BOOKS

I am a poet and author of picture books.

Click the video to find out more about the book, and the Kickstarter campaign which ended on 15 July 2022

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Featured- Pre-publication announcement

God’s Love Letter – Creation

Lyrical Picture Book / Poetry

Target audience: 4 – 99+

Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Audio book, Colouring pages

Hardcover publication date: August/September 2023

I wrote you the heavens and the angels,
sound and time,
the universe—with its infinite
galaxies, planets, and stars.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

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FAQ

1. What is this book about?

What if all creation was God’s love letter to humanity? A story of parental love, beauty, and hope. 

This lyrical picture book has been a love story in the making since September 2017.

It is a rare and special moment, when a writer has an inspiration, sits down in front of an empty page, and the words just flow. This is what happened with this manuscript. And while the text has been revised and refined over the last 5 years, the spirit of the original text remained unchanged.

I knew I wanted to write about the many ways God expresses His love for us, and it made sense to start with creation. The very first draft was titled “Just for you”. But as I was revising the text, it became evident that this should be a series.  That’s when the idea of Love Letters from God came to mind. Creation being the first letter—with hopefully many more to come.  
3. What exactly is a lyrical picture book?

Lyrical picture books use poetic forms of writing, without it necessarily being written in rhyme.

Words are chosen meticulously to paint pictures in the readers’ mind. Great attention is paid to things like rhythm, beat and sound.

5. Who is this book for?

The book is suitable for children (4+) and adults alike.

Whether you buy it for yourself, your family, as a gift, or wish to use it at your local group / community gatherings – this lyrical picture book will delight the hearts of all ages with its delicately crafted words and illustrations.

It is a work of love that can be shared across faiths.

7. What happened to your Kickstarter Campaign?

To help fund the making of the book, I launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign on June 6, 2022 (Pentecost) for 40 days. And after a roller-coaster of a ride, the campaign was successfully funded on Friday 15 July 2022, and I am now working on publishing the book. Yeah! 🙂

You can learn more about the book, its vision, and follow the “making of” of the book on my Kickstarter Updates page.

Missed the Kickstarter Campaign but still wish to back it as a supporter?

I’d love to have you on board! Just click on the button “I WANT TO BE A BACKER” above and I will be in touch with you to make it happen. Thank you in advance for your interest and support!

9. What will the book look like? What about the illustrations?

This book is very special to me, so I’ve taken care not to spare any costs to ensure that the book itself is a work of art.

To that end, every single book will be bound in hardcover, with a beautiful cover image, and 14 intricate watercolour spreads (double pages) illustrating the 13 verses I wrote.

God’s Love Letter – Creation is about 320 words, 32 pages long (excluding end papers). It will be printed on premium colour paper and will be in landscape format (11 x 8.5 inches or 216 x 280 mm). Every illustration will be a full-page spread, which means that each image will be 22 inches or 56 cm wide! It’s gonna look AMAZING!!

I am very grateful that the immensely talented Alice Wong agreed to illustrate this book. Many of today’s artists work digitally, which is a great art in and of itself. But I was hoping to find an artist who still uses traditional mediums, and I fell in love with Alice’s watercolour illustrations. Not to mention, she is also a wonderful human being!

For the purpose of this campaign, Alice created two spreads so you can see a sample of the type of illustrations you can expect in the book. To do so, we chose two of our favourite verses from the middle of the book to illustrate.

For Spread 7, you can see the progression of the illustration as Alice and I were discussing the very first rough thumbnail draft. Thumbnails are a depiction of what the artist intends to portray in the image, but in a much smaller size than the final art size.

For Spread 8, you can see the progression from the first rough thumbnail draft to the detailed pencil sketch, to the very final coloured art piece, as it will show up in the book. You can also see a sample of the Colouring Pages we intend to make available to you as part of this campaign’s rewards.

