Parents always need a little extra help, families need support, and marriages need fine tuning. Publishers want to pitch in with books that address such issues, and readers of all religious stripes will find resources galore this season.
Jewish Lights offers readers Jewish Spiritual Parenting: Wisdom, Activities, Rituals and Prayers for Raising Children with Spiritual Balance and Emotional Wholeness (May), by Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Michelle November. The two have been married 25 years and have parented three children.
“Our goal is to help people understand the relevance of Judaism to their everyday lives,” says Stuart Matlins, publisher of Jewish Lights. “Our audience is often trying to understand how to be Jewish in a world unlike any Jewish people have ever lived in previously. Life cycle books such as this help them to achieve the goals of being modern American parents while doing it from a uniquely Jewish perspective.” The bestselling backlist book on parenting from Jewish Lights is Parenting Jewish Teens: A Guide for the Perplexed (2006), by Joanne Doades.
Last summer, Jewish Lights sister imprint SkyLight Paths, which publishes books from a variety of spiritual traditions, released its first marriage book—Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship, by Jim and Ruth Sharon, noted couples therapists who draw on more than 40 years of professional and personal experience. “We expect this book will be followed by others on this topic from the unique SkyLight Paths spiritual perspective,” Matlins says.
Famed author and Oprah teacher Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) has written the foreword to Susan Stiffelman’s Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids, to be published in April under the new Eckhart Tolle Editions imprint of New World Library. Stiffelman (see profile, p. 40) is a marriage and family therapist who shows parents how to recognize their own problems and nurture emotional connections with their children.
Evangelical Christian publishers release many books on parenting, marriage, and family, and some make the topics a major emphasis of their publishing programs.
David C. Cook publishes about 60 titles per year, with books about parenting, marriage, and family life making up roughly 5% of the total. In June, Cook will release How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps: Tame Your Voice, Nurture Their Virtues, by Patrick Quinn and Ken Roach.
“Parents are looking for help and looking for foundations,” says Cook publisher Dan Rich. “A healthy spiritual home is critical. None of us are experts, and we make mistakes. When we [at Cook] look at these kinds of parenting books, we see them offering foundational, biblical truths.”
In May, Cook will publish a parenting book by Mark and Jan Foreman, parents of Jon and Tim Foreman of the band Switchfoot. Raising Kids Who Matter: Helping Children Grow Beyond Themselves offers guidance for parents who want to foster creativity, build community, and help their children see the bigger world from a Christian viewpoint. “We look for a unique message that makes a manuscript stand out, is built on a firm foundation, and has a fresh voice,” Rich says,“and these books carry their weight, profitwise.”
Books aimed at helping families are a significant part of Harvest House’s publishing program. Recent releases include 10 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’: Embracing a Love That Lasts (Feb.), by Josh McDowell; 52 Things to Pray for Your Kids (Feb.), by Jay Payleitner; One-Minute Romance for Couples (Feb.), by Grace Fox; and Happy Habits for Every Couple (Jan.), by Kathi and Roger Lipp.
Harvest House’s list of forthcoming titles is just as comprehensive: 52 Things Sons Need from Their Moms (Apr.), by Angela Thomas; The Dad Book (Apr.), by Jay Payleitner; What Makes a Man Feel Loved (Mar.), by Bob Barnes; and Raising Body-Confident Daughters (Apr.), by Dannah Gresh.
Barbour Publishing combined efforts with ministry organization Back to the Bible in 2014 to create the new GoTandem Books imprint, designed to offer practical resources to help readers live their faith. Barbour and GoTandem’s list is full of books for parents and families. “These books are all very relationship focused, with the goal of making families better and stronger through biblical guidance and wisdom,” says Kelly McIntosh, v-p of editorial for Barbour.
For instance, Everyday Finances for the Everyday Family (Feb.), by Mike Yorkey, offers families commonsense principles to help them wisely budget, spend, and save money. Also under the GoTandem imprint are 101 Ways to Strengthen the Parent-Child Connection: Devotions, Tips, and Activities (June), by Michael and Tiffany Ross, and 101 Family Mealtime Devotions and Prayers (Oct.), by Greg Johnson. Barbour is releasing 3-Minute Devotions for Families, by Janice Thompson, in May.
