Chrissy Metz, who starred on NBC’s series This is Us as Kate Pearson, has multiple creative wellsprings to draw from, with backgrounds in acting, music, and five years as a preschool teacher. Pairing her talents with a deep Christian faith and prayer life, Metz and her partner, songwriter Bradley Collins, have collaborated on their first children’s book, When I Talk to God, I Talk About You (Flamingo Books, Feb. 14), which features a parent praying for their child.

Because of Metz’s background as a singer and Collins’s work in the music industry in their home city of Nashville, they also created an accompanying album of 10 original songs, Pray for This Day: Songs Inspired by ‘When I Talk to God, I Talk About You’ (Feb. 10). The pair discuss how faith has shaped both their work and their lives.

What inspired you to write When I Talk to God, I Talk About You?

Metz: The inspiration was to provide a relatable, simplified version of what has helped us in our life, which is having a relationship with God and being able to pray to and with Him. We wrote it for any reader who was curious about how to talk or pray to God or to their higher power. It can be very overwhelming, this very big concept of, "Who is God? How do I talk to Him?"

Chrissy, what role has your professional background played in the formation of the book, particularly your experience as a preschool teacher?

Metz: I felt like I understand [kids] in a different way than people who haven't taught preschoolers. Kids are such visual learners, so the illustrations were so important. Lisa Fields, our illustrator, really nailed the tenderness, but also the emotion behind every single animal. My faith and my work are absolutely connected. In TV, film, acting and music, it is all the same thing—I always pray and then I just surrender, trust, and believe that God has a plan and a path for me.

How does the book reflect your faith life and understanding of prayer?

Metz: As a kid I always thought, "Goodness, how can I talk to God? What if He doesn't hear me? Will He hear me?" It feels very overwhelming. In the book we were able to communicate how important it is, that if a parent can talk to God, that means a child can as well. My grandmother said, "You can pray anywhere, anytime. He always hears you." That's reiterated in the book, that God is omnipresent. But instead of saying that very big word, “omnipresent,” we say that God is a warm, safe light, and that He's around all the time.

What is your biggest hope for this book, and for young readers and their grown-ups?

Collins: We go back to little Bradley and little Chrissy and what would they want to hear. For us, a lot of inner child work has been done through the book and album. I had a lot of issues growing up because I didn't know how I could pray. I didn't know what I could say to this big, intimidating person named God. To me, it was difficult to know what I could and couldn't say, and this book answers a lot of those questions. It answers that you can pray for your friends that you play with at school. You can pray for your grandparents. You can pray for your pets, and God wants to hear any question or concern you have.