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BookWorthy Chats with Xochitl Dixon

Interview with Xochitl Dixon
What Color is God's Love Cover


Valerie -Welcome to Book Worthy. Today we're talking with Xochitl Dixon about her picture book, What Color is God's Love? This playful, rhyming picture book invites young readers to discover all the ways God's love can be displayed through a rainbow of colors and emotions. Welcome to Book Worthy, Xochitl.


Xochitl -Hi, how are you doing? Thank you so much for having me.


Valerie - It is my pleasure, but to start us off, I have to ask our random question of the week. Since your book is all about love and colors, what is your favorite color?



Xochitl - That one's not hard. Purple. I'm a purple. I'm not wearing purple today, but purple is my favorite. I love all colors, but purple has got to be my favorite. All things purple. You are, I mean, gorgeous. I love that color on you.


Valerie -Did I ever wear the right shirt for today, right?  Purple is what I did interviewing in high school, like competitive interviewing. And my trainer was like, purple is your power color. I'm like, okay, let's bring it.

Xochitl Dixon Interview

 Xochitl -Oh, you go girl, I see you. That's your power, I believe it. It looks good on you. You wear it well, you wear it well.


Valerie- Well, thank you. Thank you. Well, Xochitl, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.


Xochitl -Okay, well, my name is Xochitl Dixon, and I am married almost 30 years in March. I have a son, Xavier, and also a son, AJ, a stepson, and I have seven grandchildren. Three are adopted into the family because they came in through my stepson's wife, and then they have two kids, and then Xavier has Zarian and Zaria who is in the belly. And we see Zarian and Zaria every week because we're very, really close to them. And we are so blessed by that. And I love my family. They call me Lolly. They call my husband Pops, Lolly Pops because we're suckers. We love them. And I have, yeah, I took that from my friend when she was, we were younger and she says, they're gonna call me that. And I said, mm-mm if I have gone, baby, they're gonna call me that first. And I said we'll call each other that. I said that's okay, we'll sit because I am going to be that. And I love it because I didn't wanna be called grandma. I wanna be called something special. And I like it, it's cute, cause it's Loli. After all, I wanna be fun, I wanna be fun. And I love, I wanna be that grandma that my grandkids love to be around to play with. And I have a service dog, Callie.

Callie the Service Dog

Callie is the service dog. She is in all my children's books. I love Jesus. I love people. I wasn't like that before Jesus. I didn't come to the Lord until I was 30. And so I didn't have that upbringing. So I didn't know a lot about the church and I didn't have all that training. Like people know all these denominations. I didn't have that. So I fell in love with Jesus., and I fell in love with people. So that's what I want to do when I share my books. I want people to love their neighbors. I love diversity because my family is very diverse. I'm Mexican-American, first generation. And my husband's black. Our children are mixed. And so I talk a lot about inclusion. I'm also now disabled. So I talk a lot about equity and diversity and loving people. That's just my heart.


Valerie -I love your heart and I enjoyed seeing Callie show up both in your Different Like Me book and then again here in What Color is God's Love? And I love that you are not just addressing diversity and God's love of diversity as well as also bringing in characters that do have invisible disabilities as well as physical disabilities. I think that in our Christian community, it's a subject that we haven't talked about a lot, especially in children's books. And I love that you're taking a step out in faith to include that in your books as well. Well, tell us real fast.


Xochitl -Yes, the main character always has an invisible disability. Callie is always going to be with that handler for that reason, so we can talk about it. The kids love to go, oh, there's Callie.


Valerie -What was the inspiration behind What Color is God's Love?


