Resident Author: The Red Wagon Heroes—Updated Version

Judiann with a copy of The Red Wagon Heroes Find the Truth

Jaine Toth

The Red Wagon Heroes Find the Truth, out just in time for the holidays, introduces us to a diverse group of barefooted children and their pets who take their little red wagons and set out on new adventures, finding and sharing kindness and friendship along the way.

Robson Ranch resident artist and author Judiann Lewinski became concerned for children during the pandemic. While watching news reports and interviews with homebound adults she often noted children in the background looking sad, sometimes fearful. Judiann realized that the kids were picking up on their parents’ anxiety. She sensed that the wearing of masks can be frightening to children who’ve only seen masks being worn by the scary “bad guys” on TV and in movies. Wanting to help them move out of their fear and feelings of isolation, Judiann imagined various scenarios to instill in them a sense of hope, self-confidence, and service to others. She felt that just the basics are needed and set out to show them various simple pleasures that can bring them joy. Judiann drew and then painted these ideas, then expressed in writing the thoughts that motivated her illustrations. This resulted in her first book, The Red Wagon Heroes, in which each child finds their own inner hero, which encourages the reader to do the same.

“Before the pandemic,” Judiann confided, “I mainly painted landscapes and seascapes. I was not comfortable painting people. But as I began to illustrate these children and their pets, I felt the hand of God directing me. The sketches just flowed out.”

Successful as it was, Judiann realized how much more powerful it would be with the addition of Bible verses. “It was a natural evolution,” she explained. “It helps the children see how God’s Word inspires the virtues latent within them, like loving-kindness, generosity of spirit, empathy, and love. It gives them permission to be good to themselves and reminds them that others around them may also need some attention or help. Ultimately, they find the power of God’s words guides them and realize their own power comes from helping others. Hopefully, it sparks ideas in each reader as to how they can cope with life, knowing God will show them the way.”

Judiann heard from friend and neighbor Mary Beth Fisher who sent a copy of The Red Wagon Heroes to her great-grandson Benjamin who, when looking at the book, animatedly pointed to one of the illustrations and kept saying “Ben! Ben!” He thought he was looking at a picture of himself.

The Red Wagon Heroes Find the Truth is available now in soft cover and Kindle versions. It can be ordered online via barnesandnoble.com and bookshop.org. A Kindle version is available on amazon.com. You can also purchase it directly from Judiann and have it signed by the author. Contact Judiann at [email protected]