|Celebrating Christianity’s most important holiday|
|Written by Kathleen Samuelson|
|Friday, 05 December 2014 05:20 PM America/New_York|
Emphasize the true meaning of Easter with resurrection-themed books and gift releases
Publishers and gift suppliers have been hard at work to commemorate the Christian faith’s most important season of all.
This year, Lent runs Feb. 18-April 4, with Easter Sunday on April 5. This six-week period requires retailers to plan their merchandising early to draw consumer interest. Keep in mind, too, that sacraments and celebrations, such as first communion, confirmation and baptism, occur during the Easter season as well.
Publishers have worked to ensure that the books on their release calendar this time of year bring inspiration and hope.
“Kregel and our partners, Candle Books and Lion Children’s, take seriously the responsibility teaching the Easter Story to a new generation and so are always looking for attractive and fresh ways to package this timeless story,” said Kregel Publications Marketing and Publicity Manager Noelle Pedersen. “I’m particularly excited about My Look and Point First Easter Stick-a-Story Book from Lion Children’s that integrates learning activities into the story and The Easter Story that uses the same illustrations as Candle’s popular 99 Stories From the Bible.
Tyndale House Publishers also is focused on reaching children this time of year.
“Our goal is to publish products that engage and capture children’s imaginations,” said Linda Howard, acquisitions director, children and youth at Tyndale. “I think that many parents are looking for ways to teach their children about the true meaning of Easter, and we are committed to providing resources to help them start meaningful conversations. Sometimes, we repurpose existing material in a new format, and sometimes we create completely new content.”
Howard notes that engaging children with the material is key.
“One of the most important criteria for our books is the ability for kids to interact with the content,” she said. “For instance, Easter Stories and Prayers uses timeless art from the ‘Little Blessings’ collection and is designed to be affordable and perfectly sized for little hands to hold.”
Laura Minchew, senior vice president and publisher with Nelson and Zondervan Gift Books, Tommy Nelson & New Media, sees this season as vital to her company’s publishing efforts.
“Easter and Lenten seasonal books are extremely important to our Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Gift publishing programs,” Minchew said. “These books share the core of our faith with all ages. We carefully monitor colors, trends, art styles and formats in order to give our important message the best opportunity for delivery into the hearts of so many around the world.”
This year’s Easter nonfiction includes Lenten study and prayer guides, and explorations into Jesus’ journey to the cross.
In The Sanctuary for Lent 2015 (Abingdon Press, January), which come in packs of 10 booklets for $9.99, Sue Mink focuses on the names and characteristics of Christ. The devotions—one for each of the 40 days in Lent plus Sundays—include Scripture readings, an inspiring message and a prayer.
Give It Up! A Lenten Study for Adults by Dottie Escobedo-Frank (Abingdon, $9.99, December 2014) reflects on all the things that hold our attention, occupy our minds and monopolize our time, yet still isolate us from God and people. Each chapter offers questions for reflection, a prayer and a focus for the week.
The Lord Is Our Salvation: A Lenten Study Based on the Revised Common Lectionary (Scriptures for the Church Seasons) by Katie Z. Dawson (Abingdon, $9.99, December 2014) invites readers to explore God’s saving and redeeming love through a study of the Scriptures for Lent and Easter.
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle offers a Catholic family guide to Lenten prayer in Bringing Lent Home With St. John Paul II: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families (Ave Maria Press, $2.95, November 2014). Structured around a daily quotation from St. John Paul II, this useful booklet takes the worry and the work out of planning the family’s Lent and can be used with any of the three Catholic lectionary cycles.
In The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (Baker Books/Baker Publishing Group, $22.99, September 2014), Mark Batterson examines the seven miracles Jesus performs in the Gospel of John, exemplifying how miracles still happen today. Batterson encouraged pastors to use The Grave Robber as a sermon series leading up to Easter.
Worthy Publishing’s new imprint, Worthy Inspired, releases Last Words of Jesus: First Steps to a Richer Life on Feb. 17. Radio broadcaster Stu Epperson Jr. offers his insights into Jesus’ last words with additional commentary from a number of leading theologians and authors.
How Jesus Changed the World by Christopher D. Hudson (Barbour Publishing, $12.99, April) is a thoughtful yet readable review of Jesus’ impact on society.
David R. Smith’s Christianity…It’s Like This (Barbour, $14.99, February), with a fusion of doctrinal instruction and real-world application, offers an uncomplicated understanding of the Christian faith.
Revealing Christ (Charisma House, $9.99, March) is a 40-day Lenten guide to and powerful prayer and fasting resource for the resurrection of Christ based on the words and teachings of Maria Woodworth Etter, William Seymour, John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth and others.
Approaching Easter by Jane Williams (Lion Hudson/Kregel Publications, $16.95, January) encourages readers to make space for reflection and, in so doing, to draw closer to God.
Cries From the Cross (Moody Publishers, $11.99) by Erwin Lutzer re-releases in May. In the book, Lutzer leads readers on a journey into the heart of Christ to grasp what He wants us to know, then turn our attention to His cries and be utterly changed.
Max Lucado’s On Calvary’s Hill: 40 Readings for the Easter Season (Thomas Nelson, $9.99, December 2014) is an exploration of the final days in the life of Christ. Readers are encouraged to prepare to celebrate the greatest miracle ever conceived through 40 readings selected from Lucado’s favorite books.
The Case for Grace by Lee Strobel (Zondervan, $22.99, February) delivers a compelling case for the power of God’s grace to revolutionize lives. With journalistic and theological expertise, Strobel shares a collection of stories best explained by a personal encounter with a God of grace.
Ideals, now part of Worthy Publishing, offers its well-known Easter magazine with full-color photographs and fine-art reproductions. Ideals Easter releases Feb. 1 and is now in its 71st year of publication.
