August 2021 – Editor’s Choice: Taking the Lead
“I started my career in a broom closet,” Dave Alpern reveals in his new book Taking the Lead: Winning Business Principles that Fuel Joe Gibbs Racing. Today, almost 30 years with the company, he sits in the president’s chair at Joe Gibbs, the winningest team in NASCAR history.
Alpern’s narrative includes plenty of entertaining forays into the fast-paced NASCAR world, both on and off the track. More important is his spotlight on the Christian principles fostered by Joe Gibbs and other leadership. Those principles include regular prayer sessions, chaplains on call, and treating people as souls, not transactions. Alpern’s goal is to maintain an atmosphere supportive and encouraging for his 500 employees.
Tyndale, 256 pages
Your Time Is Now
Author Jonathan Evans, son of Dr. Tony Evans, is an NFL chaplain and pastor. Similar to Joshua in the Old Testament, Evans lived in the shadow of a dynamic spiritual leader. Yet Joshua and Evans both discovered that God calls each man to his own place of accountability.
Evans focuses each chapter of Your Time Is Now on simple words (now, look, and wait) as a means of hearing and heeding God’s voice. Then, with a continuous flow of Scripture, Evans encourages men to step up and seize God’s unique plan for their lives.
Bethany House, 171 pages
The Sound the Sun Makes
Master storyteller Buck Storm is back with a new adventure for some of his quirky characters from previous novels. Early Pines and Jake, rodeo men from way back, head out to another contest of broncos and riders, though both are past the age of participation.
But this time, Storm mixes in a parallel set of characters led by a reclusive and puzzling film producer who exhibits bizarre super powers. It becomes a clash of the titans as the old cowboys try to rescue a young actor who doesn’t really want to be rescued. Plenty of conflict between good and evil.
Kregel, 318 pages
Under the Bayou Moon
Valerie Fraser Luesse hits another home run with her latest story steeped in Southern history and tradition. This tale takes place in the swamps of post-World War II Louisiana, as protagonist Ellie Fields is searching for her place in the world and a purpose in life.
After accepting a teaching job in the small bayou town of Bernadette, Ellie forges an unlikely friendship with a Cajun fisherman named Raphe and his orphaned nephew Remy. Through both of them, their tight-knit community, and a legendary white alligator with sapphire eyes, Ellie the teacher is taught firsthand about injustice, mercy, and the grace of God.
Revell Publishing, 346 pages
Dumplings Mean Family
Jennifer Shaw tells the story of her adoptive children’s culture shock after they arrived in the U.S. from China. In this animated picture book, Shaw shows how she connected to her children’s hearts through their stomachs.
Hoping to help minister to families facing complex situations, Shaw partnered with Madison Adoption Associates and Compassion International for this tale. Dumplings Mean Family will encourage adoptive families far and wide.
Self-published, 32 pages
When I Hold You
When I Hold You is a vibrantly illustrated and beautifully written celebration of motherhood. Each spread features an illustration of a mother and her child paired with Scripture and author Ashley Huffstutler’s poetic writing. Each page and line emphasize how a mother’s love mirrors God’s love for His children. Soothing rhymes and gorgeous pictures make this board book a perfect bedtime story for little ones 1-4 years old. When I Hold You is also a great gift for new mothers.
B&H Kids, 24 pages
The Moon Speaks
In The Moon Speaks, author Jason Duesing takes readers on a journey through the wonder of God’s creation. Bookended by Scripture, each gorgeous illustration of nature and different animals is paired with words of wonder and awe at how God speaks through his magnificent creation. From the moon and sun to the forests and mountains, each declares His handiwork. The Moon Speaks is an excellent addition to a child’s library of bedtime books. It makes a great gift for ages 1-4.
B&H Kids, 24 pages
Tracy McKenzie is your average teenage girl just trying to make it through high school without too much drama. But when her younger brother comes home announcing that a boy in his class has decided to become a girl, Tracy finds herself face to face with a question she’s never considered: Can you choose your gender? Many of the kids in school, including her best friend Charlie, seem to think so. As Tracy is confronted with the subjects of transgenderism, gender identity, and the realities that come with them, she finds her world turned upside down in ways she never could have imagined.
Choosing by Ellie Klipp is a great resource for introducing teens (and parents, too) to the science and psychology behind the transgender issue. The author doesn’t shy away from tackling serious issues but does so in a way that’s easy to understand and interesting to read.
Self-published, 278 pages
The Fruit of the Spirit
The Fruit of the Spirit by Jeff and Amy Brooks is a simple picture book with Scripture that teaches young children to identify the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
Every page contains a colorful illustration of each spiritual trait drawn by Amy and a corresponding Scripture reference. This book is a good read-aloud for parents who want to foster quality family time while teaching their young children basic biblical concepts about being a true believer.
Christian Faith Publishing, 12 pages