Chris Travis. Bethany House, $11.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-
It's short, it reads fast, and it builds on a single tale of a public school classroom. But this book is anything but insignificant. Author and pastor Travis (Unnamed) brings a humble, approachable style to his story of two years of teaching in one of the most dangerous middle schools in New York.
Michael Lapsley with Stephen Karakashian. Orbis, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-1-57075-992-5
Not quite three months after Nelson Mandela was freed from Robben Island in 1990, Anglican priest and African National Congress chaplain Lapsley opened a letter sent in the mail. The bomb in it blew off both hands, sent shrapnel through his body, and destroyed one eye. Around the world, agents of South Africa's apartheid regime were settling scores with anti-apartheid activists. Lapsley was lucky.
Mark Townsend. Llewellyn, $19.95 trade paper (408p) ISBN 978-0-7387-2191-0
"Is it possible to be both Christian and Pagan?" This challenging question motivates Townsend (The Path of the Blue Raven) to explore his own relationship with Christ.
Fran Grubb with Bryan Reardon. Thomas Nelson, $22.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59555-505-2
Grubb's memoir recounts her train wreck of a childhood, a story that seizes the reader's attention like a roadside accident. The ultimate meaning of what is seen remains murky, but Grubb says she wrote her story because "it's the beginning of healing for others."
Edited by Jeffrey K. Salkin. Jewish Lights, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-
Salkin, a rabbi, writer, and editor, has selected 53 brief excerpts from the Five Books of Moses that he thinks contain a message for teenage Jews. To deliver the message, he has recruited rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators, Jewish social workers, and other Jewish community leaders to spell out the meaning of these teachings. To ensure that those who read the book will find it clear, thirteen youngsters served as a teen editorial advisory board. Inevitably, with such a large number of authors, the quality of contributions varies.