Several months ago McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding e-mailed me about a book they were writing titled Girls Who Choose God. Because I've taught The Old Testament in Sunday School for the past year, I loved the concept. I love the book even more. Today I am sharing Bethany's story (her bio is below). Next week, I'll post McArthur's.
I’ve never dreamed of being a writer, but I have always dreamed of being a change-maker.
I like to stir things up wherever I call home. I’ve lived in a long list of communities; in every place I’ve tried to use creativity and compassion to change things for the better. In Salt Lake City, I founded a partnership to provide health care for immigrants and refugees. In Washington DC, my husband and I established a mentoring program to improve graduation rates of inner-city students. In Mumbai, India, my daughter and I started a program to bring creative learning experiences to children living in the slums. And in Cape Town, South Africa, I helped build a health promotion partnership to reduce childhood infectious disease.
Richmond, Virginia is my new home and I’ve gotten busy changing the local food environment to ensure healthy, affordable food for low-income families. But in all of these many places I’ve lived, the Judeo-Christian-Mormon tradition has always been my home. And believe me, there are plenty of opportunities for change-making here.
Several years ago, while reading stories from the Bible to my then three-year-old daughter, Simone, she asked, “Mom, where are all the girls?” Great question. (And I was glad to see I was already nurturing the next generation of change-makers.) We looked around for a children’s book about women in the scriptures. When I couldn’t find a single suitable one, we decided we must write one. But since neither Simone nor I were great writers, we reached out to get my co-author McArthur, and illustrator Kathleen Peterson, on board. It’s been a great change-making adventure ever since.
These are my dreams for Girls Who Choose God: that it inspires children to make bold choices and become the people that God wants them to be; that it provides strong role models for girls and illustrates to them that they can grow up to be devoted mothers, as well as judges, generals, social justice advocates, and endless other roles to be a force for good in the world; that it raises generations of girls and boys who view themselves as spiritual equals; and that proceeds from the book will increase the choices and opportunities available to girls around the world.
What's your favorite story about a girl or woman in the scriptures?
Bethany Brady Spalding aspires to create a healthier food culture and currently leads a coalition of community partners in Richmond, Virginia to make nourishing food available to low-income families. She also aspires to create a healthier gender culture at church—this passion fueled mainly by the love for her three young, fiery girls. Food and feminism, that’s what Bethany’s all about these days.