Inspiring little ones to sainthood

by Sonia Mullally, Dakota Catholic Action editor

Kimberly and her husband James and their three children. Kimberly has released six children’s books on teaching the Catholic faith to children. (submitted photo)

Local author Kimberly Fries has released six children’s books in the last couple months with more in the works.

“Since I was young I have loved to write,” Kimberly explained. “I have also loved to learn about the Catholic faith and to teach it to children.”

It was during college when Kimberly realized she could turn that love of her faith into something for others. “When I was in college in Valley City studying elementary education, we had to write and design our own children's book. I had so much fun creating a little rosary book with Latin prayers. When I was laminating it at the student center, the worker there asked if I would be willing to make more to sell because she wanted to buy one. She wasn’t even Catholic!”

Kimberly and her family moved to Center N.D. from Linton N.D. last fall. After marriage and a family took center stage in her life, she shifted her focus to using her writing to inspire parents and children, but to also earn a little money. The books evolved from much thought and prayer.

“Soon after college, I got married and suffered three very difficult pregnancies. After my last pregnancy, my husband and I discerned how I could make a side income from home. We thought of my writing skills and decided to start a blog called, My Little Nazareth. A lot of people enjoyed my writing. We prayed more about it when we renewed our Consecration to Mary in November. During that time, I suddenly had a great desire to write a children's book about Mary. And, a great urgency to do it.”

The concepts and words came easy for the books, but the artwork was different.

“I didn't know how to do the illustrations. Then my husband said, ‘Hire an illustrator!’ I thought of a lady who I met a few years back at a Thirst Conference. I loved her painting and remembered thinking, ‘If I could paint, that's how I would want my paintings to look.’ I sent a message to her Etsy shop, thinking that she wasn't even going to respond. She ended up loving my ideas and had been praying with her husband for many years about turning her paintings into children's books.”

Her six books currently available are titled: Girl Saints for Little Ones, Consecration to Mary for Little Ones, Guided Prayer for Little Ones, Examination of Conscience for Little Ones, Receiving Jesus for Little Ones, and Boy Saints for Little Ones.

Her first book, Girls Saints for Little Ones and the counterpart, Boy Saints for Little Ones, feature biographies of 12 saints, along with a vibrant illustration, quote from the saint, and explanation of a Catholic symbol on each painting. The book is meant to inspire children, ages 4–12, to form relationships with these saints and desire to become saints themselves.

Consecration to Mary for Little Ones follows the traditional 33-day preparation of Marian Consecration, for ages 4–12. The book covers information about Mary's life, how to pray with her, and why having a relationship with her will bring us closer to Jesus. Each day also includes a quote from the bible, a Marian saint, or a Marian apparition, and a short prayer.

Guided Prayer for Little Ones is designed to guide children through the steps of prayer, including recognizing God's presence, praying for themselves and others, and speaking to God and the Blessed Mother. There are traditional prayers included throughout the book, as well.

Examination of Conscience for Little Ones leads children to recognize their sins and prepare to make a fruitful confession. Receiving Jesus for Little Ones focuses on the joy of the Eucharist.

Her motivation and drive to offer these books always comes back to the love of her Catholic faith and, in turn, help other parents to educate their children on matters of the faith.

“I want to provide parents with tools that will make them comfortable introducing beautiful, traditional devotions into their homes at a very young age. My deepest desire is to inspire young children, including my own, to want to become saints,” Kimberly explained. “Children can have big hearts for God and even a deep prayer life; many times, they just need exposure to a zeal for the faith.”

Kimberly’s books are available on Amazon.com and at Mayo Pharmacy and Ferguson Books in Bismarck. She can be reached at mylittlenazareth@gmail.com.