Another Dawn by Kathryn Cushman (Bethany House)
Another Dawn is a modern-day morality story centered on the dilemma parents face when weighing the benefits of infant vaccinations versus the risks. However, this theme takes awhile to become clear, and the pace often drags as the heroine, Grace Graham, goes through unending relationship crises with little attempt at resolution.
Worried about the possibility of autism, Grace chose to decline the usual infant vaccinations for her son. During their visit to extended family in Tennessee, Dylan, now 4 years old, contracts the measles. His contact with young babies in the church nursery who had not yet been vaccinated causes a health crisis. Many become seriously ill, including his cousin, Hannah Rose.
The plot's tension unfolds as Grace faces an angry and biased community, her own guilt over the consequences of her actions and estrangement within her family. The story begins to move quickly about halfway through the book and becomes a can't-put-down drama. And Cushman more than makes up for the slow beginning with her clever dialogue and memorable secondary characters. Young mothers especially will enjoy this engaging story of one woman's choice.
Sarah Crouch, adjunct professor
Dallas Baptist University
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
We express outrage that slave-traders annually shipped 50,000 to 80,000 Africans to the New World. But we're largely unaware that today between 600,000 and 800,000 of God's children, mostly female, are trafficked across borders annually.
In Half the Sky, Pulitzer-Prize-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, outline the plight of women and girls, including an estimated 3 million enslaved in the sex trade. But the predicament of females goes beyond forced prostitution.
Honor killings, rule by rape, genital mutilation, avoidable injury in childbirth, punishing disfigurement and infanticide affect millions of females worldwide. In many countries, girls suffer from lack of education, lack of laws that value them outside of property and lack of adequate health care. Indeed, one of God's beloved children dies every minute in childbirth.
The authors share statistics and stories to show the condition of those the Chinese proverb says "hold up half the sky." But they also provide success stories and offer avenues of involvement that make a difference, including Christian initiatives.
I could only handle one chapter at a time of this deeply disturbing volume. No, Half the Sky isn't a want-to-read book. It's a need-to-read.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman's Missionary Union of Texas, Waco
Called to Conquer by Derek Prince (Chosen)
Called to Conquer is another great study from the late Derek Prince collection that focuses on discovering God's call and plan for your life. The book contains a series of 13 messages that will guide you to live "inside God's plan" for your life.
The author defines calling as a summons from God. He sees that God places the one called into a direct relationship to his whole purpose and plan for life and ministry. Prince clearly defines issues like predestination, calling, salvation, justification and glorification as activities of God relating directly to calling. Based on Romans 12, Prince gives seven steps to finding one's place in calling.
The author sets forth God's gifting and contrasts it with Satan's obstacles to buffet the work of the church. You will find an interesting study of how Satan uses "witchcraft" to be the enemy of your fulfilling God's calling and the ministry of the church.
Any Christian desiring to live a victorious life will be blessed by Called to Conquer. It is well written and will stimulate your walk with God.
Leo Smith, retired executive director
Texas Baptist Men, Alvin