We’re reading now more than ever! Here are 2020 Books that make great gifts.

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CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS A 2020 PHOTO? No kidding! In late January, peacemaker Brenda Rosenberg gathered more than 100 Girl Scouts from across Michigan (plus families, sponsors and friends) for a celebration of her project: Reuniting the Children of Abraham. (Click this photo to jump back to January in our online magazine and learn more about the event and the book.)

 

We will never forget 2020.

Click the covers with this story to visit the books’ Amazon pages.

For many of us the pandemic provided time for pleasure reading that we haven’t had for many years. Publisher’s Weekly reports that print book sales continue to rise in all categories when comparing this year to last year. For Front Edge Publishing and our imprints, 2020 has been a particularly busy publishing year, in spite of the pandemic. The books that we published this year truly reflect the political and social climate of the world this year.

Reuniting the Children of Abraham

Reuniting the Children of Abraham by peacemaker Brenda Naomi Rosenberg is a powerful, multimedia peace initiative created with Jewish, Christian and Muslim families to combat the fear, bigotry and bullying that fuels violence. The multicultural project described in this book includes inspiring true stories and educational materials that flow from the ancient story of Abraham, a patriarch in all three faiths. Just as Abraham’s own children were reunited, this project is a model for calling these vast families of faith toward building peaceful new relationships.

The project was the focus of a CBS network special documentary, which pointed out: “Abraham, of the Old Testament, was the founding patriarch of a new, monotheistic faith, which included Jews and later Christians and Muslims. One of his two sons is historically tied to the founding of Judaism, the other to the founding of Islam.”

CBS Executive Producer and Director of that special, John P. Blessington, said, “This project is a powerful experience that gives hope to the idea of these three religions being able to find their common heritage as a reason for mutual religious respect and spiritual healing in the future.”

Now, the source materials for this project, which range from shared prayers to true stories of young participants, are appearing in book form so that individual readers and small groups will be inspired to carry this kind of interfaith work into their communities. The texts in the book include educational material developed by scholars at the University of Michigan as well as the Michigan State University School of Journalism. The book also draws on wisdom from the Bible as well as the Quran.

The book closes with recommendations for further reading as well as links to additional resources available online. This book is the perfect gift for the peacemaker on your shopping list.

True Border: 100 Questions and Answers about the U.S.-Mexico Frontera

Regulation of the U.S.’s southern border was a particularly hot issue prior to the 2020 presidential election. True Border: 100 Questions and Answers about the U.S.-Mexico Frontera is an edition from the University of Texas/Borderzine in the Bias Busters cultural competence series. This guide is written for people who want authoritative answers about the U.S.-Mexico border region and get up to speed quickly on this important topic.

It is a starting point for people in business, education, elected office, government, law enforcement, human resources and journalism, as well as the general public, who need to get up to speed quickly on this important topic. Additional resources are provided to facilitate greater depth.

This guide has sections on the environment, business, influential people, The Wall, border crime and deaths, the Border Patrol, border identity, culture and language, and social justice.

Questions include:

  • What does the “wall” symbolize for residents of the U.S. and Mexico?
  • What pollutants affect the Rio Grande?
  • How do maquiladoras/assembly plants affect the environment along the border?
  • Where are the border checkpoints and what do they do?
  • How many people cross the border daily?
  • What is a sanctuary city?

If you have someone on your holiday gift list who could be better informed about this very important issue, or needs a handy resource for their employment, this is an excellent gift for them.

30 Days with King David: On Leadership

Leadership was also a topic of discussion throughout 2020. Thirty Days With King David: On Leadership by the Rev. Larry Buxton is a book that united both Democrats and Republicans. In turbulent times, King David united a nation—and his hard-earned wisdom can bring us together today. This new 30 Days With book offers a month of readings plus ideas for small-group discussion. David ranks among the world’s greatest heroes for defeating Goliath and best-selling authors for writing Psalms. He is honored by Jews, Christians and Muslims. In this book, pastor, educator and leadership coach Larry Buxton shows us how David embodies 14 crucial values shared by effective leaders to this day.

Just as the first volume in this series invites readers to spend 30 Days With Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest unifying figures in American history, Buxton’s book is a call for all of us to remember values that unite us. Buxton dedicates “this book to everyone who believes that the character of any leader is of critical importance to our nation, our institutions, our congregations and our homes; and to all those who seek to let God shape their character as more virtuous human beings, that their influence may spread to heal our world.”

Answering that call in the opening pages are two nationally known political leaders—one a Democrat and one a Republican, who came together in these pages to urge all of us to read these 30 short stories drawn from David’s often tragically learned lessons about life.

In his Foreword, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine writes: “From the blockbuster arc of David’s life, Larry Buxton assembles 30 short chapters on key leadership traits—patience, vision, humility, integrity, openness, tenderness, forgiveness, courage, gratitude, self-control, surrender, perseverance, calmness, justice. Buxton helps us see how David either exhibited these values or catastrophically failed to achieve them. The chapters are probing and conversational—with references from the worlds of literature, sports, politics and entertainment to illustrate how to apply these lessons to our everyday challenges.”  

