Parents are struggling to raise children in world immersed in rapid change, social media pressures, divisive politics, and host of other issues. Recognizing a burgeoning need for guidance and encouragement, religion publishers have released an array of new books that address topics ranging from parenting adoptive and foster children to talking about sex, single parenting and racial divides.
Bethany House’s Andy McGuire credited popular Christian speaker and mom-life blogger Eryn Lynum’s 2014 viral blog post —viewed over 1 million times and shared over 200,000 times on Facebook— as the catalyst for publishing 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting (February).
Lynum received a jar of 936 pennies at her baby’s dedication, one for every week of the child’s life until graduation, and was told to take one out every Sunday. Her choices about investing in her child’s life are outlined in her book with a call for other parents to do the same as they face the task of rearing children who love God.
“The blog post clearly resonated with readers,” said McGuire, senior acquisitions editor, nonfiction, who connected the book's appeal to the same loyal audience. “Eryn’s writing is heartwarming, but, more than that, it has a spiritual depth that fits perfectly on Bethany House’s list.”
Bethany House also publishes authors and FamilyLife Today radio speakers Dennis and Barbara Rainey, who share their expertise as parents of six in The Art of Parenting: Aiming Your Child’s Heart Toward God (August). The book guides parents in applying biblical principles to four areas in a child’s life: identity, character, relationships, mission.
Parents crave advice rooted in faith values, according to Kyle Hatfield, Harvest House acquisitions editor. “Many parents feel like they’re making it up as they go along. At Harvest House, we’re trying to encourage these parents with gospel-centered principles — not formulas — from fellow voices in the trenches."
Hatfield is excited about Confessions of an Adoptive Parent: Hope and Help from the Trenches of Foster Care and Adoption (February) because it “offers a dose of hope to the adoption and foster care community, one that is far too underserved in the publishing world.”
The author, Mike Berry, can speak directly to Christian parents about adoption: He has adopted eight children and fostered dozens more. He offers honesty and empathy in a book specifically written for the needs of parents of faith rearing children with a history of trauma, attachment issues, and special needs, Hatfield said.
Also from Harvest House:
The Mom Project: 21 Days to a More Connected Family by Kathy Lipp (April) is aimed toward Moms who are eager to connect with their kids beyond the usual routines of life. They will find ideas to learn more about them via things like family projects and nights out. Lipp, who speaks at Christian women’s parenting and writing conferences, also offers tips for single moms, blended families, and moms of teens.
Mom, Dad…What’s Sex? Giving Your Kids a Gospel-Centered View of Sex and Our Culture by Jessica Thompson and Joel Fitzpatrick (May) uses the Bible as a starting point to talk about a biblical plan for sexuality. The goal is to give kids a healthy view of sexuality, not just a long list of “do nots.”
Brave Moms, Brave Kids: A Battle Plan for Raising Heroes by Lee Nienhuis (Feb.) is directed at mothers eager to raise “heroes of the faith” but who need help and courage to do so. Nienhuis helps moms reject “mommy fears,” as well as provide lessons moms can teach children to help them live a hero’s life.
Harvest has more in the parenting line up coming later this year, Hatfield said, listing: 101 Things Great Dads Do: Small Acts That Make a Big Difference by Jay Payleitner (Sept.); Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors: How Less-Than-Perfect Parents Can Raise Kids Who Are (Kind of) Great by Jami Amerine (Oct.); and How to Connect with Your Adult Children: Strategies for Families in Pain by Allison Bottke (Nov.)
Two other new books also address social issues confronting parents.
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by racial justice expert Jennifer Harvey (Abingdon, Jan.) targets parents, churches, educators and community leaders. The book offers adults guidance in equipping children of all races to work for equality and justice in a racially diverse world.
Parents Rising: 8 Strategies for Raising Kids Who Love God, Respect Authority, and Value What’s Right by Arlene Pellicane (Moody, April) sets out to help parents be joyful even as they confront challenging and often distressing cultural trends such as disrespectful behavior towards parents, a lack of routine and boundaries for kids, and a demand from modern children for constant amusement.