If you would like a chance to choose Shalom Readers (for adults) books (or would like to nominate someone else to choose), please contact Amanda Bleichty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, Vivek H. Murthy, MD
Humans are social creatures: In this simple and obvious fact lies both the problem and the solution to the current crisis of loneliness. In his groundbreaking book, the 19th surgeon general of the United States Dr. Vivek Murthy makes a case for loneliness as a public health concern: a root cause and contributor to many of the epidemics sweeping the world today from alcohol and drug addiction to violence to depression and anxiety. Loneliness, he argues, is affecting not only our health, but also how our children experience school, how we perform in the workplace, and the sense of division and polarization in our society.
But, at the center of our loneliness is our innate desire to connect. We have evolved to participate in community, to forge lasting bonds with others, to help one another, and to share life experiences. We are, simply, better together.
Keep Christianity Weird, Michael Frost
Jesus is different. Go and do likewise.
Many Christians have become comfortable letting the world mold them instead of being set apart by God. And many churches have traded in their biblical roots for complacent conventionality. But Jesus and the church are anything but conventional. The hallmark of our faith is that it sees the world differently than the world sees itself.
We are called to be eccentric—off center, unique, different; not conformed to the patterns of the world but transformed by the renewing of our minds. By the grace of God we are not only dissatisfied by sin but increasingly uncompelled by conventionality.
Annotated Book List:
All my puny sorrows, by Miriam Toewes.
While on the surface Elfrieda's life is enviable (she's a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, and happily married) and Yolandi's a mess (she's divorced and broke, with two teenagers growing up too quickly), they are fiercely close-raised in a Mennonite household and sharing the hardship of Elf's desire to end her life. After Elf's latest attempt, Yoli must quickly determine how to keep her family from falling apart while facing a profound question: what do you do for a loved one who truly wants to die?
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret. Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering. At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.
American Harvest: God, Country and Farming in the Heartland, Marie Mutsuki Mockett
For over one hundred years, the Mockett family has owned a seven-thousand-acre wheat farm in the panhandle of Nebraska, where Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s father was raised. Mockett, who grew up in bohemian Carmel, California, with her father and her Japanese mother, knew little about farming when she inherited this land. Her father had all but forsworn it.
In American Harvest, Mockett accompanies a group of evangelical Christian wheat harvesters through the heartland at the invitation of Eric Wolgemuth, the conservative farmer who has cut her family’s fields for decades. As Mockett follows Wolgemuth’s crew on the trail of ripening wheat from Texas to Idaho, they contemplate what Wolgemuth refers to as “the divide,” inadvertently peeling back layers of the American story to expose its contradictions and unhealed wounds. She joins the crew in the fields, attends church, and struggles to adapt to the rhythms of rural life, all the while continually reminded of her own status as a person who signals “not white,” but who people she encounters can’t quite categorize.
Barefoot Heart, Stories of a Migrant Child by Elva Trevino Hart.
A vividly told autobiographical account of the life of a child growing up in a family of migrant farm workers. It brings to life the day-to-day existence of people facing the obstacles of working in the fields and raising a family in an environment that is frequently hostile to those who have little education and speak another language. Assimilation brings its own problems, as the original culture is attenuated and the quality of family relationships is compromised, consequences that are not inevitable but are instead a series of choices made along the way. It is also the story of how the author overcame the disadvantages of this background and found herself.
Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Antiracist Spirituality
by Regina Shands Stotlzfus and Tobin Miller ShearerThe work of dismantling racism doesn’t happen overnight.
Been in the Struggle nurtures, challenges, and fosters the work and witness of dismantling racism for the long haul. Filled with wisdom and insight from nearly three decades of partnering across racial lines in this work, authors Regina Shands Stoltzfus and Tobin Miller Shearer offer a powerful mix of practical direction and poignant reflection to empower and sustain those working to dismantle racism, regardless of their stage on the journey.
