Danielle Hitchen (’10) knows that raising kids is hard. As the mom of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, Hitchen is well aware of the challenges that come with motherhood. But about a year ago, Hitchen found herself facing a task she never anticipated having to tackle so early: her kids’ spiritual formation.

After a conversation with a friend in which she was asked about what she was doing in regards to her daughter’s spiritual formation, Hitchen’s first response was a lighthearted one.

“Oh, you know, keeping her alive,” she laughed.

But as she continued to talk with this friend, the idea gnawed at her. What was she doing for her daughter’s spiritual formation? How does one begin to teach a small child about the complex tenets of the Christian faith?

Hitchen began to wonder if a book existed that served as a kid-friendly introduction to Christian theology. She began to search for one, but found nothing. Shocked that a tool like this wasn’t already in existence, Hitchen decided that she would create one herself.

So began Hitchen’s journey of bringing to life Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer, a board book designed to teach babies, toddlers and preschoolers the central tenets of the Christian faith through counting.

“That was one of the goals of this book — to just make it less intimidating for parents to be able to introduce their kids to the foundational concepts of the Christian faith,” said Hitchen, who hopes the book provides a framework for parents to teach their kids abstract concepts in an approachable way.

Hitchen’s pastor connected her with another mom in her area, illustrator Jessica Blanchard, and the two began a Kickstarter campaign to get their project off the ground.

Within 24 hours, they were already two-thirds of the way to their goal. Four days later, they had met it.

Bible Basics was officially funded by Kickstarter on Sept. 29, 2016, exceeding the $14,000 goal by more than double, with $35,600 raised, and paving the way for the future success of Catechesis Books, a publishing company created by Hitchen specifically with her “Baby Believer” series in mind.

“Thanks to your generosity, we are also able to produce a printable download of ‘Bible Basics’ coloring pages, a hard copy ‘Bible Basics’ coloring book, AND have enough funds to begin development and production on a second ‘Baby Believer Primer’,” Hitchen wrote on Kickstarter. “WOW!”

Hitchen credits her time at Biola as instilling in her the importance of a strong theological foundation.

“I think one of the reasons I care so deeply about my children’s spiritual formation is because of my time at Biola and in [the] Torrey [Honors Institute],” said Hitchen. “Because of Biola, I know how meaningful it is to be deeply and intelligently rooted in the faith.”