Thursday, January 30, 2020

Brainstorm 202: Biographies of Historic Abolitionists

This week I have biographies of some really amazing historic figures for you. All of these people put their lives on the line to fight in the social arena, political arena, and on the ground to end slavery in the UK and US. Go hunt down these biographies of abolitionists. They are all amazing reads.

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas
Wilberforce dedicated many, many, many decades of his life and rallied many others (who dubbed themselves the Clapham Sect) to work for the abolition of slavery in England as well as several other needed social reforms. Metaxas’ biography stands out for his depths of research and outstanding writing.

Target Readers:

  • Biography Fans, Inspirational History Fans, History Buffs, Young Adult & Adult Readers

Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, ill. by James E. Ransome
Told in free verse poems, a biography of Harriet Tubman, that looks back in time from her elderly years through the various roles she held in her life. A very lyrical and succinct biography of an amazing woman that manages to communicate so very much. The illustrations are amazing too.

Target Readers:

  • Poetry Fans, Picture Book Biography Fans, History Studiers, Inspirational History Fans, Art Lovers, Lower Grade & Middle Grade Readers

How Sweet the Sound: the Story of Amazing Grace by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. by Frank Morrison
A picture book biography of John Newton and how his song "Amazing Grace" grew and affected many people all over the world. Told in just a few lines of rhyme per page, the powerful story of John Newton's life from child to adult through many turbulent experiences and a drastic life change when he turned from rough sea captain of a slave ship to eventually a Christian preacher who spoke out against the slave trade and penned the original lines of "Amazing Grace." The illustrations in this are stunning and help convey the turbulent times of Newton's life and then his change. I learned several things about the history of times when "Amazing Grace" has been instrumental. I also didn't know before that lines have been added over time to the song we know today. I liked that there were further notes in the back of the book on Newton's life and the history of the song. They were helpful in clarifying and elaborating on things briefly mentioned in the text of the book.

Target Readers:

  • Music Lovers, Picture Book Biography Fans, History Buffs, Inspirational History Fans, Middle Grade Readers on up

The Life of Frederick Douglass: a Graphic Narrative of an Extraordinary Life by David F. Walker, ill. by Damon Smyth & Marissa Louise
A graphic novel biography of Frederick Douglass from his childhood in slavery, to his escape, his entry as a voice in US politics, through the US Civil War, and on to his death. A well-researched and very informative book, excellently done! I learned so much from this graphic novel.

Target Readers:

  • Biography Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, History Buffs, Inspirational History Fans, High School US History Teachers & Students, Young Adult Readers on up

So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt, ill. by Daniel Minter
A picture book biography of Isabella, a slave in New York, who gained freedom, fought for freedom for her family, took on the name of Sojourner Truth, and walked all over the US to talk about freedom and human rights. Sojourner Truth was one plucky, brave, smart woman. Schmidt tells her story in lyrical ways, and Minter brings the poetic text to life with dream-like illustrations that fit the text perfectly.

Target Readers:

  • Picture Book Biography Fans, History Buffs, Poetry Fans, Art Lovers, Inspirational History Fans, Lower Grade Readers on up

The Underground Abductor (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, #5) by Nathan Hale
Nathan Hale tells us all about this amazing woman who overcame personal hardship, escaped slavery, didn't rest in her safety but helped dozens of other slaves obtain freedom, and as if that weren't enough, also helped serve as a spy for the North in the American Civil War. The artist/author Nathan Hale does such an amazing job with this series that is both highly educational and extremely entertaining.

Target Readers:

  • Biography Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Reluctant History Readers, History Buffs, Middle Grade US History Teachers & Students, Middle Grade Readers on up

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Brainstorm 201: Fiction/Nonfiction Books to Read Together

In the last couple of months of 2019 I kept reading either young adult fiction or nonfiction books that I was able to understand/appreciate more fully because I had read another book of the opposite genre about that topic. And that got me thinking about other great fiction/nonfiction pairings. So here are 4 pairs of fiction and nonfiction books that are even better when you read both.

Pair #1: A Charlotte Brontë Biography & Fiction in Which She, Her Family, And Her Characters Star

Of course, to fully appreciate this pairing, you should probably also read the original Jane Eyre first. If you don’t want to dive into Jane Eyre, another possible fiction pairing for the nonfiction graphic novel is The Glasstown Game by Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve heard it is good for Brontë fans, and the biography talks a lot about Glasstown.

