ABOUT the author
Denize Rodrigues never saw herself as a writer. In fact, it was not something she ever thought she would do. But when she sat down to write Super Agents Safety Squad, her first draft took her only a day. As any writer can tell you, that is not the norm.
The ease of how this story flowed from her heart to the paper is just a testament to the power of God to sometimes not just move the heart but to move the pen.
Denize grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil to a tight-knit family who taught her about the Lord and hard work. Things were not always easy, but when at the age of 18 she got the opportunity to go to South Africa and stay with family, she jumped at the chance to travel and learn English. Upon returning to Brazil after a few months, she got a job in the corporate world and everything was going well for her. But God had other plans for Denize.
She suddenly found herself with no job, no opportunities, and no idea what would be next. A few weeks after losing everything, Denize received the opportunity to go to the United States and work as a nanny. She had no real experience with children, but dove right in, soon realizing that working with children is something she truly loved.
“I found what I was born to do.” she recalled.
Her life began to change drastically in the years that followed. She got married and had two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. But it wasn’t until her niece came over from Brazil to stay with her that the idea for the book began to form in her heart.
“My sister and her husband were going through a tough time for a couple of years….” She remembered. She wanted to help and took in her 14-year-old niece. But things were not well with her niece. Upon her arrival, Denize realized she was dealing with anxiety and depression, and knew that something more was going on with her. “I’ve never met someone so fearful and scared of everything. I wondered what happened.”
It was months later when her niece finally revealed to her that she had been sexually abused by an uncle.
This news was devastating to Denize and her family, “It changed my life.”
She knew that she had to do something to help her niece but wasn’t sure what. So, she began to research ways to bring healing and restoration. What she discovered was alarming! The statistics of abused children, especially by family members were staggering! Denize was heartbroken on reading story after story of victims and wondered what anyone could do to stop it.
She prayerfully began to work with her niece in the healing process, when one day, her niece suddenly asked her, “Shouldn’t we talk to your kids too about what to do if something like that happens to them?”
Denize’s world was rocked again on these words. She knew she had to do something. But what? She didn’t feel like she knew enough to teach her own children how to prevent something like this from happening to them.
“I didn’t know what to say or even how to approach this with my kids.” She says. It was only after working through the pain of it all with her niece, that it came to her.
She knew there were so many books and resources dealing with the aftermath of sexual abuse, but very little written for children on how to prevent it, and there was absolutely nothing in Portuguese written for children on this topic.
“God talks to me a lot in my dreams. He began to speak to me in my dreams and tell me that I was going to write this book.”
But Denize was resistant, knowing that she is not a writer, and had no idea where to start. But she finally sat down in obedience, and wrote the first draft in Portuguese, knowing this was much needed in her home country. The publishers that she spoke to in Brazil encouraged her to release it in the United States first, and so was birthed the Super Agent Safety Squad.
Denize doesn’t see this as just a story, but a tool that arms children with the knowledge they need to say when something is not ok or makes them uncomfortable.
Super Agents Safety Squad is geared to make children feel empowered. Children will feel comfortable relating to the characters, Tony and Lily, and feel safe as Mrs. Grace helps them navigate through the process of learning how to set boundaries for themselves. When the book is complete, they will even earn a badge and become official members of the Super Agents Safety Squad.
Denize does a wonderful job of giving parents the tools to open discussions that are otherwise difficult. She admits this is not a book you just hand over to your child to read. She wants parents and children to read it together.
“It helps develop a bond of trust and opens up communication between parents and kids.” She points out.
She admits the writing is not hers. She gives all glory to God for giving her the words to put on paper.
“I know that God downloaded the message. It was not from me.” she admits, laughingly, “I wish I could take all the credit, but I can’t. It was a message He put in my heart.”
She hopes this book will be a preventative measure in homes. She wants people to use the book as a measure to stop this from happening, a repellant for potential abusers. She wants parents to make sure that anyone who is in contact with their children to be aware that they have the book.
“It’s not about a book, it’s not about me, it’s about creating awareness. As parents, we can’t fly under the radar and think our children are safe. They are not. It’s sad to say, but in this world, they are not. We need to be aware.”
Her mission is to protect children, and this book is going to be just the start for this first-time author. Her passion for the safety of children is evident in her every word, and God has given her this tool – this book, to start her on this journey, and on this call to action.
By Elani Life