The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Invited to live with Sultan Khan, a bookseller in Kabul, and his family for months, this account of her experience allows the Khans to speak for themselves, giving us a genuinely gripping and moving portrait of a family, and of a country of great cultural riches and extreme contradictions. For more than 20 years, Sultan Khan has defied the authorities -- whether Communist or Taliban -- to supply books to the people of Kabul. He has been arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned, and has watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. Yet he had persisted in his passion for books, shedding light in one of the world's darkest places. This is the intimate portrait of a man of principle and of his family -- two wives, five children, and many relatives sharing a small four-room house in this war ravaged city. But more than that, it is a rare look at contemporary life under Islam, where even after the Taliban's collapse, the women must submit to arranged marriages, polygamous husbands, and crippling limitations on their ability to travel, learn and communicate with others.
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel, Kim Michele Richardson (2020)
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.
“Kind,” said the boy.
Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book, following the tale of a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox and a wise horse who find themselves together in sometimes difficult terrain, sharing their greatest fears and biggest discoveries about vulnerability, kindness, hope, friendship and love. The shared adventures and important conversations between the four friends are full of life lessons that have connected with readers of all ages.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.
The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith by Stephanie Saldana
When Stephanie Saldaña arrives in Damascus, she is running away from a broken heart and a haunted family history that she has crossed the world to escape. Yet as she moves into a tumbling Ottoman house in the heart of the Old City, she is unprepared for the complex world that awaits her: an ancient capital where Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Kurds, and Palestinian and Iraqi refugees share a fragile co-existence.
What follows is a tender story of a woman falling in love: with God, with her own life, with a country on the brink of chaos, and with a man she knows she can never have. Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, The Bread of Angels celebrates the hope that appears even in war, the surprising places we can call home, and the possibility of true love.
Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
“As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”
In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace, by Osheta Moore
Dear White Peacemakers is a breakup letter to division, a love letter to God’s beloved community, and an eviction notice to the violent powers that have sustained racism for centuries. Race is one of the hardest topics to discuss in America. Many white Christians avoid talking about it altogether. But a commitment to peacemaking requires white people to step out of their comfort and privilege and into the work of anti-racism. Dear White Peacemakers is an invitation to white Christians to come to the table and join this hard work and holy calling. Rooted in the life, ministry, and teachings of Jesus, this book is a challenging call to transform white shame, fragility, saviorism, and privilege, in order to work together to build the Beloved Community as anti-racism peacemakers.
Fire by Night: Finding God in the Pages of the Old Testament, Melissa Florer-Bixler
What do we do with the Old Testament? How do we read words written in a world so different from ours, stories so ruthless and so filled with grace? In Fire by Night, pastor Melissa Florer-Bixler invites readers to marvel at the Old Testament. Page after page, in stories and poems and prophecies, the Hebrew Scripture introduces us to a God who is unwieldy and uncontrollable, common and extraordinary, and who brings both life and death. Using stories from Scripture and from her ministry, Florer-Bixler braids together the text with the sometimes ordinary, sometimes radical grace of God. The same passages that confuse and horrify and baffle us can, if we are paying attention, lure us closer toward God. This God has traveled with people through cloud and fire, by day and by night, since the beginning of time. The Old Testament is a perplexing book of profound grace, hope, and beauty. It s a book of fire. To read the Old Testament is to draw close to God s love, which continues to burn away our expectations and set us ablaze. This God has traveled with people through pillars of cloud and fire, by day and by night, since the days of the exodus.
First They Killed My Father: A daughter of Cambodia remembers, Loung Ung
A moving story of war crimes and desperate actions, the unnerving strength of a small girl and her triumphant spirit as she survived the Cambodian genocide under Pol Pot’s brutal regime.
