Through a Child's Eyes
Last year, Wycliffe Germany developed a new corporate design. This got us thinking about new ways to get people fascinated about Wycliffe.
We wondered whether addressing children would be a good approach. What we have heard in our childhood remains in our minds. What children find fascinating is often attractive to parents as well. I know a lot of stories by heart because my children made me read them innumerable times. Some still make me smile; others I would rather forget, but they are etched in my brain. Recognizing the impact of these stories on our own lives, the idea was born to create a children’s story about the work of Wycliffe.
We decided to design a give-away that people will not just throw away. In Germany, small square-shaped picture books for children are popular. Many families collect them, and there are cases and boxes to keep them. Why not build on the popularity of that format?
What we now needed was a story to describe the work of Wycliffe from a children’s perspective.
Jonas and Annie live in Germany, where they attend the third class of a primary school. They are ordinary children and easy to identify with. The girl is playful, and the boy is a bit nerdy. One day, they learn that children in other parts of the world cannot go to school.
They decide to help these children learn to read and write. What do people need to learn to read? The letters of the alphabet. So Jonas and Annie start a team which they call “Team Alphabet-Rain”. They decide to fly into space and let the letters of the alphabet rain down on the earth. They assume that the people who find these letters will then be able to learn to read and write. But soon they discover that their plan will not work. After all, the letters will go up in flames when they enter the atmosphere! They have almost forgotten about the idea when they meet Jana and Jens. Their parents work with Wycliffe in Thailand and are currently on home leave. So, for a few months, Jana and Jens attend the same school as Jonas and Annie.
As the children become friends, Annie and Jonas discover that the people working with Wycliffe are a “Team Alphabet-Rain”, but in a very different sense. They also understand that it takes more than just letters to learn to read and that they, too, can make a contribution.
Design, Illustration and Presentation
The design and illustration of the story were made by Agnes Hitzl from Austria. As suitable for a children’s book, the world is drawn as children would imagine it. In addition to the main story, Agnes developed a presentation for computers and projectors, e.g. for a Sunday school context. On our website we also added pictures that children can color for themselves.
Challenges and Benefits
We are aware that a fictitious, illustrated story will only give a simplified representation of scientific facts. We are also aware that presenting other cultures as needing help can be problematic. However, we believe this is a valid approach for a children’s book. Despite the limitations that come with such an approach, we hope to bless children and families through the booklet. We hope many will keep Wycliffe as “Team Alphabet-Rain” in good memory. Some may even visit our website, start supporting us or will become part of “Team Alphabet-Rain” as well.
The booklet is given away for free, but we suggest a voluntary donation of 1 € per copy.
By Ramona Eibach, Press Officer, Wycliffe Germany
Further information and material:
Alliance organisations may download and use the images from this article.
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