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A QUARTERLY RESOURCE AUGUST 2012 VOL.55
Must-Have Amish Fiction From #1 Bestselling Author
With more than 16 million copies sold, and acclaimed by the likes of Newsweek, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal, Beverly Lewis is the top name in Amish ﬁction. This spring she offers the stirring conclusion to her bestselling Home to Hickory Hollow series. Mystery surrounds the non-English-speaking girl Jodi Winﬁeld found along the road one morning. Will an unexpected encounter with the Amish shed some light?
The Guardian by Beverly Lewis Home to Hickory Hollow Trade Paper; $14.99; 978-0-7642-0979-6 Hardcover; $19.99; 978-0-7642-1080-8 Large Print; $17.99; 978-0-7642-1081-5 Ebook; $14.99; 978-1-4412-6103-8
ON SALE April 2, 2013
Stories for the Heart and Soul
New from Bethany House
The peaceful practices of the Mennonites are challenged in the second book of this thrilling suspense series.
Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl
ROAD TO KINGDOM #2
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This blockbuster author team delivers another romantic and intriguing read headed straight for the bestseller charts with the conclusion to their BRIDAL VEIL ISLAND series.
To Honor and Trust by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
BRIDAL VEIL ISLAND
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The highly emotional conclusion to bestselling author Dale Cramer’s acclaimed series—bound to become a classic in the Amish ﬁction genre.
Though Mountains Fall by Dale Cramer
THE DAUGHTERS OF CALEB BENDER #3
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Bestselling author Julie Klassen delivers another Regency romance sure to please fans of this increasingly popular era for historical ﬁction.
The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
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tailored specifically to their needs, it’s not a sure-fire recipe. A niche audience is by definition smaller than a general one, and it can be harder to reach. “Because books are becoming more segmented in their target audience, it is more and more difficult to reach that segment of the market,” says Beacon Hill’s Russell. EMPHASIZING AUTHOR PLATFORM As audience segmentation increases, marketing departments are often stretched thin. More of the burden of promotion is shifting to the author. While author platform is important in every book category, from fiction to cookbooks to dieting, it may be even more significant in the parenting arena, where readers feel vulnerable and want rock-solid guidance they can trust. “Issues like special needs, adoption, a strong-willed child, or the rise of autism send parents into a bookstore or library,” says Chicago Tribune columnist Jennifer Grant, mother of four and author of MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family (Worthy, May). “They’re hungry for narratives that mirror what they’re going through while giving them a sense of how to manage whatever the issue is.” Grant views author platform not as a contest to see who has the most Twitter followers but as an opportunity to engage with readers. Some of her columns about adoption, and specifically the experience of adopting a child from Guatemala, resulted in letters and e-mails from readers all over the country. “I’m not at all an adoption expert, but what I found was an organic community of people with similar experiences,” she says. This is exactly the kind of connection to readers that publishers are looking for. At Ave Maria Press, publicist Amanda Williams sees bloggers as already having a built-in relationship with their audience. “We’ve certainly seen an uptick in the number of bloggers-gone-authors, and we are pleased to have signed some of the best-known
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There’s a Parenting Book for That: Trying to stand out in a crowded category
By Jana Riess
s your teen talking back? Is your toddler not yet talking? There’s a book for that. A search for “parenting books” on Amazon.com reveals more than 70,000 unique titles, giving rise to an ordeal religion publishers identify as their number one issue in this category: standing out from the pack. “The greatest challenge we face is the glut of product already on the shelves,” says Debbie Wickwire, senior acquisitions editor for Thomas Nelson. “Honestly, how many ‘launching’ and ‘survival’ guides can a parent read?” Religion publishers have responded to this challenge in various ways, but five strategies are proving particularly helpful in the flooded category of parenting books. ADDRESSING SPECIFIC NEEDS It used to be so simple, didn’t it? First you learned What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and then Dr. Spock walked you through all the usual illnesses and milestones of Baby and Child Care. If your school-age son got mouthy, you could Have a New Kid by Friday or learn How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, both courtesy of Kevin Leman (Baker Books). What all those books had in common was that they held to a one-size-fits-all standard; they dealt with challenges that were not unusual. Even in the smaller religion market, parenting books
assumed that kids were kids and that parenting issues were more or less universal. Nowadays, the publishing trend is to divide and conquer the parenting market. “It appears that the topics and segmentation are becoming much more defined and more advanced,” explains Barry Russell, sales manager for Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Mo. “Instead of having a book on boys, it seems to be a book on boys with ADHD.” Some titles are specific about both audience and subject, like Bethany House’s What a Son Needs from His Mom (Mar. 2013) and What a Daughter Needs from Her Dad, which has sold 47,000 copies since 2004. Others zero in on the subject matter. “I see more parenting books that are issue-oriented,” reports Cat Hoort, marketing and publicity manager for Kregel Publications. “They tackle a specific relevant topic. Bullying is one right now.” Books that address the changing American family are on the rise. “Single parenting continues to be a growing topic with readers as we see more and more kids raised in single parent and/or blended family homes,” says Jeff Rustemeyer, senior director of the publishing arm of Focus on the Family. “We are also seeing an ongoing, growing trend toward adoption and the special challenges families face assimilating adopted children.” While slicing and dicing is a great way for publishers to find new audiences and for readers to receive advice
Although “Mom is still the primary buyer of parenting books,” as Thomas Nelson’s Laura Minchew suggests, there’s a definite uptick these days in books for dads and about boys. Moody’s Janis Backing agrees. “I think more books are now directed toward fathers than in the past because men are demonstrating an interest in taking an active role in parenting their children,” she says. To help dads do this, Gospel Light/Regal has Be a Better Dad Today! Ten Tools Every Father Needs (May), and FaithWords will release The Playbook for Dads: Parenting Your Kids in the Game of Life by former quarterback Jim Kelly (Sept.). Earlier this year, Abingdon raised the specter of fatherlessness in African-American families with Our Father: Where Are the Fathers? (Mar.). Then there are the classics, James Dobson’s 2001 book Bringing Up Boys and others. At Focus on the Family, which partners with Tyndale House for its publishing, a perennial favorite is Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood, first published in 1997 and updated in 2007. “It has sold over 450,000 copies and continues to be one of our top-selling backlist titles consistently every year,” says Focus on the Family’s Jeff Rustemeyer. —J.R.