“These books fit our mission in that they offer solid biblical encouragement and inspiration to families, plus they’re practical,” McIntosh says, adding that the titles are frontlist driven, as authors and readers look for fresh approaches to today’s issues. “Inspirational family-focused books are always in season in the Christian market,” she notes.
Barbour/GoTandem is one of two publishers addressing the needs of families in our high-tech world, with books like Managing Your Family’s High-Tech Habits: (From Video Games to the Dark Side of the Web), by Arnie Cole and Pam Ovwigho, which is due in June. The authors help parents sort through the good and bad sides of virtual living, including how to navigate social media choices and set healthy boundaries.
Moody Publishers also deals with the digital world in its March title, Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World, by Kathy Koch. The author applauds the positive aspects of the digital age, but also warns parents that technology can contribute to self-centeredness, negative behaviors, and spiritually detrimental beliefs.
Even Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group best known for its fiction, is publishing books on family life. More Than Just the Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-To Person About Sex (Mar.), by Jonathan McKee, shows parents how to move past awkwardness and into ongoing conversations about sex.
And publishers never forget the books specifically for mothers. From Thomas Nelson comes Be the Best Mom You Can Be: A Practical Guide to Raising Whole Children in a Broken Generation (Apr.), by Marina and Gregory W. Slayton, who reveal secrets to finding true joy in motherhood.
In June, Concordia House will release Raising Godly Girls: Encouragement for Moms of 21st Century Daughters, by Deb Burm, which helps mothers prepare their daughters to live in today’s culture.
Harvest House offers Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess (Feb.), by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin, which helps overwhelmed moms remember that God knows them by name.
In April, Ballantine will publish Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men, by Meg Meeker, which provides mothers with a spiritual approach to making great men out of rough-and-tumble boys.
Married with Challenges
Marriage also is a perennial topic for evangelical publishers, with many spring and summer books coming on the subject.
In May, Bethany House will release The Smart Stepfamily Marriage: Keys to Success in the Blended Family, by Ron L. Deal and David H. Olson. The two marriage authorities offer couples hope for healthy marriages based on advice gleaned from the National Survey of Couples Creating Stepfamilies.
Zondervan will publish 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage: Strengthen Your Most Intimate Relationship, by Kim Kimberling, in July. The author is a Christian counselor who offers tools for communication and intimacy.
On Tyndale’s list is The Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband (Mar.), by Jennifer Smith. Smith helps struggling wives know they’re not alone.
In August, WaterBrook Press will release Nine Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage: Because a Great Relationship Doesn’t Happen By Accident, by Sheila Wray Gregoire. The author says women can create better marriages by altering how they think about themselves, their spouses, and their relationship goals.
Also coming from WaterBrook is Visual: What Women Need to Know About the Visual Nature of Men (July), by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross. Feldhahn’s previous titles, including For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men (Multnomah, revised and update in 2013), have sold more than two million copies combined. Gross is pastor and founder of XXXchurch.com, a website to help those struggling with porn or sex addictions.
In March, Harvest House will publish a reissue (with a new cover) of the popular What Makes a Man Feel Loved: Understanding What Your Husband Really Wants, by Bob Barnes.
Bouncing Back, Moving On
Finally, readers seem drawn to tales of families recovering from life-changing events. Two books offer encouragement and emotional support for those who have experienced loss, or who want to learn from those who have.
In May, WaterBrook will release Let’s Pretend We’re Normal: Adventures in Rediscovering How to Be a Family, by Tricia Lott Williford. The author’s husband died in 2010, and, since then, she and her sons have created a new life.
Kate Braestrup described her life after the loss of her husband in Here If You Need Me (Back Bay, 2008); now she faces the possibility of losing her son when he joins the Marines. Braestrup examines the twin emotions of faith and fear in Anchors and Flares: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hope, and Service, due out in July from Little, Brown.