Author says her books are a calling from God

Author Jan Peine with Kate and Lily Chambers, characters in her book “Child of my Heart.” (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Author Jan Muir Peine says each book she writes is an answer to God’s call. She smilingly calls him the ‘Dot-to-Dot’ God and expresses her amazement and ongoing witness to how God leads each of us from birth.

“He lets us know that He is the One connecting the dots that make up the events of our life. All we have to do is live our path of joy; it’s called obedience,” she said.

Of her three children’s books, “Giving Me Away,” published in 2007 evolved after the birth of her grandson, Holden. It is based on Isaiah 11:6 that says “and a little child shall lead them.” It is an inspirational rhyme suggesting to children how they may become helpers to others in simple ways in their daily lives. It is illustrated with artwork by Kendra Peine, her daughter and Holden’s mother.

Each of Peine’s books has a special dedication. “How Far is Heaven,” published in 2008, is a rhyming children’s story that seeks to help children understand the death of someone dear to them. It came to be dedicated to brother and sister, Brad and Brook Franklin, who both lost their lives in car accidents within 18 months of one another. Their parents, Jack and Darlene Franklin, shared pieces of their children’s clothing and special items that were interwoven into the illustrations by Doris Gabel.

After the birth of Holden, health issues with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) connected the family to Dr. Jennifer Nobles, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital. As their friendship developed, another dot was connected when they introduced Dr. Jennifer to their neighbor, Phil Chambers, who became a couple and then married.

As the Chambers made the decision to adopt internationally, Peine closely followed the story of her friends — the anticipation and culmination of the adoption process. Twin girls, Kate and Lily, were brought home from China in 2006, extending the dot matrix. The twins became the characters for “Child of My Heart” (celebrating adoption) newly published this year.

“Child of My Heart” is dedicated to Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter, Maria Sue, also an adopted child of Asian origin, who was killed in an auto accident in 2008.

“Child of My Heart” is the first of Peine’s books to use computerized artwork, and Kate and Lily were involved along the way in seeing themselves come to life as storybook characters. In 2009, the Chambers family purchased a home in Helena, where yet another dot seems to have spun off and become connected, as the only other set of adopted Asian twins in Alabama has moved in just across the street.    

Peine’s books may be purchased locally at La Reunion, 4085 Helena Road in Old Town Helena and Paperdolls on U.S. 280.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e-mail at