Target Readers:

  • Brontë Fans, Brit Lit Buffs, Fantasy Fans, Sibling Story Fans, Humor Fans (the fiction book is quite funny), Young Adult on up

Charlotte Brontë Before Jane Eyre by Glynnis Fawkes, intro by Alison Bechdel
A graphic novel biography of Charlotte Brontë's life from school age until she started getting published.
This book focuses on Charlotte but does feature a lot of Emily, Branwell, and Anne's stories along the way too since the siblings were so close. Fawkes states that she chose Charlotte to focus on because she was the Brontë sibling with the most correspondence and journalistic-type writing preserved. She's also the spunkiest (which also comes through in her books when compared to her sisters' books, give me the spunk of Shirley any day over the moaning of Wuthering Heights). This graphic novel isn't all that long, but I learned a lot from it. The family's histories certainly enlighten the inspiration for the books they wrote. I really enjoyed seeing the interplay between the siblings and how close they were. Definitely recommended if you are looking for a quick read that will give you background on Charlotte or any of the Brontë's writing.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows  
Charlotte Brontë is an aspiring author wasting away at Lowood School until she probably dies of starvation or the Graveyard Disease. But she's not gone just yet, and she's got some delicious inspiring material to maybe write her first novel about. At first she thought she'd write about the murder of Mr Brocklehurst, but then she gets an even better idea.
Jane Eyre, a teacher at Lowood, has tried very hard to keep the secret that she can see ghosts to herself. (Yes, this has ghosts in it, but think Christmas Carol type story, not spooky Japanese ghost story.) But when the Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits comes to town she unwittingly lets her secret get out to Mr Alexander Blackwood. She's got to get away so that her best friend, Helen (who happens to be a ghost) will be safe. When a governess position presents itself for a ward of Mr Rochester, she snatches up the job and off she goes. Much to the sadness of Charlotte who considered Jane her one friend.
Alexander Blackwood knows that the Society is very short on personnel at present (in fact they are down to himself and Branwell, and he's not sure if he should really count Branwell...the boy is a bit accident-prone and has so far been more helpful when unconscious). He has tried to recruit Jane but she's turned him down and then refused to see him. After returning to London and meeting with his superior, Lord Wellington, Alexander returns to Lowood even more determined to recruit Miss Eyre. But upon arrival back in the area of Lowood, Alexander discovers that Jane Eyre has left to take a position as governess. However, the troublesome Miss Brontë refuses to tell him where Miss Eyre has gone unless he takes her with him and her brother as an assistant (oh, yes, it appears Charlotte and Branwell are siblings).
And so our three heroes (well, two heroines and a hero and Branwell too) are off and no, you don't know the rest of the story. Because this is the true story that Miss Brontë based her novel off of, not the novel. There are secrets and aspects that have never been heard before. There's corruption in the society, an old murder to solve, Mr Rochester's secrets to unearth, ghosts both good and evil to meet, and Jane's future happiness to secure.
This could have been a very dark story, but it was hilarious and full of entertaining voices. They did honor to the really real Charlotte Brontë story, but made something even more marvelous and all their own out of it. I've read several Jane Eyre rewrites, but this was by far my favorite.

Pair #2: Two books that feature Spain during and right after the Spanish Civil War and Photojournalists

I read Eyes of the World first and I was very glad I did, because one of the photojournalists the book is about is mentioned quite a few times in passing in Fountains of Silence. It helped to know who they were talking about. Both of these books are very eye-opening reads as they expose aspects of history that really aren’t talked about all that much.

