when we are not there.
She told her teacher, Miss Gillis—I will mention her name because she’s so awesome. She’s like, what happened? Mama has cancer in her breast. And they’re like, well, what can you do? So, they started asking her questions, and they supported her. After that outburst, that one day and in the classroom, she had spoken out to somebody other than us about how she was feeling. It was different after that.
Bianca Schulze: I feel like anyone who’s a parent or a caregiver or somebody caring for anyone in need, those hot mess situations, anyone can relate to those. I feel like they come to us for a reason because it helps us stop and identify that we need to address this and how we can come together. And sometimes we need help other than what’s in our house. And so, I love that the teachers were able to give you that extra support.
So, when did she come up with that story? Was this after the preschool moment?
Delisa Abraham: It happened after the incident at the school. She turned three at the time, and it was at night, and it was one of those nights where I’m just like, go to sleep. And she just would not sleep.
I was like, go to bed. She’s like, let’s have a conversation. What do you want to talk about? I’m drowsy. I’m so tired at this point. And then she said, she’s like, she whispered, I’m a superhero doctor. And I was like, that’s great. Of course, I was not thinking why she was identifying with that. That same time, she’s like, oh, well, because I help. I’m a superhero and a doctor because I help Mama with her cane, and I have to make sure that she’s fine.
When my mom was going through cancer, we had to eventually move in with her because Faith would wake up, and the first thing was always, is Mama, OK? And then, at night, my mom would have to bless her. And then if she didn’t tell my mom goodnight (and my mom had to be in bed before we left the house). So, it just became easier to stay with her. That helped Faith through her process.
She told me all the little things in the book about how and why she’s the superhero. And then she asked me, oh, can you write it down? Can you write it down for me? So, I was like, sure, you know, I just want to sleep. I’m going to be honest; I just wanted to sleep.
The next day, she’s going on about it. She told my mom eventually. Then she started saying: we have to do the homework; you have to write it down for me. And it took about two months of her consistently telling me the same story over and over and saying we had to write it down. We have to write it down. That I said, ok, that’s it. We’re doing it.
And so, we sat down, and I took a video. This was, of course, during COVID. So, I recorded, not thinking it was going to go anywhere. So, she’s telling me stuff. I’m asking her questions like, well, how do you see the pictures? How is it going to be? Eight pages after, I’m like, all right, we’re done. That’s good. A week later, can this be a real book? Sure. Yeah. Why not? But I procrastinated. And another few months later, when is the book going to come? I thought then that maybe I should find out if this could be a book? And so, yeah, that’s how it started.
Bianca Schulze: You know, I think that’s so incredible. The more I talk to creative people, too, I think what you just hit on is when an idea comes to somebody, a creative idea when it doesn’t leave you alone like that—and it was not leaving Faith alone, which meant it wasn’t leaving you alone, either—you have to follow those ideas. And I think the fact that you helped put her words into this book and you showed her how to make dreams come true, you’ve given her such a gift.
But not only just a gift for your family, I think this book is a gift for any family that has a family member going through a hard time and how a child can step up and be a superhero within their own home. And I think it does such a beautiful job of that. I love the illustration of Faith putting the blueberries into the smoothie for Mama. I mean, these are such simple ways, but I mean, that’s a super smoothie, and that is an awesome skill. So, I think it’s such a great gift that you’ve given to your family and others.
Faith Abraham: Thank you.
Delisa Abraham: Yeah, for sure. Thank you. Yes, Ellie. So, she’s our editor. She was like, this is great, but it’s only eight pages, so you know you need to get over 20 more. What do you mean? She’s like, you have got to ask questions. Flush it out.
Bianca Schulze: Absolutely. I mean, that’s what a good editor does. A good editor will take the story you have and just draw more out of you to make it the best it can be. So, Ellie sounds like she helped a lot.
Delisa Abraham: Yes. Yes, it was very much of a learning process.
Bianca Schulze: Shannon O’Toole, the illustrator, I think she did such a fun job. For example, at the beginning of the book, it says that Faith and Sparkle like to do things, and they both like to dig holes. I love the little illustration where you can just see Sparkle’s tail hanging out of the hole, and you can also just see Faith’s bottom coming out, and they’re both digging the hole. She added So much humor, so tell us a little bit about how you found Shannon to be the illustrator. Was that Ellie that connected you or…?
Delisa Abraham: Absolutely. When she saw the eight pages that I still have. Yeah, she was like, I know the perfect illustrator that could bring this to life. She’s super busy, and she’s always in demand. But if we get her, this is it. And we were so grateful because she had just finished one book and she had time to illustrate this one. So, it worked out perfectly, and we were so thankful for that because she did such a great job. She captured Sparkle perfectly the first time.
Bianca Schulze: Is Sparkle in the book the replica of your Sparkle at home.
Delisa Abraham: Yes, the exact. She captured her perfectly. Sparkle, walking around with Faith, wanting to be in the same room, helping out my mom. They have to run races to see who could win, like all of those things. Who can go down the slide faster and reach the park first? Who could do everything? That’s them? Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Oh my, Gosh!
Faith, can I ask you a question? What is your favorite illustration in Superhero Faith? What’s your favorite picture?
Delisa Abraham: You have five favorite ones? Ok, what’s your most favorite?
Faith Abraham: I like the one of Sparkle and me sleeping.
Delisa Abraham: You like the one with and you and Sparkle sleeping?
Faith Abraham: Yeah. And how Faith and Sparkle came this way.
Delisa Abraham: And oh, how Faith and Sparkle came this way?
Faith Abraham: Yeah.
Delisa Abraham: I like the one with the ooze running because I think it’s super funny.
Bianca Schulze: Yes. Well, because I think that’s the fun part of the book, the reader can guess how Superhero Faith gets her superpowers. And we go through a few things about how she did not get her powers, and it was not from the radioactive ooze. That was fun. I love that she gets her superpowers from eating her vegetables. Faith. Do you have a favorite vegetable?
Faith Abraham: My favorite vegetable is carrots. Because they’re crunchy.
Delisa Abraham: Oh, that’s cute.
Bianca Schulze: I do love a crunchy carrot. Do you like to dip your carrots, or do you just like them plain?
Delisa Abraham: Do you like to dip your carrots in ranch dressing? You have never done that before.
Faith Abraham: No.
Bianca Schulze: This might be a question for you, Delisa. What is your biggest hope that readers will take away from reading Superhero Faith?
Delisa Abraham: Do you want to answer that, Faith? What do you hope that other people will learn from your book?
Faith Abraham: Well, I hope they like it.
Delisa Abraham: Yes. That they like the book. But what else? What, most importantly, do you want to share from your book with other people?
Faith Abraham: I want to share the fun things.
Delisa Abraham: The fun things that you do? Ok? And what else?
Faith Abraham: What else?
Delisa Abraham: Anything else? What else?
Faith Abraham: I want them to follow me.
Delisa Abraham: To follow you on your journey? Oh, that’s really good. Thanks, Faith. Yes.
And for myself, I hope that when readers read her book, not only do they follow her journey, but they recognize it’s the little things, the simple love, and affection, and care that we give to others during their time of need. So, I hope they recognize those things we shouldn’t dismiss when our children or your grandchildren come to us and say, Oh, I love you, I want to hug you, I want to kiss you. Are you ok today? Or they give you a phone call? Sometimes they’re calling you because they sense in their heart, oh, this is what you need at this moment. And I just want to give you that love that you need, that thing that could fill you.
Bianca Schulze: Absolutely. And I think because between you and the editor and the illustrator, you’ve stayed so true to the words that Faith was sharing with you, that simplicity of just pure love, it does come across. I just think all of you together have done such a great job, and I do think it’d be such a valuable book for families that, as I said before, anyone that needs support in their life. It is such a great reminder of how simple things can help.
Delisa Abraham: Thank you. Yes, thank you. We couldn’t change it because then I would have Faith, Mama, and Sparkle on me.
I will share a secret: Every time Shannon sent an illustration over, it was not me saying, oh, this is it. It’s every single one of them. Even Sparkle will wag his tail or make a sound, or Faith will say, Is that me? It looks like me. My mom would say, I don’t know. Why do I look like this? Why did she make me look so old? Or when Ellie put the book together, my mom said, she calls me Mama, why does it say grandmother? This was a massive deal for my mom. She calls me Mama. Why does it say, grandma?