Getting Home Before Dark: Stories of Wisdom for All Ages, by Peter J. Dyck
"Lord, let me get home before dark." That was the prayer of Peter Dyck, asking God to let him die before age robbed him of his ability to be kind, trusting, loving and generous. Dyck, who passed away January 4, 2010 at the age of 95, had his prayer answered-he got home before dark. In this book of reflections and mediations he writes honestly about his various life experiences, and also of his hopes and fears about growing older. In the end, he concludes, the most important thing is faith in God and building relationships with others.
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War," then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into opportunity for women worldwide, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.
(This book contains some explicit descriptions of rape and violence against women).
His Truth is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by John Meacham
John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” From an early age, Lewis learned that nonviolence was not only a tactic but a philosophy, a biblical imperative, and a transforming reality. At the age of four, Lewis, ambitious to become a minister, practiced by preaching to his family’s chickens. When his mother cooked one of the chickens, the boy refused to eat it—his first act, he wryly recalled, of nonviolent protest. Integral to Lewis’s commitment to bettering the nation was his faith in humanity and in God—and an unshakable belief in the power of hope.
Homespun: Amish and Mennonite Women in their Own Words, ed. Lorilee Craker
Ever wish you could visit with a group of Amish or Mennonite women over a cup of coffee? In the pages of Homespun, Amish and Plain Mennonite women swap stories and spin yarns while we listen in. Lorilee Craker, bestselling author of Money Secrets of the Amish, collects these personal writings about hospitality, home, grief, joy, and walks with God. Hear from one woman who struggles with feeling inferior to her sister, from another about her longing for a baby, and from a third who accidentally bought stretchy material to sew her husband s pants. Each woman s story is a testament to the grace of God and the blessings of community.
Behind Amish romance novels and tourist spots and television shows stand real people, with longings and loves just like the rest of us. Every Amish and Mennonite woman has a story. In Homespun, you get to hear some of them.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.
Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope.
I Am Not Your Enemy: Stories to Transform a Divided World by Michael T. McRay
Violent stories surround us. Brutal beginnings, horror-filled middles, despair-inducing endings. We need better stories: stories forged in the furnace of conflict, narratives that kindle compassion and ignite hope. In the pages of I Am Not Your Enemy, writer Michael T. McRay visits divided regions of the world and interviews activists, peacebuilders, former combatants, and clergy members about their personal stories of conflict, justice, and reconciliation. In Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, he hears from grieving parents who comfort each other across enemy lines, a woman who meets her father's killer, and a young man who uses theater to counter the oppression of his people.
In a time of heightened alienation and fear, McRay offers true, sacred stories of reconciliation and justice, asking what they can teach us about our own divided states. Must violence be met with violence? Is my belonging complete only when I take away yours? Will more guns, more walls, more weapons keep us safe?
We need stories that cultivate empathy and tell the truth. We need stories to save us from our fear.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown
Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.
In a time when nearly every institution (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claims to value diversity in its mission statement, Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice. Her stories bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric—from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.
For readers who have engaged with America’s legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I’m Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God’s ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness—if we let it—can save us all.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes, Atia Abawi
In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future. Tareq's family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.
While this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of the heartbreaking consequences of all wars, all tragedy, narrated by Destiny itself. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.
An award-winning author and journalist—and a refugee herself—Atia Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.
Laughter is Sacred Space: The Not-Typical Journey of a Mennonite Actor, Ted Swartz
Ted Swartz and his Ted & Company TheaterWorks team are known for blending Bible stories with comedy and poignancy, and pushing the envelope on issues of faith and social justice. But who is Ted Swartz? Follow along in this engaging memoir as Swartz finds his way as a middle child in an eastern Pennsylvania traditional Mennonite home to his early work in the family butcher shop. Journey with Ted through the decision of uprooting his young family to attend seminary and then embracing life as a writer and actor. Get a glimpse into the friendship that led to the formation of the popular acting duo Ted & Lee. This uniquely honest backstage tour of an artist's life and mind combines side-splitting reminiscences, heart-rending accounts of loss, and touching stories of restored faith and love. Swartz's engaging humor blends with his own stories of triumph and tragedy, and helps readers understand their own sense of place and how they're shaped by those around them.