Target Readers:

  • Spanish History Buffs & Fans of Relatively Obscure History, Historical Fiction Fans, War Story Fans, Curious Readers, Photographers, Young Adult on up

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos
In the mid 1930s, two young adult Jewish refugees met in Paris, France, André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle. André was trying to make a living as a photographer, one of the few jobs open to refugees in Paris. Gerta managed to land a job with a photography clearing house that sells photos to publications. As the two fell in love and started trying to work together to make ends meet, Gerta decided they should remake themselves. With the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, Gerta changes their names to something less Jewish-sounding, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. Robert starts teaching Gerda how to take photos as well, and the two get an assignment photographing the civil war breaking out in Spain. They are two of the first photographers to use portable and fast photography to capture war photos. At the same time, publications are starting to use photos in new ways. They are using the newer, more lively photos in ways that will sway readers hearts and minds. So this is a story of two refugees trying to survive in a Europe that increasingly seems to be a hostile place for Jews. They are two photographers doing things and photographing things no one has seen before. So it is also the story of how modern photojournalism developed during this time period, largely using photos by Capa and Taro. And it is also the story of the Spanish Civil War and the convoluted mess of politics that was, and how Capa and Taro got wrapped up in that.

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Ana is thrilled to have her job at the Hilton in Madrid. She hopes it is the key to eventually getting her family out of poverty and herself maybe out of Madrid. She isn't going to take this hope lightly. Hope doesn't come easily for children of Republicans in Franco's Spain.
Puri is Ana's cousin. She's been raised as a model Spaniard, following all of Franco's principles. She loves her job at the orphanage and prays for wonderful families for the children she loves on. Her beliefs in Franco's ideals, the methods of the Catholic nuns who run the orphanage, and her own place in life are shaken when she accidentally uncovers some secrets.
Daniel has just graduated from high school in Texas and is visiting Madrid with his oil baron father and Spanish-American mother, as his father brokers a deal with Franco. Daniel is destined to be attending Texas A&M in the fall to get a degree that will set him up to take over the oil business. But what he really wants to do is go to journalism school. He longs to be a photojournalist, and he's hoping to capture images on this trip that will help him win a scholarship to pursue his dream. In Madrid he meets an established journalist who encourages him to find pictures that tell the real story of Franco's Spain. The only person he has met on this trip who might help him understand the truth is Ana, who services his family's rooms at the Hilton. But all his attempts at getting Ana to answer his questions have failed so far. Will he ever understand what is really going on and why the Guardia almost arrested him for taking a picture of them (or was it the nun with a dead baby)?
Ana, Puri, Daniel, and others' stories collide to tell a story of what it was like to live under Franco's regime in Spain after WWII.
This took me a little while to get into, but after I had met all the cast (which is huge!) I was hooked and tore through the last 300+ pages of the book. Sepetys brings so many important bits of history to light in this book. While we have all sorts of information and stories on what it was like for East Germans under their repressive regime, we have very few stories about Spain's suffering under their dictator over roughly the same time period.

Pair #3: The Fall of the Romanovs 

You can really read these in either order. Though Brandes’ book is fantasy, it does keep true to the historical account in many ways up to a point when the fantasy really kicks in. Candace Fleming’s book is an amazingly well-done biography of the family and history of Russia at that time.

Target Readers:

  • Russion History Buffs, Curious Readers, Biography Fans, Fantasy Fans, Reimagined History Fans, Upper Middle Grade/Young Adult on up

Romanov by Nadine Brandes
Brandes retells the last months of the Romanovs' lives from the perspective of Anastasia (Nastya). But what if there was magic in the world? And what if the greatest spell master of all had given the Romanovs a special item with a spell stored up to be unleashed at the moment of their greatest need? Of course, the Bolsheviks would be trying to get such things away from the family. But sly Nastya will use every trick up her sleeve to keep their hands off her family's last hope. And how the story plays out may be very different from what the history books say.

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming
For almost 80 years, the Romanov's story had been told in a vacuum without access to facts and primary resources that slowly became available after the fall of communism in Russia during the 1990s. Fleming realized that in order to do justice to the Romanov lives and murders, she'd also have to cover life for a typical Russian during Tsar Nicholas II's reign, the currents of revolution and discontent flowing around Russia during that time period, and the tragedies of WWI for Russia. Fleming transports you to Russia at the turn of the 1900s. You meet Tsar Nicholas II and the Grand Duchess Alexandra as they come to the throne. You watch as their family grows, and are touched by the amount of care they show their children. But at the same time, you get to read firsthand accounts of the lives of peasants in the country at the same time, and you cringe to see how woefully ignorant Nicholas and Alexandra were of the everyday realities of their people and how badly they handled the political situations of the time. You'll cringe as Rasputin shows up and starts taking advantage of the royal family, and you'll wish you could shake some sense into Nicholas during WWI. And you'll shake your head as you watch the Russians try to change the country for the better, only to let it fall into hands that end up being even worse for everyone than the Tsars.
This is a masterfully put together book, weaving in primary resources as much as possible.

