Book Review & Interview with Author
The Holly King and The Oak King
A Pagan Children’s Tale
by J.C. Artemisia
I was lucky to be sent a copy of “The Holly King and The Oak King- A Pagan Children’s Tale” by J.C. Artemisia to review. This is a children’s Pagan book, 43 pages long, and illustrated by Sarah A. Chase. I was so excited to read a Pagans children’s book, as its the first one I’ve had the pleasure of reading! I was also able to ask the Author some questions about her book!
This is a beautiful book that tells the tale of the Holly King and the Oak King- the story of the Solstices. This book is written in a way that kids can relate to the two God’s, and follow along with them on their journeys from being part of the stars, to coming to earth to help the humans, to battling with each other to determine what would best help us here on earth.
It’s beautifully illustrated and the pictures really help to make you feel as if you are there with them on this mission.
In the back of the book are two beautiful poems and two activity pages for the children to do. It has thought provoking questions for them to answer to help them integrate the lessons they learned from this story. I love that this is included.
As a fellow Pagan, I really appreciate this book, as Pagan Children’s stories are not the norm. This book, as well as J.C.’s other Pagan Children’s stories really fill a void. This is a book I hope my friends in the Pagan community will share with their littles. It is also enjoyable for adults! I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this tale. Thank you J.C. for writing this gem!
I had the opportunity to ask J.C. a few questions, here are her responses:
Retha- what inspired you to write this book?
J.C.- Part of me always knew I would one day write the tale of Holly and Oak. I was raised in the Pagan community with family, extended family and friends on various Pagan paths. In my youth, I was aware of the missing resources for Pagan kids. Now, raising my own spiritual kiddos, I aim to fill that void. While books about Santa Claus are plenty, a fully developed narrative for the solstice God’s still didn’t exist. Last Yule, during a family ritual, my middle child prayed farewell to the Holly King, thanking him for blessings of lovely dreams. I really loved this insight into the calming, pensive Holly Kings spirit; it was pure and connected. I ended that ritual promising myself, my kids, and the universe that I would finish my story development and deliver the tale before the next winter solstice.
Retha- Have you written other children’s books? Other Pagan children’s books?
J.C.- Yes! I am always writing. I have poetry and other (non-spiritual) children’s books in the works, but I only use my Pagan name for my Pagans kids books. “The Holly King and the Oak King” is my 5th Pagans childrens book. In order of publication, “A Pagan Book of Holidays” is a collection of poems for the Sabbats; “Oliver and the Fledgling” is a story that helps young, pagan empaths understand and center energies; “Look to the Moon” is a rhyming, moon-blessing; and “Magickal” is an elemental reflection, crossing traditional nursery rhyme with repetition to build energies.
Retha- What is your favorite thing about this story?
J.C.- My favorite thing about my Holly and Oak story is the tangibility it brings to the two God’s. I have always known the story in its various tellings- two God’s battling for favor of the Earth Goddess or for reign over the sun path. But kids connect more when narratives have movement and connective tissue. I wanted my kids (and other spiritual families) to experience the life of these God’s and to witness their passions and to feel their triumph and defeat.
Retha- What is one thing you hope your readers will learn from this story?
J.C.- A key message in this story is balance. As we shift from light to dark and dark to light, I hope my young readers can learn to bend and flourish. So many people grow to fear change, and I hope today’s youth can learn to both understand and embrace it.
Retha- Are you planning on writing more Pagans children’s books?
J.C.- Absolutely! I do not currently foresee an end to this work; and I love the reflection it brings to my personal and family practice. I have met so many wonderful spiritual folks and families on this journey and i can’t wait to see what comes next.
Retha- What is one thing you would like to share that I haven’t asked you?
J.C.- In addition to sharing stories and resources for Pagan kids, engaging kids in reflective activity is very important to me. As a professional educator and mother to three young kids, I appreciate contextualization to facilitate message effectiveness. There is a lot of storytelling in our spirituality, but Paganism is also a PRACTICE, and in support of this, I always include meditations or activity sections at the end of my books where kids can apply comprehension and/or align messages with their unique family path.
Retha- How can my readers find more? What are your social media links?
I want to thank J.C. for taking the time to answer all my questions and for allowing me to review her lovely book. I highly recommend this beautiful book! I hope you will check out this book and her other books as well!
About the Author:
Retha N. Lent has been married for 19 yrs to her husband Mark and they have 4 cats that are their best friends. She lives in Eagleville, Pa. Retha has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Behavioral Counseling Sciences from Drexel University. She is the owner of “Retha’s Crystals” and sells sterling silver unique crystal jewelry and specimens in her FB business group “Retha’s Crystal Circle“. She posts pieces for sale as well as posts information on all things magick and crystal related. She is also an adviser in the sage goddess affiliate program since it began. She has her Holistic Healing certificates and Pillars of Priestessing certificates from Sage Goddess. She is also an ordained Pagan Minister from Universal Life Church. Retha has a passion for crystals, tarot, astrology, working with the moon phases, runes, essential oils, herbs, ancient cultures and practices, numerology, nature, manifestation work, magick and music. Her favorite place is new Orleans, La and she travels there multiple times a year. Retha has an extensive personal crystal collection and loves sharing her knowledge of and love for crystals with the world. She has been a practicing Pagan since she was 16 yrs old.
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