Xochitl -Oh, well, that's a hard question because it started to be something different. Have you ever had an experience where you think you're gonna tell God what you're gonna do? And he says, haha, that was cute. Now let me tell you what my plan is. Have you ever done that? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, many times. That was this book. Well, I was following God from California to Wisconsin. And I had a hard time. I knew that we were supposed to be there. I was totally at peace. My husband got a job offer. It was a hard time. I was supposed to be writing, waiting for God, trusting daily in God's plan and pace. And I was like, how am I gonna write this book? It's a devotional with Our Daily Bread because I'm a contributing writer for Our Daily Bread. And I'm like, how am I gonna write this devotional when I'm struggling to trust God? Because I'm in pain, I'm looking for doctors, I have no support system, and I miss my son. What am I going to do? I'm like, I can't write this Lord. And I turned and I looked out at my window and it was freezing. And there's this green lush grass with this creek next to my house because I live now in Wisconsin. And there's a creek with wildlife by my house. And there's this beautiful crane

Beach sunrise

like a I thought it was like this whooping crane I didn't know you know. And it's this white beautiful bird and it's gray outside and it's green grass all these beautiful colors and I start praising God and I start writing this poem about colors and that's how this book started it started this beautiful poem about colors and it was written in free verse and I submitted that and God transformed that after you know they accepted that poem but then Bumi Ishola this amazing editor said, you know, this is something different. I think let's go through this. I think there are two books here. Let's go through this, and pray over it because I think you have something here, but this is not what it is. What do you really wanna write? As I told her my vision about what I wanted to write, about colors, what I was feeling, these emotions I was feeling, she said, write that book. I said, no, that book's too hard. And she goes, no, write that book. And I wanted to write it for that lonely kid because I was feeling lonely. That kid who didn't have anybody, and might need to be reminded that there's a God who cares. That kid who needed to know God is faithful, God is good. You know, those characteristics of God, when you don't know, maybe you're afraid, you need to be reminded God is with you. When you need a little hope. So you need to know God is trustworthy. So characteristics of God, but a color might remind you of that. And so that's the book that I wrote, helping me process those emotions because I trusted the God who is. So it became a transformational book, but I was also transformed. So God helps us with our emotions by knowing who He is.


Valerie -That's so true. I love that one of the lines in one of your emails that you sent my way is like, each color is a reminder of God's unchanging character. And I love that theme throughout the book. But the book doesn't just talk about, you know, all the different colors and seeing God in the colors, but you hinted at this a little bit, also about emotions, how certain colors evoke emotions in us. And I love that you kind of do what was orange was grateful and yellow joy, but then you get to kind of those funky colors that nobody knows what to do with, you know, gray and white and black and brown. And you did an amazing job of taking, you know, usually, you know, certain colors kind of get this. I don't know this. What is it?


Xochitl -Negative, negative, I twisted it. Yeah, I twisted it. I'm so glad you saw that. I'm so, thank you. Thank you. That was intentional. Thank you. Oh, I love you so much. Yes.


Valerie -Negative connotation. You did! Well, I just love the, when you're talking about black and it talks about being courageous. I'm just like, yes, black could be a courageous color rather than a scary color, which is typically what, um, kids' kind of think about when they think about the dark and stuff. And I know, and I loved it, and I can't wait to talk to my kid. I love this book.


What Color is Gods Love

Xochitl - Yes! That was intentional. Yes. Okay, you are making me so excited. I love you. Okay, I love you so much.


Valerie - Well, I love this book because colors are everywhere and it is, I mean, I'm a painter, so I love playing with colors in my paintings and all that. And so it's just one of those, God just shows up in so many different places. And for me, God shows up the most in nature and thus in all the colors of creation. And I just love how you have evoked such joy and relationship. That you have with God in this book to help show kids that God is in all things with you in all things. And in those different emotions too.


Xochitl -Yes, I love that you caught that. And that was it. That was it. That taking those negative colors and breaking that stereotype of negativity because God is good. He makes good things. And, and you know, it doesn't have to be a negative color. Gray doesn't have to be negative. And I wanted to give that positive twist to it. I'm so glad you saw that. Praise the Lord. Oh, you just made my day.