I’m very grateful to Ellie and Shannon and the work that they did, but know that it was not just me; it was Faith, my mom (Mama), and Sparkle that was vetoing what was coming through, and the message that is being put across and making sure that this is how they envisioned it.
Bianca Schulze: That’s so wonderful. I do love that full collaboration. It does take a lot of people for a book to work.
We talked a little bit about how just when a creative idea comes to you and when it won’t leave you alone, you must act on it. But beyond that, now that it is an actual book, why did it feel so important for you not just to make this a book for Faith only? Because you could have just had a handful of books printed and had them in your home. But you’ve got this wonderful website now, Faith and Sparkle’s World, and you’re really sharing this book with the entire world. Why did it feel important for you to take this beyond Faith to putting the book out into the world?
Delisa Abraham: It started with Faith. I literally just wanted one or two copies to say, ok, this is what you did. This is where you were when you were at this age. She’s like, oh, I need to share it with other people. She wanted other people to read her book, and my mom said to me, are you really going to do this? And I said, well, you know, let’s see.
As I started contacting marketers to see if this was sellable because I honestly did not know. I’m like, is this what people want to read? Would people genuinely care about love being a superpower or compassion? And Jessica, who we were working with for our marketing because I knew nothing about the website, nothing about putting Instagram together. Nothing about any of these things. And she’s like, this is what we need right now, especially during COVID: to share the love.
Bianca Schulze: I think Jessica was 100 percent correct because that’s something that I noticed, and it doesn’t ever say that Mama has cancer. And so, I think that that’s good, that it doesn’t, because now this book applies to any family that has a family member that’s struggling, whether it is COVID, or maybe somebody has injured their leg and they can’t get around so much. Or perhaps it is more challenging like cancer, right? So, I do think that the book is such a beautiful gift for that.
Jessica was right with what she shared with you that the world did need the story.
Delisa Abraham: Yes. Cancer is not mentioned in the book because my mom didn’t want it to be mentioned at that time. And when I spoke with Faith, she’s like, no, this is what we did to help Mama when she had cancer. Cancer was not particularly mentioned in the book because my mom didn’t want it in there, and for Faith, it was in her head that people would just know.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, I mean, I feel like any good picture book is …whoever the reader is, they’re going to take from that book what they need at the moment. And so, for some kids and families, it will be the pure joy of a superhero with their sidekick dog, right? And that that will be enough. And that’s all they need to take from this story.
But then, for other families, it will be, oh, look, what Faith does. These are her natural superpowers, and you have those superpowers too, and you can do that to help the people in your life. So, it’ll just be the readers will get to take what they want from it, and I think it offers a few different levels there.
Delisa Abraham: Yeah, absolutely. I agree with you 100 percent.
Bianca Schulze: So, I always ask this question to anybody who comes on The Growing Readers Podcast; they say that you need to be a reader first to be a writer. While Faith was the one that created the story, so she was the writer, and you, Delisa, are the main collaborator that helped get her words across. And then you have this whole team. So, I’m not sure if you consider yourself a writer or a storyteller?
Delisa Abraham: I am not a writer. I am not a storyteller. Once people get to know Faith and see her when she’s doing her experiments or her projects for school, you get to see her personality—what she’s like. That independence and confidence and the vulnerability—that vulnerable side maybe sometimes when she doesn’t understand something, but she’s still going through with it—and how she understands how to do something. So that’s one of the reasons why we have this story.
Do I consider myself part of her creative process and as a writer? No, because I was just there as a scribe. I was just a scribe saying, ok, what do you want? What do you need? How is it going to be? And you know, Ellie was like, this doesn’t make sense, or this makes sense. Or what is she trying to say here and then? So, no, I don’t consider myself a writer. That’s a long way of saying no.
Bianca Schulze: Well, then I’m going to guess, though, because obviously Faith is a little bit of a creative storyteller here. So, my guess is that you read books with her and that’s how she has developed her storytelling is through you sharing books. Would that be fair?
