T.J. likes to daydream. A lot. He gets into trouble for drifting off into his thoughts in the middle of class and frustrates his family with his inability to stay in the moment. For T.J. daydreaming is a coping mechanism. It is how he controls his angry outbursts and feelings of inadequacy, which seem to happen a lot if he spends too much time in the real world.
Author Tim Kostilnik can relate to the main character of his Christian children’s books in The God’sCool Reading Series. The first book, titled “I’m So Angry,” introduces readers to T.J. as a child battling a lot of different feelings he has no idea how to handle. T.J. learns God’s way of dealing with his feelings from his wise Grandpa Sol.
Not only did Tim daydream a lot as a child, but he has also struggled with the urge to give in to angry outbursts. “Anger is something I’ve dealt with my entire life, so it was kind of cathartic for me to write this character who is struggling with his anger,” said Kostilnik. “There is a difference between Godly anger and selfish anger. No one told me that when I was a kid. I want to break the cycle by giving kids a story they can relate to with a character who learns this valuable lesson.”
“I Hate Myself” is the second book in the God’sCool series. T.J. and his friends all have things that they hate about themselves but never share with anyone. The story describes how they learn to love and accept themselves and see themselves the way that God sees them. The series is geared toward readers in the 9 to 11 age range and includes helpful discussion questions and additional resources for parents.
“I wanted families to be able to tackle these problems in a Godly way,” said Kostilnik. “I’m a firm believer that the Bible and God’s word is the way to handle any positive or negative experience. I hope to end the cycle of toxic family traditions concerning child-rearing by providing parents with an alternative resource.”
Kostilnik pulls double-duty as the book’s author and illustrator, leaning on his graphic design skills to help bring his stories to life.
A total of 12 books are planned for the series, each featuring the same characters introduced in books one and two, with new friends joining in along the way. “I plan to include diverse characters in my books so more children and families can relate to them.” Every book in the series focuses on a specific lesson. The third book, which Kostilnik currently is writing, explores how to handle death from a Godly perspective. He is still fleshing out the details of the story but plans to introduce a soldier as one of the main characters. The goal is to have the third installment in the series available in early 2021.
“I Hate Myself” and “I’m So Angry” are available on Amazon.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for over 20 years.