Diving deeper than Sunday school faith
Diving deeper than Sunday school faith
Hannah Harrison
Hannah Harrison
AFA Journal staff writer

April 2021“When we read our Bible as an adult, we’re supposed to take what we’re learning and apply it to our daily lives,” said Lee Ann Mancini. “We need to teach children how to do the same.”

Mancini, professor of biblical studies and award-winning author, always sought to raise her children based on biblical principles. But after looking through countless shelves of Christian reading material, she discovered that few books taught kids how to respond to real-life scenarios based on such principles. So with her children as an inspiration, Mancini began to write.

Through sea creature characters, Mancini decided to do more than tell children what to do. Instead, she walks them through realistic situations, such as bullying, and shows them how to handle the situations as Christ would. As her children aged, Mancini decided to put the stories away, expecting someday she would read the stories to her grandchildren.

Six years ago, with the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Mancini knew God called her to do more with these simple stories. Committing them to be used for His glory, she stepped out in faith and sent her first book to the printer. Today, her ministry, SeaKids, has seven books and an animated video series.

The goal of SeaKids is to connect children’s hearts to Jesus. Mancini and her team do this by helping kids love Jesus and be respectful and kind to others. Each of Mancini’s seven books includes a core message, prayer, and biblical principles to incorporate into a child’s life.

“All the stories teach them to pray to Jesus or give thanks to Him,” said Mancini.

Her first book, Fast Freddy, is a story about anti-bullying. Once Freddy arrives at school, his classmates make fun of him because he is half-shark and half-octopus. But by the story’s end, Freddy realizes God made him special, then he prays and thanks God for making him unique.

Mancini and her team have also produced SeaKids, an animated television series. The visually captivating episodes occur underwater and show children how to respond to everyday situations, just as the Bible teaches. An accompanying workbook curriculum encourages children to interact with the series. Each episode lasts roughly 24 minutes and holds children’s attention start to finish.

“They hear parents using the Bible verses and children repeating the verses and applying them to real life,” said Mancini. “It’s ingrained into their hearts and minds.”

For children to excel in their faith, Mancini encourages parents to be active in their children’s daily lives.

“We sit down and help them make sure they understand our math,” said Mancini. “But how many times do we sit down and teach the gospel to our children on a powerful level?”

In this area, Mancini wanted to help empower parents and grandparents, so she started the Raising Christian Kids podcast. With weekly episodes lasting 5 to 15 minutes, Mancini helps inform parents of ways they can minister to their children and help them avoid just a “Sunday school faith.”

“You don’t want your child to have Sunday school faith,” Mancini continued. “You want him to have faith that’s strong enough to fight against the ever-increasing evil ways of the world.”  

Learn More
To learn more about Mancini’s books for preschool and young readers and her array of additional resources, visit seakidstv.com. For parenting helps, try her podcast, raisingchristiankids.com.

Mancini’s book can be paired with the voice-driven app Novel Effect which listens to a book being read and plays correlating sound effects. For instance, I’m Not Afraid takes place in an amusement park. Using Novel Effect, listeners can hear rollercoasters and balloons popping.