SPREAD 7

I composed the great creatures
of the lands, skies,
and the seven seas.
The meek and the fierce.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

land-sky-sea-creation-illustration-Thumbnail

Round 1 – Draft Thumbnail

land-sky-sea-creation-illustration-Thumbnail

Round 2 – Draft Thumbnail

land-sky-sea-creation-illustration-Thumbnail

Round 3 – Draft Thumbnail

SPREAD 8

Then I made you… in my image,
with a brilliant mind to dream,
a delicate spirit to love,
a free will to choose your way.

God's-love-letter-illustration-thumbnail

Round 1 – Draft Thumbnail

God's-love-letter-illustration-thumbnail

Round 2 – Draft Thumbnail

Gods-love-letter-illustration-Pencil-Sketch

Round 1 – Pencil Sketch – Work-in-progress

Gods-love-letter-illustration-Pencil-Sketch

Round 2 – Pencil Sketch completed

Gods-love-letter-creation-final-illustration

Final Round – Completed Image

And below you find an example of what the colouring pages for Spread 8 would look like. Each page of a spread can be printed on an A4 page, like the ones below:

God's-love-letter-colouring-page-1

Colouring Page 1 of 2

God's-love-letter-colouring-page-2

Colouring Page 2 of 2

Collaborating with Alice is a HUGE pleasure. I love how we build on each other’s ideas and are open to each other’s thoughts and feedback.

11. Tell me more about your creative team

It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a community to bring a book to life.

About me, the author

My name is Dina Sabry Fivaz. I am an author, poet, and picture book writer. I enjoy writing fiction, non-fiction, informational fiction (using a fictional framework to present nonfiction content), spiritual, and lyrical picture books.

For my spiritual picture books, I write them under the pen name “Agape” – which stands for the highest form of Love.

I have always had a keen love for the written word. In fact, I own more books than I could ever read in a lifetime. But nothing measures up to my love for picture books. Crafting a well-rounded story filled with heart in as few words as possible is an art and joy. In my world, picture books are not “just for kids”. They are a powerful form of writing that can touch the soul of all people of all ages.

I was born in Egypt. I wrote my first short story when I was eight. My love for poetry and the musicality of sound was ignited when I was nine, and I have been feeding that fire ever since. When I am not writing, reading, or buying books, I love to sing in a Gospel choir and enjoy teaching little ones at my local church.

For my day-job, I work as an individual, group, and Gallup-strengths coach, and live with my family in beautiful Switzerland.

About Alice, the illustrator 

Alice Wong works in watercolour and pencil, and has illustrated numerous picture books and board books. She started out as a greetings card illustrator – something she still does from time to time. She also loves to bring her illustrations to life in ceramics!

One of her keenest pleasures is to draw landscapes and animals, while capturing that delicate essence— the innermost core, of her subjects.  Clients for her dreamy-style animal illustrations have included Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Hallmark, Cottage Door Press, Warren publishing, Tilbury publishing, Paper chase, Harrods, UK Greetings, Sainsburys, Tesco and Jellycat.

You may also wish to check out her recent illustrations in the Picture Books Keepers of the Reef, written by Sharon Wismer, and All the Places I Love You by Hallmark.

Alice lives in Cardiff, in the UK, with her husband, daughter and two cats.

CREDITS

Book & Cover design: Alice Wong

Line editing: Alicia Chiuminatta & Vijaya Bodach

Music for audio book: to be confirmed

Not to mention my many amazing critique partners and groups

 

2. How did the book come about?

One day, my daughter asked me if I knew why God created us. “Why do you think?” I asked.  “Because God wanted a family,” she answered.  Not out of boredom or loneliness, but out of Love.

So much thought, time, and love has gone into what we call creation—from the universe that surrounds us, to the miracle we call Earth, to the wonder we call life. Everything has been meticulously planned and fine-tuned to perfection, so that we can exist.

Creation is a constant reminder of God’s Love for us, as well as His presence amongst us and within us—His family.

So I set off to create a lyrical picture book that depicts this Love in its many facets, in a new way. I wanted to create an emotional journey for you, my readers, that captures the essence and beauty of God’s Love. I wanted children and adults alike to feel inspired as they read it out loud, and feel anchored in Him.

