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Catering to Christmas readers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 07 July 2014 01:55 PM EDT

Variety abounds for kids and adults in this year’s holiday offerings

Retailers are ever aware that Christmas is right around the corner. Many a shopper will be looking for the latest seasonal story, kid’s book or cookbook—and publishers stand at the ready.

“We are publishing books for people who may be overwhelmed by the busyness of the season,” said Pamela Clements, associate publisher for Christian Living and Abingdon Fiction at Abingdon Press.

Clements also pointed to a new novella called Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past.

“I really believe that people love to immerse themselves in the Christmas season, and there is nothing better than a good story,” she said.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, publishes one or two new Christmas titles each fall that are “giftable,” as many holiday titles are.

“We are very aware that most of the print copy sales are for gifts,” said Lonnie Hull DuPont, executive editor at Revell. “Obviously many ways of buying books are changing with the world of e-books, but we think there is still a reader desire for a physical, handsome book to give away for Christmas gifts.”

Nola Haney, sales manager for Barbour Publishing, also understands the draw of beautiful books for the season, noting the popularity of the company’s historical Christmas collection.

“The beautiful packaging lends itself well as a gift, and the unbeatable low price allows for multiple purchases for book lovers in every family,” Haney said. “Many of our retail customers off-price it even more for great Thanksgiving weekend sales.”

Abingdon also took into consideration readers for whom Christmas is difficult.

“For some people, it is not all joy and laughter, and having the right encouragement and showing that the original Christmas was anything but tinsel and music can be a wonderful gift for a reader who might be struggling,” Clements said.

The following titles are some of this year’s Christmas offerings:



TheMessiahDouglas Connelly
IVP Connect (InterVarsity Press)
softcover, 64 pages, $8

The Messiah: The Texts Behind Handel’s Masterpiece from the “LifeGuide Bible Studies” series explores some of the key passages in the Old Testament about the Messiah and their completion in the life and work of Jesus. These passages led George Frederic Handel to write his oratorio, parts of which are sung during the Christmas season. However, what many fail to realize is that the entire text of Handel’s “Messiah” is drawn from Scripture. This inductive study guide leads the reader through the Scriptures used in Handel’s work that highlight Jesus’ identity and work.

Orders: Call 630-734-4711 or fax 630-734-4200.



ChristmasDominoesJuliet David; illustrated by Jo Parry
Lion Hudson (Kregel Publications)
game, $9.99
Sept. 27

This first domino game and story booklet for young children will help them learn the story of Jesus’ birth. The large, colorful dominoes feature characters, numbers and animals.

Orders: 800-733-2607.


GodBlessOurChristmasHannah C. Hall, Steve Whitlow
Thomas Nelson
board book, 20 pages, $9.99
Oct. 7

God Bless Our Christmas is the third title in the best-selling “God Bless Book” series. Its rhyming story will help children ages 1 to 4 focus on all the blessings of Christmas with family, including decorating cookies and trees, singing carols, giving gifts and celebrating Jesus. Animals such as penguins and polar bears each enjoy a different Christmas blessing or tradition. In the end, they gather around the tree, thankful for Jesus, the brightest part of the season.

Orders: 800-251-4000.


WhosComingToStayKregel Children’s Books (Kregel Publications)
board book, 12 pages, $5.99
Sept. 27

This small board book is also a Christmas ornament. Who’s Coming to Stay? tells the story of the animals in the stable as they make room for the baby Jesus. The book features layered die-cuts and sparkly foil.

Orders: 800-733-2607.





WandaEBrunstettersAmishFriendsChristmasCookbookWanda E. Brunstetter
Barbour Publishing
concealed spiral hardcover, 160 pages, $12.99
Sept. 1

From Barbour’s New York Times best-selling author of Amish fiction comes Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Christmas Cookbook. This new cookbook with a lay-flat binding includes homestyle recipes and insights into Amish life during Christmastime.

Orders: Call 800-852-8010 or fax 800-220-5948.




12StoriesOfChristmasRobert J. Morgan
Thomas Nelson
hardcover, 256 pages, $14.99
Oct. 7
Morgan, pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, has more than 3.5 million books in print. In 12 Stories of Christmas, including six new stories, he offers the original works he shares with his church on Christmas Eve.

Orders: 800-251-4000.


ChristmasAtRoseHillFarmSuzanne Woods Fisher
Revell (Baker
Publishing Group)
softcover, 240 pages, $15.99
Sept. 5

Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn’t who she thought he would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler and wants nothing to do with Bess, so she said yes to Amos Lapp. But as the wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle. In the end, Bess, Billy and Amos see that Christmas truly is a season of miracles.