Catholic mommy bloggers,” she says. Since Ave Maria’s books are “steeped in Catholic tradition,” the publisher looks to authors who can bring a Catholic perspective to topics like pregnancy and motherhood. It will release Sarah Reinhard’s A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy in September. At Thomas Nelson, senior v-p and publisher for gift and children’s books Laura Minchew notes that the rise of social media presents an exceptional opportunity for authors “to build credibility through their platforms.” Platform is key for debut author Maralee McKee, who is described as a “Manners Mentor” and who has appeared on the Warner Bros. national morning show, The Daily Buzz. McKee’s first book, Manners That Matter for Moms (Harvest House, Oct.), teaches moms to apply time-tested etiquette to such modern problems as texting at the dinner table or how to please both a mom and a stepmom on Mother’s Day. But the blog platform can cut both ways, cautions Jeana Ledbetter, v-p of editorial for Worthy Publishing. “With the proliferation of mom blogs, there is
a wealth of information available for free on the Internet,” she says. “As a result, a parenting book has to be compelling enough for readers to spend their hardearned money on it.” WALKING WITH THE READER Author expertise has always been key in the category of parenting books; for example, Dr. Spock’s authority derived from his professional role as a pediatrician. But today, an author’s platform must also include relatability. The author is not just an expert but a fellow traveler who is also trying to navigate the confusing world of parenting without a road map. “Over the past several years, parenting books have become more narrativedriven and less prescriptive,” says Worthy’s Ledbetter. “Readers want to read relatable stories to help them deal with the issues they face in their own families.” At Chalice Press, marketing and client services manager Amber Moore sees “more parenting memoirs being published” nowadays, citing Chalice’s own
chronicle PregMANcy: A Dad, a Little Dude, and a Due Date (Apr.). The memoir, which relies on vulnerable personal revelations and laugh-out-loud humor as it walks expecting fathers through the experience of pregnancy, was one that author Christian Piatt says he initially wrote as “catharsis and therapy for myself.” But after showing early drafts to others and hearing from them that it was the best writing he’d ever done, he decided to publish it. “Laughter humanizes the story,” he says. In a more serious vein, at Westminster John Knox Press, Patheos.com blogger Ellen Painter Dollar shared her story of deciding whether to use advanced reproductive technology to conceive a child or risk passing on her gene for a debilitating disorder. Her book No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction, released in February from WJK, blends memoir with research into the rapidly changing possibilities for human conception. And at Zondervan, a memoir by Emily Colson (daughter of Charles, who provides a foreword and epilogue) details the author’s personal struggle to find help for her autistic son. Dancing with Max came out in 2010, and the paperback version will be released in September. “What is different today versus five years ago is that young parents are looking more for experiential learning, rather than didactic learning,” says Don Gates, v-p of marketing at Zondervan. “They would rather have a seasoned parent share experiences where principles organically emerge, rather than have a Ph.D. share 10 rules or the latest whizbang model.” BUILDING ON BACKLIST Still, it can be hard for new authors to make a name for themselves in the parenting category. But the silver lining to that problem is that a title that does strike gold is likely to stick around for a long, long time. At Thomas Nelson, The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and
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HELP FOR DAD
MaryAnn McKibben Dana’s Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time (Chalice, Sept.; reviewed in this issue). Dana recounts the strategies her family has used to keep the Sabbath day holy, whether it’s logging off from Facebook or shoving the dirty laundry in a closet until Monday. Laura Minchew at Thomas Nelson sees a real need for books that teach parents how to help their kids adopt “a simpler lifestyle without some of the emphasis on material possessions. Today’s parents are still living in a selfindulgent world, but they are trying to raise kids with a heart to serve others and be more selfless,” she says. In March, Nelson will release Dave Stone’s guide Raising Kids in a Self-Centered World. Whatever the topic, there is no end to the proliferation of parenting books. As long as there is a need, there will be a book—or perhaps 70,000. ■
Acceptance by John Trent and Gary Smalley has sold more than one million copies in all editions, including a 2011 update. Nelson’s 1995 workbook Reflections from a Mother’s Heart has sold 2.2 million copies, with its most recent edition in 2010. In backlist, Moody Publishers also sets a gold standard with The 5 Love Languages of Children, co-written by megaselling author Gary Chapman. First published in 1997, it has remained a robust performer for 15 years, selling more than 68,000 copies in 2011. Moody refreshed the book in February with updated content. GETTING REAL While a strong backlist is important, it’s equally crucial for publishers to respond to what parents view as the issues of the day, including tough problems that they might have a difficult time discussing with others. Bethany House has had success with What Your Son Isn’t Telling You—a 2010 book that has sold nearly 45,000 copies—and its companion book, What Your Daughter I sn ’t Tel ling You (2007). It will repackage the latter in March 2013, adding information and advice on teens and social media. Kregel has a whole series devoted to some of the difficulties teens and tweens face in today’s society. All six of Kregel’s Hot Buttons books are authored by Nicole O’Dell, a mother of six who hosts Teen Talk Radio and Parent Talk Radio. Kregel’s Hoort says that O’Dell sometimes encounters resistance from Christian parents who don’t want to believe the things that their children are facing at school and online. “She sees the challenge of getting Christian parents to accept that their kids are exposed to issues like drugs, pornography, and Internet predators,” says Hoort. “And they’re being exposed at younger and younger ages. The challenge is to convince parents to be proactive about addressing those issues so that
their kids are prepared.” With that in mind, the Hot Buttons series launched in June with its first two titles, which focus on dating and the Internet. Future books will deal with drugs, sexuality, bullying, and selfimage—the last two topics a result of the series’ early response. Part of “getting real” for parents also has been how to set limits and impart altruistic values in a culture of affluence. In May, WaterBrook Press released Kay Wills Wyma’s Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, a memoir about Wyma’s year of putting her five kids to work around the house. According to publicity manager Beverly Rykerd, “this book has struck a chord with the mommy bloggers,” and has been featured on the New York Times parenting blog and on CNN Headline News. Another book about family limits is
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Books on Marriage Keeping it Real— and Practical
By Kimberly Winston
ooks on marriage from a religious point of view are heavily published by evangelical Christian houses, and this year their books on the subject keep clearly in focus the idea that a good marriage requires effort. New titles that promise everything from long-term strategies to quick fixes are all designed to improve and strengthen what for many people is the longest, most complex relationship of their lives. As has been true in the past, the targeted readers are women, who buy most of the books on this topic. But titles specifically aimed at men are gaining ground. And while established authors have new entries, the category is opening itself up to newer and younger voices, reflecting the views of a generation whose ideas about marriage are changing. THE TRIED AND TRUE At Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, there is faith in the tried-and-true titles for women about marital threats like infidelity and poor communication. Revell has had strong success in this category, most notably with His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley Jr., originally released more than 25 years ago and revised by the author in 2011. It has sold more than 2.5 million copies in all formats, so editorial directo Jennifer Leep does not expect Revell’s approach to change. “The 10 basic needs explored in His Needs, Her Needs are the same as they were two and a half decades ago, even though the ways they express themselves in today’s culture are different,” she says. “That book is a good example of what’s true for this category as a whole.” New
from Revell is The Marriage of Your Dreams: A Woman’s Guide to Understanding Her Man by Rick Johnson (Sept.) and Praying God’s Word for Your Husband by Kathi Lipp (June). The Baker Books imprint has Lifelong Love Affair: How to Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage by Jimmy Evans with Frank Martin (Sept.). And Crossway will publish The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating Love Only God Can Produce by Hayley DiMarco (Sept.; profiled in this issue), while Tyndale has Your Heart’s Desire: 14 Truths That Will Forever Change the Way You Love and Are Loved by Sheri Rose Shepherd (June). At Whitaker House, titles also reflect the more traditional version of marriage with an emphasis on advice. Says publisher Bob Whitaker Jr., “If a book is not cutting to the issues of why marriages are failing and families are falling apart, I don’t think it is worth publishing.” New from Whitaker House are Releasing Family Blessings: God’s Plan for Your Marriage and Children by Larry and Tiz Huch (Aug.), who are top-selling authors for the house, and Faith, Family & Finances: Strong Foundations for a Better Life by Henry Fernandez (Mar.), a megachurch pastor. Whitaker intends to expand its lineup of marriage books soon, but look for future titles to try for a male readership. “Men are not stepping up to the plate to support their families, so I am happy to publish books that address issues to men,” Whitaker says. He also expects future titles on “challenged marriages,” such as those struggling with addiction. The house publishes in Spanish to a market that has been responsive to its marriage titles.