Pair #4: The 1918-1919 Flu Pandemic

I actually don’t remember which of these I read first. You can read them in either order. Barry’s book on the pandemic is the best one I’ve read, but if you aren’t up to diving into 500+ pages, More Deadly Than War by Davis is much more succinct and does a decent job too.

Target Readers:

  • Disaster Story Fans, Medical Story Fans, Science Buffs, Epidemiology Fans, History Buffs, Young Adult on up

A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier
When the Spanish flu hits Cleo Berry’s city in Oregon in the fall of 1918, her brother and sister-in-law are down in San Francisco and their house keeper is visiting her family and Washington. The mayor has ordered the closing of all schools, and Cleo decides to return to her empty home rather than wait for her brother at boarding school. That night she sees an ad in the newspaper from the Red Cross asking for help, particularly those with cars and/or nursing backgrounds. Cleo doesn’t have a nursing degree. In fact, she can’t figure out what she’s going to do after graduation from high school in the spring, but she does have a car and her own past makes her eager to make sure there aren’t people out there suffering alone. So the next day she finds herself signed up with the Red Cross, armed with an armband, information brochures, gauze masks and a neighborhood to check. She goes door to door making sure everyone at home is fine, or if someone is sick that there are healthy people able to take care of them. As the days go by, the intensity of the situation helps her form fast friendships with others working to save whoever they can. She becomes good friends with another 17 year old volunteer, Kate, the motherly woman in charge of the nurses, Hannah, and a young medical student who was injured in the war, Edmund (and who has an annoying/endearing habit of trying to make sure Cleo is safe). Many volunteers barely make it through one day canvasing neighborhoods and working in the make-shift hospital. Cleo is definitely tempted to quit, but even when tragedy strikes close to home, she finds herself driven to help. And Hannah thinks Cleo may have found some future direction in the midst of this horrible pandemic.
This book does a great job balancing revulsion at the horror but showing hearts deep enough to persevere on and do something. Cleo could have given up several times, but she chooses to do what is right and loving, even if it costs her. She’s also very relatable in feeling like she is too ordinary to be good for any occupation, something I think a lot of young adults wrestle with. And even though she feels ordinary, she is anything but.

The Great Influenza: the Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry
This is an exhaustive exploration of the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic. Exhaustive because Barry practically leaves no aspect of history, medicine, culture, politics, geography, or science unexplored. He says in the afterword that it took him seven years to write this book and I believe it because of the incredible depth and breadth of research necessary to produce this tome. He begins by exploring the state of medicine in the years immediately preceding the pandemic in both the US and Europe. He then continues to set the stage by introducing us to the cast of characters about to become involved, from a multitude of scientists (most of which you get to know well), to political leaders, to the microbes about to wreak havoc. So you get a history of medicine lesson, then history of World War I and the political situation it created in the US and Europe, and then you get a biology lesson on the immune system and bacteria and viruses. Then you get an almost play by play unfolding of the pandemic primarily as it hit the US, but to a certain extent worldwide. As it unfolds through various waves you continue to get more historical background and biographical data on key players, and some more microbiology lessons.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Brainstorm 200: Synesthesia in literature

This week’s Brainstorm features some characters with a condition called synesthesia. This is when one sense is linked to another sense. For example, sounds have certain colors or emotions have smells to the person. A brief survey of research on synesthesia prevalence gave me multiple studies that concluded an estimate that about 4% of the population has some type of synesthesia. (Though all the studies also mentioned how little research has been done on synesthesia prevalence.) Reading about the unique ways these people experience the world is eye-opening. I have books for you featuring 3 fictional characters with synesthesia and 1 picture book biography of a real person who had synesthesia.

