Bethel University’s Claudia May Wins Award for Christian Children’s Book

Claudia May, associate professor and program director of reconciliation studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, has received the Illumination Book Awards Enduring Light goal medal in the Christian Children’s Book category for her book, When I Fly With Papa (Wise Ink Creative Publishing, 2018). The awards were established in 2014 to recognize the best Christian titles of the year.

The award-winning book is the first in a series that follows the story of a young Black girl named Winnie, whose relationship with the God she calls Papa empowers her to live with remarkable love, curiosity, and bravery. The book is among the few Christian children’s books written and illustrated by Black women who place a Black girl at the center of a faith narrative.

“[This accomplishment] means the world on so many different levels,” said Dr. May. “That children, young and old, can discover or deepen how to experience emotional freedom with God through my book delights me. The reception of this book has astounded me.”

Dr. May is a graduate of the University of York in the United Kingdom. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. both from the University of California Berkeley.

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