Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10, and this year—the first Mother’s Day in many of our families without any hugs.
But, here’s some good news! As we are still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, books are a wonderful gift for Mom—or Grandma. Amazon is still shipping hardcover and softcover books in 3-5 days to Prime customers and of course ebooks can be gifted immediately to Mom via an emailed link. Here are some choices for Mom from Front Edge Publishing and our publishing partners and ReadTheSpirit books.
Put a Smile on Mom’s Face
Rabbi and stand-up comedian, Bob Alper, has written two heartwarming books that are sure to put a smile on Mom’s face and joy into her heart. “Thanks, I Needed That” and “Life Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This” are collections of true and moving stories. Bob guides readers to places as diverse as synagogues in Kentucky and London, a small plane flying over Oklahoma, a refusenik’s Moscow apartment, comedy clubs, Vermont towns and forests, and even a convention of rabbis. Readers meet a stained-glass artist whose granddaughter is Drew Barrymore, an elderly lady who attends services with her dog, a 5-year-old grief counselor, and an elderly Holocaust survivor who discovers that he can talk about his lost sisters for the first time.
Bob’s unique experiences, from leading large congregations to performing stand-up at Toronto’s “Muslimfest,” make for a wealth of engaging stories that touch people of all backgrounds with warmth, humor, and wisdom.
Missing Friends? Meet Dozens of Them!
Being quarantined for months has made most of us really appreciate our friends. The people whose company we may have taken for granted in years past, and assumed that we’d be able to sit and chat with whenever we wanted to—well, those days are gone and we now know that being with our friends is a privilege that we will never take for granted again. “Friendship and Faith, the 2nd Edition” is a book about making friends, which may be the most important thing you can do to make the world a better place, and transform your own life in the process.
Making a new friend often is tricky, as you’ll discover in these dozens of real-life stories by women from a wide variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds. But, crossing lines of religion, race and culture is worth the effort, often forming some of life’s deepest friendships, these women have found. In Friendship and Faith, you’ll discover how we really can change the world, one friend at a time.
This book is a collaboration by women from many different faith traditions who belong to the group, WISDOM (Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit). This internationally known nonprofit believes that women can come together in an interfaith movement where they listen to each other, respect each other’s differences, and then take action towards change. This book is sure to inspire your Mom to reach out to women she might not otherwise have met and become friends with.
Does your Mom love to bake? So many women have been baking during the pandemic that flour shortages have been reported across the country. If your Mom has a ready supply of flour on hand, or maybe you’ve purchased some for her for Mother’s Day—we have the perfect book companion to a 5-pound bag of all-purpose flour or self-rising flour—“The Flavors of Faith” by author and veteran food writer, Lynne Meredith Golodner.
Lynne invites your Mom to circle the globe, then step into her kitchen to make breads from sacred Native American, Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions. In The Flavors of Faith: Holy Breads, chapters include the importance of food in strengthening American communities, plus a recipe from a beloved American poet; the story of pretzels as both a symbol of prayer and an annual reminder of a season that involves 1 in 3 people on the planet; an introduction to popular Jewish breads with easy recipes to produce beautiful woven loaves; a taste of Native American traditions that is both sweet and savory; a visit to an American Muslim community where women baked bread to build a house of worship and cultural center; plus more stories and recipes of breads that families prepare for holidays around the world; and the story of a rich and surprising tradition that truly is described as The King of Breads. The Flavors of Faith is sure to inspire your baking Mom and hopefully you’ll reap the rewards of all of her time in the kitchen!
Parenting during the pandemic is surely challenging! Author Anni K. Reinking knows all about challenging parenting, especially when it comes to raising a child who is perceived to be black in race, while Anni, her husband, and extended family are all white. Anni, an educator herself, shared her real life experience in her book, “Not Just Black and White.”