Orders: 800-877-2665.



ClarasWishBeth Shriver
Realms (Charisma House)
softcover, 304 pages, $14.99
Oct. 7

In Clara’s Wish: An Amish Christmas Romance, Lizzy Ryder is looking for a hardworking, God-fearing gentleman—everything that Zachariah Schrock is not! But when Zach’s sister and Lizzy’s best friend, Clara, takes ill, they come together to give her a Christmas she’ll never forget. As Clara’s condition worsens, will they learn to lean on God and each other? Clara’s Wish also includes bonus Amish recipes.

Orders: 800-283-8494.



EvergreenSusan May Warren
Tyndale House
hardcover, 208 pages, $14.99

An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. As a blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over their marriage. Their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on embracing a new chapter of their lives.

Orders: 800-323-9400.


NoraBonesteelsChristmasPastSharyn McCrumb
Abingdon Press
hardcover, 160 pages, $18.99
(hardcover and e-book)
9781426754210 (hardcover)
Oct. 7

Nora Bonesteel returns in this novella from New York Times best-selling author McCrumb. When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls. In a story of spirits, memories and angels unaware, McCrumb’s characters know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at Christmastime.

Orders: 800-251-3320.


TheChristmasCatMelody Carlson
Revell (Baker
Publishing Group)
hardcover, 176 pages, $15.99

After years abroad, Garrison Brown heads home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While he hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother’s instructions don’t allow for speed. Garrison’s job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing a monetary gift. And along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him want to stay.

Orders: 800-877-2665.


TheWestwardChristmasBridesCollectionWanda E. Brunstetter et al.
Barbour Publishing
softcover, 448 pages, $14.99

Attempting a westward journey during the winters of the 1800s is either brave or foolhardy. But the promise of a new life is strong for those heading to new settlements, as well as those using any excuse to run from their pasts, gain adventure and find a place to call home. As Christmas approaches, will the couples find new hope in romance, or will they have to turn back?

Orders: Call 800-852-8010 or fax 800-220-5948.



WhereTreetopsGlistenTricia Goyer,
Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin
WaterBrook Press
softcover, 352 pages, $14.99
Sept. 16

Set in 1940s’ Lafayette, Indiana, Where Treetops Glisten tells the tale of Abigail, Pete and Merry Turner, each of whom faces the uncertainty of life during wartime, but relies on faith and God’s leading to find lasting love and enduring hope. Where Treetops Glisten is a collection of three stories of courage and romance set during World War II.

Orders: 800-733-3000.



NotASilentNightAdam Hamilton
Abingdon Press
softcover, 144 pages, $13.99 (softcover/e-book), $17.99 (large print)
9781426771842 (softcover)
9781426793967 (e-book)
9781630882952 (large print)
Sept. 16

In Not a Silent Night by pastor and best-selling author Hamilton, readers will witness the life of Christ through the eyes of His mother, Mary, starting at the end of His earthly life and working back to His birth.

Orders: 800-251-3320.

Written by Production   
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 10:06 AM EDT

Ray and Tina Houser
Warner Press
softcover, 152 pages, $12.99
July 1
With Egermeier’s Fun Family Devotions: 52 Interactive Devotions From the New Testament, families can read and enjoy the Bible in a fun atmosphere. The step-by-step approach to each lesson makes the family devotion process simple. The guide includes 52 lessons from the New Testament that correlate with Egermeier’s Bible Story Book, and each lesson includes Scripture references, background information and questions. Following each lesson are creative, engaging activities for preschoolers and older children that reinforce the story and can be done with simple objects.
Orders: Call 800-741-7721 or fax 800-347-6411.

Celebrating the meaning of friendship PDF Print E-mail
Written by Production   
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 09:52 AM EDT

Joy, laughter and friendship are celebrated in a new whimsical collection by renowned author and artist Mary Engelbreit, known for her New York Times best-seller The Night Before Christmas. Releasing July 29, The Blessings of Friendship Treasury (9780310745099, $17.99, hardcover, Zonderkidz) is filled with poems, sayings and Scripture verses that teach the true meaning of friendship and show the blessings of a life surrounded by love.

Orders: 800-727-1309.

Girls of all ages want to feel like Cinderella at the ball, but some feel more like Cinderella before the ball—overlooked, inadequate, hurting or maybe even used and abused. Best-selling author Serita Ann Jakes knows how past failures and present hurts can prevent believers from realizing their true identity in Jesus, and has helped hundreds of girls work through personal struggles such as poor self-esteem, difficult friendships, family problems and secret shame. In The Princess Within for Teens (9780764212048, $14.99, softcover, Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group), Jakes, wife of T.D. Jakes, sets out to help young women to walk in confidence, knowing her true beauty comes from a Christ-honoring life.

