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New book to offer children an illuminating look at the lives of saints
Corey Heimann and Tricia Dugat’s goal was to raise $12,000 to publish an interactive children’s book about the saints.
It took only eight hours for them to exceed that amount after posting their “Light of the Saints” project last month on Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding platform.
“I knew that I wanted this book to exist, and I hoped I was right that other people wanted it to exist, so it’s been very affirming to see that people want this book in their house,” said Heimann, the creative director of Likable Art.
Heimann, 33, told Our Sunday Visitor about the idea he had for an interactive Catholic children’s book. In “Light of the Saints,” shining a flashlight on the back of a page illuminates a certain aspect in a saint’s life, such as the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St. Juan Diego’s tilma or Christ’s face on St. Veronica’s veil.
“I have four boys, and seeing them just love interactive books, that’s what they were always bringing to me at night,” said Heimann, who previously produced “Created: Bridging the Gap between Your Art and Your Creator,” a coffee table book showcasing Catholic artists.
“I’ve been thinking about this since then, so finally the pandemic gave me a little bit of time to work on some passion projects, and this is what came out of it,” he said.
Earlier this year, Heimann reached out to Dugat, the founder of Providential Co., a design studio that produces Catholic items. Heimann sought out Dugat’s skills as an illustrator; a providential move as Dugat had been wanting to illustrate children’s books.
“I had been praying about this for a long time,” said Dugat, 42, who lives in the Houston area with her husband and children. She told Our Sunday Visitor that self-publishing a children’s book had seemed like something out of reach for her.
“So when (Heimann) reached out to me, I thought, ‘wow this is really providential and interesting,’ and once we connected about it over the phone, I was like, ‘oh yes, definitely, this is a perfect opportunity.’ I was super-excited,” Dugat said.
“When Corey approached me with this project, he was very keen on making something that kids would be excited to pull off the shelf at bedtime, not your typical run-of-the-mill, just listing saints and some features of their lives, but really getting the kids engaged individually, which for that age group is so key, just keeping their attention,” Dugat added.
Following weeks of conversations, Dugat began designing prototypes of illustrations. They started with St. Juan Diego. When Heimann received the first copies in the mail, he knew right away the book would work.
“It just got me really excited every time she sent art,” he said. “Every time I get a message from Tricia, I get really excited to see the new art she comes up with.”
Designing art that can only be seen with a flashlight is a tricky technique “because you have to really think about the book in a completely different way,” said Dugat, who added that the book will feature a diverse group of 12 saints, including Pope St. John Paul II, St. Padre Pio and St. Martin de Porres.
“We tried to be very intentional in incorporating saints from all over the world,” she said. “So we have a diverse group that may not get as much love or aren’t as popular but definitely have very fascinating stories to share with kids and really just showing them how God’s light shone in their lives and the miracles that happened to them.”
As of June 9, the “Light of the Saints” project had raised just under $40,000 on Kickstarter, with eight days still remaining in the campaign. The extra money will enable Heimann and Dugat to print more copies of the book — and get them into bookstores by September — and include extra-value items for people who supported the project, such as holographic stickers, 5×7 prints and a small flashlight.
Heimann and Dugat envision “Light of the Saints” as the first in a series of interactive children’s Catholics books where the mysteries of the sacraments, the Mass and the lives of other saints, venerables and blesseds will also be illuminated with the help of a flashlight.
“We hope to keep the momentum going,” Dugat said.
Brian Fraga is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor.