Roma Downey, a film producer and the Emmy-nominated star of the 1990s TV series Touched by an Angel, is sharing a story about coping with anxiety in a new picture book, A Message in the Moon. Published by Convergent on October 10, the book was inspired by events in Downey’s life, including her mother’s passing when she was 10, and the moment she left her father in Ireland to attend college in England as a young adult.
“I wanted to write a story that is deeply reassuring,” Downey says. “When I went to college there were no cell phones—I didn’t know how I would communicate. I was feeling quite anxious. My father took me to the garden, pointed to moon, and said: ‘wherever you are, there is the same moon, shining on you and on me. Leave a message for me on the moon.’ It helped me feel close and connected.”
Downey, who is the author of bestsellers Box of Butterflies and Be an Angel: Devotions to Inspire and Encourage Love and Light Along the Way, felt the timing was right for a picture book after years of sharing the story about her father with her children as well as other parents. A Message in the Moon features illustrations by artist Holly Hatam that depict changes in a child’s life, such as a new baby entering the family, a grandparent moving away, and spending a night apart from a parent.
“This book addresses any place where we feel alone, disconnected, or when we’re missing someone,” Downey says. “It says it’s okay, and reminds us we’re not alone. We’re loved, and always loved by God—that’s the bigger picture.”
Downey notes that her story brings to mind the popular phrase “I love you to the moon and back” from Sam McBratney’s classic picture book, Guess How Much I Love You. “The moon is a special place for people,” she says. “I bet you anybody who reads [A Message in the Moon] never thinks of the moon the same again. I hope it’s a loving reminder that we’re all connected, never alone, and to never feel anxious.”
Campbell Wharton, v-p, deputy publisher at Random House Christian Publishing, says A Message in the Moon is one of his favorite books on the publisher's list this year due to its universal themes. "With the stress in the world right now, it's a much-needed book about hope, love, and family," he says. "Roma is a person of faith but her message can be read by parents that are spiritually minded, or a parent who wants to teach their kids about longing and that love can be found anywhere."
Convergent, which has already ordered a second print run for A Message in the Moon, is advertising the book in SIBA's holiday catalog, in addition to extensive advertising on social media that will continue through Black Friday and the holiday season. Downey is doing a press tour that includes coverage on radio, podcasts, and Christian and mainstream media outlets, while also participating in book readings at B&N and on YouTube.