Adult editions of The Princess Within have sold nearly a quarter-million copies. The teen edition includes insights from her debutante program for young women.

Orders: 800-877-2665.

Labels introduce new artists while veterans release another album PDF Print E-mail
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 09:21 AM EDT

Veteran group Hillsong Live employs talent of many producers as they issue album number 23

AboutAMile-SelfTitledAbout a Mile

About a Mile
Word Records (Word Distribution)
July 15

About a Mile is comprised of three brothers—Adam, Levi and Luke Klutinoty—who embraced music early in life. Hailing from Butler, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, the brothers offer a self-titled debut featuring production from Ian Eskelin (Hawk Nelson, Sidewalk Prophets, Francesca Battistelli) and Howard Benson (Skillet, Flyleaf, Daughtry).

Songs on About a Mile include first single “Satisfied,” “Who You Say You Are,” “Power of the Cross” and “S.O.S. (Hope Won’t Let Go).”

Regarding the band’s name, singer Adam Klutinoty said: “We learned from a study that Jesus carried His cross about a mile, and that’s where our band name comes from. When we felt called to play music for the rest of our life, there was never any doubt that we would do it for His glory and treat our ministry like He did when carrying the cross. He carried a cross that we deserved to be nailed to about a mile so He could die for us. We just want to serve others as best as we can and use all our strength and ability to honor God, carrying our cross as far as we possibly can.”

Order through, or call 800-876-WORD (9673).


CrystalClear-DavidDunnCrystal Clear

David Dunn
BEC Recordings (New Day Christian Distributors)
July 15

New BEC Recordings artist David Dunn honed his craft moonlighting as a singer-songwriter while studying at Texas Tech University. After releasing a full-length independent project, more than a year of humanitarian and mission work in Africa and appearing on NBC’s The Voice, Dunn releases his debut label EP, Crystal Clear, on July 15. The album features Dunn’s distinctive vocals with a backdrop of modern pop.

First single “Today Is Beautiful” released to radio in May. Additional tracks include “Have Everything” and “Waiting for Love.”

Order through or call 800-251-3633.


NoOtherName-HillsongLiveNo Other Name

Hillsong Live
Hillsong Music
(Capitol Christian Distribution)
July 1

Hillsong Live will release this month No Other Name, recorded at the Hillsong Convention  Center in Sydney, Australia. The project—the 23rd album from the group that aims to resource congregations worldwide with worship music—features 11 original songs, including “No Other Name,” “This I Believe (Creed),” “Calvary,” “My Story,” “Broken Vessels,” “Heaven and Earth” and “Thank You Jesus.”

No Other Name features the music production team of Joel Houston, Marty Sampson, Ben Fielding, Taya Smith, Reuben Morgan, Simon Kobler, Joel Hingston, Harrison Wood, David Ware, Jad Gillies and Ben Whincop, among others.

The album’s cover art shows New York City’s Times Square billboards proclaiming “No Other Name.”

Order by calling 800-877-4443 or go to

Exploring a musical legacy PDF Print E-mail
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 09:15 AM EDT

Ragamuffin-scene‘Awesome God’ singer-songwriter Rich Mullins’ life dramatized in new movie ‘Ragamuffin’

The music of singer-songwriter Rich Mullins continues to impact the world many years after his untimely death at age 41. Although already profiled in documentaries and books, The spiritual journey of the “Awesome God” songwriter and the Gospel Music Association’s Artist of the Year (1998) gets the big-screen treatment in Ragamuffin: The True Story of Rich Mullins (Millennium Entertainment/Capitol Christian Distribution), which also will be available on DVD at Christian retail July 8.

RagamuffinActor David Leo Schultz, who co-wrote and directed the film, was one of the lives profoundly affected by Mullins’ music and philosophy. The idea for a full-length movie came to be in a meeting with Rich’s younger brother, David.

“I was merely an audience member to his life,” Schultz told Christian Retailing. “With the film, I want to give other people the opportunity for Rich to change their lives. [After I met David,] I started daydreaming about the movie, wondering what it would look like. I started imagining as I was listening to some of his music and old radio interviews.”

Schultz appears in a supporting role in the film, alongside Michael Koch as Rich. Schultz’s wife, Amy, also appears as singer Amy Grant. Also appearing are: Wolfgang Bodison as Bryan, James Kyson as Matt, Mel Fair as John Mullins (Rich’s father), Michelle Keller as Neva Mullins (Rich’s mother), Carson Aune as Justin, and Elizabeth Ann Roberts as Jess.

