- Meet the Author - Nika Boyd
- New Book Releases
- Journey to Fullness
- Ancient Faith Publishing Products
- Special Offers
- Author-signed Books
- Orthodox Study Bible
- General Books
- Intro to Orthodoxy
- Orthodox Spirituality
- Orthodox Faith, Theology, & History
- Worship and Sacraments
- Biblical Studies
- Journeys to Orthodoxy
- Lives of Saints
- Missions and Evangelism
- Marriage and Family
- Contemporary Issues
- Orthodox Life
- Books by AFR Podcasters
- Books from Other Publishers
- Young Adult Books
- Children's Books and Gifts
- Audio Books
- Booklets & Brochures
- Orthodox Crosses
- Medallions and Pendants
- Bracelets and Other Jewelry
- Greeting Cards
- Festival Resources
- Lent & Pascha Store
- Pascha Cards
- Lenten Reading
- Books on Prayer
- Other books featured in the Lent / Pascha catalog
- Children's Books & Gifts / Lent & Pascha
- Pascha Egg Pendants
- Icons & Wall Crosses
- Liturgical Supplies
- Jewelry featured in our Pascha catalog
- Lenten and Pascha music
- Other Music Featured in the Pascha Catalog
- Other Pascha Gifts
- Coming Soon
- New Arrivals
Meet the Author - Nika Boyd
Nika Mary Boyd is an Orthodox Christian, wife, mother, engineer, and author of H is for Holy: An Orthodox Christian Alphabet (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2015). She resides in Cincinnati, OH with her husband, John, and their two children, Johnny and Natasha, and they attend Christ the Savior / Holy Spirit Orthodox Church. Nika's author website is www.nikamaryboyd.wordpress.com.
1. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?
The best piece of writing advice I was ever given is to know your audience and keep this audience in mind when writing. This is part of why I love writing for children so much – they are an audience that I love to connect with – they are already full of natural curiosity, inquisitiveness, and wonder!
2. Where did the idea for your book, H is for Holy, come from?
Years ago, when I was still in high school, I came down with a bad cold and was stuck at home in bed. To pass the time, I gathered a giant stack of CDs and popped them one by one into my Walkman (Yes, I’m dating myself here! No iPhones or iPods back in those days!). With a dad who’s a deacon, there was quite an assortment of church music mixed into the CD stack. As I lay there listening to a recording of the Divine Liturgy, I wondered if I could come up with a church-related word for every letter of the alphabet. Turns out, I could! I jotted this list down in a notebook and had the thought, “This would make for a great children’s book.” And that’s how the idea was born! Moral of the story: sometimes there are hidden benefits to those crummy days where you’re stuck sick in bed! The idea stuck with me, but it was a few years before I revisited the idea, completed the first draft of the text, and sketched ideas for accompanying illustrations. One of my favorite children’s books is Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever. I have always loved the interactive questions included in that book, and I drew inspiration from that writing style as I came up with the text for H is for Holy.
3. If you could create an Orthodox Children’s Library, what are three books that haven’t been written that you’d like to see on the shelves?
There are so many great Orthodox books for kids out there and several existing ones that I’m already targeting to add to our own family library, but in terms of books that haven’t been written yet, there are a few ideas that I have…
I’d love to see an Orthodox Christian hymnal for children with music and illustrations (and bonus if it came with a CD). I remember having a small book of church songs for kids when I was younger called Orthodox Hymns for Children – Volume 1 compiled and edited by Vladmir Morosan, but I haven’t seen this book available recently, and I’m not sure if it’s still being printed or not. Part of the inspiration behind this idea is that I have a two-year-old son, and he is currently obsessed with Sandra Boynton’s Rhinoceros Tap. Even on our shortest car trips, he asks to hear the CD and enjoys looking at the illustrations in the accompanying book. So I’m envisioning something in a very similar format but with Orthodox church songs and associated icons / images from services. What a great way to teach our little ones church music! (Because, let’s be honest, parents, we are always in the car, right?)
Another book I’d love to see written is a children’s book explaining the Paschal cycle. There could be a few pages for each Sunday of the Triodion and also Holy Week, explaining the Gospel lesson and what we’re doing in the life of the church with accompanying illustrations.
A third Orthodox children’s book that would be great to see is a children’s service book for Vespers. For my own kids, I own a copy of The Divine Liturgy for Children – An Interactive Guide for Participation in the Divine Liturgy, and it would be wonderful to have a book somewhat similar for Vespers. I love Vespers for little ones because of the beautiful hymnography, motion (lots of censing around the church!), and duration of the service.
4. We understand one of your favorite verses is 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” What makes that verse special to you?
There are SO many reasons this verse really speaks to me; I’ll try to summarize it succinctly!
One of the main reasons I love the verse is that it affirms that the youngest members among us are highly valued. And that’s something I absolutely love about our Orthodox Faith – there are no requirements on age, size, intellect, mental capacity, etc. that must be met in order to be a full member of the church. Even the tiniest wee one is a full member of Christ’s body!
Another reason I love this verse is because I’m continually “young” at new seasons of life and new things I’m trying, and it gives me a “no excuses, kick-in-the-pants,” that I so often need to hear! The parish I grew up in was established as a mission parish right about the same time I was born. And it was very modest – we’re talking metal folding chairs and a couple of donated icons. But the people who helped that parish grow gave me a great example to follow – they were never worried about our parish being “too young” or “too small,” and they kept priority on the second part of the verse in doing God’s work. (Shout out to Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Livonia, Michigan!) So I try to keep this in mind and apply it personally. For example, maybe I just started a new role at work, or maybe I’m getting involved with a new parish ministry…this verse to me says, “So what if you’re new at something or young or small? No excuses! You are still able to do God’s work!” Along those lines, I LOVE that we just heard this verse the same Sunday as Zacchaeus in the Gospel. It further reemphasizes the message to me – even if you’re small, climb up in that sycamore tree!
5. What are you working on now?
I suppose I should start working on the three ideas that I listed in response to Question #3! (That’s usually how I start working on a piece of writing; I keep thinking, “Someone should really write this!....oh…maybe I’m that someone!”) But I’m also currently working on a new blog with a series of posts that I’m really excited about. I will be titling the blog series “Never Alone,” and each blog post is going to feature a different saint. I’m going to be targeting these posts at Orthodox Christian adolescents, and my intention is to help them relate to the Church's saints, understanding that "since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses," we are never alone. Coming soon to nikamaryboyd.wordpress.com!