Valerie -Yes, he's happy to do so, but it is. I mean, God made all the colors and all their different variations. And he wants us to use those colors to celebrate him. No matter their shade, no matter how bright or dark they are, it's, they're all part of who he is. And what is it? I like to play a game with my kids when they start talking about what their favorite color is. Cause it's always like., h, my favorite color is red or green or great colors. I'm like, what do you think God's favorite color is? And they're just like, I don't know. I was like, well, he doesn't have a favorite. He loves them all. But especially, with my boys, they have a negative connotation towards pink and purple and all that. I'm like, what does God paint with every morning? He paints with pinks and purples and oranges every morning. And they're just like,


Xochitl -Right, He loves them all.


Valerie -Oh, I guess they're okay colors too.


Xochitl -Right, right, that beautiful sunrise, yeah. I like that, I like that for Sefi. You are a painter, you are a painter, right?


Valerie-Mm-hmm. Yeah, I like to play with colors. And my grandfather was a photographer and he lived in the Panhandle of Texas. And we have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of sunsets and all the different colors of sunsets. And I don't know, there's just that love of color I think is in my DNA somewhere.


Xochitl -Oh, those are some gorgeous sunsets. I have friends in Texas, they send me pictures though. That's some gorgeous sunsets.


Valerie- Yes. Oh yes. And they'll last for like a second. And you're just like all those beautiful colors and then they are gone. And you're just like, thank you Lord for just that moment of joy and you're seeing your creation. It's always so much fun. Now with this book, you have also done some great activity things in the Back of the book and discussion questions to kind of help. What other resources have you put together for your book?


Xochitl -I'm working on some stuff, but I do have a fun thing that I love to do called breath prayers. And they will be on my website in March. I'm going to be having them as a free download. Waterbrook did the graphics. Well, Darshika Varma did the graphics and, of course, the artwork, but Waterbrook put together the package for me. And it is inhaling the scriptures and exhaling a short prayer, because I believe in inhaling, meaning taking them in. You know, you don't have to, you know, hold your breath when you take it in, but just inhaling it, taking it in, pondering it, thinking about the scriptures, God's Word, His truth, and then teaching kids to do that at a very young age. And then, you know, exhaling it, meaning breathing it out, praising God, talking to God, communing with God, and teaching them that at a very young age, I believe, empowers them. And I don't think kids are half disciples, a quarter disciples. I believe that when they receive Jesus, they're full-fledged disciples. So we got to train them up. And we train them up by giving them God's word, empowering them. So every color has a

Breath Prayers from Xochitl Dixon

Bible verse to go with it. And so that's one. And then I'm also working on the U version plan.

and that'll be available soon. I'm also gonna be working on an Easter curriculum that will be going up on my website and hopefully, I have that available and some of those other worksheets that they're working on having available in March that will be available on my website. I hope to be continuing to create resources. So I hope people will come back and visit. I have a page. I wanna be adding resources. I wanna continue to do that because I'm creative. So the more I think of things, I'm like, oh, there's something new. So if you subscribe to my website or follow me on Instagram, if I come up with something new, I'll share it. So I like to do that. I like to be active.


Valerie -I love that. And looking through your book and some of the illustrations when we came to purple, I saw that there was Callie and some of the kids hunting Easter eggs. And so I think that'll be fun for you to do Easter something in there. But I had a quick question about your choice of what purple represented kind of, you know, worship and Jesus, how did you come to I mean, that's a really deep concept for kids, but what brought you to choose that to point to, choose purple to point to Jesus.


