Interview with Sara Lavender Burkhalter

Author of Our Belly Button Love

By Stephanie Horton, MK Tuscaloosa Publisher January 24, 2023

     It was a thousand joys to interview Sara Lavender Burkhalter, local author and co-owner of Lavender, Inc. “First and foremost, she is a wife and mother.”*  Sara was born and raised in West Alabama. She is the co-owner of her family business, Lavender Inc.  Writing books, specifically children’s books, has always been a dream of hers.  She has a degree in Secondary Education for English Language Arts.  It is beautiful to see how her life has come full circle to where she is now writing about her passions of faith, family, the great outdoors, and pulling from her construction experience.  Sara does a lot of different things in the construction company, and workforce development is a big part of that.  Educating students on the variety of jobs Lavender Inc. has available.


       Sara has three book series for young readers and is passionate about sharing the importance of reading and bonding with your children through the written word. Her first published book is from the Blue Collar series.  Welding Santa’s Sleigh is a story of a young boy waking to find his father welding a project, but not just any project.  His father is welding Santa’s sleigh!  This series is helping “ to change the way that people in America view blue collar workers.” It is for parents to read to their children and help educate them of the value in this field of work.  “Not every child will be a blue collar worker, but neither will every child be a doctor, lawyer, or teacher.” Lavender Inc. has many employees and a database of several thousand employees that now represent the second, even third generation. She wants her books to promote a sense of pride.  “Being  a blue collar worker is something to be proud of.  It is something that should be praised.”


     The Sam Series is one kids of all ages will love! Sara has dedicated this fun loving series to hunters and dog trainers. The Burkhalter’s Labrador Retriever Sam is the star.  With a decline of youth hunters on the rise, Sara is doing her part to encourage hunting and outdoor adventure with this youth series.  Hunting is such a wonderful way to connect with nature, your community, and your hunting animal.  It provides valuable skills, teaches character, and promotes healthy connections.  The Sam series is based on real life moments with Sara’s husband, who is an avid duck hunter, and Sam himself.  

     The Mommy and Me series was really a spark from her heart.   Parents and caregivers spend so much time reading with their children, some even start pre birth; so “there has to be more of a connection, not just for the child, but for the adult mature reader that’s reading to them.  Whether that’s the mom, the dad, the grandmother, guardian, whoever that may be; so that really became my goal,” Sara says.  These books convey that children are loved and worthy of being loved.  The Mommy & Me series is based around moms and grandmothers largely in part to the special bond that Sara shares with the women in her life.


    The first book in the series,Our Belly Button Love, was inspired by real life events.   One night Sara was rocking her infant daughter to sleep.  She noticed her baby’s belly button was next to hers. Sara said, “Oh my goodness, that’s it!  Wait a minute, God.  Are you trying to tell me that I need to write a book right now?”  So she pulled out her phone. Having no idea that she was about to become a children’s author.  Sara wrote out our belly button love in one sitting. She says, “A Lot of my books, just come to me.  I have to be in a peaceful environment, and inspired by something…The stories just come to me so quickly.” 

     Of all the books Sara has written, Our Belly Button Love is the most special.   She wants other moms to connect with this book in a personal and tangible way.  The book talks about her struggle with infertility.  It’s faith based, and talks about how she and her husband prayed to God for so long.  Then, on Mother’s Day weekend, the Burkhalters learned of their pregnancy; and that they were going to have their own Belly Button Love.  Sara and her husband are now expecting their second child. 

     Sara wants to leave a lasting legacy that has some kind of impact on this earth.  She says if this is how God wants to use her, she is thankful.  Her advice to those who may want to write or feel passionate about other endeavors, “If you really are passionate about something, don’t let anything in life hold you back.  Just go ahead and pursue it.  If you are passionate about it, God will make a way for it.  It may take years, it may take a long time, but if that is a deep desire of your heart God will make a way for you to do that.  There will be different people that will be put in your life along the way.  That was kind of me,  I was sitting on all these stories for a while, and I was praying for an illustrator, and for a publisher.  Then it all just came together.”

     If you are looking for the perfect Valentine gift for your child, visit Sara’s website to order your copy of Our Belly Button Love.  It will be a gift that keeps giving as you read it to your child, and one day they will be reading it back to you.