Friday, July 1, 2022

ABC News Correspondent Linsey Davis Explores the Afterlife with New Children’s Book ‘How High Is Heaven’ [EUR Exclusive]


*Linsey Davis, an Emmy Award-winning ABC News Correspondent, anchor of ABC News Live Prime and World News Tonight weekend and Best-selling Author, is back with a new release titled, “How High Is Heaven?”

Per press release, inspired by a moving personal experience with her own son, How High is Heaven? is an uplifting, imaginative picture book that gives hope and comfort to young readers that heaven is right here and open for us all. Children ask a lot of questions about heaven, particularly when they’ve experienced the loss of a loved one. As a mother, Linsey knew first-hand how important yet challenging a conversation like this could be for children. How High is Heaven? will delight young readers with engaging art, read-aloud rhymes, and the age-appropriate message that, thanks to God’s grace, heaven is a place we can look forward to while living our best life and finding moments of heaven here on Earth.

“How High Is Heaven?” follows Davis’ previous bestselling children’s books “The World Is Awake,” “One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than Different,” and “Stay This Way Forever”.

EURweb’s Ny MaGee caught up with Davis to dish about what she hopes readers take away from her new title. Check out our Q&A below.

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Is it your hope that this book makes it easier for parents to talk to their children about death and the afterlife? 

100%. The idea of death and loss and grieving and heaven is a complicated discussion on any age level. And this is something my son came home from school one day and he said, how come my friend has two grandmas and two grandpas and I just have one? My husband’s parents both passed away, my son’s paternal grandmother passed away when he was just one, so he doesn’t remember her. And so, he said, “I want to see her. I want to go to heaven.” And he kept talking about that for several days and several weeks and then, fast forward, a few months later, we were on a plane and he was looking out the window and he said, “I don’t see her.” And I said, “You don’t see who?” And he said, “I don’t see grandma. I was looking for her out there in heaven.”

And so, immediately I thought, this is a conversation I need to have more in full with my son, and also, this is something I’d like to share, for other parents to have that little conversation when the child is experiencing loss. As we are right now, unfortunately, we just passed that milestone of 900,000 Americans losing their lives to COVID 19. And there was a pediatric journal that came out a few months ago, that talked about how more than 200,000 children lost their primary caregiver. They lost a grandmother or a grandfather or a mother or a father. And so many children who have been essentially orphaned by COVID and dealing with death and people who they were seeing regularly every day, the people who they loved anow they’re not seeing them.

And so, I think that’s a hard reality to understand, but what I noticed with my own son was that he was hopeful in the idea of a reunion. When I talked about how he’ll see grandma P again, one day in heaven, that gave him some solace, it was some consolation. And while we’re looking at this in a really whimsical way in the book, the idea of a little boy in pursuit of physically trying to get to heaven by trampoline or hot air balloon or spaceship. I think that it’ll be a new twist, a different way to kind of look at the idea of heaven and our loved ones who are there.

Are there any therapeutic benefits to writing about characters that are personal to you?

Sure. Somebody asked me, which one of my books is my son’s favorite, and I said, “Every time he reads a new one, he says, this one is my favorite.” But I actually think that this one will particularly resonate with him, I dedicated the book to grandma P. He’s aware that this was based on a specific conversation that we had, and I think he feels some resolve, at least understanding or appreciation of this idea that grandma P is still looking down on him, and that he’s going to see her again.

The process of writing, especially during the pandemic, writing a children’s book was therapeutic for me and was an outlet and a way to still talk about the good news, and it was an opportunity to share some uplifting words, and to go through that while we’re all in lockdown. This was a joyful process and one that I could share with my son.

What generally comes first for you in terms of your writing process, the plot, or the characters?

The plot comes first and then, all of them. I started writing books because I wasn’t seeing a representation for my son. I wanted him to have some mirrors in some of the books, and see himself reflected and not just have windows, where he was seeing other characters, other kids who he couldn’t relate to, or didn’t look like him, or animals as the main protagonist.

Which of your titles has been most popular among readers? 

Well, I will say, ‘Stay This Way Forever’, every parent I hear from says, “This made me cry.” And they were reading the book for their kids and that it brought tears to their eyes. I think this is something that is so universal, that every parent has that longing to hold on to these memories that you try and memorize before they slip away. And so that has definitely been the thought from ‘Stay This Way Forever’. 

I’d also say with ‘One Big Heart’, which was inspired by my son. If you remember the two black men who were arrested in Starbucks back in Philadelphia a few years ago. My son said, “Why did those police take those two black men to jail?” And he talked about them being black, and that was the storyline in the news, it was because of their race. And my son likes to get chocolate milk from Starbucks, and so he said, ‘If daddy and I go to Starbucks, are the police going to take us to jail?” 

And so I said, “Okay, let’s talk about the differences. Let’s not have this be an elephant in a room. Let’s talk about how we have different colored skin and different hair and features and religions and beliefs and likes and dislikes. But in the end, God gave us all one big heart. And that’s the most important part because that’s where love starts.” And so, a lot of teachers I have heard from with regard to ‘One Big Heart,’ felt that was something they could use as a tool in the classroom to address race, embrace our differences but at the same time celebrate the humanity in us all. And so, I would say that those are the two that when people come back to me, they’re thankful for it. Especially teachers with regard to ‘One Big Heart’.

Last question, as a veteran news reporter, what’s your take on the way technology is shaping and influencing the journalism industry?

I feel like we’re on the verge of a new era.  I would liken it almost from the time that we went from radio to television. I feel like we’re going from television to streaming —  it’s this open landscape. And so you have all this real estate that’s all of a sudden available. It’s like when you’ve seen the billionaires race to space, and now there’s all this extra up in space that people are going to fight over. It’s a whole new dimension when you have streaming. There’s so much more real estate that before when there were only three major networks, CNN and Fox and MSNBC, different branches of that, but now we have this unlimited space.

So I think the one thing that it’s going to do with technology is we’re going to have a lot more competition because a lot of people can now enter the streaming space. It’s not as expensive. I’s a different model. And also for people who are at home, who’ve cut the cords and they’re no longer paying for cable streaming, could be a more affordable option and it’s something that you have all the time with you. At one time, people were sitting down and eating dinner as a family and watching the evening news or world news. Now you can be on the bus, you can be walking, you can be doing whatever you do, and you have access on your watch on your phone, on your laptop. It’s a lot more instant.

I think it’s a double-edged sword because you can be more up to date but at the same time, I think there’s a jump to be first. And for people to be talking about these live events right now, as they’re unfolding and sometimes making erroneous statements that are not accurate, I think that’s a concern as well. When you have these new kind of groups out there or people who are just trying to get the attention, I don’t know how reliable it is. But I think that the competition is good, and it’s healthy, and I’m glad to see that however people are consuming news that there still is that appetite for news.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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