Xochitl -Oh, because I think that's all purple. I mean, well, that cross, that cross, I mean, is in my office. That cross that's on that page is hanging in my office. The flower, if you look at the purple page, I know people can't see that. But if you go to my website, you can see that spread. On the cover, and I'm going to show the cover. I don't know if you can see it. I'm going to see if you can see the cover. Look at the cover. See, this is a passion flower. And I don't know if you can see it here, but it's on the purple page. And this is called a Passion flower. And

Passion Flower

the legend of the Passion flower is also on my website. It is my brand flower. And because the Spaniards found this flower, they said it reminded them of the passion of Christ because of the little spikes around it, which reminded them of the thorns for his crown, and uh Darshika Varma I think she stalked me on Instagram because she saw this flower and knew it was important to me so she added it on the purple page she added it on the cover she did all these wonderful little things and typed them in the book very personal the book is very personal and I didn't ask her to do these things um and so the purple page was very personal and I didn't even know it but when I wrote the words like I said I write through prayer. So I'm writing, I'm reading, I'm praying, I'm reading the word, I'm praying. And as I was praying over purple and looking at this cross, it just came to me that I'm praising God and I'm thinking of Him and I asked the Holy Spirit for the words and it became this prayer that I was praising and I said, God, just give me the words. And it became a prayer that I was and he just gave me that prayer that I thought of these people singing in the choir. And how can you not think of the risen king? And how can you not think of the empty tomb? And if you think of the risen king and the empty tomb, how can you not say Jesus is boss? He is our Lord. And that's what I'm hoping that we teach the kids that if you believe in the risen king, then now you know he is Lord. And that's how we teach them. We teach them in words they understand. And yes, it is a big concept, but it's a simple concept. So I hope that kids can start to understand that.

Xochitl Dixon Quote

Valerie - I think that that's great taking something as visual as, you know, the colors of a rainbow or primary and secondary colors and something so tangible and to communicate very intangible things because that can be just walking, like one of the activities I think in the back of the book was, you know, going on a walk and pointing out different colors and just how, okay, what can this tell us about God or what are the feelings we have when we see this color like you know gray feeling calm like I hadn't thought of it like yes gray is a very calming color because when it's a rainy calm day all I want to do is cuddle up on a blanket and read all day so that's a very calm feeling.

reading and relaxing

Xochitl- Right. Yeah, that gray page was kind of a hard one. Yeah.


Valerie - Yeah, but you did. It's a, it's just a great way of taking all these different colors and showing how God speaks to our hearts and through colors, through emotions, and that everything that he has created is the goal is to point to him. And I think kids, kids can easily grasp that concept that God made it all and God, you know, use it all and then church sometimes can get in the way by, you know, adding all the extra have to's or want to's, but if we can at a young age, get them those basic truths and help them just hold onto that firm foundation, then, you know, as the world comes at them, they could still hold onto that, that God is good, that he is for them, that he wants to be with them, that he has created everything for them. And so I love that your book does all those things and something as simple as just the colors of the rainbow. So that's so sweet. Now, Xochitl, did you always want to be an author?


Xochitl - Oh gosh, yes. No, gosh, yes, yes. I have always wanted to be an author. When I was in third grade, I won the Young Author Award. I wrote a book called Sunny, Otter, and the Four Seasons. Yes, I did. And it was about an otter who decided he's gonna stay up and experience these four seasons and he's gonna do this with his friends. And so he had fun experiencing all these seasons with his friends. and he had a good old time I won and I was excited about it and I thought I would be a writer one day until I went to college and somebody told me you can't be a writer you need to be a teacher because writers don't make any money and that is how my dreams were crushed and I was like okay I guess I can't be a writer I was told that in my first semester in college by my English teacher, you write very well but you need to be a teacher and I was like okay, so I stopped dreaming about being a writer for a while. Reality hit. Yeah. But I wasn't a Christian, so I said, OK, whatever. But when I became a Christian, I asked God and said I want to share you. And this was my dream. I said, God, I want to share your truth and love to the ends of the earth. And I don't care how. I went to my first Writers, Christian writers conference in 2010. And that's when I gave my, you know, the whole gift to God. And that's when he started working. But in 2001, I told him I wanted to do that. And he started putting it on my heart to start writing. So I started working on it in 2001 but officially started trying in 2010.


Valerie- Very neat. Now, you know, being a teacher, did you teach writing?