America is a racially divided nation. All of us are familiar with the headlines in recent years of white Americans anxiously calling police about innocent black Americans they encounter. Among the troubling news stories are incidents sparked by black young people simply napping in a dorm room, shopping for clothing, touring a campus or holding a business meeting in a coffee shop. National reporting shows that black drivers are more likely to be pulled over by police than white drivers. In some tragic cases, young African Americans have been killed in encounters that were fueled by mistaken impressions or outright racism.
Reinking has spent years as a researcher, scholar and educator. Her roles as mother and researcher come together in this important new book. She shares her family’s life in the hope that these stories will foster learning, discussion and new places for reflection and growth. She is honest even about her own occasional stumbling as a mother through cross-racial experiences in which she discovered how much more she has to learn. In telling those true stories, she invites readers to open up their own lives. Not Just Black and White is the perfect gift for the Mom in your world who is raising a bi-racial child and would like some assistance from someone who has been in her shoes and who has the education to support the strategies that she has found to be the most successful.
For Fans of Hunger Games
Is your Mom a fan of the Hunger Games novels and movies? Then she will love my next recommendation, “Bird On Fire” by Jane Wells. Jane Wells offers an exciting new perspective on novelist Suzanne Collins’ complex world. Readers and moviegoers, young and old, continue to cheer for her hero Katniss Everdeen, a teenager fighting forces of injustice in a bleak future version of our world. Jane Wells delves into this dystopian realm from a Christian perspective, exploring themes of social justice, transformation and unlikely heroism. In the novels and movies, Katniss is not content with the tragically unjust world in which she finds herself. Instead, she is on fire for justice and transformed by the love and loss she encounters.
Jane Wells’s book, Bird on Fire, is thought-provoking for the individual reader, but the chapters also feature discussion questions, making this book an excellent option for small group study. The book opens with a description of the Mockingjay, the revolutionary symbol of hope that gives the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy its title. Jane Wells recounts several other tales of unlikely heroes from The Hunger Games (often paralleled by examples from scripture), including Katniss’ own journey. Katniss risks her life to fight for justice. When Katniss emerges from the arena, she finds herself changed. She witnesses the death of her friend, Rue, and she experiences things no teenager should have to encounter. She also learns to appreciate the differences in those around her.
Wells invites readers to reflect on these eye-opening experiences of love and loss, both in The Hunger Games—and in our own lives. Then, Jane Wells invites us to take action. The fictional world of Panem is full of inequality and desperation—and Katniss fights desperately to make her world better for everyone. Wells guides us through issues of social justice featured in The Hunger Games, inviting us to model our actions on Katniss Everdeen-and our faith.
Rediscovering Play and Purpose
Our final recommendation for Mother’s Day 2020 is a book every busy Mom will enjoy, especially if quarantine has found her restless and uncomfortable in this new ‘down time’. “Recess: Rediscovering Play and Purpose” by United Methodist Bishop, Laurie Haller. After twenty years as a successful pastor, Laurie Haller was burned out. A Lilly Endowment grant gave her a rare opportunity to take a sabbatical from ministry and family to evaluate her ministry and life. Recess brings readers along as she travels from Michigan to Montana, South Carolina to France. The journey is equally introspective. Each page discloses her thoughts, prayers and passions. Ultimately Recess challenges us all, especially overworked very busy Moms, to find a better balance between work and play, physical and spiritual health.
As we celebrate the Moms in our lives this Mother’s Day, our celebrations are sure to be different in ways we never expected. Most of us will not be able to be with our Moms due to the quarantine restrictions. I hope that you are able to find the perfect gift to let your Mom know how special she is to you. If you are a Mom, enjoy your special day. Take the day off. Curl up with a good book and let those you are quarantined with spoil you, as you should be.
Many Ways to Order
Note: All of the books above are also available on BarnesandNoble.com and the Front Edge Publishing bookstore. Books purchased through the Front Edge Publishing bookstore result in a 15% higher royalty for the author. Prefer to shop elsewhere? You’ll find our books listed on an international array of online retailers. Simply Google a title and author to discover more options.