NORWALK – Angels have long held a fascination for many people, including author Allia Zobel Nolan, who took two years to write Angels in the Bible Storybook, a well-researched, beautifully illustrated book for children ages 4 to 8 that is equally appealing to all ages.
Peppered throughout with angel factoids, the 224-page book, published in January by Zonderkidz, comprises 15 stories from the Old Testament and 15 stories from the New Testament.
“I’m always looking for different ways to present Bible stories that will capture the interest of kids,” said Mrs. Nolan, who lives in Norwalk. “There’s a plethora of interesting stories about angels. And while there aren’t a lot of angels in the Bible, the role they play in these stories are not only interesting, but really important,” she stated.
According to Mrs. Nolan, there are 300 mentions of angels in the Bible; 72 mentions in Revelations alone. “That angels exist is clear from sacred Scripture as well as sacred tradition,” she said.
To depict the integral role of angels in the Bible, she chose the stories of Joshua, Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Elijah, Daniel, the talking donkey and King Hezekiah in the Old Testament; and Zechariah, the Annunciation, Joseph’s dream, the shepherds, the Wise Men, Jesus in the Garden of Olives, Peter in prison, a shipwrecked Paul and, of course, the birth and burial of Jesus in the New Testament.
“Angels were created to worship and praise God,” wrote Mrs. Nolan, the author of 200 books.
“They act as his messengers and our protectors,” she continued. “On top of that, God sends them to announce news, guide, encourage, comfort and answer prayers. God even sent one angel to get his friend, Peter, out of jail. Whatever way they serve God, angels always obey his will. They always give God honor and glory” – that is, all except the fallen angel known as Satan.
“God’s good angels are in constant battle with Satan’s bad angels,” she wrote, citing Daniel 10:12, 20.
A popular misconception about angels is their appearance, she said. There is no mention of angels having wings or halos in the Bible; but they usually take a human form when they appear. They typically don’t give out their names, with the exception of Gabriel and Michael. And they are not the chubby, fluffy little cherubs seen in card stores, but rather are “powerful, strong and awe-inspiring – like nothing we’ve ever seen,” she said.
She also noted that although an angel is a creature made by God and a “person” in theological terms, angels are pure, immortal spirits. “They don’t get married, they don’t have children, they can eat but they don’t need to eat to live, they don’t procreate, they can’t die and God only made a certain amount of angels.
“What is comforting to many people is the whole idea that there is somebody in the other world looking out for you ‘lest you trip your foot on a stone,’” she said. “There’s a divine world and they are part of it … they’re part of God’s plan for us, not just creatures who make for good Valentine’s cards,” said Mrs. Nolan.
The “gorgeous artwork on every page,” she said, was created by Italian artist Alida Massari, who specializes in illustration for children. “These are intricate stories but I wrote them in kid-friendly text,” she explained.
“I wanted people to understand who the angels are and how important angels are,” said Mrs. Nolan, who has been writing books about the Bible for 20 years. “They lead us; they give us right thoughts to think when we’re going the wrong way; they help us; they protect us.
“Angels are real, they’re powerful, strong, majestic creatures who are doing God’s bidding,” she continued. To further drive home the point, she added the words of St. Augustine to her title page, “Every visible thing in this world is put in the charge of an angel.”
A longtime writer at Reader’s Digest Children’s Publishing, Mrs. Nolan said that there is no other book on the market that ties angels to God’s plan and tells the stories of the Bible by focusing on angels.
All of the stories in the book are scripturally based, researched and reviewed by a theological review board.