St. Paul author brings faith, family memories to children’s book

| Doug Holveson | July 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Rose Duffy reads a copy of her children’s book, “I Thank God for You,” to Caroline, left, and Teddy Punton in their St. Paul home July 16. DAVE HRBACEK | THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Seeking to give every child a fair shake at getting a good night’s sleep, St. Paul native Rose Duffy recently published her first children’s book, “I Thank God for You.”

The 42-page, word-and-picture book chronicles a nightly ritual shared by a mother and child (a girl or a boy, depending on the book version) as the child prepares to be tucked into bed for the night.

“Mommy, who tucks you in at night?” the child in the book asks.

You do, in a special way, her mother answers. Reciting some of the gifts her child shares with her — gifts such as a cluster of freshly picked yellow flowers, drawings, even the simple act of making a silly face — the mother also whispers a blessing after each memory: “I thank God for you!”

The mother in the book also incorporates a simple way to shake off any frustration of the day that may have come between her and her child. It involves shaking the bed covers as a way of symbolically releasing sad or even angry feelings that can ruin a good night’s sleep. The idea is to forgive and let go.

“I love this message of forgiveness,” Duffy said. “It teaches children to never go to bed angry. This message will stay with them into adulthood.”

The book offers families “a fun and impactful way to pray together,” she said.

Duffy sketched out illustrations for the book years ago when she first wrote it, using her two youngest children — she has three, all adults now — as models for the main characters. She prowled the Internet to find an artist to provide the final illustrations, ultimately choosing Ros Webb, a British-born, Ireland-based book and fashion illustrator and artist. Webb’s vibrant watercolor illustrations bring the book to life.

With its messages of love, gratitude, forgiveness, confidence, faith in God and humor, “I Thank God for You” is a book that parents, grandparents and family friends can buy, give away and read aloud to young children, said Duffy, 60, a member of St. Peter Claver in St. Paul who plays jazz and blues saxophone in two local bands and works as a legal secretary for a downtown Minneapolis law firm.

Duffy’s book retails at $15 and can be purchased through her website, She also offers to sign and personalize each book with an inspirational note addressed to each child, and a music download card of her songs is provided. “I Thank God for You” also is available at Amazon and St. Patrick’s Guild in St. Paul.

She also wrote and sang a song to accompany her book. Fellow Twin Cities musician Scottie Miller pitched in to produce, play piano and handle musical arrangements for the song, and Steve Kaul worked the sound board for the recording session at Wild Sound Recording Studio in Minneapolis. She cut two versions of the song — one an upbeat, daytime pick-me-upper and the other slows down at the end in lullaby fashion.

“Together, the book and song make for an endearing bedtime ritual, which will help tuck little ones into bed with that ‘feel-good’ feeling,” Duffy said.

Music inspired her even as a child, she said, and some of her fondest memories from her grade school days at St. Luke’s School (now St. Thomas More) in St. Paul are of learning to sing hymns such as “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”

Duffy applied her gift for music to the tenor saxophone, and years ago she played with some of the great jazz and blues artists, including four shows with Etta James and sitting in at Wilebski’s Blues Saloon in St. Paul with Buddy Guy, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, James Cotton and Koko Taylor. Now, she plays saxophone in two local bands — Armadillo Jump, a rhythm-and-blues band, and Big Bob and the High Rollers, a variety dance band. She also chimes in on vocals for both bands.

Duffy said because of her busy schedule she can’t be as active in church affairs as she was when her children were younger. But for the past eight years she has volunteered as a motivational speaker in a religion class for high school seniors that focuses on social justice, vocations and service at Cretin-Derham Hall high school in St. Paul. She hopes to continue in that role with the Catholic school in the future.

A book signing with Duffy is set for July 27, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at JS Bean Factory, 1518 Randolph Ave., St. Paul.

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Category: Local News