“The Spanish market struggles with the same marriage issues,” Whitaker notes. A Spanish version of Faith, Family & Finances releases in October, and Releasing Family Blessings will be published in Spanish next spring. When it comes to marriage, Zondervan is wary of trends, says v-p of marketing Don Gates. “While the super-sexedup books in the last year have received a lot of attention, they were not the best of sellers,” he says. “We focus on enduring themes and opportunities in marriage—communicating with each other, understanding the other, growing together spiritually, and the like.” He cites Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story by Joni Eareckson Tada and her husband and Couples of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional to Draw You Closer to God and Each Other by Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth (both Apr. 2013). CLASSIC TAKES, FRESH VIEWS At Moody, the 800-pound gorilla is The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman’s 1992 marriage bestseller, which has sold more than seven million copies and spawned a whole family of spinoffs. Those spinoffs continue with Chapman’s The Love Languages Devotional Bible (Oct.), which has commentary, devotions, and prayer guides for couples. Moody is also turning to fiction: for last Christmas the house produced A Marriage Carol, a retelling of the 19th-century Dickens classic as an instructional tale about modern marriage; Walk with Me: Pilgrim’s Progress for Married Couples by Annie Wald (Sept.; profiled in this issue) is a retelling of John Bunyan’s 17thcentury Christian allegory. Deborah Keiser, Moody’s associate publisher, is looking for more fictional approaches to marriage and relationships. “In fiction, you can fall in love with a character and what’s happening in their lives and identify with them in a way you can’t with nonfiction,” she says. “Telling you is only one way of learning, and this is a different
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M O V E B E YO N D T H E PA G E S O F A B O O K
A look at what our earthly relationships, whether good or bad, teach us about the Divine.
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So many ways to meet potential partners—online dating services, social networking groups, even professional matchmakers. What can this season’s dating books from religion and spirituality publishers add to help the search? Words of experience leavened by practical advice. “It isn’t enough for someone to tell their story,” says Barry Russell, sales manager at Beacon Hill Press. “They need to have something people can take away and apply to their own situation.” Beacon Hill has several new dating titles that reflect another trend Russell sees— the further niching of the category. “People want products specifically catered to their needs,” he says, and Beacon aims for that with Dating After Divorce: Preparing for a New Relationship by David and Lisa Frisbie (June). The same holds true at Bethany House, with its Dating and the Single Parent by Ron Deal (Oct.). Not surprisingly, there is a good deal of focus on the young, too. Zondervan has Is This the One? Simple Dates for Finding the Love of Your Life by Stephen Arterburn (Apr.; reviewed in this issue). Mormon publisher Cedar Fort offers Unsteady Dating:
Resisting the Rush to Romance by JeaNette G. Smith (July), and Thomas Nelson will publish The Truth About Breaking Up, Making Up, and Moving On by Chad Eastham (Jan. 2013). Nelson’s AnnJanette Toth, marketing director for children’s and family entertainment, says the future of this category will include more e-books, social media, and maybe even some apps. “A lot of young adults and kids are going to the Internet to find their answers, so it makes sense for us to meet them there,” she says. In a play for younger readers, Servant Books, an imprint of Catholic publisher Franciscan Media, is publishing Would You Date You? by Anthony Buono (July), the founder of Ave Maria Singles, a Catholic dating site. Franciscan has had other titles that touched on dating—most notably If You Really Loved Me by Jason Evert (2009)—but Christopher Holmes, Franciscan’s marketing strategy and services manager, says Would You Date You? is its first book dedicated to the topic, and its author is perfectly poised to reach young Catholics and beyond. “Anthony’s background brings the possibility of a new audience, the younger adults we are always trying to reach,” he says. —K.W.
