Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Father-son Create Faith-based super hero Book series

This was originally published in The Oregonian newspaper on Feb. 7, 2008 in the SW Weekly section - a link is found at

"Able to teach Christian lessons in a single bound"
Thursday, February 07, 2008CORNELIA SEIGNEUR

This is a true story.
Braden, 7, sees a customer drop a $20 bill at the West Linn Albertsons and, after picking it up, looks for the man.
The boy returns the money. It is the right thing to do and it is the very thing that a superhero would do.
A faith-based children’s series is born, with Braden as the real-life hero, Evan Jelic, a play on “evangelical,” as in evangelical Christian.
Braden’s father, John Curalli of West Linn, a marketing executive for a telecommunications consulting company, is co-writing the series with his second-grade son, believing it was divinely inspired.
“In my prayerful relationship that I have with God, this vision came to me for this book series, like a trumpet blaring when you get an idea, a firestorm of an idea, this concept. The name ‘Evan Jelic’ popped into my head,” Curalli said.
He is sending his seven-book series, based on Braden’s real-life experiences, to a publisher and a literary agent who have requested it, he said.
Curalli said the way he and his son write goes something like this:
“Braden tells me stories. He’ll say, ‘This is what happened to me today,’ and I say, ‘That would be a great story for the book.’ I observe and I begin to write, who says what and how it went and this is what happened, and he critiques it.”
The books, which are 12 to 25 pages each, are designed for parents to read to children ages 4 to 8 “as a tool to educate their children about their Christian faith,” Curalli said.
“I believe there is a need for parents to be able to install in their children three areas of Christianity — the armor of God, the fruit of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” said Curalli.
The first book, “Born Again,” sets the stage for the other six about the “armor of God,” Curalli said.
The premise is what he calls people’s “innate desire to achieve meaning and purpose in life.”
“We had this in the Garden of Eden and lost it when we fell,” he said. “For children, this desire manifests itself in a desire for superhero powers and adventures.”
In “Born Again,” Evan acknowledges this desire and tries to satisfy it by becoming “God’s superhero.”
The second book, “The Breastplate of Righteousness,” is based upon Braden’s experience at Albertsons.
“It’s about good character,” Curalli said. “The power of the breastplate is the ability to do what is right, no matter what the personal cost. Such as returning a $20 bill.”
In the end, good character is rewarded. Evan gets a cash reward and purchases his favorite candy, Laffy Taffy.
Father and son are field-testing the books.
“Braden’s best friend Ian Cruickshank has to keep these by his bed because he loves them so much,” Curalli said.
And for Halloween, Ian dressed up as Evan Jelic. “His mother went out and found a soldier costume,” said Curalli. Braden dressed up as Evan Jelic at a Harvest Party a year ago.
Said Braden, “Evan is very fun and I like the armor because my friends and I can play together and fight bad guys.”
And that’s also true.
For more information and to watch the progress of the book series, visit the website:

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