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View full sizeSubmitted photoSheena Hisiro created the illustrations for Kelly Ramke Lardin’s book “Josiah and Julia Go to Church.”
When Kelly Ramke Lardin first took her 18-month-old daughter to Orthodox church, she realized that the little girl and the deacon’s toddler needed to learn how to behave in church.
Soon, Lardin wrote “Josiah and Julia Go to Church” with the subtitle “A Young Child’s Guide to Church Etiquette.”
When Lardin looked for an illustrator for her book, she turned to Sheena Hisiro, who had attended Capital Area School for the Arts and graduated from Susquehanna Township High School.
Hisiro, a lifelong member of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Lower Paxton Township, agreed.
Soon, she was drawing a picture of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church on the front cover and using the Very Rev. Daniel D. Ressetar, pastor emeritus, as the priest in the book.
The book, recently published by Conciliar Press and featuring Lardin’s delightful story and Hisiro’s whimsical drawings, already is becoming a big hit with churches. Now, the colorful little book has made its way to Harrisburg.
Hisiro, who now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., will sign copies of “Josiah and Julia Go to Church” 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. April 28 and May 1 at the Agia Sophia Coffeeshop and Bookstore at 225 Market St., Harrisburg. The book also will be for sale at Agia Sophia.
“Josiah and Julia love to go to church,” Lardin said in her previews of the book. “They love to venerate the icons, light candles, and eat the blessed bread. Sometimes they behave very well, but sometimes they make mistakes.”
She said that children can follow Josiah and Julia through the Liturgy and learn how even the youngest child can honor God by behaving properly in church.
Hisiro, who currently illustrates children’s books and designs greeting cards, said that she had fun with the book.
“It’s a cute little story about two children, one doing things right and one wrong in church,” she said. “The book teaches children the right way to behave in church.”
Lardin, who converted to Orthodoxy, said she was still learning about the faith when she had her first daughter.
“I wanted to be able to pass on to her all that I was learning and experiencing,” Lardin said. “Church services were an essential part of teaching her about the faith.”
During one Holy Week, Julia and the deacon’s son, both about 18 months old, were at the back of the church bowing, kissing icons, making the sign of the cross and calling each other to see things.
“At such a young age they couldn’t pronounce each other’s names,” Lardin said, “so they called each other Siah and Ya.” Lardin said that inspired her to write a story about two children playing together and learning from each other how to behave.
Hisiro said that attending church can be challenging for children.
“They have to sit still a long time in services,” she said. “But it’s important for parents to take children to church even if they don’t understand everything. It gives them a feel for church and lets them learn what is expected.”