Delisa Abraham: Yes, since before she was born, I was reading to her. After she was born, I read to her. I took pictures sometimes of her, just going through the books.
We have, you know, those LeapFrog toys with the alphabet, and then you can make words and stuff like that—it would sound out the phonics. And I remember my aunt came when Faith was one year old, and my aunt didn’t do it properly. She pressed the wrong button, or she told her, this is it, and she’s talking instead of, like pressing the button. And Faith was so upset. Like moving her hand away. And I was in the washroom. I came out. My aunt was like, What’s wrong with this child?
Bianca Schulze: Faith, I have a question for you. Will you tell me what you love most about reading books?
Delisa Abraham: Do you read some books?
Faith Abraham: Yeah, I read some books. Not all the books.
Delisa Abraham: Yeah, well, nobody could read all the books. Yeah, Bianca knows. What books do you read? You want to bring in some to show her. Don’t bring all of them. Bring like three. You can show the books. Which one do you want to show first? You have a Paw Patrol book.
Bianca Schulze: It’s a Misty Copeland book. Are you going to be a ballet star, like Misty Copeland?
Delisa Abraham: Are you going to be a ballet star, like Misty Copeland? Yes. You have to say either yes or no.
Bianca Schulze: You’re nodding your head.
Faith Abraham: Yes. Yeah. And this is Superhero Faith.
Bianca Schulze: That is Superhero Faith. Is that the most favorite book in your house?
Faith Abraham: Yes!
Bianca Schulze: That’s perfect. So, are there going to be some more books that have Superhero Faith in them?
Faith Abraham: Yes. Yes. Yes, yes.
Delisa Abraham: I know you’re getting excited now.
Bianca Schulze: It’s something worth getting excited about. Do you want to tell me what the next book is about that will have Superhero Faith?
Faith Abraham: Doctor Faith.
Bianca Schulze: Doctor Faith? Amazing. How far are you with that story? Are you still writing the words, or have the words all been written? And now you’re waiting for the pictures?
Delisa Abraham: I told her that it’s going to get printed when she turns five.
Bianca Schulze: I think that’s a good idea. Well, I am so proud of you, Faith, for sharing the things in your heart and mind and sharing them with your mom. And for making such a special story that I bet filled your Mama’s heart and helped her heal and feel better. And I just want to thank you, and if I were with you, I would give you a giant hug if you would like one. So, we’ll do a virtual hug.
Delisa Abraham: Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Can I ask a question? How is Mama now? Is Mama healthy?
Delisa Abraham: You have to use your words.
Faith Abraham: Yes. Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Now I have one last question. So, if the Growing Readers listeners were to take one thing away from our chat today, what would you like that to be?
Delisa Abraham: One thing, just one word. I hope they take away the love and grow from that love within their hearts and share it with others; it could be our families, even our classmates, everyone.
Bianca Schulze: Well, I have to say it was an absolute pleasure to talk with you both and to get to talk with you, especially Faith. And like I said before, I’m so glad that you shared your story with your mom and your Mama and me and the entire world, and you should be so, so, so proud of yourself.
Delisa Abraham: Thank you so much for having us on. Faith, do you want to say anything to Bianca and everybody else? What do you want to say?
Faith Abraham: I want to say you will be something too.
Delisa Abraham: Are you trying to tell everybody they could be a superhero?
Faith Abraham: To Bianca.
Delisa Abraham: And Bianca is going to be a superhero too?
Bianca Schulze: Can I be a superhero too?
Faith Abraham: Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Yes! You just made my day.
Delisa Abraham: Thank you so much. Can you please say bye?
Faith Abraham: Bye, Bianca. You can be a superhero!
Bianca Schulze: Thank you so much!
About the Book
Story by Faith Abraham
Illustrated by Shannon O’Toole
Ages 3-8 | 32 Pages
Publisher’s Synopsis: Superhero Faith and her trusty sidekick Sparkle are out to rescue Grandma from a sore tummy, being too hot, losing her cane, and worst of all…Brussels sprouts!
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November 23, 2021 at 12:36PM Bianca Schulze