way, learning through story.” At WaterBrook Multnomah, the Christian division of Random House, v-p and editor-inchief Ken Petersen says the “general marriage book” may be a thing of the past. “Anything new has to have a distinctive concept,” he says. That’s what the house hopes it has with Altared: The True Story of a She, a He, and How They Both Got Too Worked Up About We by authors known only as “Claire and Eli” (Sept.; reviewed in this issue). The book is a critical look at the notions and pressures of marriage within the evangelical church; it is based on the authors’ own experiences as a young Christian couple. “Altared is a great example of this new literature and new emphasis,” says Petersen. “There’s less emphasis on avoiding divorce and more emphasis on creating deep, intimate relationships.” But the practical advice book retains its hold on the marketplace, too. One Month to Love: Thirty Days to Grow and Deepen Your Closest Relationships by Kerry and Chris Shook (WaterBrook, Dec.) is an attempt to build on the authors’ 2008 success, One Month to Live: Thirty
BEFORE MATING, DATING
Days to a No-Regrets Life. Practical is the buzzword at Harvest House, where marriage titles account for approximately 25 % of its list. Publicist Aaron Dillon says readers are looking for “something relational.” Short is sweet, too. “Our readers respond well to a format of 31 days or 52 weeks,” Dillon says. “Things that are practical and implementable are generating success for us.” New titles reflect that with 31 Days to a Happy Husband by Arlene Pellicane (Aug.), 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Remarried by H. Norman Wright (Oct.), and Singleness, Marriage, and the Will of God, described as a comprehensive biblical guide, by J. Robin Maxson with Garry Freisen (Aug.). Harvest House recognizes the main customers for marriage titles are women, but it too would like to reach more men. “Those titles have to have the same concision and advice you want for the women, but even more so because men for the most part are not readers,” Dillon says. He points to 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands by Jay Payleitner (Feb.) as an example. And look for the category to niche into specific issues married people
may confront, such as infertility, infidelity, and adoption. What will the marriage book of the future look like? Studies show fewer couples are choosing to get married, and those that do are getting married later. At the same time, more couples are opting for childlessness, thereby redefining the idea of what marriage is traditionally “for”— creating families. “Generation Y and to some extent millennials are beginning to reinvent the marriage book of the future,” says WaterBrook Multnomah’s Petersen. “I see them less interested in traditional roles and more interested in adapting flexible roles that fit each personality within the marriage.” Whitaker agrees—to a point. He believes that while young people today no longer assume they should get married, they are not doing much thinking about what else they should do in terms of their relationships. “A growing group faces so many choices they find it difficult to make decisions,” Whitaker says. “Upcoming books on dating and marriage would do well to address the question ‘How can a person best serve God—as a married parent or as a single man or woman?’ ” ■
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evolved and changed; it’s a trend that doesn’t die.” WaterBrook Multnomah’s YA fiction once made up about 30% of its fiction line, according to Marchese, but these days it’s at about 10%. (The change is the result of some prolific authors slowing down.) Sigmund Brouwer’s Merlin’s Immortals series—The Orphan King (July) and Fortress of Mist (2013)—are linchpins of the YA fantasy line, as is the work of Karyn Henley and the Dragon series of Donita K. Paul. TEENS WANT THEIR REALITY Melody Carlson’s Diary of a Teenage Girl series taps into another vein besides fantasy that is popular with teen readers: real-life issues. Carlson started with one book that took off, eventually spawning the 16-book series as well as other series like the Secret Life of Samantha McGregor. Carlson, who has written about 80 books for teens, is also author of the Carter House Girls and On the Runway series with Zondervan, and the TrueColors series with NavPress. “The difference is that I was willing to write really edgy stuff, to get inside the skin of a teenager,” says Carlson, who has written on topics such as cutting, alcohol abuse, school shootings, eating disorders, and body image. “If the girls themselves aren’t into these things, they know someone who is.” Carlson’s ability to address teen reality points out one of the difficult issues publishers face: how far they can go in the fiction they publish. It’s a fine line between addressing real-life issues important to teens and drawing the ire of parents and other adults who want to protect children from unnecessary or immoderate violence, sex, or adult situations. “Christian publishers walk a tightrope,” says Cook’s Pape. “We want to be real and deal with life issues, but also be redemptive and provide a light in the dark. We’ve had some parents return books because they’re dark, but when you look at what kids are into in the real
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Christian YA Fiction Coming into full bloom
By Ann Byle
hristian teen fiction is coming into its own these days as sales rise for both digital and traditional books, and as publishers look for the next bestselling series. While Christian publishers haven’t found juggernauts that compare to Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, or the Twilight series, it’s not for lack of trying. “YA fiction in general is a fast-growing genre,” says Don Pape, v-p of trade publishing for David C. Cook. “The YA reader can’t get enough story; they’re voracious readers whether in hard copy or digital download.” Thomas Nelson’s Daisy Hutton, v-p and publisher for fiction, has a similar view of the market. “With the YA boom in the general market, we have definitely seen a surge of interest in the Christian market,” she says. “The growth of the category in the last five years has given Christian authors extra motivation to reach that teen reader, and we have seen it in the number of YA proposals that cross our desk.” Nelson’s YA line includes the Son of Angels: Jonah Stone series by Jerel Law—Spirit Fighter (Apr.) and Fire Prophet (Dec.)—and the Swipe series by Evan Angler (Swipe, Apr., and Sneak, Sept.), as well as the Dreamhouse Kings series by Robert Liparulo and Angel Eyes (May), the first in a series by Shannon Dittemore. “Christian teens aren’t all that different from teens shopping in the general market. They are drawn to stories with high stakes and a lot of action, whether in the real world or in a fantasy world,” says Hutton. “But they also enjoy stories that help them understand some of the
issues they face on a daily basis. The Christian story and faith so easily lend themselves to what is popular in the general market—the ultimate fight of good vs. evil, uncertainty in trying to figure out who you are, and how to handle the issues they face.” Cook, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., jump-started its YA fiction line with Travis Thrasher’s Solitary Tales series, including Solitary (2010), Gravestone (2011), and Temptation (Apr.), and with Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series—Waterfall (2011), just won a Christy Award in the Young Adult category. “We’d love for these series to sell like the wind so we can continue to move in this category,” says Pape, noting that Solitary has already had 80,000 downloads in a variety of formats and price points. WaterBrook Multnomah “has a long history of publishing to the YA market,” says Shannon Marchese, senior editor for fiction. She points to books by Robin Jones Gunn and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series by Melody Carlson, published by Multnomah, as well as fantasy fiction published by WaterBrook. “Fantasy has become so hot these days, but I think it’s an evergreen genre that has been around for years,” says Marchese. “Today’s fantasy has morphed and
© DANIEL DUBOIS PHOTOGRAPHY
