What do you do when you have done something wrong? In this simple story we learn that we all make bad choices — and God wants us to turn to Him for forgiveness and the power to start making things right. Through a car named Miles, we discover the wonderful grace of repentance.
U TURN: THE BACK STORY (by author Jane Van Antwerp)
In the fall of 1990, I wrote and illustrated a children’s sermon for a message Walt Gerber preached on repentance. Walt was very real and transparent with the congregation about the destructiveness of sin in his life — and in all our lives.
My children’s message was about a car named Kevin in the “5th gear". Kevin's story was told using traffic signs. The key traffic sign was a U turn sign, helping kids to see and hear what to do when they were going the wrong way. God used U Turn to be a simple, relevant, and yet fun way to talk about sin with kids. They really got it.
As I rewrote U Turn for publication, I wanted to add elements of blame, anger and unfairness to the story. Even for kids, sin really complicates our emotions. As Book-A-Month families receive their copy of U Turn, will you pray that they will learn about repentance? God wants all of his children to learn as early as possible how to be truly sorry and to return and make things right.
This book was road-tested by one of the toughest audiences — 5th grade guys — and also had two more beta-testers: twin 5-year old boys. When I was halfway finished with the re-write/re-draw, at the place in the story when Kevin was most in trouble, I asked the twins how they liked it. They wanted me to finish it right there and then. Their mom said they talked about it the whole way home on the ferry after visiting us. Beyond the Blue Ministries sent them one of the first copies.
On a side note, the day we were finalizing the edits of U Turn, a former Children’s Ministries friend and colleague gave birth and named her son Miles. When I heard the sweet news, I knew instantly that Miles was a better name for our book’s automobile hero and asked her permission to use it. Overjoyed, she gave it. Baby Miles also got one of the first copies. I love how God weaves all things together.