New Reads on Faith, Justice, Beauty





Pregnant While Black: Advancing Justice for Maternal Health in America by Monique Rainford

“[This] is the beautiful and profound expansive work on Black maternal health that we’ve all been waiting for.” —Dr. Uché Blackstock

Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy than their white peers. But Dr. Monique Rainford is working to better understand these disparities and do something about them. In Pregnant While Black, Rainford begins the work of “repairing the damage of the past” with an examination of the conditions that plague Black pregnancies. This important book carries the hopes and dreams of a generation looking to effect change, here and now. Buy Now ▶


Dear Star Baby by Malcolm Newsome, Illustrated by Kamala Nair

Written as a letter to his unborn baby sibling, Dear Star Baby shares how a little boy processes the grief he and his family experience after a miscarriage. He tells the baby all about how they were preparing their home to welcome them and the things he was looking forward to doing together. He processes his wonders, wishes, and sadness after this tremendous loss. Dad says their Star Baby feels far away. Mom says their Star Baby is always in her heart. The little boy imagines his baby sibling singing and twinkling in the night sky as he sleeps. Buy Now ▶


Open: Unorthodox Thoughts on God and Community by Brad R. Braxton

“This book is an invitation to open oneself up for a journey of transformation.” —Rev. Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, general secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

This book engages serious, even controversial, topics including Jesus’s identity, reparations for slavery, LGBTQ equality, the Black Lives Matter movement, warfare and non-violence, environmental justice, and interreligious collaboration. Insisting that there is room for all, an open theology empowers us to create broad spaces where people from diverse backgrounds with divergent beliefs can peacefully probe their differences and celebrate their similarities for the sake of a better world. Buy Now ▶


Flipflopi: How a Boat Made from Flip-Flops Is Helping to Save the Ocean by Linda Ravin Lodding and Dipesh Pabari, Illustrated by Michael Machira Mwangi

Flipflopi is an account of many things: inspiration, collaboration, and ingenuity…A useful and timely supplement to a social studies or science curriculum.” —Booklist

In 2017, 30,000 flip-flops and other plastic waste items, all collected from the Kenyan coast, were melted, shaped, and carved into the dhow named Flipflopi. Weighing in at 7 tons, this boat is a testament to what can happen when awareness is turned into action. Download the free Flipflopi educator’s guide to help kids learn more about sustainability and how they can be part of the plastic pollution solution. Buy Now ▶


Before the Streetlights Come on: Black America’s Urgent Call for Climate Solutions by Heather McTeer Toney

“A persuasive case for why Black activists should be at the forefront of the environmental movement.” —Publishers Weekly

Climate change. It is a voter issue, an economy driver, and a defining dynamic for the foreseeable future. Yet, in Black communities, climate change is seen as less urgent when compared to other pressing issues, including police brutality, gun violence, job security, food insecurity, and the blatant racism faced daily around the country. Climate activist Heather McTeer Toney insists that those most affected by climate change are best suited to lead the movement for climate justice. Buy Now ▶


Beauty Is a Basic Service: Theology and Hospitality in the Work of Theaster Gates by Maria Fee

“Maria Fee’s focus on the life and work of Theaster Gates has expanded my imagination and understanding of how to approach social transformation in action.” —Joyce del Rosario, director of multiethnic programs, Seattle Pacific University

In Beauty Is a Basic Service, Dr. Maria Fee argues that the projects of Chicago artist Theaster Gates are theological sites, places to encounter God and his truth concerning place, people, and things. The study gathers the work of theologians, artists, as well as other scholars from a variety of discourses and various traditions to advocate holistic stewardship of God’s creation. These diverse voices comprise a rich conversation of theology and aesthetics to exhibit the way art can resist Western detachment. Buy Now ▶