world, you see the tension.” Marchese of WaterBrook Multnomah agrees: “There are [Christian market] constraints on how candid we can be with our teen readers. Parents want a good, clean read, but kids are saying that’s not what’s happening in their lives.” Richard Paul Evans, author of novels for adults such as The Christmas Box (Simon & Schuster, 1995), which has sold eight million copies, and The Gift (S&S, 2007), has found big success in the YA market with his Michael Vey series. Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink, 2011) reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list (teen fiction) and has been endorsed by the Dove Foundation, which calls it a “wholesome read.” “When I starting writing Michael Vey, I was sort of boycotting the Hunger Games, because I don’t like hopelessness, I don’t like dystopia,” says Evans. “There are a lot of books that don’t carry any
hope, and those are not what our kids need today. I’ve never seen a society so hopeless.” Evans recently signed prereleases of his second in the series, Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen, out this month (Aug.). The store where he signed sold 1,100 books. The series focuses on Michael Vey, a 14-year-old struggling to get along in school with Tourette’s syndrome, making him the object of bullying. But Michael discovers he has a mysterious electrical power that lets him zap bullies and jump-start dead car batteries with his hands. Michael and his friends— Ostin the class brain and Taylor the cheerleader, who also has electrical powers—face a variety of challenges and become the target for a group that wants to control them and the world. Evans says booksellers are glad for YA novels that offer an alternative to the darkness filling the shelves. “One bookseller showed me the YA section, and it
was like walking into a haunted house. The first three covers I saw had dead girls on them. The problem is that [booksellers] get yelled at by parents and grandparents who didn’t know what was in the books the kids were reading,” says Evans. “Booksellers are looking for books they can actually recommend.” Evans wanted the Michael Vey books to demonstrate three things: (1) Michael would have a healthy relationship with his parents, (2) adults would not all be idiots, and (3) all of us have the power within us to accomplish good. “I want Michael Vey to be empowering books for youth,” says Evans. “I want it to be a true battle of good vs. evil.” PLACEMENT DILEMMAS ABOUND Evans’s YA books are readily placed on general market store shelves with other YA fiction, though publisher Simon & Schuster does sell a small percentage to
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the Christian retail market through its Howard Books imprint. Christian publishers, however, are facing challenges in their books’ placement. Some Christian bookstores place YA titles in the children’s department, where teens wouldn’t dream of visiting. Others mix YA titles in with adult titles, making it hard for teens to discern which is which. Baker Book House, a Christian bookstore based in Grand Rapids, Mich., keeps its YA section at the back of the children’s department, placing it closest to the music department, “because teens relate more to what’s in the music department,” says Debbie Butgereit, head of the children’s department for the store. She also divides the area into two sections: for readers ages 13–15, whose favorites tend to focus on friends and school, and those ages 16–19, whose books tend to be issues driven, though fantasy reaches both. “A 13-year-old reads very different content than a 19-year-old. I do this for parents, not necessarily for kids, and publishers are good at telling me their target audience,” says Butgereit, who adds that some titles, such as R.J. Larson’s Prophet (Bethany House, Apr.), are placed in both adult and teen sections. Says Marchese of WaterBrook Multnomah, “Retail units are challenged to create a store experience for that fantasy market, a group we work hard to reach. The challenge is to find ways to market to the YA fantasy readers, whose books are sometimes shelved in the adult section and sometimes in the teen section.” Pape of David C. Cook says publishers face a deeper challenge when it comes to getting their books on ABA store shelves: “There is a bit of a bias in general market buyers in ABA stores,” he says. “Buyers want our YA titles in the inspirational section, but we want our titles on the regular YA shelves.” Chriscynethia Floyd, v-p of marketing for Zonderkidz, agrees: “The CBA stores will always trust our books, but the ABA needs to give us the opportunity to sit alongside general market books on the shelves.” Zonderkidz publishes the Dragons of Starlight series by Bryan Davis, the Halflings Trilogy by Heather Burch, and books such as Replication: The Jason Experiment (2011) by Jill Williamson. THE FUTURE FOR YA FICTION Publishers and authors alike see no weakening of the young adult market. They all, however, forecast adaptation in how content is delivered. As e-books become more popular with young readers at ease with tablets, smartphones, and social media, the industry must move with the times. Prolific YA author Carlson says she’s experimenting with a series of books for teens that will be available only as e-books. David C. Cook is in the midst of what Pape calls the digital discussion, prompted by strong growth in e-books in both YA and adult fiction. Authors such as Brouwer, with WaterBrook Multnomah, are connecting with eager readers via online sites and social marketing tools.
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Christian publishers are divided on teen fiction. Some are actively acquiring and publishing YA fiction, while others don’t publish it at all. Here are three editors looking for teen fiction and their goals in the genre.
Jacque Alberta, acquiring editor for YA fiction and nonfiction, Zonderkidz
ACQUISITIONS STRATEGIES FOR CHRISTIAN YA FICTION
Looking for: “I visit Barnes & Noble to see the trends in the [nonCBA stores]—overt sexuality and violence are what they’re selling. We’re looking for much cleaner versions of what teens want to read. We want to present the world in a real way but also show that there is hope.” Currently, Alberta is seeing a mix of Christian manuscripts and manuscripts in the Twilight vein. Details: Zonderkidz publishes for the Christian market, which expects a Christian message, as well as for the general market with books that are grounded in faith but not explicitly Christian. “We want to appeal to the general market but not preach to them.” Eighty percent of Zonderkidz’ YA fiction reaches the general market; 20% is specifically for the Christian market.
Ramona Richards, senior acquisitions editor for fiction, Abingdon Press
Looking for: Abingdon is launching a YA line and looking for high-quality books that lend themselves to continuing series. The press is specifically interested in steampunk [modern technology as Victorians might have envisioned it], medieval fantasy, and urban fantasy. Details: Will begin acquiring YA fiction in early 2013; the YA line will launch in 2014. It will target an audience of 14–19-year-olds, and Abingdon will publish at least six books in each of its two seasons. “The YA market holds the greatest potential for expansion and exploration of different genres. It’s the place where you can take the most risk and your readers will go with you.”
Ramona Cramer Tucker, cofounder and editorial director, OakTara
Looking for: fantasy, sci-fi, realistic fiction; medieval fantasy series aimed at boys; issues fiction; teen writers. “One reason we launched OakTara in 2007 is because there was very little Christian YA fiction being published; sci-fi and fantasy especially were missing. Our passion is to go where the readers go and offer fiction that will tantalize their interest. We aim at the mainstream reader but from a Christian worldview.” Details: Especially looking for teens who are really good writers, and for fiction that will attract male readers. “We’re looking for fresh, unique novels with the broadest audience, and we are passionate about meeting the needs of the writer as well as the reader.” —A.B.
The bottom line for all, however, is giving readers the content they seek. Says Carlson, “I’m trying to offer clean, realistic truth—with consequences to [characters’] actions. I keep an eye on the trends and give my readers stories they want to read but with a spiritual element.” Zonderkidz’ Floyd says, “We’re pub-
lishing the classic good vs. evil, which still has explosive action. And teen angst and teen love stories are done in a way that’s ethical and moral.” “The biggest question we all face is how far we can go with YA,” says Pape. “We have to be true to our Christian values and mission, but we know what the kids are seeing in the media, in film, and in books.”