Being “honest” about the singer’s struggles with loneliness, alcohol and family issues was important, Schultz said, even though such portrayals may make some viewers uncomfortable.

“There’s this kind of thing in our storytelling, especially when it’s based on a true story, that says we shouldn’t talk about Christian struggles,” Schultz said. “But I thought that was the purpose of the testimony. For me, why would I not? Unless I was just trying to sell something to the Christian audience to make it more palatable. I think while it is a product that not only entertains, but challenges their faith, at the same time we had no desire to make something [that was] falsified to please the Christian audience.”

To promote the release, screenings of the film were held in churches across the country. Although Schultz was hopeful for positive responses, he said he was “overwhelmed” by the impact the film had on viewers.

“We didn’t expect the overwhelming positive response we’ve had,” he said. “There’s been a lot of cool God stories in people’s lives. We hoped for that, but we weren’t expecting that. God doesn’t need a movie, but we were really excited that He was using it to work in people’s hearts.”

To order, call 800-877-4443 or go to

Karen Kingsbury PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 09 June 2014 04:15 PM EDT

KarenKingsburyLATEST PROJECT: The Family of Jesus (9781476707372, $19.99, July 1).

PUBLISHER: Howard Books.

What inspired you to write this collection of fictional stories of six relatives of Jesus?
God created me to be a storyteller. I’ve always seen my fiction as a way through the back door of the heart, a way to help a reader experience a deeper walk with God and maybe a better understanding of love and faith and family. At the same time, I have a deep love for Scripture, for the power and authority of the Bible in my life. The question became: What if I wrote a dramatic version of the stories of the family members of Jesus? These real-life characters paid a great price for their connection to the Savior. My goal was clear from the beginning—that I might use my storytelling to make people think deeper about the Bible and that in the process, they would find a greater love for Scripture.

What was your approach to writing The Family of Jesus?
Scripture is absolute and unshakable. I started with the verses that tell us all we know about the family members of Jesus. Those were the tent poles, but between those poles, I painted a storytelling fabric that could billow a bit. I would ask myself and the theologians I consulted whether a certain scenario was possible. Cultural relevancy, time period details all played a part. Then, where it was possible, I told a story. An example is this: Did Joseph bring Mary wild orchids? They did indeed grow in the valleys around Nazareth, so in my storytelling, that’s exactly what Joseph does. It’s fiction, anchored in Scripture.
Keep in mind, these were real, breathing people. People with heartaches and hopes and dreams. People who struggled like you and me. The Bible says in Acts 17:11 the Bereans were of more noble character because they examined the Scriptures. That’s what I pray this Bible study does, that it might take the reader deeper to a place where they truly examine the Scriptures.TheFamilyOfJesus

What was it like to imagine the thoughts, feelings, words and actions of these relatives of Jesus?
Deeply emotional. I found myself crying through much of the writing of The Family of Jesus. I tried to imagine the desperation in Joseph when he heard Mary’s news, the angst in Zechariah when he couldn’t speak after the visit from the angel, Elizabeth’s heartache at her inability to have a child, John the Baptist’s discouragement in prison the days before he was beheaded, James’s confusion over his brother’s claims of being the Messiah, and of course, Mary’s devastation at the foot of the cross. It wasn’t easy. But in many ways we’ve all been through moments that make us feel this way. As I wrote and cried and grew to love these characters, I could only dream of how the story would affect everyone who would read.

How is the Weekly Application and Group Discussion Guide organized?
The guide assumes the reader may be working alone or with a reader group. It allows and directs discussion to help differentiate between my storytelling and the absolutes of Scripture. It is organized by daily questions and group discussion questions. It leaves the readers the chance to choose how to use it and how deep they want to go.

What other products will be available?
LifeWay has done a beautiful job with The Family of Jesus Bible Study workbook. This workbook will be available in a kit for church groups or home groups, and included will be six DVD teaching videos from me, all filmed before a live audience. Those are very special 30-minute sessions where I tell the story of the character and then talk about the Bible’s teaching.

What are the other upcoming titles in this “Heart of the Story” collection?
Next year will be The Friends of Jesus. The year after that I’ll have The Followers of Jesus, and the fourth book will be The First-Hand Encounters of Jesus.

What else would help retailers inform their customers about this book?
My favorite comments so far have come from my editor and the team at LifeWay who have spent their lives studying the Bible and reading Bible studies. Several times those close friends and co-workers came to me separately and said, “I cried as I read The Family of Jesus. And you know what? I’ve never loved Jesus more.” One LifeWay editor said, “We need this desperately. May everyone read it and fall in love with the Bible all over again.”

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