Children’s Author Inspired by Daughter’s Prayers
Author Interview with Beth Ann Mammola-Koravos, Good Night God, Love Olivia
By Lisa M. Hendey
Some stories originate from family lore, passed down through generations. Others are passed up, from our children. Good Night God, Love Olivia (Lifevest Publishing, May 2006, paperback, 25 pages) is such a story. Author Beth Ann Mammola-Koravos walked in to her daughter’s room one night to find young Olivia in conversation with God. What followed was the inspiration for Mammola-Koravos’ first children’s book Good Night God, Love Olivia. The book is a sweet conversation between a mother, a daughter and the God who loves each of us so greatly. In Olivia’s gentle “goodnight” to God, we are all reminded to take time each day to thank and praise God for the many blessings in our lives. As Olivia’s mother reminds her that God is always ready to converse with her, we too are encouraged to take quiet moments of prayer and reflection along life’s journey. Bold, vibrant illustrations by gifted colorist Helena Bebirian bring Olivia’s words to life, as we relive a day spent in the splendor of God’s creation. Many families pause together each evening for quiet time, reading and prayers. Good Night God, Love Olivia would be the perfect accompaniment for the bedtime ritual of young children.
I took time recently to catch up with author Beth Mammola-Koravos and am pleased to share her thoughts on the writing of Good Night God, Love Olivia and her message for young readers.
Q: Beth Ann, thank you for your participation in this Book Spotlight interview. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
A: My name is Beth Ann Mammola-Koravos, I am the youngest of five girls. I was born and raised in New Hampshire. My mother raised us on her own after the death of my father. I currently live in Massachusetts with my husband Charlie and my three daughters, Allison, Alexandria, and Olivia.
Q: Congratulations on the publication of your first book, Good Night God, Love Olivia. Would you please share with our readers that story that prompted you to write this book?
A: One evening after tucking my girls into bed, I returned to Olivia's room to check on her. Much to my surprise I found her kneeling on her bed with her upper body underneath her window shade. When I asked her what she was doing she replied "Saying good night to God!" It was such a special moment that Olivia and I sat on her bed and had a lengthy discussion. I discovered that this was not the first good night she and God had shared.
When I mentioned it to Father Bob at her school the next day he encouraged me to write a book. I am still not sure he can believe that I followed his advice.
Q: How does your faith impact upon your writing?
A: Since this was a "Gift" that I have discovered from within, it is a little shocking! The faith based stories seem to flow from me. I have tried to write a few other stories that are not faith based, it has not worked out. I believe that this is the venue that I am meant to write.
I have always attended church. I have always with my husband had a strong faith. I also for the past five years have taught sixth grade Sunday school.
Q: Would you please say a few words about your partnership with illustrator Helena Bebirian? How does it feel to see your stories come to life through Helena's artwork?
A: Helena and I are an amazing team. I could not ask for a more involved partner. She takes my words and brings them to life! She is called a colorist, and her work is just amazing. Together we have been visiting schools all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The children love the presentations. It is not often you get an illustrator and an author together. You can see more of her work on our website: www.starsndreams.com.
Q: What is the primary message you are trying to communicate through this book? What would you hope that children and their parents take away from the experience of sharing Olivia's story together?
A: "Good Night God, Love Olivia" was written in easy, gentle language. Even our youngest children can, from a very young age understand that God is all around us. He is our creator and we need to give Him thanks. It would be a great world if all churches were filled on Sunday morning, and people actually lived their faith throughout the rest of the week!
But the main thing I want to leave these children and adults with is hope. And, the realization that even if they are not making it to church, they can still be thankful and have a relationship with God. God is happy to hear from them any time that they think of Him, it only takes a moment to do the sign of the Cross.
Q: I know that you have another book coming out entitled "Lilly, the Littlest Cricket." which is based upon your own family experiences. Could you please share a few comments on this new book and its spiritual message?
A: "Lilly, the Littlest Cricket", is a another faith based story. But this time it is about having faith in yourself to never give up. Lilly, tries many, many different things that all of our children try in order to find their own special "Gifts."
I also make sure that when Lilly has a problem she goes to her parents and her nana for help. Our children are not doing this like generations past. People and their families are spread all over the country, we need to reestablish that generation gap. Our grandparents are a valuable resource for our children.
Lilly is also taught by her father that she should listen to her inner feelings. Our children need to learn that from a very, very young age. Your inner voice is God's way of reaching out to you. It is when "Lilly" listens to her inner voice that she finds her "Gift."
Q: What inspires you to write children's literature and what is your greatest hope for your work?
A: My inspiration comes from being the mom of three beautiful girls. There are many lessons to be learned throughout their childhood.
All children are born with clean slates. We as adults have to help these children write on them. Good, bad or ugly, this is our responsibility! Being involved in your church community helps set them on the right path.
Our greatest hope is that in our travels with the books, Helena and I make a difference. If we make a difference to just a handful of children, we have done our job. Our goal is to spread a sweet, spiritual message.
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you'd like to share with our readers?
A: Yes, that would be to listen to your children. If I had not listened to Olivia that evening, the moment would have been lost forever. We can learn a lot from our children, but we have to be willing to slow down and listen to them.
For more information on Good Night God, Love Olivia visit
Lisa M. Hendey is a mother of two sons, webmaster of numerous web sites, including http://www.catholicmom.com and http://www.christiancoloring.com, and an avid reader of Catholic literature. Visit her at http://www.lisahendey.com for more information.