WaterBrook Multnomah sees itself on the cusp of new opportunities in the next several years, but Marchese says it’s important to have a plan for those opportunities, including watching what teen readers are doing and looking for authors to write well to those readers, and connect with them to create relationship. “I want the future to be fabulous for our teen fiction,” says Marchese. “I want to find voices with amazing storytelling skills and deep meaning, and to see authors continue to find an audience and take off like wildfire. We want to tell well-written, interesting stories that also tell the truth of Jesus Christ.” David C. Cook continues to look for quality storytelling as well as the word-of-mouth exposure that will bring its budding YA line into full bloom. “I would love to see us have a robust YA program, producing quality product that encourages young adults in their faith walk, helps them wrestle with big issues as a Christ follower,” says Pape. Zonderkidz remains fully committed to YA fiction, looking to expand its current eight-books-per-year plan. “We’re committed to letting parents and librarians know that we are an alternative. They can trust Zonderkidz YA fiction; we don’t want CBA retailers to give up on the audience either,” says Floyd. Thomas Nelson affirms its place in the YA market as well: “It’s a category we’re committed to continuing to grow, feeding readers who, served well by our YA books, will continue as our primary consumers for decades to come,” says Hutton. Perhaps Carlson sums up the future best: “I feel like the Christian teen market is stronger than it’s ever been. There is a lot of good product out there and it’s selling; there are more readers, more hungry kids who are really grappling with issues. From the letters I get and the teens I meet, they are out there reading and they want books. That’s reassuring to me.” ■
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© HATCHER & FELL PHOTOGRAPHY, NASHVILLE
© MARY DEMUTH
year, when Jack Wald was visiting the United States, he gave the book to a friend who told editor Deb Keiser at Moody/River North about it. In Walk with Me, the characters Celeste and Peter are each traveling to the King’s City. They fall in love and decide to become partners and be bound by the Cords of Commitment as they undergo both the journey and the process of being refined for their destination. When they take a shortcut to avoid climbing the Mountains of Maturity, Peter and Celeste find themselves in the Swamp of Selfishness. They cross over the Bridge of Forgiveness many times and wonder just how often they must make that trip. They have to choose whether to stay together at all. During her 12 years living in Morocco, Wald, who is now writing a novel, has become friends with people from all over the world, including people in arranged marriages. She observes that married couples share common struggles to love and forgive that transcend cultural and religious differences. “People start their marriages with hope that their marriage will be different, and that their love will be stronger than the failures they’ve seen,” she says. Though each marriage follows its own path, sooner or later all couples will endure internal and external stresses, Wald says. In writing Walk with Me, she drew on the conflict and eventual healing she went through in her own marriage. Wald says it was a privilege to revisit the journey and be reminded of how God’s redemptive wisdom and grace can trans© JACK WALD
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An Allegory About Marriage
With her two daughters approaching marriage, Annie Wald wanted to share with them some of the hard lessons she had learned after years of matrimony. She found inspiration in the classic Pilgrim’s Progress to write an allegory about the marital journey’s challenges and rewards. “I could tell a story instead of writing a memoir,” says Wald, author of Walk with Me: Pilgrim’s Progress for Married Couples (Moody/River North, Sept.). “As a writer, I’m sort of steeped in allegory.” Wald, a former editor-in-chief at Princeton University Press, lives in Morocco and has been married for 35 years to Jack Wald, pastor of Rabat International Church there. She wrote the book and had it spiral-bound as a gift for the 2002 and 2004 weddings of their daughters. “I wanted to tell both the truth of our grace and of our selfishness,” says Wald. She and her husband kept meeting couples who were struggling in their marriages—“just as we had”—and the Walds would give them copies of the manuscript to encourage them. Last
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form a hopeless, broken relationship into a thriving partnership. —Juli Cragg Hilliard
At 19, Amanda Davis sold her first novel, Precisely Terminated, based on only one completed chapter. That chapter launched the Cantral Chronicles, a YA trilogy. The second book, Noble Imposter, was released in July, and Davis, now 21, is working on the finale, tentatively due to appear summer 2013. Davis, who says her youth helps her write YA fiction,
© MERCY BURKLIN
won the 2012 Family Fiction Readers Choice firstplace award for new authors. The Cantral Chronicles is dystopian fiction, set hundreds of years in the future. In the trilogy, a group of nobles controls its slaves by implanting computer chips in their bodies. Hope for the slaves’ freedom rests on Monica, a fugitive slave who has thus far avoided chip implantation. The opening chapter of Precisely Terminated came to Davis in a dream and is replete with images evocative of Nazi concentration camps, including crowded bunks and mass gassings. “The crowded, terrible conditions of the camps along with the gassings were definitely reference points for me,” Davis says. The books also share similarities with the Hunger Games—all are dystopian novels centered on a teenage girl, but, Davis says, a main difference is her trilogy’s emphasis on hope. The first book ends with the rescue of thousands
of people. Although published by Living Ink Books, an imprint of Christian publisher AMG, the trilogy so far does not offer an overtly Christian message. This accords with AMG’s strategy of trying to reach general audiences with Christianthemed books, says publisher Dale Anderson. As with C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the series’ theme is foundationally Christian—good versus evil— with a clear line drawn between who is morally good and who is evil. The main character, Monica, displays Christian virtues of courage, self-sacrifice, and compassion toward others. Rather than meticulously plotting her novels, Davis lets them unfold and surprise her. “I try to sustain momentum by always leaving questions unanswered until the end. There’s always something left for the reader to wonder about. Mystery keeps the pages turning,” she says. Davis hopes the final book in the trilogy will be more overtly Christian, though she says she won’t know how to do that until after she is done writing it. She hopes Monica won’t die in the middle of the third book, as that would complicate the story. Davis learned writing from her father, Bryan Davis, author of the Dragons in Our Midst YA series for the Christian market. “He gives me lots of advice and help with my novels, though I’m never willing to show them to him until they’re completely written,” Davis says. “He reads every word of my novels before they go to print and gives suggestions and changes for me to consider. I’ve been on a thousand different book tour events with him, listening to his author talks and writing seminars hundreds of times.” Of the final book in the Cantral Chronicles, Davis says, “I really like the idea and plot, but since I started writing [it] when I was 15, it needs a complete rewrite before I’m willing to show it to anyone. It has been five years since I
dreamed my idea, and I think I’m ready now to create an even more amazing story that will rock my readers’ worlds.” —Diane Reynolds
Remembered by God
While working as a hospital chaplain, John Swinton visited many patients with dementia, who sometimes sat for long hours, seemingly lost to themselves and forgotten by others. But when he offered them communion or prayers, often they brightened and became more animated. Swinton recalled this experi© ANDREW SWINTON
ence when he entered academia, and the questions it raised became the basis of his newest book, Dementia: Living in the Memories of God (Eerdmans, Nov.). Swinton says the book revolves around two questions: what does it mean to be who you are when you’ve forgotten who you are? And what does it mean to know and love God when you’ve forgotten God? Swinton’s conclusion: “Who we are is something beyond ourselves,” he says. “Most of who we are is what we are as we’re remembered by God.” Swinton recognizes that the topic of dementia can evoke fear, which sometimes results in denial or avoidance. But he says that the issue is a growing one,
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feet into shoes and getting the kids out the door to whatever activity.” She recognized that her family needed a change. Dana considered cutting back on work or moving to a new city, but realized that, rather than drastic action, her family simply needed “a day to let go of that stuff and rest and play and be together.”