4. What differentiates this book from other creation books?

The book is unique in that it follows the Bible’s creation account while making it personal. How?

It is a personal letter from God to the reader, written in first person—God’s, expressing God’s love for us through all of his creation. I purposefully crafted the text in lyrical form, so that it reads like a piece of music. Also, the book will hold beautifully crafted full-spread watercolour illustrations, worthy of any traditionally published commercial picture book.

I wrote it in a way that it can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. This is a book you can read to yourself or a loved one, over and over again, for the sheer beauty of its words and illustrations, or as a great conversation starter.

I dream of a world where Picture Books are not just something we buy for kids, but are recognised as a sophisticated form of writing, in its own right, suitable and appealing to both children and adults alike. What can be more beautiful than reading an inspirational text that touches our soul, while enjoying beautiful illustrations that tease our imagination and lift us up in the process.

It is also a book that’s more than just a mere account of the events of creation… It is meant to lift us up when we are down or feeling lonely. My hope is, as you sit down reading the book, that the words and illustrations will feel like balm for your soul. My wish is that, by the time you finish reading the book, you’ll feel your heart full and your spirit high for you know you are deeply loved and cared for by He who made us and loved us first. We are not alone… we’re never truly alone… and creation is one proof of that.

6. Why did you choose to self-publish this book?

When I finished revising my manuscript, I did knock on the doors of traditional and religious publishers first. And, while they loved the writing, they either found it “too religious” or “not religious enough”. So I decided it was time to break the mold of what spiritual books “should” look like, and publish it myself.

As a self-publisher, I also have full creative freedom to create the exact book I envision a picture book that measures up to the quality of mainstream “traditional” picture books, while honouring God and His love for us in a new way.

My hope and dream is that the book can become a little beam of light for children and adults alike… 

I dream of a world where Picture Books are not just something we buy for kids, but are recognised as a sophisticated form of writing, in its own right, suitable and appealing to both children and adults alike. What can be more beautiful than reading an inspirational text that touches our soul, while enjoying beautiful illustrations that tease our imagination and lift us up in the process.

To assist with the funding, I ran a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

8. What is the Publishing date?

The digital book (PDF/eBook) and colouring pages (PDF) are expected to be available as of March 2023.

The estimated publication date of the hardcover book is August/September 2023.

I am also working on making an audio book available – for free!  Sign-up above under “INFORM ME OF PUBLICATION” and you’ll be the first to know when it’s available.

Below you find an overview of the Timeline I shared during my Kickstarter campaign:

10. What kind of English spelling did you use? What about translations?

I used British English for the spelling.

While I would love to offer the book in a variety of languages, at the moment, the book is only available in English.

If you feel a calling to translate the book in your native language, please send me a message! I’d love to collaborate with you on that.

I could imagine making a translation file of the text available at some stage and send it together with the book. Obviously, the best would be to have custom prints in different languages. But these are all tunes for the future :-). For now, the book is in English only.

12. Can you share an excerpt of your text?

With great pleasure! My goal is to share God’s love and care for us as broadly as possible, so I’m happy to share with you below 8 of the 13 stanzas/verses in the book.

God’s Love Letter
Creation
Words by Agape (a.k.a. Dina Sabry)

In the beginning,
when all was dark and empty,
and the world as you know it
did not yet exist—

there was a Word…
… Love
and that Word was someone…
… Me, God.

And I wrote you this love letter.

I wrote you the heavens and the angels,
sound and time,
the universe—with its infinite
galaxies, planets, and stars.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

I painted you the earth, sun, and moon,
night and day.
Charted light from darkness, land from water,
ground from sky.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

I drew you the peaks and the plains,
sand and waves.
Orchestrated summer, autumn, winter, and spring,
sunshine and rain.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

I shaped the flowers and the trees,
fruits and seeds.
Sketched some of the tiniest creatures
your eyes would ever see.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

I composed the great creatures
of the lands, skies,
and the seven seas.
The meek and the fierce.

Just for you.
Out of Love.

Then I made you… in my image,
with a brilliant mind to dream,
a delicate spirit to love,
a free will to choose your way.

……

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