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January 12, 2012

Graduate Course Inspires Children's Book

The First Children

Philipe Carvalho, a student in Wheaton’s M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies program, recently published a children’s book about the creation narrative.

The First Children, colorfully illustrated by P.J. Tamayo, is a retelling of Genesis 1 through the eyes of children. The book explores the innocence of creation, and Adam’s interactions with the world around him, culminating with the introduction of Eve. It was published by Legacy House Publishing.

“I love the arts, and want to use them not only as a learning tool, but also as a form of apologetic,” Carvalho says. The First Children was inspired in part by a Christian Theology course Carvalho took with Dr. Jeffrey Barbeau, associate professor of theology.

“During one of our lively discussions about God’s attributes, we began discussing creation. Dr. Barbeau had Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam projected, and within the course of the discussion alluded to Irenaeus’ theory of Adam and Eve being created as children first,” Carvalho says. “I took this point to heart, attempting to visualize how it might have been.”

Carvalho also wrote the book to help his two young daughters understand the idea of God as creator, and how people can relate to him. “The story of Adam and Eve serves as an example of how we should be with God, and is at the same time a telling illustration of how we fail to understand the power and responsibility given to us,” he says. “I found that writing a children’s book was an excellent way to hone my ability to introduce and reveal biblical concepts in a way that is illuminating, tangible, and relatable to others.”

For Carvalho, who worked in Hollywood as a story editor before beginning his studies at Wheaton, The First Children is one of many books he hopes to publish. He is currently at work on a graphic novel for youth.