By Matt de Simone
Cathy D. Dudley of Blue Ridge recently won the Purple Dragonfly Award for her book, Toddler Theology: Childlike Faith for Everyone. She initially published her illustrated children’s book in 2012. After years of traveling and promotion, Dudley’s now an award-winning author.
“This was my first published book,” Dudley said in a recent interview. “I didn’t intend to be an author when I retired, but (my husband and I) were expecting our sixth grandchild, and God just gave me the words.”
Dudley’s original intent was to publish the book for her grandkids. Still, after publication, Dudley discovered her “retirement adventure with God” is continuing to share her stories with her family and everyone.
The Purple Dragonfly Award is a global book competition created in 2009 to celebrate the best in children’s literature. Toddler Theology will now have a seal on the cover representing the award, which Dudley mentioned helps with marketing.
Marketing is a big challenge for self-publishing authors like Dudley. While the competition is challenging in faith-based books for children, Dudley’s faith drives her to continue promoting her stories.
“God gives me the courage and keeps me bold,” Dudley continued. “My husband can tell (anyone), I’m pretty fearless seeking new homes for both of my books.”
Authors submit their stories to Scary Monsters LLC for contest entry. Scary Monsters LLC is a company that aids authors of all genres through award-winning marketing and publicity services.
Dudley recently published her second book, Faith, Family, & Fun: Monthly Lessons to Color and Connect with God’s Love, in 2019.
There are 10 stores locally that sell Dudley’s books, including in Rocky Mount and Moneta, and three out-of-state stores in Oregon and North Carolina.
“I’m very grateful to the owners of the stores,” Dudley added. “They have been very gracious putting them on their shelves. I’m just tickled at their success. I give God full credit and praise.”
Introducing children to the Gospel is one of the unique elements of Dudley’s award-winning book. By using simple language and concepts, Dudley shares the Good News of the Gospel.
“It’s a happy and friendly book,” Dudley said. “If somebody stops and gives me a minute of their time, I’ll open up the book to the crucifixion page because that’s what we want our children to understand. That is a nugget of how much Jesus loves us, but you want to describe in a way that children understand.”
In the book, Dudley explains Jesus’s sacrifice as a job given by God to “buy tickets to Heaven for everybody.” She explains that Jesus is keeping everyone’s ticket safe until they ask for it.
“That’s the most important part,” Dudley added. “People know they need a ticket to get into the movies or (a place like that), but to get into Heaven, Jesus loved us enough to die on the cross and ‘buy a ticket’ with his blood. That’s called having faith, and those pages are the real message of the book. I want children to know how much Jesus loves them.”
Dudley is incredibly thankful for the welcoming Botetourt community. She’s spent time promoting her stories at book signings and enjoys guest speaking at churches and clubs.
For more information about Cathy Dudley’s books, where to find them, and to get in touch with her about guest speaking, visit cathyddudley.com.
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