A Board Book Story of Saint Ia of Cornwall

On Tuesday, December 15, my second board book launched – and it’s the first board book to be published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press!

Saint Ia Rides a Leaf is a toddler-friendly retelling of a story from the life of Saint Ia of Cornwall. Children will sympathize with Ia, who was left behind by her friends because they thought she was too young to be a missionary. But something amazing happened, just when she was on the point of giving up.

Who was Saint Ia?

Saint Ia was an Irish missionary to England in the fifth or sixth century. She is believed by some to have been a princess, but the dream closest to her heart was to preach the word of God in England. Ia arrived in Cornwall (spoiler alert!) through divine intervention, and the modern-day town and parish of St. Ives are named for her. In fact, the older Cornish name of the town is Porth Ia, meaning “Ia’s cove.” You can learn more about St. Ives Church here.

St. Ives Parish Church (Photo credit: Palickap)

Making the book

One of my favorite parts of this project has been working with illustrator Kristina Tartara. Her enthusiasm matched mine, and she brought so much loving attention and creativity to the project. For example, it was Kristi’s idea to include the three little friends who keep Saint Ia company in the story, reflecting all her emotions on their expressive faces. Through many conversations, shared research, sketches, and revisions, Kristi brought the story to life.

Kristi also brought her training in early childhood education, not only providing good insight (“That’s too many words, Melinda!”) but also a wealth of lessons, crafts, and activities to go with the book. Check out these free printables, photos, lesson plans, sensory bins, leaf crafts, and more!

SAINT IA’S SONG

A special part of the project that was completely new to me was the SONG! Composer Natalie Wilson wrote the music, I wrote the words, and Natalie recorded it. You can find the sheet music HERE. The recording will be available shortly – I’ll update this post as soon as it releases.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I look forward to seeing Saint Ia Rides a Leaf in the hands of many children, whether they are old enough to pick out words or cuddled up (and probably wiggling) in the arms of those who love to read to them. Like our own lives, the lives of the saints are full of stories – high points and sad days and the train of teachable moments God arranges for us on the path of salvation. I am thankful for Saint Ia’s persistence, and for all the good gifts that come from making children’s books.

#MakersMonday: An Interview with Daniel

Today’s guest on #MakersMonday practices the fascinating and ancient art of wood carving. Daniel designs and creates in his shop, Candelar, in the north of England, and we connected during an artisan’s event sponsored by the Ancient Faith Store. As always, I’m asking 5 questions. Here’s how Daniel responded.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK.WHAT DO YOU CREATE?

I am Daniel Mihailescu, an Orthodox Romanian artisan living in the UK, where, by God’s mercy and providence, I own a small workshop specialised in the design and manufacture of liturgical objects.

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO DO THIS KIND OF WORK?

By trade I am a naval design engineer, and so I was blessed to have the design skills needed for the production of crosses, icons, vigil lamps, and other such wood-carved products.

WHAT DO YOU FIND SATISFYING ABOUT BEING A “MAKER”?

Having the freedom to work from home or in my workshop, in my own time, surrounded by beautiful people, all artisans in wood carving, pottery, music or painting, makes me happy, peaceful, and I love being a ‘maker’.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY ASSOCIATED WITH PRACTICING YOUR CRAFT?

My favourite memory is about Father Paul from Australia. On many occasions we add a thank-you item in the order shipment, and I remember thinking that Father Paul would definitely like one of our blessing crosses. As it happened, a few days after shipping the parcel to Australia, Father Paul emailed us saying that he would like to order a blessing cross!

SHARE A PHOTO OF A FAVORITE PIECE, AND TELL US THE STORY THAT GOES WITH IT.

“Have faith and wholeheartedly trust God Who will never abandon those who Love Him”—these words belong to Saint Cuthbert, “the wonderworker of the English land”, who was born in Northumbria around 634.

Saint Cuthbert possessed a rare spirit of endless love of God, of people and of every single creature of God. He had kindness, great compassion and zeal in preaching the Gospel; for his humility and loving heart, the Lord bestowed on Cuthbert the gifts of prayer, miracles, prophecy, and clairvoyance.

Father Justin from the “Orthodox Church of Saint Cuthbert and Saint Bede” in Durham suggested a beautiful oak blessing cross to honour Saint Cuthbert and we are grateful to God for the result.

Thank you, Daniel!

You can connect with Daniel and see his beautiful work at Candelar.co.uk.