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Linsey Davis’ Son’s Curiosity Sparks Inspiration For Her Latest Children’s Book ‘How High Is Heaven’

Linsey Davis’ Son’s Curiosity Sparks Inspiration For Her Latest Children’s Book ‘How High Is Heaven’

Written By Sierra Lyons

Many know Linsey Davis as the ABC News Correspondent featured on World News Tonight, Good Morning America, 20/20, and Nightline. She’s also a four-time children’s book author and mother to an inquisitive eight-year-old boy. Her son’s curiosity and current interests drive the inspiration behind her books. 

One of his recent questions about loved ones who have passed encouraged her newest book How High is Heaven? The picture book explores meaningful themes (such as, where our loved ones go, how we miss them, and the hope that one day, we will reunite) in a way that is accessible for children and parents. Lindsey sat down with BGN over the phone on February 9, 2022 to discuss her newest release.

How High is Heaven? is inspired by conversations between you and your son. Tell me about some of those conversations. 

My son came home and asked, “How come Santino has two grandmas and grandpas and I just have one?” We talked about how both my parents are still alive, but my husband’s parents both passed away. He doesn’t remember Grandma P, who died when he was just one year old. While I showed him pictures, he said, “You know, I want to go to heaven. I want to go see her.” He asked me how to get to heaven, and that moment inspired me. 

Two months later we were on a plane. He was looking out the window and said, “I don’t see her.” I asked, “You don’t see who?” He said, “I don’t see Grandma P. I thought we were gonna see her out of the window, you know — we’re looking at heaven.” I thought it was sweet that he had this interest in knowing about his grandparents and then trying to go to whatever length to get to heaven to see them.

Now, with the pandemic, we see that we just passed that grim milestone of 900,000 American lives lost due to COVID. There was a journal in Pediatrics that came out a few months ago that said that one in four of those deaths were a primary caregiver. That means more than 200,000 children have lost a parent or grandparent during the past two years due to COVID. 

This is a major adjustment, and kids have to deal with these new realities. Let’s address death in a palatable and understandable way so they have some understanding that they will see their loved one again. I do think I saw that with my son. He is hopeful that one day he will get to see Grandma P and meet his paternal grandfather in Heaven. This book is timely for the very young who are trying to adjust, understand, and adapt to losing somebody significant like a mom, a dad, a grandmother, or a grandfather.

What’s your typical approach to navigating age-appropriate conversations with your son?

My son is going to be eight next month. In the wake of the George Floyd protests, when these conversations about race were coming up, an educator put it best when saying, “If a child is old enough to ask the question, they’re old enough to hear the answer.” That resonated with me. Whatever questions my son asks, I always give him an honest answer. I let him drive the conversation. I give him as honest of an answer as I can give without being an albatross around his neck. 

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So when we talk about race in the wake of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, I try to give him some reality with maybe sugarcoating it a little bit. He was six years old at the time, but asking, “Why did the police kill that Black man?” There are equally hard questions often about death and understanding why things happen and why people get sick and die. These are hard questions that all parents get. It’s our job to equip our kids and give them that honest dialogue and conversation to be up-front and answer whatever question they have.

What was your writing process like for this book? Did it differ from the other children’s books you’ve written?

When I get home at night is when I would often write. Sometimes on the weekends when my son had fallen asleep, I’d be on my phone and I would write out in an email to myself the thoughts that I have for a story. All my stories rhyme, just like a long poem. From the first book right through this one, they’re like love notes to my son. I’m thinking about the things that make him giggle, the kinds of toys he likes, what he’s experimenting with, and what he’s learning in school, and I incorporate it. It’s a sweet spot for me that I have my muse right here in the house every day, so I can relate to children in the way that I’m seeing my son develop and grow.

What’s the biggest takeaway you hope parents and children get from the book?

I hope that the book is a way to inspire conversation about Heaven. I hope children begin to understand that you’ll see your loved one again and that it’s not just over. I went from seeing this person every single day, and now I’m all of a sudden not seeing them anymore. I think this book will give them some hope.

I need to have conversations with my son about God, spirituality, and Heaven. Parents are often at a loss because when you open up the regular Bible, there can be a disconnect sometimes with the very young. So I think that ways we can get our kids into the Word are with the fun illustrations and depictions and understandings of who God is and what Heaven is. I think that is a blessing for us all to do that as early as possible.

How High Is Heaven is hitting shelves and online retailers on February 15, 2022.

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