VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, owner of Jellyfish Labs, on strategies to reach kids today and his current projects, Jelly Telly online programming and the new "What's in the Bible?" DVD series from Tyndale House Publishers.
What's the aim of the new DVD series? "To bring Christianity to life for kids by walking them through the entire Bible-from Genesis to Revelation. I think VeggieTales did a good job teaching individual Bible stories and Christian values. What we're trying to do now, though, is connect all those dots to show kids the big picture. Instead of teaching Christian values, we're teaching Christianity. Instead of teaching individual Bible stories, we're teaching the entire Bible. I think it's the next step after VeggieTales-sort of 'VeggieTales v2.' "
Why I Stayed Gayle Haggard with Angela Hunt Tyndale House Publishers hardcover, $25.99 978-1-414-33585-8
A highly anticipated biography, Haggard's Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour chronicles her life after the fallout of her pastor-husband Ted's public moral failure. The story, already spotlighted through the couple's appearances on Oprah and in the documentary The Trials of Ted Haggard , arrives on the printed page with more room for her to elaborate.
Christian fiction pioneer Francine Rivers talks with Christian Retailing Assistant Editor about her newest book, Her Mother's Hope (Tyndale House Publishers), and the lasting legacy of her collection of best-selling books.
Walking on Broken Glass Christa Allen Abingdon Press softcover, 352 pages, $13.99 978-1-426-70227-3
In Allen's Walking on Broken Glass, Leah Thornton is a functional alcoholic, always craving something to drink when it comes to a stressful situation or just trying to deal with everyday routine. Fortunately, she has a good friend, Molly, who confronts her about the life she's missing out on. Realizing she is in fact at the end of her rope, Leah agrees to admit herself to a rehabilitation center in order that she might recover her life.
While in the center, Leah discovers a rest and a security in this environment she has never experienced before. At the same time, she is forced to confront the demons in her life that led her to where she is at now. Fighting through painful memories of sexual assault, a lost baby, a current bad marriage and controlling and judgmental in-laws, Leah presses toward her prize of sobriety and in the healing, matures into a woman of confidence and faith as God works in her heart.
Walking on Broken Glass is a delightful novel that speaks volumes of truth and witnesses the power of God and His ability to restore those things that have been considered lost. -Heidi Ippolito
With lead single "Drifting Away" already featured on the ABC's Private Practice, Wake Me, the debut project from twentysomething sisters Tal & Acacia arrives in stores Jan. 26 from Essential Records (Provident-Integrity Distribution).
Describe your music in a Tweet (140 characters): "Quirky Pop/Indie/Alternative. Sonic pop ideals, but the songs were written and mostly built around spare organic instrumentation."
When did you decide to start doing music together?"When Tal was 16 and Acacia was 14. It was the year we lived in Russia with our family working in social services with The Salvation Army, specifically the humanitarian ministry the organization had established in the former Soviet republic in 1991."
Who are your musical influences? "Feist, Imogen Heap, Vince Guaraldi, Fiona Apple, Sixpence None the Richer, Natasha Bedingfield."
What was it like to work with producer Monroe Jones (Third Day, Chris Rice)? "We couldn't have found a more amazing person to work with. His personality, talent and direction really blew us away."
Who is your target listener? "We just want as many people as possible to hear the message of God's love in our music. We love all our fans, from the teens and college kids at our shows, and their parents who seem to enjoy our sound just as much."
Can you each pick a song from the album and explain the themes/sound behind it? Tal: " ‘Walkin' Your Dog' was inspired by the fact that when one chooses to walk with God, He doesn't guarantee the American dream. He guarantees more than material happiness, He promises things that can't be gained simply by getting what you think you want. Finding what He has for you personally requires personal time spent with Him."
Acacia: " ‘Merry Go Round' is all about living life in fullness. We so easily fall into our hum-drum commonplace duties instead of realizing that we live and serve a living God. ... I wanted [and] still want to be ‘filled to the measure of all the fullness of God' (Eph.3:19). I believe that if you are in His will and seeking Him as Lord, then your ordinary dayscanbecome extraordinary. So the song is that reminder to get off the ‘same old-same old' and find refreshment and life through His presence."
Since its explosion in the late 20th century, the Christian book market has witnessed a wide range of Bible products as demand continued to increase.
As a religious book retailer, you're often faced with a variety of buyers who are searching amid a wide array of diverse products. For instance, when a shopper walks into your bookstore with little or no Catholic knowledge and wants to buy a Catholic Bible as a gift, how do you determine which to offer?
Your role as the "religious book expert" is to identify the gift recipient's needs prior to making your recommendations. There are a number of different types of Catholic Bibles available depending on the gift recipient's age, need or specific event. From medium- to large-print to pocket guide Bibles, the offerings are endless.
Listed below are demographics along with suggested Catholic Bible resources:
Adults: The New American Bible (NAB) is the version most often used at mass. It accurately translates the original text into modern English. Family Bible editions are also widely available.
Adults may also enjoy a Bible study book that focuses on a topic of interest such as how to's, prayer, the saints, the rosary and more.
For adults entering the Catholic faith, a Catholic Answer Bible including the official NAB translation and information about Catholic beliefs and practices, with their foundations in Scripture, might be helpful.
Teens: Young readers will enjoy an NAB Bible that includes prayers, faith basics and extras tailored specifically to them. Areas of interest could also include confirmation and the saints.
Children: There are a wide variety of age-appropriate Catholic children's Bibles, including editions for first communion, Lent, Easter, Advent, Bible stories and the sacraments. Be sure to recommend titles with friendly illustrations and explanations.
Your product knowledge and keen selling abilities lend credibility as a solid and reliable religious book retailer. The more you learn about your products, the better prepared you are in delivering the ideal customer experience in meeting their needs.
Laurie Perolio-Bullinger is direct marketing manager for Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic publisher of periodicals, books, curriculum, tapes, software and educational materials. www.osv.com.