I am so excited to introduce author Jessie Mattis to you! Power Up is her debut Middle Grade novel. She wrote Power Up to teach kids about the Holy Spirit. It’s a topic that can seem intimidating, or even a bit mysterious to so many Christians. We easily talk about God and Jesus, but what about the Holy Spirit who lives in every Believer?
I had the pleasure of reading Power Up and thoroughly enjoyed it. You will go on a journey of discovering the Holy Spirit through eleven-year-old Lexi. I found Lexi relatable and honest. You will be drawn in to the story and sweet family. It’s a wonderful book for kids and adults. I was encouraged in my faith. Jessie did a fantastic job explaining the Holy Spirit, and that God wants to use kids too. The Holy Spirit is for every Christian, regardless of age.
Jessie is a kind, humble, loving person. If you met her, you would want to hang out with her. She’s the kind of person you’d want to chat with over a cup of coffee. Her kindness, and warmth pour out of the pages of Power Up. How refreshing to have a family friendly book with such a delightful, faith-affirming message.
Thanks for stopping by, and please enjoy my interview with author Jessie Mattis.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Jessie Mattis and I am a Jesus-loving, homeschooling mother of three, a wife, daughter, sister, friend…and now a writer. I grew up between cornfields in Potomac, Illinois, graduated from Greenville College with a BA in Social Work, and worked in child welfare for a couple years before becoming a stay-at-home mom (my real dream job).
Since college, I’ve been a ministry volunteer in church on some level, often working with kids. In 2013, my family and I joined a small team of people and helped plant Rolling Hills Vineyard Church in Valparaiso, IN, which was a wonderful, difficult, life-changing experience.
What are you passionate about?
I have always had a heart for kids, and now that I have three of my own, I more clearly see the urgency in exposing them to the truths of the Christian faith at a young age.
I am passionate about raising my kids to love Jesus and reaching others for Him. Sharing the truth that they are loved by Him no matter what, even when life doesn’t make sense, is one of my main goals. Tons of people struggle with their faith as they grow, but if they can grasp this fact (God’s love and goodness) at a young age, it could save them from a lifetime of doubts and uncertainty.
What is your book, Power Up, about?
Power Up is the story of an eleven-year-old girl named Lexi who thinks she’s already learned all there is to know about God, until a new kids’ church teacher comes and shares some new ideas about the Holy Spirit. Through school struggles and a family crisis, Lexi must decide for herself if God is truly good and if this Holy Spirit stuff is for real.
Why did you write Power Up?
I decided to write this book when I was searching for something similar for my own children and couldn’t find it. I want all kids to learn and be comfortable with the Holy Spirit and the various ways he moves and guides us, but I’ve noticed that oftentimes adults don’t expect enough out of children. Kids are far more capable than we sometimes think, and most are perfectly able to think through matters of faith at this age (8 and up). Power Up is my way of telling kids “I believe in you, and know you are capable of actively hearing from and following God no matter your age.”
I felt that getting the story into the hands of “church-kids” might inspire them to view their faith in a new light, activating the Holy Spirit power that was inside them all along, whether they knew it or not. And for children who are already familiar with the activity of the Holy Spirit, I wanted to encourage them in their walks, helping them realize they’re not alone and aren’t “weirdos” or however else they may feel at times. For not-yet-Christians, the book also covers the basics of Christianity, woven into the story line, so they can come away from reading the book with a sense of what Christianity is all about.
Why were you the right person to write it?
Being active in kids’ church for years, in a similar environment that the story takes place, has given me a heart for reaching kids in this way. Seeing children explore and embrace their own faith inspires me, and I want it for my own kids as well as every other child. Right now my kids are ages 11, 9, and 7, so I’m right in the thick of the middle grade parenting years. This gives me an advantage in writing for children because I’m able to get inside their heads and understand their thoughts and struggles a little more readily than some.
How is Power Up different than other books in its genre?
Power Up is certainly more “teachy” than most in this genre, which may sound negative, but I don’t believe this is the case. It is a book intended for an audience of middle-graders who are taking their faith seriously and want to dive deeper. While my goal was definitely to keep it entertaining and relatable, there is certainly a lesson to be learned. It is a book that I can imagine Christian parents and children’s church teachers giving to their children/students, or even reading aloud and discussing as a family.
What do you hope people will gain from reading your book?
My hope is that children and adults alike will read Power Up and find the hum-drum normalcy of their current faith challenged. As they read, they will encounter new ideas and ways of living their faith out loud, and my prayer is that they’ll apply these lessons to their own lives, coming away with a more active, powerful, solid walk with God and a new understanding of who the Holy Spirit is. I want children to know it doesn’t matter how old they are—the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to guide, speak, and walk with them throughout their entire lives.
Power Up is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.