Xochitl -Uh, I do now. I do now. Yeah, I do now. No, I did not. I did not for no, I did not before. I didn't finish school. I ended up dropping out. I had a family and my family had to come first, life happened, so I didn't get to finish school. And so I just ended up saying my son, he was my priority. So I was a teacher. I worked in his classroom. I did a lot of things, because I've always loved to teach and always loved to, and I taught in Sunday school once I became a Christian. So yes, I taught just not curriculum like going to school and being a teacher. But I remember teaching at my son's school, he was in dual immersion and his principal said, can you go back to school so you can be a kindergarten teacher here? And I'm like, yeah, no, too much politics, no. I would probably not work very well with parents because they argue too much. It's like, no, but yeah, I love to teach. I love.


Valerie -Well then throwing you right into kindergarten, that's like rubber hit the road.


Xochitl - But I love that. I just signed up to teach four and five-year-olds at church. So yeah, I love to teach. I love to teach. I love to teach the Bible, to all ages. I do. I used to do youth ministry for over a decade with my husband. I love teaching. Love teaching the Bible too.


Teaching the bible to kids

Valerie -I teach, what is it, four and five-year-olds at our church also. And I, I love how you think you have to be simple, but they're ready for the deepness of the Lord too. And I, I've loved just being like, they're asking hard questions. I'm like, you're more spiritually mature than I was.


Xochitl - They are, they're harder. They're harder than the adults. Are you kidding me? The kids are harder. The teenagers are harder. I think the adults are easier. The kids, the kids like, they'll test you. They'll be like, the hardest question, you'll be like, oh, I don't know, but I gotta find out. And you have to study for those kids. Don't think you don't have to study. They'll get you.


Valerie -Oh yes, they will. Most definitely. But I love that you have this much, such a big heart to share God with so many different ages, because you do a lot of work with our daily bread ministries and, you know, just encouraging people of many ages as well as here with your children's books also.


Xochitl -Those kids don't play. Those teenagers, they'll test you.


Valerie -What has been kind of the most impactful book in your life other than the Bible?


Xochitl -I'm glad you added other than the Bible because I was gonna say that you can't add other than the Bible. You know, you're gonna laugh. Other than the Bible, Where the Red Fern Grows. Yeah, Where the Red Fern Grows. Have you read that book? Okay. Girl, please. Okay, Where the Red Fern Grows was the first book that I learned about God.


Valerie -I have, yes! And yes, there are tear stains on the pages, yes!


Xochitl - I did not know the Lord when I was a kid. And I was taught God is scary. He gonna get you if you're bad. But Where the Red Fern Grows was the first book that taught me to pray. I didn't know about that. It was the first book I saw faith in and I learned about that and I

Where the Red Fern Grows Cover

still remember it. Like I cried and I remember sharing that book with my son when he was little and he cried too, he was like, Mom don't ever give me a book about Dogs. He was like, I don't hate that. But it was a book that I shared with him and it was so powerful. And I was just like, I remembered that as a child. And I remembered I wanted that kind of faith. I don't know that kind of faith. So I remember when I was going through a really hard time thinking I needed to find that kind of faith. In that kind of book, like that kind of faith, I didn't know how to find it. And so that was impactful to me, that a book that, I mean, I was like, how do I find where the Red Fern goes, faith? I mean, that's kind of weird, you know? I was like, I wonder if he can tell me what kind of faith he had. I mean, they should have had it in the glossary or something. Yeah, so I would say, wasn't Wilson Rawls a good job at teaching me how to have faith? Yeah, it was beautiful. I love that book. And I mean, I don't think he wrote, did he write any other books? I don't think he did. But yeah, I still remember the book. The movie didn't do it justice. I think they should have left it alone. The book, the book still brings my heart that that's how you pray. That's how you believe. That's how you love. That's how you love, yeah.


Valerie -Yeah. I've always been an animal lover and you know, dogs of my own. And it's one of those, you know, knowing, you know, what is it? Some people say that dogs are little angels in disguise. And it's just one of those like they love so hard and so big. And that's, you know, Where the Red Fern Grows really. I don't know. It was like the notebook of our, of one generation or something. It's just one of those.


