Illustrating Hymns for Young Hearts
My love of hymns began at a very young age. Both my parents have a great love for hymns and had a large impact on my desire for singing songs of praise that are packed with deep biblical truths. Growing up, I also had the opportunity to attend a classical Christian school for a number of years. As part of our education, we had a chapel service every Friday during which we had one hymn that we sang each week for a month. One year we had several guest speakers teach us about various hymn writers. I still vividly remember my mom dressing up as Fanny Crosby and teaching us about the godly, prolific hymn writer who was blind. Throughout my life, I have found comfort and joy in hymns. During times of discouragement, gladness, mourning and celebration, hymns have reminded me of who God is, what He has done and is doing, and who I am in Christ.
In 2019, Ashley Belknap, executive director of Engaging Disability with the Gospel, came to our church to help us learn how to better minister to families who have children with special needs. During her time with our church, Ashley heard that I had a degree in graphic communications. In January 2020, she approached me with an idea for a project that had been on her heart for many years: publishing illustrated hymns for children. Ashley gave me an overview of what she was looking for, and I showed her a few of my designs. We ended our time committing to think and pray about whether we could collaborate on creating illustrated hymns. Within a few weeks of our meeting, COVID-19 hit hard, and much of the country shut down, limiting travel and preventing any follow-up meetings for a time.
A year later, my husband and I were trying to teach our toddler the Doxology. I kept thinking about a little girl I once had taught who joyfully sang, “praise Him above, ye heavenly toast!” While I thought her mistake was humorous and adorable, it also led me to always try to teach my class about the Doxology and what phrases like, “heavenly host” and “creatures here below” actually meant. I decided in order to help our daughter both memorize the words and be able to grasp their meaning better, I would draw her pictures to go with each main phrase. This soon snowballed into searching for a way to have my illustrations printed as a board book for her to use. During my search for ways to print a board book, I remembered Ashley’s hymn project. I reached out to her to see if Engaging Disability’s publishing arm, Simply the Gospel Media, would be interested in printing the Doxology as a board book. She enthusiastically agreed.
Because we are both teachers at heart, we decided to include a “Song to Scripture” and “About the Author” page in each of our hymn books. We want parents and children to see that these hymns are rich with biblical truths. We also want to give credit to the wonderful hymn writers who have provided these beautiful songs we still sing today. While the Doxology started as a labor of love for my daughter, I am thrilled to be working with Ashley and the amazing team at Simply the Gospel to provide more illustrated hymns for children. My prayer is that families and churches will be able to use these books to help our children understand the hymns we sing and that the Holy Spirit will work in their hearts as they “lift up [their] voice and with us sing” praise to our God and King.
LC Sinclair is a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in graphic communications. She is a stay at home mom with a passion for teaching young children about God. She recently received the opportunity to combine her knowledge of graphic communications and love of children’s ministry when she began working with Simply the Gospel to produce an illustrated hymn series for children. When she is not working on the computer or caring for her very active preschooler, she enjoys reading, baking and time outside with her husband.
You can purchase LC’s books at Simply the Gospel.