In his Preface, Andrew H. Card, who served in Washington D.C. during two Bush administrations, writes: “No matter what your faith or tradition of worship—and, no matter your role in business, management, philanthropy, sports, politics, government or family—you will find the adventures in these 30 daily readings extremely relevant and highly motivating. We need to meet David again through Larry Buxton’s wise retelling of these stories—so that we all can lift up the best values in leadership in our institutions, our nation and our world.”

Gift Thirty Days With King David to the leader on your gift list who is looking for inspiration for the year ahead.

UNSTUCK: How to Unlock and Activate the Wisdom of Others

UNSTUCK: How to Unlock and Activate the Wisdom of Others is the perfect gift for the business professional on your gift list who found themself or their company stuck and unable to move forward during the pandemic. Stuck businesses do not react, pivot and redirect, which can be catastrophic. In Unstuck, Craig Lemasters shares techniques he has used in a lifetime of helping Fortune 500 companies fill their knowledge gaps—using reciprocity, strategic planning, rapid cycle learning and make-it-happen coaching through direct connections with enlightened resources.

The wisdom in this book is for far more than Fortune 500 executives. “We all get stuck sometimes,” writes futurist Rita J. King in her Introduction to the book. Community leaders, teachers, networkers, entrepreneurs—and anyone who works with others in companies and organizations—will find powerful tools in these pages.

Craig makes that promise in his dedication page: “to everyone who feels stuck.” He addresses all of us throughout the book.

Why is this book timely? Because leaders are facing more disruption and seemingly insurmountable barriers than ever before. In the opening pages, Craig writes: “For most of human history on this planet, change has consistently been gradual. … Now, change has accelerated so rapidly that it poses a formidable challenge to the acquisition of timely knowledge, let alone accumulating the depth and range of knowledge needed to get ahead of change. My goal, and my full-time vocation, is to meet leaders in that moment of stuck and share a way to get unstuck.”

This book is divided into two sections. Part 1 is “Stuck,” because getting unstuck depends on clearly understanding the complex forces leaders are facing. In this section of the book, Craig draws on his own experience as a Fortune 500 CEO leading digital transformation. Readers learn the symptoms to look for when organizations are getting stuck, how expectations differ from reality and how our internal bank of wisdom may not be broad enough to meet emerging challenges.

Part 2 is “Unstuck,” which is possible once an organization has diagnosed the problem. Readers learn about defining and filling knowledge gaps in an organization and many other practical techniques for leading teams and connecting with others, both locally and around the world.

When you can acknowledge being stuck, you’re ready to overcome it. Craig shares his definition of wisdom and how it can help you overcome the knowledge gaps keeping you stuck. Learn practical techniques for leading teams and connecting with others.

The stories and ideas Craig shares in these pages have been proven throughout his own career as an executive—and have been finely tuned through his years of consulting with Fortune 500 companies around the world. The key is a practical return to the foundations of leadership in business: knowledge and experience producing timely wisdom.

As Craig puts it: “The multiplied power of knowledge and experience, wisdom, helps us leaders get back to making choices with confidence. That is, choices made with speed and clarity which lead to decisive action. The choices that we avoided while we were stuck. With wisdom, we get to reclaim our primary role as leaders and shepherd our teams through flawless execution of our initiatives.”

AND FOR KIDS? Sadie Is Linda Jarkey’s Legacy

2020 was a difficult year at our publishing house for many reasons, but most especially because it will always be the first year when we lost one of our treasured authors. In September we said goodbye to Linda Jarkey, the author of Sadie Sees Trouble who succumbed to the cancer she battled for over a year. Editor David Crumm paid tribute to Linda and her remarkable life in this blog post in September.

Sadie Sees Trouble is a unique invitation to parents to engage children with the delightful tale of Sadie the Dog as she tries to lure her little girl Penny back into active play around their home. Responding to nationwide calls by educators to reduce “screen time” among young children, veteran educators Linda and Julie Jarkey developed this first book in a series of Sadie stories so that it literally opens doors in family literacy.

What doors? Well, first, the doors to your kitchen cabinets! All of the book’s colorful artwork was produced with items typically found in a family’s kitchen. The components are listed at the back of the book, from strawberries to mustard. After reading the story the first time, readers can download free black-and-white illustrations of Sadie and Penny to color along with the characters and expand the entire story. The authors welcome readers to visit the book’s website and share their ideas of ways to turn common foods and household materials into art supplies. The authors even step outside and include blades of grass clipped from the lawn. This book is an open invitation to enter Sadie’s world and spark creative ideas in your home.

Sadie Sees Trouble is proud to be a finalist in the American Book Fest’s Best Book Awards Program in 2018 under Children’s Novelty & Gift Book and Animals/Pets: General.

Help us to honor Linda Jarkey’s memory by gifting a copy of Sadie Sees Trouble to any youngster on your holiday shopping list—especially those who could use some motivation to put down their screens and pick up their creativity.

 

 

 

About Susan Stitt

Susan Stitt is marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. Over the years, she has guided many authors through the challenging process of launching books and developing strategies that will grow readership. She also has worked widely with nonprofits. Now, she shares her expertise twice each month on our Front Edge Publishing website.