Children’s Easter books for 2015 teach youngsters about Jesus’ love and sacrifice.
Ideals Children’s Books releases Carol Heyer’s The First Easter, a classic story retold simply and available Feb. 1 in board-book format. At the same time, Ideals is releasing Melinda Rumbaugh’s Somebunny Loves You!, a music book centered around a love poem to a child.
My First Bible Promises from Twin Sisters is a colorful board book and CD highlighting God’s promises. My First Bible Songs, also from Twin Sisters, is a board book with CD that focuses on simple truths from God’s Word. Both release from Barbour in February and retail for $12.99 each.
For young readers, The Barbour Children’s Bible (Barbour, $19.99, December 2014) features a limited vocabulary of 850 words to simply and clearly share God’s truth. The Bible is compiled by Barbour staff and Christian Literature International.
Know Your Bible for Kids—All About Jesus by Donna K. Maltese (Barbour Publishing, $4.99, April), an illustrated guide for kids ages 5-8, is based on the 2 million-selling Know Your Bible and describes the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection and ultimate impact of Christ.
The Easter Story (99 Stories From the Bible) from children’s author Juliet David and illustrator Elina Ellis (Candle Books/Kregel, $8.99, January) offers a straightforward retelling of the Easter story alongside a mix of full-page art and spot illustrations.
Easter by Karen Williamson and illustrated by Chris Embleton-Hall (Candle Tab Books/Kregel Publications, $6.95, January) explores the concept of faith in an approachable way, retelling the first Easter. The colorful tabs feature characters poking out from between the pages.
The Easter Story by Juliet David and illustrator Jo Parry (Candle Bible for Kids/Kregel, January) is a thick board book that remains durable as little ones start to learn about the story of Easter.
The Easter Story Sticker Book: Bible Story Sticker Book for Children (Harvest House Publishers, $3.99, February) teaches young ones ages 3-7 about the true meaning of Easter—about Jesus’ death and resurrection, including His return to Jerusalem, the days leading up to His crucifixion and the day He rose from the grave.
The Easter Story by Antonia Jackson with illustrations by Giuliano Ferri (Lion Hudson/Kregel, $14.99, January) is a detailed retelling of the Easter story, explaining simply the message of God’s love.
The Bunny Side of Easter by Linda W. Rooks (Papa’s Press/Send The Light Distribution, January) takes children on an adventure with hints of allegory that point children to the true significance of the holiday.
VeggieTales characters are featured in A Hoppy Easter: Finding God’s Love for Me. The Feb. 17 release from Worthy Kids is a picture storybook written to help kids understand the real reason for Easter.
Easter Stories and Prayers by Kathleen Long Bostrom (Tyndale House Publishers, $7.99, February) is a special edition of the “Little Blessings” line that includes four books in one: Who Is Jesus?, Why Is There a Cross? What About Heaven? and What Is Prayer? Each title helps kids understand the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
From Zonderkidz, Little Chick’s Bible and Little Bunny’s Bible ($15.99 each, January) are plush-covered books for children ages 2-5. With contributions from P.J. Lyons and Melanie Mitchell, these books teach little ones through Bible stories of God’s faithfulness that they’re loved and cared for by God.
In The Beginner’s Bible: Come Celebrate Easter Sticker and Activity Book (Zonderkidz, $3.99, February), the Easter story comes to life through age-appropriate puzzles, activity pages and stickers. Contributor Kelly Pulley provides the classic art and simply written content.
Bunny’s First Spring (Zonderkidz, $15.99, February), written by best-selling author Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by David McPhail, is a picture book celebrating the Easter season and rebirth.
From the creator of the Read With Me Bible comes The First Easter Ever (Zonderkidz, $1.99, February). Contributor Dennis Jones offers a simple retelling of the mission, death and resurrection of Jesus in this colorful book.
With so many gifts releasing for springtime for Easter, first communion, confirmation and baptism, gift companies have a plethora of products for you to sell in your store. From wall décor to figurines, keepsake boxes to freestanding crosses, jewelry to Bible covers, gift company sales reps are sure to have many excellent suggestions for stores based on their customer demographics.
The following are just a few examples of what’s new for this season:
Lighthouse Christian Products already has a baptism line of products, but is releasing a confirmation and first communion line for the first time. Among the offerings for the 2015 Easter season are the “Grow in Grace” (first communion); “Confirmed in Christ” (confirmation); and “Baptized in Christ” (baptism) collections, which include crosses, photo frames and keepsake boxes.
In honor of Abbey Press’ 50th anniversary, the company is re-releasing a classic-style cross that first appeared in its catalog in 1980. The Special Edition Cross is reproduced in resin from the original wood carving, measures 7¾ by 11¾ inches and is ready to hang.
Also available from Abbey Press—and manufactured by Roman—is a Last Supper plaque. Christ’s last supper with his disciples is depicted in stark white, with the plaque’s dimensional design conveying the meaning of the piece. Crafted of a resin-stone mix, the ready-to-hang plaque measures 6 by 5¼ inches.
Dicksons’ Tabletop Resin Cross measures 12 inches high and comes in white and brown.
DaySpring’s With You Always cross is a reminder that God is present. Retailing for $9.95, the wood cross measures 1 7/8 by 3 7/8 inches and is available in white pine, ash, rubber wood or bamboo.
And don’t forget that many customers will want to fill Easter baskets with resurrection-themed chocolates and jelly beans from companies such as Scripture Candy. Keeping some at checkout for impulse buys is always a good idea.
Considering this variety of new products bearing the most significant message of all, Christian retailers have a significant role to play this Easter season as they lead their customers to a richer experience of the resurrection story during what has become a largely commercial holiday.