The Lost Property Office (Section 13, #1) by James R. Hannibal
Jack thinks he, his mother, and his sister are in England to recover his father's body after an incident. But when he and his sister accidentally stumble into The Lost Property Office, a hidden world is opened up to them. A world where his father was really part of a secret British Ministry, and had skills Jack shares. Skills that allow him to track things and people. And if there's one person who needs Jack to use those skills, it's his father who isn't quite as dead as thought and is being held by a man demanding Jack bring him something called the Ember by midnight. With a young clerk named Gwen he meets at The Lost Property Office, Jack is soon off across London using his newly discovered skills to solve a centuries old mystery relating to the Great Fire with the Ember somehow at the end.
Synesthete:  Jack is a synesthete (it never actually labels him this in the book, but the author's bio does, as Mr. Hannibal himself has synesthesia. Most synesthetes just have a few senses linked, but Jack has all of them linked and that gives him almost supernatural abilities to observe things.

Target Audience:

  • Fantasy Fans, Adventure Fans, Time-travel Fans, Superhero Fans, Mystery Fans, Excellent World-Building Fans, Secret Society Fans, Middle Grade Readers on up

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Mia has been worried for years that there is something wrong with her. When she started attending school she discovered that no one else saw numbers and letters had colors. She's kept quiet about it for years, but she can't take it any more. She has to tell someone. After a few visits to doctors and therapists, she and her family are finally directed to a neuroscientist with an answer. Mia isn't crazy, she has synesthesia. Discovering the truth opens a whole new world to Mia, a world she gets a little lost in and may be in danger of neglecting her family and friends. Eventually, something happens to help Mia realize how to balance things better.
Synesthete: Mia (see above)

Target Audience:

  • Recent Historical Fiction Fans, Fans of Stories Dealing with Realistic Tween Issues/Family Relationships, Middle Grade Readers

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, ill. by Mary GrandPré
Barb Rosenstock imagines what the childhood of Vasily Kadinsky was like and how he discovered a love for art that was different from the norm of that period.
Synesthete: Historians strongly suspect Vasily Kadinsky associated colors with sounds and vice versa and that this affected his paintings.

Target Audience:
Picture Book Biography Fans, Art Lovers, Russian History Buffs, Lower Grade Readers

Space Boy 1 (Space Boy, #1) by Stephen McCranie
Amy is devastated when her father gets fired for a mishap in the mine and her entire family gets transferred back to Earth. Not only is she moving away from friends, but she'll be in cryo during the trip to Earth and when she wakes up all her friends will have experienced 30 years of life while she'll still be a teenager. The only ray of hope in Amy's life are some kind students at school who make an effort to befriend her and show her how to survive as a teenager on Earth in the present.
Synesthete: Every person Amy meets has a flavor to her.

Target Audience:

  • Graphic Novel Fans, Science Fiction Fans, Third Culture Kids, Young Adult Readers on up

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Brainstorm 199: Top 10s of 2019 Part 4

This week we wrap up my Top 10s of 2019. In this final post I share my favorite Young Adult & Adult Fiction reads, plus my favorite Christian books I read in 2019. The books may have been published in any year, but I read them in 2019. I've arranged the lists with my absolute favorites on top roughly in a descending order, though frequently there are many ties and I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite between books next to each other. I will say the one exception to that is Lovely War by Julie Berry. Usually, I'd say picking a very tippy top read of the year is impossible, but that book really stood out for me as the best read of 2019. Click on the titles to see my full review of each book.

Top 10s of 2019 Part 1: Middle Grade Books, Young Adult & Adult Nonfiction, Bios of People of Asian Heritage
Top 10s of 2019 Part 2: Picture Books, Lower Grade Books, and Top Asian Characters/Setting/Creators
Top 10s of 2019 Part 3: Sarah Foit's Top 10s

Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Young Adult Books
(limited to those published in 2018-2019, graphic novels & Christian YA excluded)

Lovely War by Julie Berry

My Plain Jane (Lady Janes, #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton

Starsight (Skyward, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson & Eugene Yelchin

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3) by Neal Shusterman

Impostors (Impostors, #1) by Scott Westerfeld

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe (not marketed as, but is really Matched, #4) by Ally Condie

The Deceiver’s Heart (The Traitor’s Game) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Archenemies (Renegades, #2) by Marissa Meyer

Top 10 Contemporary Fiction/Historical Fiction Young Adult Books

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir

Yotsuba&! 1 (Yotsuba&!, #1) by Kiyohiko Azuma, translated by Amy Frosyth

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Genius: the Revolution (Genius, #3) by Leopold Gout

