Monday, October 10, 2011

Deb's Article in MB Post--Amy Parker!

Changing the world, one word at a time

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Changing the world, one word at a time

Amy Parker, a diminutive brunette with sparkling eyes and an ever-present smile, does not look like a hard-charging woman whose goal is to change the world.

But, Parker’s small stature is not an indicator of her size as an author.

She has written or co-written more than 20 books for a variety of readers, but she is most widely known for her cherished collection of Christian children’s books.

Parker said things haven’t changed much in her life since she published her first book, Night Night Prayers, in 2008. It has now sold more than 115,000 books in markets reaching across the United States.

“I am still a mom and wife, and the same person I always was,” she said. “When I do book readings, I am still surprised and completely thrilled to hear other moms talk about their children’s reaction to the books.”

Parker smiled as her husband, Dan, looked on with obvious pride and joy.

“I love hearing that very young children memorize the lines in my books, and ask to have them read to them again and again,” she added. “One mom told me that her son’s first sentence was a line from my book Night Night Prayers, and that warms my heart. But, I think the greatest achievement of my children’s books has been in the way they fostered the practice of prayer in the home.”

Parker said the Murfreesboro community has been warm and welcoming to her, as she did readings and events.

She said many friends have helped her along her journey, including Kim Hasselbrink, who called schools and churches in the areas and told them they needed to have Parker do a book reading.

As a result of her friend’s calls, Parker was busy for weeks afterward.

Parker then talked about how much support and encouragement she has received from the Murfreesboro booksellers, especially the Barnes & Noble at The Avenue.

“They have been so welcoming, and have treated me like someone important, even though I’m not. I’m just me,” she said. “They even set up a shelf just for Amy Parker books. I can’t say enough about how supportive they have been. They really support their local authors here.”

Shawna Wadley Jackson, assistant manager for Barnes & Noble, said working with Parker is a dream.

“She is just about as sweet as they come,” Shawna said. “Anything we do she appreciates, and that makes me want to help her any way I can.”

When asked about how things have changed for him with the publication of Parker’s books, Dan said he gets excited by seeing Parker’s books on the bookstore shelves, and says it is encouraging for the entire family, to see her having success doing what she really wants to do.

Parker describes Dan as the person who grounds her, who brings her back to reality, while still supporting her and encouraging her to do the work that they both believe she is destined to do.

Parker is now encouraging Dan as he starts his own small business, Parker Professional Land Survey.

After 14 years of marriage, the bond between Parker and Dan remains strong.

They are the proud parents of two sons, Michael and Ethan.

Parker credits much of her strong Christian values and her drive to change the world, to the reinforcement she received from the teachers in her hometown of Watertown.

 An historic town only 30 miles from the heart of Rutherford County, Watertown is a world away in lifestyle from bustling, busy Murfreesboro.

Parker learned to read at a young age, and did her first book reading in kindergarten at Watertown Elementary, when she read The Night Before Christmas.

“The teachers in Watertown nurtured me and turned my ‘wanna’ do one day’ into a ‘gotta do today,’” she said.

Parker moved to Murfreesboro in 1997 to attend MTSU, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English, in 2000.

Parker found that while she liked the conveniences of living in the ‘Boro, she also enjoyed the various neighborhoods and communities, which seemed to her like small towns in the midst of a metropolis.

While Parker loves the children’s books she has written, she plans to expand her reach as she continues to use her words in changing the world.

Parker plans to write inspirational stories of phenomenal people who have overcome challenges, in an effort to demonstrate that people can live a life of purpose if they have faith and focus.

She believes using her writing and words are God’s purpose for her life.

In fact, Parker has sometimes felt that God is handing out copies of her first book, Night Night Prayers, because the sales volume has been so unusual for a Christian children’s book.

Parker and her family are active members of World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, which believes its mission is to discover, develop and use each person’s special talents in ministry. That fits in with Parker’s personal mission of “changing the world, one word at a time.”

Amy Parker’s books are available in Barnes & Noble and other bookstores, and online from most major booksellers.

Parker frequently gives book readings in the local community. For more information about upcoming appearances and future publications, visit

To contact Deb Simpson, visit

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