Newsroom

Slugs & Bugs Author Q&A

Andy Whisenant | May 22nd

Tell us the story behind the Slugs & Bugs brand and its ministry impact on kids and their families.

Slugs & Bugs began out of silly songs and lullabies I had written for my kids. As they got older, I started putting Bible verses to music to help them remember, and our “Sing the Bible” series was born.

The goal with Slugs and Bugs has always been to help shape the character of the home through creative works. Silly songs play an important role as they help us laugh and have fun in a gospel-centered context. Of course, Bible verse songs deserve the most wonderfully creative music of all, as memorizing Scripture is immeasurably valuable. When all of these songs are shared and celebrated as a family, they  can dramatically impact the character of the home.

What prompted you to start writing children’s books after the success of your children’s albums?

I am passionate about the gospel and how it influences our daily life and choices, specifically how the fruit of the Spirit is born out of our moment-to-moment submission to Jesus.  I think even very young kids can glean a lot from books that are steeped in those deep concepts, especially if the stories are funny and honest.

The first books to release this May are “Are We Still Friends?” and “Who Will Play with Me?”How did you come up with the stories for these books?

Like so many other things, my children were the inspiration behind these two stories. “Who Will Play with Me?” was inspired by our son Ben because he is always looking for a playmate. As he has grasped the gospel and God’s love for him, I’ve watched him grow past thinking of himself first all the time.

We’ve watched all three of our kids grow and learn about thinking of others through playing with friends, especially when feelings get hurt. All of them have hurt friends and been hurt by friends. “Are We Still Friends?” gives an honest look at how gospel-soaked lives can respond when friendship is tested.

What lessons do you hope children learn from each?

I hope kids see themselves in these books. In “Who Will Play with Me?,” I hope they see the challenge of thinking of others first, as well as the joy that can bring. I hope it provides another context to draw on when they encounter, “value others above yourselves,” “he must increase and I must decrease,” and “seek first the kingdom.”  

I hope “Are We Still Friends?” helps them build a foundation for thinking like Jesus, and shows them a healthy way forward when in conflict with friends—whether they are the victim or the culprit.

What was the book writing process like compared to writing and producing a children’s album?

It was very difficult! Especially at first, I felt like book writing was stumbling around in the dark. It took me out of my musical comfort zone, though I found my footing better once I started rhyming. I’m eternally grateful for my friends that encouraged me along the way, and especially for Jennifer Trafton, a brilliant children’s book author who helped me find the heart of the story I was telling.

What’s next for Slugs & Bugs?

It’s a very exciting year! This fall we are releasing a new Silly Songs CD called “Modern Kid, A Slugs & Bugs Collection, two more Slugs & Bugs books, and a Slugs & Bugs TV program featuring songs and characters from all of the stories. Your readers can find out more or keep tabs on us at slugsandbugs.com.