Six New Things: Week of April 29, 2024

It’s nearly Pentecost – and that means nearly summer. As outside temps begin to rise, so are tempers, as tempestuous topics tempt some to despair. Breathe deeply. Cool things down, work things out, and unwind with a few good reads:


More and more of us – kids and adults – struggle to navigate the big feelings when things don’t go our way. We can all learn – for ourselves and when we’re in high-emotion situations with others – from Sometimes I Am Hot Lava (Beaming), which, ‘shows kids… how to manage feelings of anger and frustration through mindful breathing techniques’. Backmatter, ‘helps us identify what we’re feeling, why we’re feeling it, and what we can do about it’.


More than a few folx are hot under the collar about Critical Race Theory: some because they think it ‘rewrites history’ and others because we need more of it in our academic and religious institutions. Critical Faith: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It Matters (Fortress), ‘argues that CRT is the victim of …”definitional theft,” and that by recovering its original meaning, Christians can move past mischaracterizations and caricatures toward a more nuanced view of race, racism, and the tools available to make progress in the church and in society.


The flip side to anger can be grief: often experienced for similar reasons, but registering very differently within the person and in external behaviors. All About Grief (Beaming), ‘looks at grief from many different angles, examining how it influences our emotions and relationships, our brains and bodies, and our behavior. Preteen readers will get to know when and why we are most likely to grieve, what purpose grief serves, and strategies for healing and finding hope moving forward.’


Young people experience grief, depression, and anxiety because of current social, political, and ecological realities. Work Out Your Salvation: A Theology of Markets and Moral Formation (Fortress) ‘demonstrates that participation in markets forms our moral character, perceptions, actions, and ideas… and asks, does formation of the market relate to the formation of grace – providence, justification, and sanctification? Are these forces at war for our souls?’ They may be…


For leadership that moves away from consumerist, corporate, colonizer models to follow ideals of full inclusion and mutuality, see Unraveling Religious Leadership: Power, Authority, and Decoloniality (Fortress), which offers, ‘alternative constructions that consider the myriad complexities within both the role and function of leadership, offering new ways to frame the leadership identities the church needs for today’s world.’


For some joy and hope, check out Emma’s Awesome Summer Camp Adventure (Beaming). In this latest installment in the Charley and Emma Story series we ‘join Emma and her friends as they face obstacles, overcome fears of trying new things, and discover what’s possible in a place that’s really built for all. Children [and all readers] will cheer along with Emma every step of the way, and will learn that an inclusive, accessible world for all is truly possible.’

I hope these children’s books inform all ages on navigating the world – our inner world and our social norms – in healthier, more equitable, more hopeful ways – and the big-people books support a deeper dive into that wonderful work!!