Sally Metzger

Why I Started Writing:

I can’t remember starting to write—or eat or sleep. Writing seemed as natural and inevitable as breathing. I still have journals, stories, and poetry I wrote in grade school. Early on, I adopted the aphorism, “How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” Writing was always a way for me to discern who I was. Because one of my high school English teachers gave me “extra credit” for each poem I wrote, I probably could have failed every test and still passed.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

When I was little, my older sister’s readings of Twas the Night before Christmas enchanted me. Each year, the moment she’d say, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night,” I’d plead, “Read it again!” Often, she would—she’s a writer too. After reading my rough draft of The Night of Mysterious Blessings, I realized Clement C. Moore’s work had shaped the rhythm, rhyme, and even a few of the word choices of my story. Maybe my sweet memories of my sister’s readings are the reason I never minded a single editing session of my manuscript. My inner child chimed in, Read it again! Elk Lake will publish The Night of Mysterious Blessings in the spring of 2022. The work of Margaret Wise Brown, Shel Silverstein, and Robert Munsch have also impacted my books for children.

I’m philosophical by nature, and as an adolescent, I loved reading Emerson and Thoreau. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, the work of John Milton, and the poetry of Gerald Manley Hopkins have also inspired me. Such authors influenced not only my writing but my life. If writing helps me discover who I am, reading helps me improve the inner landscape.  

Books I Have Written:

Night of Mysterious Blessings was a delight to write. The classic twist at the end of the story, which charms children, came to me as I was writing. And I've been told the book is the perfect bedtime story, helping little ones drift off to sleep feeling safe and secure in the presence of God. Many stories comfort children by speaking of God as forever by their side. Night of Mysterious Blessings helps children realize God is also very much alive within them. For children to establish such intimacy with God while their hearts are open to receiving the mystery is a lifelong gift.

In my picture book, Jesus, Were You Little? children from diverse backgrounds ask Jesus questions: "Did you ever … run too fast and skin your knee? Find and climb the perfect tree?" I want readers to encounter Jesus as a real little boy who delighted in the joys and weathered the slings and arrows of being a child. I hope children and the adults who read to them will identify with Jesus and grow to love him more and more.

Jesus, Were You Little? won the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association Golden Scroll Award 2023 Children's Book of the Year and the Christian Market Book Award 2023 Children's Fiction Book of the Year. When an astute child got stuck on the word "fiction," I explained that the book was historical fiction. We don't know for sure that Jesus climbed a tree, but the sycamore trees, with their low branches, were terribly tempting should a child want to have a higher view of the land.

What I'm Working On Now:

I'm writing a collection of inspirational adult gift books celebrating life's "miracle moments"—moments of wonder from starry nights to butterfly kisses. Alike in theme and format, the books differ in their intended audiences—parents, grandparents, children, nature fans, and teachers. Through contemplating the books' colorful pages, readers will relive sacred experiences in their lives, see their connectedness with others worldwide who share their station, and feel the hope, peace, and sense of Divine presence that miracle moments bring. Each book in the collection rejoices in the love of God for people of all races, cultures, and economic levels.

I'm also working on another children's book, Scruffy, the Grumpy Day Hero. The book is full of humor, and Scruffy inspires children to be kind.

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