Killing November (Killing November, #1) by Andriana Mather

Grenade by Alan Gratz

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Silver Spoon 1 (Silver Spoon, #1) by Hiromu Arakawa, translated by Amanda Haley

Skyjacked by Paul Griffin

Top 10 Young Adult/Adult Graphic Novels, Manga, Comics Books
(limited to those published in 2018-2019, limited to 1 per series)

Space Boy 1 (Space Boy, #1) by Stephen McCranie

I’ve Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 7) by Ryan North, ill. by Erica Henderson, colors by Rico Renzi

Marvel Rising (Marvel Rising, #0-4) by Devin Grayson, Ryan North, G. Willow Wilson, ill. by Marco Failla, Georges Duarte

Invader Zim Vol. 5 (Invader Zim, Vol. 5) by Eric Trueheart, Dave Crosland, ill. by Dave Crosland, Warren Wucinich

Mother Is Coming (FoxTrot) by Bill Amend

Hey Sodapop, by James Point Du Jour

Midas by Ryan North, ill. by Shelli Paroline & Braden Lamb

Giant Spider & Me: a Post-Apocalyptic Tale 3 (Giant Spider & Me, #3) by Kikori Morino

Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir, ill. by Sarah Andersen

Tamamo the Fox Maiden and Other Asian Stories edited by Kel McDonald

Top 10 Adult Fiction Books
(Christian fiction excluded)

Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce

Newcomer (Detetctive Kaga) by Keigo Higashino, translated by Giles Murray

Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

City of Ink (Li Du, #3) by Elsa Hart

Terminal Uprising (Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse, #2) by Jim C. Hines

Legion: the Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3) by Brandon Sanderson

The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library, #5) by Genevieve Cogman

Blackout by Marc Elsberg, translated by

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells

Top 10 YA & Adult Christian Fiction Books
(limited to only 1 book per series and per author)

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Diamond in the Rough (American Heiresses, #2) by Jen Turano

The Painted Castle (Lost Castle, #3) by Kristy Cambron

Flight of the Raven (Ravenwood Saga, #2) by Morgan L. Busse

Edge of Oblivion (The Chronicles of Sarco, #1) by Joshua A. Johnston

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

The Crescent Stone (The Sunlit Lands, #1) by Matt Mikalatos

Outbreak by Davis Bunn

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Waves of Mercy (Waves of Mercy, #1) by Lynn Austin

Top 10 Christian Nonfiction Books

Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff

Wreck My Life: Journeying from Broken to Bold by Mo Isom

Opening the Red Door: the Inside Story of Russia’s First Christian Liberal Arts University by John A. Bernbaum

Afraid of All the Things: Tornadoes, Cancer, Adoption, and Other Stuff You Need the Gospel For by Scarlet Hitabidal

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan

Don’t Give Up: Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and the Courage to Keep Going by Kyle Idleman

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way by John Townsend

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That Is a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin

Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Growing in Christlikeness by Christopher J.H. Wright

The Gift of Wonder: Creative Practices for Delighting in God by Christine Aroney-Sine

Top 10 Christian Lower Grade Books

Who Is My Neighbor? by Amy-Jill Levine & Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, ill. by Denise Turu

Paul Writes (a Letter) by Chris Raschka

God’s Very Good Idea: a True Story of God’s DelightfullyDifferent Family (Tales That Tell the Truth) by Trillia J. Newbell, ill. by Catalina Echeverri

An Unexpected Hero: a Bible Story about Rahab (Called and Courageous Girls) by Rachel Spier Weaver & Anna Haggard, ill. by Eric Elwell

Loved: the Lord’s Prayer by Sally Lloyd-Jones, ill. by Jago

The World Is Awake: a Celebration of Everyday Blessings by Linsey Davis with Joseph Bottum, ill. by Lucy Fleming

Sidney & Norman: a Tale of Two Pigs by Phil Vischer, ill. by Justin Gerard

The Storm That Stopped (Tales That Tell the Truth) by Alison Mitchell, ill. by Catalina Echeverri

Words to Love By by Rick Warren, ill. by A.G. Jatkowska

The Friend Who Forgives (Tales That Tell the Truth) by Dan DeWitt, ill. by Catalina Echeverri