Life of Pi, by Yann Patel.
Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi"; Patel, a Tamil boy
from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. The son of a zookeeper, Pi has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border, Francisco Cantu
For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Driven to understand the hard realities of the landscape he loves, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Plagued by a growing awareness of his complicity in a dehumanizing enterprise, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the full extent of the violence it wreaks, on both sides of the line.
(This book contains adult language and some descriptions of violence).
Love in a Time of Hate: The Story of Magda and Andre Trocme and the Village that said no to the Nazis, Hanna Schott
Love in a Time of Hate tells the gripping tale of Magda and AndrE TrocmE, the couple that transformed a small town in the mountains of southern France into a place of safety during the Holocaust. At great risk to their own lives, the TrocmEs led efforts in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to hide more than three thousand Jewish children and adults who were fleeing the Nazis. In this astonishing story of courage, romance, and resistance, learn what prompted AndrE and Magda to risk everything for the sake of strangers who showed up at their door. Building on the story told in Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, German journalist Hanna Schott portrays a vivid story of resisting evil and sheltering refugees with striking resonance for today.
Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From a Culture of Contempt, Arthur C. Brooks
Divisive politicians. Screaming heads on television. Angry campus activists. Twitter trolls. Today in America, there is an “outrage industrial complex” that prospers by setting American against American, creating a “culture of contempt”—the habit of seeing people who disagree with us not as merely incorrect, but as worthless and defective. Maybe, like more than nine out of ten Americans, you dislike it. But hey, either you play along, or you’ll be left behind, right? Wrong.
In Love Your Enemies, the New York Times bestselling author and social scientist Arthur C. Brooks shows that abuse and outrage are not the right formula for lasting success. Brooks blends cutting-edge behavioral research, ancient wisdom, and a decade of experience of experience leading one of America’s top policy think tanks in a work that offers a better way to lead based on bridging divides and mending relationships.
Brooks’ prescriptions are unconventional. To bring America together, we shouldn’t try to agree more. There is no need for mushy moderation, because disagreement is the secret to excellence. Civility and tolerance shouldn’t be our goals, because they are hopelessly low standards. And our feelings toward our foes are irrelevant; what matters is how we choose to act.
Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, Tracy Kidder
In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Tracy Kidder’s magnificent account shows how one person can make a difference in solving global health problems through a clear-eyed understanding of the interaction of politics, wealth, social systems, and disease. Profound and powerful, Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes people’s minds through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.”
(Some adult language and themes)
Mudhouse Sabbath, Lauren F Winner
After her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Lauren Winner found that her life was indelibly marked by the rich traditions and spiritual practices of Judaism. She set out to discover how she could incorporate some of these practices into her new faith. Winner presents eleven Jewish spiritual practices that can transform the way Christians view the world and God. Whether discussing attentive eating, marking the days while grieving, the community that supports a marriage, candle-lighting, or the differences between the Jewish Sabbath and a Sunday spent at the Mudhouse, her favorite coffee shop, Winner writes with appealing honesty and rare insight.
Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints, Christiana N. Peterson
With untested ideals and a thirst for adventure, Christiana Peterson and her family moved to an intentional Christian farming community in the rural Midwest. It sounded like a simple and faithful way to follow Jesus, not to mention a great place to raise kids. In Mystics and Misfits, Peterson discovers that community life is never really simple and that she needs resources beyond her own to weather the anxiety and exhaustion of trying to save a dying farm and a floundering congregation. She turns to Christian mystics like Francis of Assisi, Simone Weil, and Dorothy Day to find sustenance for the everyday struggles and unique hardships of community life. With a contemplative’s spirit and poet’s eye, Peterson leads readers into an encounter with the God of the wild mystics and the weird misfits.
Night, Elie Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.