and many people are looking for ways to understand what is happening to their loved ones. Today, Swinton, a professor of practical theology and pastoral care at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and founding director of the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability at Aberdeen, lectures and blogs on the topic of dementia for a wide variety of audiences. The center is designed to develop research projects with a practical focus that draw on academic knowledge; Swinton’s book was one of those projects. “I hope readers can take away from the book that dementia isn’t hopeless,” Swinton says. “It may be painful, but there can be hope. We can develop the types of communities that enable people to be remembered. There is a tremendous sense of isolation, and dementia has as much to do with being forgotten as it does forgetting.” Swinton’s book offers insight into practical, pastoral issues, as well as a deeper look at the theological implications of the disease. “When you get down to it, you’re really asking, what does it mean to be a human being, and a human being before God?” Swinton says. “It’s a theological book but it aims to change practice, to understand better, and to practice better.” Swinton’s own understanding of dementia has grown since he began his work on the subject. “When I began to research dementia I was afraid of it; by the time I finished I was less afraid.” he says. “I’d seen so many examples of bad practice, but I was also afraid because to lose your memory seems to mean you lose yourself. But I know even if I forget everything I know, I remain myself. And it helps to have the right people around you.” —Kerry Weber
important to keep holy the Sabbath day. But as a wife, writer, and mother of three, finding time to actually do so sometimes proved to be a challenge. As her children grew, Dana felt “it was harder to find moments to be present with them,” and found herself caught up in “that harried experience of jamming
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A Day of Rest
As a part-time pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Falls Church, Va., MaryAnn McKibben Dana knew it was
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Her efforts to achieve that are chronicled in the book Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time (Chalice, Sept.; reviewed in this issue). “I wanted to take this on for myself and to look at, practically, what does it mean not to work on the Sabbath,” Dana says. “Especially when you have little kids who need to be entertained.” For Dana’s family it meant reconsidering technology use, cutting back on errands, and doing a lot of planning. She began to see the Sabbath as more of a mindset than a day of the week. “What Sabbath does is give us permission to do what we don’t give ourselves permission to do the rest of the week,” Dana says. “We need to get rid of the separation between sacred activities and secular activities. The things we did on Sabbath became sacred for us. My husband brewed beer. This
© ROBERT DANA
might seem heretical to some people, but it was really restorative for him.” These days Dana’s schedule is beginning to fill up once again. She is leading workshops and speaking at various churches about the book. She’s also
working on a Web site that will offer inspiration and online coaching for families and individuals looking for support and accountability while they pursue a similar spiritual goal. Chalice also has produced a notepad that offers the option of creating a to-do or a to-don’t list to help support readers’ efforts. Sabbath in the Suburbs will also be available in e-book format, and Dana is considering using Skype to join book group discussions. Dana still tries to make time for rest, even though refraining from e-mail and overlooking piles of laundry in the name of the Sabbath can be complicated—a reality she tried to convey in the book. “What I sought to do is to find those moments where it felt beautiful and effortless, and also the moments where I wanted to tear my hair out, and put all those together in a portrayal of how honest and awesome the Sabbath can be and how difficult it can be,” she says. —Kerry Weber n
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loving God and following Christ are to shape one’s heart and choices—is forceful. This does restrict the audience for this book to evangelicals, but that is by design. The authors offer solid arguments for the dignity of living singly, a defense that shouldn’t be necessary but is. This book is a must for evangelicals who come anywhere near to offering premarital counseling or young adult ministry. (Sept. 18)
When Your Parent Becomes Your Child: A Journey of Faith Through My Mother’s Dementia
Ken Abraham. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN
Dementia is a painfully difficult condition to behold in a loved one and to live with, and families living with it continue to grow in number. Abraham, known for his collaborations with celebrity authors (One Soldier’s Story with Bob Dole), tells his own family’s story this time. Abraham’s mother, Minnie, begins showing signs of dementia in her mid-80s, and family members slowly come to understand that something more than aging is affecting their matriarch. Abraham, a good storyteller, makes incidents of his family’s journey come alive, and the book is immensely readable. Some readers might wish for a more clinical discussion of dementia that would include information about research. But Abraham has chosen to engage readers with a vivid account that many can relate to. He offers an honest message of sympathy, solidarity, and faith that can be used in trying circumstances. (Oct. 3)
precipitates recounting and reflecting by the Jeskes, both professional communicators; she is an author (Into the Mud: Inspiration for Everyday Activists), he the associate director of communications for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. They had lived and worked for years in Africa, and ended up in Wisconsin with two children, accomplished and socially conscious fish readjusting to swimming in a very big and different pond, and scorning American suburban life and its demands. The Jeskes write in a concrete and detailed way about recalibrating their earnestness so they can shop at Target without getting angry, about understanding lifeand-death occasions without exaggeration, about the frequently routine and humbling requirements of child rearing. This book speaks most clearly to 30-somethings starting families and loosening their grips on fierce ambitions; they may find the chapter-ending suggestions for awarenessbuilding activities genuinely helpful rather than obvious. (Oct. 7)
Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time
MaryAnn McKibben Dana. Chalice (Ingram, dist.), $19.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-8272-3521-2
Dana, a Presbyterian pastor, brings a fresh voice and energy to the familiar topic of time management as understood by people who would describe themselves as either religious or spiritual but not religious: Sabbathkeeping. She writes from a perspective that many can relate to, that of a suburban mother of three who works part-time. Bringing the gift of self-awareness and irony, Dana notes that a four-minute difference in school bus rides ought not to prompt a letter-writing campaign from anxious parents. She also brings theological awareness of the historical practice and meaning of Sabbath-keeping. Dana writes in a distinct voice about making a traditional religious practice meaningful to contemporary families. Although some readers will appreciate how she articulates their experience and struggles, others will find nothing new on a topic that writers such as Wayne Muller and Judith Shulevitz have eloquently plumbed. (Sept. 30)
★ Altared: The True Story
of a She, a He, and How They Both Got Too Worked Up About We
Claire and Eli. WaterBrook, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-307-73073-2
Two young people who thought they might get married to each other because, since they are good young Christians, they were supposed to marry someone, offer a look at what happened when they didn’t quite connect. The authors, pseudonymous to allow greater candor, meet after Eli, then a law student, sends Claire, a writer, an e-mail about an article she wrote. Their relationship develops, and they find that the expectations of evangelical Christian culture regarding marriage almost deform what grows between them. They’re hard on clip-art versions of marital bliss. The two are honest and reflective, and their theological critique of what evangelical Christians understand as love and marriage in light of what Jesus said about love—that
This Ordinary Adventure: Settling Down Without Settling
Christine Jeske and Adam Jeske. InterVarsity Press, $15 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-08308-3787-8
“My life is boring.” This is the crisis statement that
What a Difference a Mom Makes: The Incredible Imprint a Mom Leaves on Her Son’s Life
Kevin Leman. Revell, $17.99 (272p) ISBN
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y . C O M 15
Leman (Have a New Kid by Friday) brings his distinctive voice and winning persona to his newest a ppreci ati o n and explanation of the singular relationship between mothers and sons, a relationship that has been differently understood by cultures over time, especially post-Freud. The psychologist and humorist brings a lighten-up sensibility to the subject of the mother-son relationship, understanding the testosterone-driven necessities of maleness, the hormonal imperatives of motherhood, and the sociocultural demands made on both mother and son. Leman has a gift for describing in sprightly, original, and disarming ways the common stages of psychological development of male children; he has listened well to both his clients and to research. Moms, and dads, would do well to heed his laid-back and authoritative observations, which are firm yet flexible. (Sept. 1)
“generational curses” that the Huches as charismatic Christians affirm can understand that addictive and abusive behavior can recur within families. The Huches are popular with their audience, which will welcome this book. (Aug.)
