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New Children's Book Reveals How One Mother Inspired 'The Unexpected Light'

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Journalist and author Raymond Arroyo has released his children's book series titled Turnabout Tales. The collection tells the stories of historic figures and how they made their mark on history. 

The first book titled The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison tells the story of one of the world's greatest investors.

CBN News sat down with the author to talk about the first book in the series, and what inspired it.

"I find with kids they can't focus on a womb-to-tomb biography. So I thought, How do I frame this?" Arroyo explained. He also defined a "turnabout tale." 

"It's that moment of crisis in a young person's life. It's that obstacle where they think all is lost when it turns out that's the portal to their entire life, and what they're called to," he said. 

Edison's story in particular started when he was in 2nd grade. 

"Edison is registered in a school, and the master, the schoolmaster, says he's addle-brained and cannot be taught," Arroyo recalled. "He's thrown out of school. He runs home in tears to his mother. His mother drags him back to school and says, My boy has more intelligence and curiosity than even you. And I'll take him home and homeschool and myself."

slider img 2The actions and support from his mother ignited the inventor's love for exploration and dedication to discovery and invention. 

"He was homeschooled by his mother. She accompanied him, fed his passions, and gave him books to read from literature to scientific and electric manuals, the author explained. 

His mother, most importantly, "allowed him to experiment and tinker, to play with acids and electricity and build telegraph lines around the house. He blew up the basement. He burned down the barn. But that's part of the exploration and growing," Arroyo continued. 

Edison credited his mother for his success saying, "My mother was the making of me, and if it had not been for her, I should never have become an inventor."

The relationship between Edison and his mother, Nancy, is what gave Arroyo the inspiration to write it as a Turnabout Tale children's book. 

"When I saw that line about his mother, that his mother was the making of him. I wanted to explore that more." Arroyo said. "This is a great reminder for all of us and this is what history does. It furnishes us not only with great stories, but lessons that we can take into living." 

And the lesson here is the value of parents, and specifically mothers, willing to partner with their children in their passions without allowing others to define them.

This inspiring theme is why Arroyo considered the Edison story worth telling. Nancy Edison was a mother of nine children. She was a teacher, and she used her educational background to pour the love of learning into her son.

Thomas Edison appreciated the intellectual training his mother gave him. 

"How to read a book deeply and quickly and how to incorporate different types of writing, both literature, as well as scientific journals and philosophy and politics," he said. 

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Arroyo hopes the book will ignite the imaginations and development of both children and parents. 

"I hope parents and mentors and teachers read with kids because the synapses of a child's mind begin to fire and grow in the reading. When you hear an adult, or particularly someone who cares for you, read to you and you read to them, and there's the exchange of not only information and wisdom, but values, and sensibilities," he noted. 

The author reminded everyone that oftentimes obstacles in life are truly the moment your life begins. 

"I mean, we are still warmed by the creations, the innovations of Thomas Edison from the light bulb to the alkaline battery to the electric grid. All of these things were created almost a century ago, if not a century ago, by a child who was written off as unable to do very much of anything. And look what he did," Arroyo said. 

The story of Edison has biblical themes in it, the author explained. "It is biblical," he said. "God has chosen the weak to confound the strong and the foolish to confound the wise." We are reminded of that scripture through the life of Thomas Edison and his mother Nancy.

Arroyo reminds parents to look for the "light in their child." 

"Don't write people off. And it's important for parents to see that light in a child, even when no one else does because they might be the next Edison. And who are we to deprive the world of that?" he concluded.

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