My character Winnie teaches us how to feel without apology. As she does so, she dares to live a life of outrageous love and bravery. She feels without inhibition. Her relationship with Papa liberates her from the expectations to limit her feelings to a set of emotions. He embraces her emotions without hesitation. Winnie is free because she is fully herself with Papa. Her imagination and human emotions fly with the Papa whose presence, love, power, and image is not confined by any time, space, feeling, or image.


"I just found out about this beautiful new series from my friend Claudia May that explores “embodiment of emotional freedom through relationship with God and others.” The first book is called When I Fly with Papa, and its main character, Winnie, teaches us to “feel without apology.” My kids need that book. I need that book."

—Addie Zierman, author of When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love, and Starting Over

''A delightful, engaging, and evocative book that will capture the imaginations of young readers and older ones as well!''

—Michael W. Holmes, PhD, University Professor of Biblical Studies and Early Christianity emeritus, Bethel University

When I Fly With Papa is an enchanting and captivating poem in seven movements that transports the reader far beyond the language of words on the printed page. It resurrects the imagination and sets it free to fly and discover new insights about the holiness of playing, trusting, sharing, listening, eating, and praising with Papa. It is a love song where the melodies soar and dip, prance and somersault, cry and cradle, and even in anger, they ride the wind with joy to the drumbeat of our lives. When I Fly With Papa opens the heart to the songs of love that serenade the soul.  Above all, Claudia May’s poem is a song of belonging, a song of home. This is more than a book for children, for do we not all long for a Papa like this, a Papa who calls us by name and welcomes us home?


—Rev. Helen Bruch Pearson, Professor Emerita of Theology

Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Author of Do What You Have The Power To Do: Studies Of Six New Testament Women.

When I Fly With Papa invites us on a journey of sacred experience and promise. The poem is playful, reassuring, and comforting. Children in nurturing homes and those who feel abused and neglected (a substantial percentage of all children) will know the hope that comes from the presence of One who is so available, intimate, and tender. No observation, thought, or emotion escapes the loving attention of Papa who is always with us. I rejoice that Claudia May’s creative powers have given us a poetic rendering of the relationship our hearts fervently desire. 


—Luther E. Smith, Jr., PhD

Professor Emeritus of Church and Community

Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Author of Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet

Claudia May's When I Fly with Papa captures not only a soaring, lyrical poeticism, but a visceral experience of what it means to be authentically present in our whole beings before God - unfiltered, unhindered, embodied - and to still be met by an abiding love and grace. As a reader, I was swept up in the current of experience so much that, at times, it felt as though I was breathing with the character. With each unfolding movement, May invites us into full transparency, deepening intimacy, growing adventure, and a precious pilgrimage that can only be captured through the tender trust of a child.  At its core, this book is a healing and joyful work that offers each of us - no matter our age – the chance to (re)discover what it means to truly BE as a child before our Papa.


—Naisa Wong

Soul Care Practitioner - Spiritual Direction and Trauma Care Certified Director, Producer, Dramaturg & Consultant - Professional Theatre, Film and Television

Not every learned university trained scholar can enter into the world of children and correctly use their language in communicating mature ideas about their lives from a Christian context. Finding such a gifted and creative writer is a rare discovery. But I am serendipitously happy to say that such a person exists in Claudia May of the Bethel University faculty. Having heard her preach with ease, connecting cross culturally with millennials and other diverse groups, and having been enriched by her book, Jesus Is Enough:  Love, Hope, And Comforts In The Storms Of Life, I am certain that this book for children will introduce them to JESUS who, according to the gospels, magnetically attracted children to himself. You will bless yourself and your children by taking my recommendation to heart.


—J. Alfred Smith Sr.

Pastor Emeritus, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, Ca.

Professor Emeritus, American Baptist Seminary of The West, Berkeley, Ca. 


Through her descriptive and carefully chosen words, Dr. Claudia May paints a picture of a healthy, secure relationship developing between a young child and Papa. Through the seven parts of the story, May describes the types of interactions and responses from Papa that create a place of peace and security for the child.  Papa is the trustworthy partner who infuses his strength, wisdom and kindness into every situation.


When I Fly with Papa is a window into the mind and heart of a young child who discovers, in Papa, the kind of deep love that provides both a safe haven and secure base. The story begins with the child and Papa delighting in playful antics together – simply enjoying time together. As the story progresses, we see the child and Papa developing a deepening bond. A sacred space is created between them where words need not be spoken for the child to feel the comfort of Papa’s presence. Feeling secure in Papa’s presence, we see how the relationship buffers the child when she experiences fear and doubt. So strong is the bond, there is even a safe space for the child to push back and disagree with Papa.  The child has come to know Papa will never leave. His love will never change. 


When I Fly with Papa portrays how relationships that provide safety and security can shape a child’s self-image and stimulate the growth of the heart and mind. Through a child development lens, this story eloquently describes how the child and Papa develop a secure attachment.  Beyond implications for earthly relationships, When I Fly with Papa is a reminder that our heavenly Papa is always ready to fly with us.

—Jolene Pearson PhD (IMH-E® (IV)

Associate Professor and Director of Early Childhood, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, Author of Pathways to Positive Parenting: Helping Parents Nurture Health Development in the Earliest Months


2017     May, C. “Yesterday, Today, and Forever?” Radix: Where Christian Faith Meets Contemporary Culture 39 (4)


2015    May, C. “In the Garden.” Radix: Where Christian Faith Meets Contemporary Culture 38 (2)


2014    May, C. “Walking on Water.” Radix: Where Christian Faith Meets Contemporary Culture 38 (1)



"Spiritual friendship offers leisurely conversation, accompaniment through life's landscapes, and insights into oneself and into the profound graces of our Lord Jesus. In Jesus is Enough, Dr. May draws us into that kind of thoughtful, meditative reflection. She walks us through biblical narratives, deepens the experience with stories and poetry, and leads us into prayerful contemplation and faithful transformation."

-- Rev. Mark Lau Branson, Ed.D., Homer L. Goddard Associate Professor

of Ministry of the Laity.

"Claudia May has a way of pulling precious gems of insight and understanding from biblical stories and teachings, bringing out captivating nuances of Jesus' will and nature. Over and over again she manages to show that Jesus truly is enough."

-- Margaret Houk, author of When You Have Chronic Illness and other faith-based, self-help books.


"Jesus is Enough provides a practical and well-needed approach to our desire for a spiritual road map. This inspired book will bring the reader to a closer walk with Jesus. May plots a path that provides the reader with hope, comfort, and contentment. The reader will find Jesus incarnated in these pages, a Jesus that supplies all their needs."

-- Rev. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones, Associate Rector at St. Bartholomew's, Manhattan.


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