An interview with Catholic author Cathy Gilmore about her children’s books and her latest project, Virtue Works Media™.
By Lori Ann Watson
With Lent beginning this month and Easter fast approaching, we’re privileged to interview Cathy Gilmore, co-creator of the book, Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day. She shared some great insights with us about her books and about her newest efforts, as well.
Cathy Gilmore is the author of Little Lamb Finds Christmas and co-author of Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day. She is also a speaker and the foundress of Virtue Works Media™.
What is the message of Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day?
Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day began as an effort to help teachers and families turn the popular cultural icon of the Easter Bunny into a friend who leads children to the true joy of Easter: Jesus. The story is a gentle portrayal of a small, frightened bunny who witnesses Jesus’ suffering and Resurrection, and through it, readers can imagine themselves personally as part of the story of Redemption.
For both Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day and your other book, Little Lamb Finds Christmas, you provide fun songs and activities for classroom use. What are your favorite memories of a child’s response to one of your books or activities?
One time, a school invited me to spend an entire day presenting Little Lamb Finds Christmas storytime activities individually to each class in Pre-K through eighth grade. What delighted my heart was the way the big kids enjoyed the activities and were touched by the story’s message of peace (“When we are close to Jesus, it brings us closer to each other”) as much as the little ones. All ages got it.
I’m always working to reframe children’s attitudes that too often leave Jesus out of the fun of the holidays. Another favorite moment is when I ask children, “Why do we give candy on Easter?” They ponder and speculate and I redirect: “We give candy on Easter because the love of Jesus is so … sweet!” Then they nod as if saying “Of course” — they had always known that.
Can you tell us a little about how you see our responsibility in children’s lives — as teachers, parents, and guardians of children — in regards to entertainment and the media?
Through technology, our entire culture has become a modern tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This gives our slithery spiritual enemy accessibility to whisper lies, hidden in very captivating media, to our kids 24/7. Evil has done a lot of spiritual and emotional damage because we underestimate the power of imagination.
Our imagination is a sacred space, a portal that can open our hearts to the reality of God in a profound way. God has taken my passion for the power of parable, of story, and focused it in my ministry, VIRTUE WORKS MEDIA™. Through this ministry, I have dedicated my life to offering parents, grandparents, and teachers the tools to be effective guardians of imagination, mentoring children and teens in virtue … through discernment and intentionality in the consumption of reading, technology, and entertainment.
Virtue Works Media’s mission is to give families and educators a simple mechanism to choose media that cultivates virtue. Currently, most of the media rating systems available are warning based and require us to search through everything to sift out what is truly good. Because the ratings reflect increasing levels of toxic content, they create a rite-of-passage coming-of-age desire in teens to consume worse content. I created a Navigate Family Media Choices chart in which you can notice this pattern.
So, you’re saying that the vice-based media rating systems we use now, where worse content is tied to older ages, imply to children that consuming bad media is a part of growing up?
Yes. This is why I think a virtue-based rating system is needed. Virtue Works Media is still in the early foundation stage, but once it is established, it will be a unique rating system that rates books, movies and other media according to specific “Everyday Virtues.” Using virtues as our benchmarks for evaluating the quality of reading and entertainment content is so valuable because the system can be applied to both religious and secular titles.
Bans, boycotts and cautionary blogs about bad content won’t renew culture; goodness and virtue will. We Catholics will transform society not so much by what we are against, but by what we are for. Jesus calls us to overcome evil with good.
Do you give school presentations on virtue, as well as on your books?
Yes. Schools can contact me to plan a Virtue Event to energize children to “Believe. Perceive. Think. Feel. Decide … and DO VIRTUE!” through what they read and watch. I’ve presented to children, educators, and parents.
What’s next on your plate, Cathy?
The newest Virtue Works Media initiative is directed toward women and girls; it’s an easy and free multi-generational virtue book club that can be used in schools and at home. You’ll find more at the Totally Feminine Genius™ Generations Book Club webpage.
I’m also working on a book manuscript that will be a “media nutrition guide” — all in God’s time. Please pray for the success of Virtue Works Media so it can be a blessing to the millions of children who need the power of virtue to come alive in their imaginations and actions!
Learn more about Cathy Gilmore and her work
Cathy Gilmore’s Author Page (to stay up-to-date on all efforts)
Five Fave Top Ten Lists (list of faith-filled books and films, with links)
Virtue Works website (website gives information about the interactive platform to come)
View the trailer for Virtue Works Media:
Lori Ann Watson teaches, homeschools, blogs about Catholicism, and almost never gets caught up on laundry. She writes from North Central Florida.