If Aristotle’s Kid Had an iPod: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Parents
Conor Gallagher. Saint Benedict Press, $26.95 (248p) ISBN 978-1-61890-414-0
Gallagher, v-p of Saint Benedict Press and executive producer of Catholic Courses, a series of educational programs on audio and video, also teaches philosophy. His book is an attempt to expand his audience and mission: to teach Aristotle to his readers and, more particularly, apply Aristotelian wisdom to parenting. Aristotle had a good deal to say about virtue and moral development, and Gallagher rightly structures his book around key topics the philosopher addressed extensively: virtue, friendship, and happiness. Gallagher works hard to translate the ancient philosopher’s wisdom into contemporary idiom—at times too hard. Pop culture references form a steady rat-tat-tat in his exposition: Cesar Millan, Darth Vader, Frodo, The X Factor, Jerry Maguire. Some of those references seem a little dated—self-improvement guru Tony Robbins?—which is always a risk when drawing on transient popular culture. The result is at times gratingly breezy. Still, a little Aristotle never hurts. (Sept. 5)
out a systematic plan for mistake-proofing a relationship, which depends in part on something simple but frequently overlooked: don’t be in a hurry. He also advocates a second, equally sensible practice: consider the alternatives, that is, date someone else. The comparison shopping and extended dating approaches are rational ways for singles to conduct themselves to avoid incompatibility, error, and heartbreak; indeed, they seem a little too reasonable for matters of the errant, hopeful hearts that beat in those who date. Certainly, Arterburn offers advice drawn from hard real life; a chapter on red flags to avoid can save people heartaches. But the book is marked more by confident speech than real-life examples that illustrate the wisdom of his advice. Arterburn also asserts that the frequently cited statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce is “urban myth.” Yet he offers little support beyond this assertion. (Apr.)
The Shema in the Mezuzah: Listening to Each Other
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, illus. by Joani Keller Rothenberg. Jewish Lights, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58023-506-8
Sasso, a rabbi and author (God’s Paintbrush), uses a 12th-century rabbinic tale to teach a simple point about listening and compromise. Two groups of people bring their argument to a rabbi, asking him whether the mezuzah, an artifact to hold a prayer scroll that is to be affixed to a house’s doorpost, should be attached horizontally or vertically. The rabbi settles the argument by listening to both sides, in keeping with the practice of listening that the Shema—the prayer in the mezuzah— counsels. Sasso’s tale characteristically harmonizes simplicity and Jewish tradition. Rothenberg’s rich blues and greens and broad strokes are zesty and Chagallesque. A lovely book; would that today’s shouters could take its wisdom to heart. Ages 3–6. (Aug. 23) n
Releasing Family Blessings: God’s Plan for Your Marriage and Your Children
Larry and Tiz Huch. Whitaker House, $14.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-160374-554-3
The Huches lead DFW New Beginnings Church, a nondenominational church in the Dallas area. They are also the parents of three adult children, who, in a sweet foreword to the book, provide enthusiastic comments about how they were raised. The Huches write based on the experience of their marriage—and its imperfections— and those of others they have pastorally counseled. The authors alternate their perspectives, clearly labeled as “he said” and “she said.” The tone is pleasantly humble, even if none of the advice is earthshakingly novel. What is distinctive, and commendable, is Larry Huch’s attempt to draw on the Jewish roots of Christianity in a practical way. Those Christians who may be skeptical of the reality of
Is This the One? Insightful Dates for Finding the Love of Your Life
Stephen Arterburn. Zondervan, $19.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-310-32614-4
Christian counselor and broadcaster Arterburn (Every Man’s Battle) is a trusted source of advice about relationships. He lays
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From a rising star in the romantic suspense genre comes the second book of this bestselling series—ideal for fans of Dee Henderson and Irene Hannon.
Shattered by Dani Pettrey Alaskan Courage #2 Trade Paper; $14.99; 978-0-7642-0983-3 Ebook; $14.99; 978-1-4412-6105-2
Action, romance, humor— and cowboys!—abound in the launch of a new historical series from bestselling author Mary Connealy.
Swept Away by Mary Connealy Trouble in Texas #1 Trade Paper; $14.99; 978-0-7642-0914-7 Ebook; $14.99; 978-1-4412-6110-6
A stirring conclusion to another bestselling historical series from one of the most beloved authors in the CBA market.
A Place to Belong by Lauraine Snelling Wild West Wind #3 Trade Paper; $14.99; 978-0-7642-0417-3 Hardcover; $19.99; 978-0-7642-1078-5 Large Print; $17.99; 978-0-7642-1079-2 Ebook; $14.99; 978-1-4412-6107-6
A World War II story of hope and love from bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer.
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