Lisa Williams: Christmas Miracle Inspires Author to Self-Publish The Christmas Hippo

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Lisa Williams; author of “The Christmas Hippo.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

It is hard to believe that a decade has passed since the actual Christmas Hippo story unfolded in real life.  I remember the year well as it was my daughter’s first year in a public school setting. The story began at her 3rd grade school Christmas party.  She was excited about the upcoming break, but sad that her friend would be moving.
Hippo 3

As only two nine year old girls could do, they begged and pleaded until I gave in to a sleepover the first night of Winter Break. My busy mom brain had forgotten that I had already made plans to go caroling with a group of friends that night. When I realized I had double-booked, I merely shrugged my shoulders and thought my daughter’s friend would simply have to join in on the caroling fun. Both girls were happy to sing and spread some Christmas cheer that cold winter night.

As we arrived at the last house, an older gentleman hugged my daughter’s friend and handed her a small item. On the way home, I was told that that man was her bus driver and that he had given her her sister’s stuffed hippo. When she told me that, I thought that that was pretty coincidental, and I should probably have known that it was no coincidence at all.

Hippo Cover

The following day, the little girl’s mom came by to pick her up and told me that she could not get over the fact that the stuffed animal had been returned. She explained that it was her younger daughter’s special lovey and that with the move, she was afraid it had been gone forever. She even added that it must have been Divine Intervention.

I nodded, wished them well and walked in to answer the phone. My friend, Benita, who had hosted the party ,called to share “the BEST God story” with me and went on to tell me  that her husband had seen the bus driver that morning. As the story goes, he had found the small hippo at the end of his run, attempted to deliver it to its owner, but came home discouraged that he was unsuccessful in locating the family, especially since he knew they were moving.

Benita said that in sharing his disappointment with his wife, she wisely suggested that they pray together and ask God to help them return the tiny toy to its owner. Imagine this man’s surprise when he opened his door that night to find the owner’s sister singing carols on his stoop!

The following Christmas season, I was remembering this wonderful story and thought it was merely too good to just keep to myself. I wanted to share this story with everyone in hopes that people would be reminded of exactly how much God cares about even the smallest situations in their lives. While I had dreams of writing a Christmas ballad that told the tale in song, my husband encouraged me to write a children’s book. Within minutes, the book was written. It was very clear that I had help. In fact, I often tell people that God wrote the story and that I was merely a scribe.

Hippo 2

Thanks to WestBow Press, I have been able to share The Christmas Hippo with many children of all ages. I have been asked to read the book in both private and public schools, community Chick-Fil-As, and was even interviewed on the local Christian radio station when the book launched. As a result of that interview, I was blessed with the opportunity to write devotions for the Christian radio station.  Although the story is a decade old, the message is one that transcends time; it is a reminder that the God who placed the stars in the sky cares about the little hippos in our lives.

– WBP –

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WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space. 

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