Ordinary Miracles: Awakening to the Holy Work of Parenting, Rachel S. Gerber
Where is God in the midst of temper tantrums, laundry, and accidents? Find out in this honest devotional memoir about mothering three busy boys. In Ordinary Miracles, ordained Mennonite minister and blogger Rachel S. Gerber gives voice to the grit of parenting with stories of hope. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, who failed at first to recognize Christ walking beside them, Rachel learns to discover the gifts and holy calling hidden in the events of harried family life. Overburdened parents will find reassurance in Rachel's own story of how, in her darkest hour of disorientation, in the most mundane and ordinary days of motherhood, and in moments of exhilaration, joy, and beauty, God is present.
Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus. the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, Nick EstesIn 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century. Water Protectors knew this battle for native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anticolonial struggle would continue. In Our History Is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Our History Is the Future is at once a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of resistance.
Piecing Me Together, Reńee Watson
Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bus away from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities. But some opportunities she doesn't really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She's tired of being singled out as someone who needs help, someone people want to fix. Jade wants to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her hope. Maybe there are some things she could show other women about understanding the world and finding ways to be real, to make a difference.
Please Pass the Faith: The Art of Spiritual Grandparenting, Elsie H. R. Rempel
By 2030, almost one-third of North Americans will be over age 65. How will this affect the church? Author Elsie Rempel believes that the swelling ranks of new seniors represent a huge spiritual resource. In Please Pass the Faith she draws from real life and from Christian formation experts in helping seniors and other adults foster relationships with children and youth. She also offers practical ideas for integrating children and youth into church life-all the while nurturing one's own spiritual life as an elder.
The Rent Collector, Cameron Wright
Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the ill-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money--a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one womans journey to save her son and another womans chance at redemption. It demonstrates that even in a dump in Cambodia--perhaps especially in a dump in Cambodia--everyone deserves a second chance.
Saints at the River, Ron Rash
When a twelve-year-old girl drowns in the Tamassee River and her body is trapped in a deep eddy, the people of the small South Carolina town that bears the river's name are thrown into the national spotlight. The girl's parents want to attempt a rescue of the body; environmentalists are convinced the rescue operation will cause permanent damage to the river and set a dangerous precedent. Torn between the two sides is Maggie Glenn, a twenty-eight-year-old newspaper photographer who grew up in the town and has been sent to document the incident. Since leaving home almost ten years ago, Maggie has done her best to avoid her father, but now, as the town's conflict opens old wounds, she finds herself revisiting the past she's fought so hard to leave behind. Meanwhile, the reporter who's accompanied her to cover the story turns out to have a painful past of his own, and one that might stand in the way of their romance.
Scratching the Woodchuck, David Kline
Like its title, this collection of essays on nature, farming, animals, insects, and other topics bespeaks the gentle demeanor and appreciation for nature that shape the author's descriptions of the world around him. Whether sharing his fondness for watching clouds while he rests his horses or for planting flowers in his favorite spot in the woods, David Kline offers a view of life that few of us take time to experience. Scratching the Woodchuck resounds with knowledge, reverence, and a joyful spirit, and to follow Kline's explorations of the landscape and animals around his farm is to sense and come to share his respect for and unity with the earth.
Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World, Osheta Moore
Like a lot of women, blogger Osheta Moore loved the idea of shalom: God’s dream for a world that is whole, vibrant, and flourishing. But honestly: who's got the time? So one night she whispered a dangerous prayer: God, show me the things that make for peace… In Shalom Sistas, Moore shares what she learned when she challenged herself to study peace in the Bible for forty days. Taking readers through the twelve points of the Shalom Sistas’ Manifesto, Moore experiments with practices of everyday peacemaking and invites readers to do the same. From dropping “love bombs” on a family vacation, to talking to the coach who called her son the n-word, to spreading shalom with a Swiffer, Moore offers bold steps for crossing lines between black and white, suburban and urban, rich and poor. What if a bunch of Jesus-following women catch a vision of a vibrant, whole, flourishing world? What happens when Shalom Sistas unite?
Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses, Stephanie Lobdell
In Signs of Life, Lobdell shares stories her own depression, loss of confidence, and disillusionment with the church. “My ordinary losses are probably no bigger than yours, and are maybe even smaller,” says Lobdell. “My ordinary losses are just that: Ordinary and plain, maybe even dull. But they are real. And their smallness does not negate their power or their importance in shaping me. Such ordinary losses in your life—and maybe some extraordinary ones—have likely wounded and shaped you.”
Sold, Patricia McCormick
(Young adult novel) Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.
He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at "Happiness House" full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.
(Descriptions of rape and violence against women)
Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, Nicholas D Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
Drawing us deep into an “other America,” the authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the people with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It’s an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared.
Tongue Screws and Testimonies: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyrs Mirror, Kirsten Eve Beachy
From the publisher of Martyrs Mirror comes this refreshing, reflective, heartbreaking, humorous and sometimes irreverent anthology of poems, creative essays and fiction by new and noted authors with connections to the Anabaptist tradition. Featuring writers such as Rudy Wiebe, Di Brandt, Jeff Gundy, Jean Janzen, Julia Kasdorf, John Ruth, Rhoda Janzen and others, Tongue Screws and Testimonies shows how stories from Martyrs Mirror intersect with the lives of writers and their characters and how these stories continue to have a powerful hold on faith, life and imagination today.
Tongue-Tied: Learning the Lost Art of Talking about Faith by Sara Wenger Shenk
Many Christians easily and eagerly talk about movies, sports, politics, jobs, and emotions. So why are we tongue-tied when it comes to talking about our faith--even with each other? Even with our kids? What renders us incapable, embarrassed, or hesitant to talk about God?
A Treasury of African American Christmas Stories, Bettye Collier-Thomas
A collection of Christmas stories written by African-American journalists, activists, and writers from the late 19th century to the modern civil rights movement.
Back in print for the first time in over a decade, this landmark collection features writings from well-known black writers, activists, and visionaries such as Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes, and John Henrik Clarke along with literary gems from rediscovered writers. Originally published in African American newspapers, periodicals, and journals between 1880 and 1953, these enchanting Christmas tales are part of the black literary tradition that flourished after the Civil War.
(Please note, the black authors in this collection are writing about Christmas, but also about their own experiences living in post-civil war America. Several stories include overt racism and/or racial slurs.)
Trouble I’ve Seen, Changing the way the Church Views Racism, Drew Hart
In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-black stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. He argues that white Christians have repeatedly gotten it wrong about race because dominant culture and white privilege have so thoroughly shaped their assumptions. He also challenges black Christians about neglecting the most vulnerable in their own communities. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice. "What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble they’ve seen?"
Walking the Bible, Bruce Feiler
The stories in the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Torah, come alive as Feiler searches across three continents for the stories and heroes shared by Christians and Jews. You’ll visit the slopes of Mount Ararat, where Noah’s ark landed, trek to the desert outpost where Abraham first heard the words of God, and scale the summit where Moses received the Ten Commandments. A once-in-a-lifetime journey, Walking the Bible offers new insights into the roots of our common faith and uncovers fresh answers to the most profound questions of the human spirit.
The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.
This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.
Please note, This book is a work of fantasy fiction and contains magical elements. Though it is an acclaimed, thought provoking book, it may not be for all readers.
Who Will be a Witness: Igniting Activism for God's Justice, Love and Deliverance, by Drew G.I. Hart
Churches have begun awakening to social and political injustices, often carried out in the name of Christianity. But once awakened, how will we respond? Who Will Be a Witness offers a vision for communities of faith to organize for deliverance and justice in their neighborhoods, states, and nation as an essential part of living out the call of Jesus.
Titles and Authors