Xochitl -Right. I know. Well, you're younger than me, but yeah, that's what made me want to be a novelist. Like I trained to be a novelist. I started out being a novelist. I said, God said you're going to be a devotional writer and a children's book writer. I was like, OK, you know, but I trained to be a novelist for the first 10 years. I thought I was going to write novels for teens. So, you know, there's a novel on my desk back here, you know, who knows what he'll do?


Valerie - Well, God knew you're such a powerful writer that you're going to have to cram it into 30 pages. Well, so what can we expect next from you?

Xochitl -Oh, well, I have exciting news. Tindale, I'm a contributing writer with an amazing

Go Bible Cover

diverse team for the Go Bible. It's a new Living translation of Go Bible. And also, spoiler alert, Wonderfully, Marvelously, Brown is coming out in the fall from Waterbrook. What color is God's love Celebrate all the colors. Well, wonderfully, marvelously brown is also available now for pre-order. Yeah, I know. I was like, it's available now. You can find it on Waterbrook. Well, it's available everywhere, but it celebrates all the different shades of brown from the very light ivory to the very dark ebony because there are no white or black, you know we're all shades, hues of brown that God created. And it started very personal because my granddaughter was teased. And so when we got into her family, she said, Lali, I'm so glad that I have brown people in my family

now because she's, you know,

Wonderfully Marvelously Brown Cover

she was married into our family. And I said, well, baby, well, I'm glad you're in our family too. And she said, they were teasing me because her sisters are not black, you know, and so she said, you know, she was, I'm glad that now I belong here and so she said, they said that I can't be their sisters because I'm, I'm not the same. And I said, well, your sisters are brown, they're just lighter than you. And you're all

wonderfully, marvelously brown. So, it celebrates our whole diverse family. And I wanted all children to know they're beautiful from the lightest shade of brown to the darkest shade of brown. So, wonderfully, marvelously brown, everybody. Tell your children, that no matter what shade of skin they have, they are wonderfully, marvelously brown. You, Valerie, are wonderfully, marvelously brown. Very light, very light, yes. You are wonderfully, marvelously brown, yeah.


Valerie -Or red sometimes if I'm out in the sun too long.


Xochitl -Hey, that's just a light shade. That's what happens when you light. That's okay. That's okay, sister. I'm light too. I got teased when I was younger because I'm light, light. And so, oh.


Valerie -It is interesting how, you know, colors are such things that can bring us together and show us so many different emotions, but they can just as the enemy intends to divide us because I tell, I tell my kids all the time, it's like, well, what does, they ask, you know, why do we have bad words? Why do bad things happen? It's like, well, what? What's the enemy's goal? Is to take every good, perfect gift God has given us and to turn it and corrupt it. And that's, it's just so hard for them to see it. And it's like, oh, but let's not get corrupted. Let's not be changed by the patterns of this world, but be transformed by God's word. And so I love what you are doing with colors, all shades and all hues, and that you are just stepping into this sweet space with.


Xochitl -Oh, that's, oh, that's a word girl. Praise God. Thank you, I love that word you said. I do, that was a powerful, you are a teacher, sister. I love you, I love you. I'm gonna have to interview you for Paws for Prayer. We go. Okay.


Valerie -Where can people find out more about you?


Xochitl -Please come and visit me on my website at I would love to visit you. I have a passion for Christ, and I love Jesus and people.


Valerie -I know people will be blessed by searching that out and we'll make sure to have that in the comments and descriptions also. So thank you so much for joining me today, Xochitl.


Xochitl -Thank you for having me, Valerie.


Valerie -And thank you for joining Xochitl and me in this episode of the Bookworthy Podcast. Check the show notes for any books or links that we discussed and let us know in the comments, what is your favorite color? Be sure to like and subscribe so we can discover more great books together.

Happy reading.

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