Many people are fascinated with the Amish culture and the people’s simple ways of life. Some people write books on the culture.
Others know it up close and personally, and THEN they write books about the Amish.
Such is the case for Ingrid Hess, who held a book signing in Shipshewana.
Ms. Hess is author of the “children’s” book, An Amish Alphabet.
I put the word “children’s” in quotation marks because, while the book is written for children, I purchased it for myself, and I’m an adult (chronologically-speaking, of course).
In other words, anyone interested in learning something more about the Amish culture would appreciate the book.
Anyway, back to the author, Ms. Hess is from this area and was immersed in the local culture; her mother grew up Amish and her father was conservative Mennonite. The author pulled memories from her childhood and wrote this “primer” of sorts.
Hess holds an MFA in graphic design, and so she illustrated the photos as well, with torn paper art. The illustration above is a self-portrait she created in the book.
This writer-artist combo creates a beautiful work, teaching the public not only their A-to-Zs about the Amish culture, but oftentimes she weaves in Bible verses.
“Many people don’t know the WHY behind some of their beliefs,” she explained. “I wanted to show how many of their choices are grounded in their deeply-held convictions from the Bible.”
For example, on the letter “A,” Hess writes:
Taken from An Amish Alphabet
“The Amish are a group of Christians known for their simple, old-fashioned way of living…. They want to serve God and live in peace together.”
She then adds to the page the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians 6:17: “Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17.
I very much appreciate Hess’s book, her illustrations, and her creative energy behind her work. Most of all, An Amish Alphabet reflects her depth of love and respect for her childhood and heritage.
Do you have a favorite resource on the Amish Culture? What is it?
Hess, Ingrid. An Amish Alphabet. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Herald Press, 2012.
This book can be purchased in Shipshewana at J. Farver II, on Amazon.com, or online at Herald Press.
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