Whether you frequent your local bookstore, library, or Amazon for your reading pleasure bookmark this page for titles to look for in the first six months of 2020. This time of year (autumn) I am steeped deep into projects that will publish in the spring (January through June) as an editor. Spring 2020 will bring some (I believe) great titles for children, youth, and the adults who love them. It has been inspiring to work with authors with a passion for sharing the Good News with others beyond their own ministry settings. Hopefully you will find some that will fill a need in your home or ministry.
The Way of Love has been an initiative of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Episcopal Church since its launch at General Convention in 2018. Resources have been created from across the church, but these have mostly been created for adults and church events. The Very Best Day: The Way of Love for Children by Roger Hutchison fills the void by bringing the Way of Love in word and image to children. Through rhyming prose and the artwork we have come to love from Roger we now have a book designed specifically for children. Coming in January.
We all fell in love with Anna V. Ostenso Moore’s Today is a Baptism Day with Peter Krueger’s vibrant illustrations. Anna and Peter have collaborated on a companion title, this time focused on Holy Communion. We Gather at This Table will walk through the important elements of the Eucharist, following the same family and friends that we met on that special baptism day. Coming in February.
Common Prayer for Children and Families is designed to be for children as Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People was for teens. Jenifer Gamber has collaborated with Timothy S.J. Seamans to create a book full of prayers for children to learn and families to use together throughout the year. To start and end the day (and in-between times too), for church seasons and celebrations, saints, school, camp, and personal experiences, this book will be a companion for family rituals and everyday circumstances. An added bonus are Perry Hodgkins Jones’ whimsical drawings make it even sweeter. Coming in February.
There are plenty of curricular resources available for youth. But there aren’t many that help middle schoolers (and I would also include high schoolers and adults) read through the Bible in a sequential way from an Episcopal perspective. Blessed to Bless: An Introduction to the Bible gives a broad, but deep, sweep of the biblical story all based on the concept that we (humans) were created to be a blessing to others. From Abraham to Jesus, Tim Sean Youmans shares (in book form) a class he has been teaching for years at Casady School, an Episcopal PreK thru High School private school in Oklahoma City. Coming in April.
Racial reconciliation is important work for all of us. The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta has been at the forefront in providing resources and training in the Episcopal Church. Since 2017, the Diocese of Atlanta has partnered with Catherine Meeks (executive director) and the Center to create a curriculum for middle school youth to help “dismantle racism.” I first attended a workshop facilitate by the curriculum writers last November at the National Association of Episcopal Schools annual conference in Atlanta. I was trained to use the curriculum at a pre-conference session at Forma in January 2019. For the past nine months I have been working with authors Katie McRee and Sally Ulrey along with youth missioner Easton Davis to update the materials to make them more accessible and usable. The updated Dismantling Racism: A Youth Curriculum – Leader’s Guide and Student Journal – will be available in April 2020. Understandably, one must have attended a training session on the curriculum before having access to it. If you’ve already been trained, contact the youth ministry office or sign up for a training through their website.
And that’s not all. Coming in June (we don’t even have a cover yet!) is Belovedness: Finding God (and Self) on Campus edited by Becky Zartman and James Franklin. They’ve gathered a bunch of college chaplains together to share what we hope every high schooler preparing for college and every current college student should know. #1 – You are a beloved child of God. In beginning my editorial work with them, I am constantly smiling – who wouldn’t with chapters full of references to Mr. Rogers, The Princess Bride, Stephen Colbert, Dorothy Day, Michael Scott, Noah, Harvey Milk, Anne Lamott, and of course – Jesus? Stay tuned to hear more!