Annie F. Downs is a New York Times bestselling author, sought-after speaker, and successful podcast host based in Nashville, Tennessee. Engaging and honest, she makes readers and listeners alike feel as if they’ve been long-time friends. In addition to hosting her popular That Sounds Fun Podcast, which has received over 50 million downloads, her That Sounds Fun Podcast Network is experiencing rapid growth, having recently signed podcasts like Lauren Akins’ Live in Love Podcast, Ben Higgins’ Hope Still Wins Podcast, Carlos Whittakers’ Human Hope Podcast, and more. As the author of multiple bestselling books like 100 Days to Brave, Remember God, and That Sounds Fun, Annie shoots straight and doesn’t shy away from the tough topics. But she always finds her way back to the truth that God is good and that life is a gift.
In this interview, Annie talks with us about her new Children’s book release, What Sounds Fun To You?.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
I wanted to offer to kids, and the grownups who read with them, a book of fun ideas that would inspire them in the lives they already have. I wanted to remind people of all ages that fun doesn’t have to be expensive or big, fun can be right where you are.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
Many of the kids you see in the book are real life friends of mine! The illustrator, Jennie Poh, did an incredible job of including children that belong to my friends in the book. I call them my miniBFFs, and it is so fun to see their faces on each page!
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Especially when it comes to children’s books, the best way to get truths across is through a story in which they can see themselves. It’s one of the main reasons that we worked to hard to include diverse children all throughout the book- whether that is diversity in race or ability or hair color or choice of activity. If kids can see themselves in a book, they are more likely to believe the story could be for them.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
I’m so thankful that I will get to continue to write books for my miniBFFs and include many of these same characters. We will continue to process and expand on the truth that God made us each unique, including in what we find fun!, and that He has a special purpose for us all.
FF: How do you get into the right frame of mind to write for your genre/audience?
I am around kids all the time! It’s one of the best things about my community—there are lots of children! So I sat and chatted with them a lot about what sounded fun to them, their favorite places to have fun, and the simplest ways that fun shows up in their lives with their friends and family.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
Each of us are created uniquely, and we are each uniquely interesting. Even in a book focused on fun in a lot of places and a lot of ways, my hope after the book is read is that each person will have a moment with themselves and God about how special we each are and how what sounds fun to us is one part of our one-of-a-kind design.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
This was brand new for me, so that’s been the biggest challenge! As a former elementary school educator, I have read many, many picture books in my time, so I knew lots of things that mattered to me—like the reading level and the diversity of students and the variety of activities and the way the question could help adults engage with kids. But it was a different (much more challenging!) thing to sit down and create my own book! I’m thankful I got to do it and am so pleased with how it turned out!
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
The book that shaped my life the most, besides the Bible, is Christy, by Catherine Marshall. That story of a young woman teaching in a one room classroom in the Appalachian Mountains shaped my career choices and in many ways, shaped this experience of writing for children as well.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
Absolutely. I am always trying to figure out how to tell stories in a way that are entertaining and point straight to Jesus and His rescuing work. I learn a lot from fiction books and stories—I can see in other people’s stories realities that exist in my own. So to be able to tell stories, to weave the truth of my faith into those stories, is my way of sharing the thing that has shaped and changed my life the most—Jesus Christ.
What Sounds Fun to You?
A That Sounds Fun Book for Kids
Annie F. Downs
Release Date: October 19, 2021
It’s no secret that the world has felt a little less fun lately, but even so, fun is everywhere, and with this charmingly illustrated children’s book, Downs helps children ages 3 to 8 find it.
Can it be found in science experiments, at the farmer’s market, or in the kitchen? Yes!
Can it be found on rainy days and starlit nights? You bet!
Can it be found with friends or parents or even little brothers? Of course!
Buy What Sounds Fun to You? from the FF Store HERE!
Buy What Sounds Fun to You? from Amazon HERE!