I know I said I’d pick three books for the next Simply Faithful book club – a picture book, a chapter book and a book for teens – but one other non-fiction book kept showing up.



 

 


 


I know I said I’d pick three books for the next Simply Faithful book club – a picture book, a chapter book and a book for teens – but one other non-fiction book kept showing up.


First it flashed across in my Twitter stream, later it was a blog I like to visit and then the book publisher even suggested it specifically for our book club. So I gave in. I rewrote the rules and picked four books for us this time. I think you’ll be glad I did.


Our four books are:


- “Who Built the Stable?” by Ashley Bryan ($16.99, Simon and Schuster).


- “Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish” by Jenn Kelly ($12.99, Zondervan).


- “Replication [The Jason Experiment]” by Jill Williamson ($15.99, Zondervan).


- “Graceful: Letting Go of your Try-Hard Life” by Emily P. Freeman ($12.99, Revell).


I first fell in love with Bryan when a librarian suggested his book “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” Bryan had taken his mother’s sewing and embroidery scissors to cut intricate designs out of colored paper. He pieced those together to create stunning illustrations. His latest book offers a heartwarming retelling of the birth of Jesus and artwork that is bright and inviting.


For our young readers, I’ve selected a crazy funny book about a boy named Jackson who falls into his aunt’s big hairdo and meets elves, bubblegum-blowing birds and… danger! Kelly’s writing style is so conversational that it could easily be read out loud, and her message – that we are created for a purpose – begs to be discussed.


The teen fiction book takes a more serious turn because Williamson takes her readers inside a hidden human cloning facility. As the adventure unfolds, she delves into questions about the value of life and about forgiveness, even of ruthless captors.


My bonus book, “Graceful,” is a nod to all those young women who are trying desperately to live a perfect life. May you learn early on the lesson I still need today: “As good girls, we carry the weight of things that belong to God alone.”  


In the past, we’ve hosted Facebook chats with authors and organized local book discussion groups. What would work best this time? How would you like to reach out to the authors and to each other? We’ll iron out the details. In the meantime, happy reading.


 


Marketta Gregory is a former religion reporter who now shares her own journey of faith with readers. She lives in Rochester, N.Y., with her husband, their three young boys and one very vocal Pomeranian. To contact Gregory, email markettagregory@yahoo.com or write to her at P.O. Box 12923, Rochester, NY 14612. You can also visit the Simply Faithful page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter (@MarkettaGregory).