Resources

Below are resources I hope you will find useful in your spiritual quest.

Podcasts

 
KABC Los Angeles – June 5, 2013 – the Larry Elder Show interviews Robert V. Taylor about the Boy Scouts

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The Drew Marshall Show – June 1, 2013 – Robert V. Taylor interviewed about love in the good times and bad

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The Wealth & Wisdom Hour – host Jaden Sterling chats with Robert V. Taylor  – February 20, 2013 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/soultoprofit/2013/02/20/robert-taylor-shares-a-new-way-to-be-human

Council of Fire Radio – October 14, 2012 – John and Shelley Jones interview Robert V. Taylor

WHQR Wilmington NC NPR Station – September 26, 2102 – Jemila Ericson interviews Robert V. Taylor

NPR Snap Judgment – September 8 2012 – Stephanie Foo talks to Robert about Standing Tall

Healthy You Radio Network – August 6, 2012 – Ajayan Borys interviews Robert V. Taylor

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Good Vibrations Radio – August 18, 2012 – Solarzar Dellaporta interviews Robert V. Taylor

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Life Mastery Radio – July 29, 2012 – Todd Alan interviews Robert V. Taylor

Rewiring Your Brain – July 10, 2012 – Doc Robert Rose interviews Robert V. Taylor

Listen to internet radio with REWIRING YOUR BRAIN on Blog Talk Radio

The Nancy Pristine Show – July 5, 2012 – Nancy Pristine interveiws Robert V. Taylor

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Emotional Pro – June 29, 2012 – Ilene Dillon interviews Robert V. Taylor

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White Mountain Radio – June 24, 2012 – Barbara Bruce interviews Robert V. Taylor on Believe 

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Sedona Talk Radio – June 15, 2012 – Madison Morgan interviews Robert V. Taylor on Sedona Stars

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Inside Personal Growth – June, 14, 2012 – Greg Voisen interviews Robert V. Taylor

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The Other Side – June 10, 2012 – Jim Harold interviews Robert V. Taylor

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Emerson Talk & Entertainment Network – June 7, 2012 – Interview with Jeff Ferrannini on Planetary Spirit

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Paranormal Palace – June 5, 2012 – Interview with Royce Holleman http://www.paranormalpalace.com/modules.php?name=Video_Stream&page=watch&id=113&d=1

Heart Talk Radio – May 21, 2012 – Interview with David Matthew Brown

KPCC Los Angeles NPR Station – May 16, 2012 – Pat Morrison Interviews Robert and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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Chicago Public Radio (NPR Chicago station) – May 15, 2012 – Interview with Shantell Jamison on Vocalo

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Temple of Health Radio – May 12, 2012 – Interview with Dr. Susan Kolb

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Radio Amerika Now – May 12, 2012 – Interview with Barb Adams

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Walking With Spirit – May 9, 2012 – Interview with Monique Chapman

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Unity FM – May 7 2012 – Interview with Ester Nicholson on 12 Keys to Freedom

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Progressive Radio Network/Godspeed Institute Radio – April 29, 2012 – interview with Caer Hallundbaek

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Shark Radio Network – April 23, 2012 – Interview with Daniel Bautz

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A New Way to be Human with Robert V. Taylor – Interview with Wendy Joy  – http://bringingthelight.podomatic.com/entry/2012-04-25T06_36_47-07_00

Conscious Talk Radio – April 23, 2012 – Interview with Brenda Michaels and Rob Spears

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Glastonbury Radio – April 22, 2012 – Interview with Dr. Ann West

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Catherine Bradford Show – April 19, 2012http://www.catherinebradfordshow.com/archives/shows/?id=100548

Radio City UK – April 18, 2012 – Interview with Pete Price on City Talk

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WGRN Radio – April 16, 2012 – Interview with Colleen Pyke on Global Vision

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KUOW Seattle’s NPR station – April -16, 2012 – Steve Scher interview on Weekday –

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Heart Talk Radio – April 12, 2012 – Interview with David Matthew Brown

Energy Intuitive Radio – April 12, 2012 – Interview with Marie Manuchehri –

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Unity FM – May 10, 2011 –

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Beyond Enclosures Robert V. Taylor’s talk at First Church, Seattle September 18, 2011

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Robert talking about A New Way to Be Human with Carla McClellan on Unity FM’s Spiritual Coaching, May 10, 2011

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Robert’s speech at MIT Cambridge MA October 21, 2010 Reconciling Peacemaking: A Transformative Ethic

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Robert on Darkwood Brew January 26, 2011 –Meekness be Darned!  Blessed are the Meek

Robert V. Taylor’s sermon at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, March 7, 2010.

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A conversation with Robert V. Taylor at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, March 7, 2010.

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Articles

Upending Political Vitriol, Huffington Post, April 23, 2012

Death: The Final Word? Huffington Post, May 24, 2012

Videos

View Robert’s videos, which include:

  • Begging to Differ
  • Creativity and Imagination
  • Being a Repairer of the World
  • A Joyful Spirituality
  • Spirituality and Ethics
  • Exclusion in the Name of God
  • Tools and Resources for Leaders
  • Building a Values Based Framework
  • The Blessing of Disillusionment
  • The Fires of Life
  • Spiritual or Religious?

Book Club Discussion Group

We’ve designed a kit to offer tools to your Book Club as you engage in life-changing conversations about becoming more fully alive on the journey to a new way to be human. We are living in a time of an emerging new consciousness about what it means to be human. Instead of clutching at the old ways of being human, how will you become open to a more generous, compassionate, and engaged way of living? Our lives are at stake and your discussion will add insight and wisdom for the journey.  Download your free Book Club Group Discussion Kit today!

Books – Non-fiction

A New Way to Be HumanNew-Way-To-Be-HumanA New Way to Be Human is an invaluable, relevant guide for the individual intent on transforming their life, revolutionizing our society, and polishing our world. By identifying seven pivotal, universally recognizable life occurrences as spiritual Pathways, the book meets the reader where they are and connects them to actionable, personal spiritual practices.   Winding alongside each of the seven pathways is the narrative of author Robert V. Taylor’s unique life experience.  From his miraculous physical healing as a teenager in Cape Town, to fighting apartheid alongside Desmond Tutu, to his eventual immigration to the United States and appointment as one of the nation’s highest ranking, openly gay Episcopal priests, Robert lives the question of how to integrate personal spirituality with a legacy of compassionate purpose in the world—and invites others to do the same.

Pre-order your copy today – click here.

Made for Goodness book coverMade for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference – Nobel Peace Prize–winner Desmond Tutu, with his daughter Mpho, an Episcopal priest in Washington, D.C., writes a relatively personal book about his fundamental, faith-based beliefs about human nature: people are basically good because they are made in God’s image. He maintains this in the face of the horrific events he has witnessed in his country and elsewhere, and he bases his belief in part on simple experiences throughout his life that have involved family and, significantly, his failures.

The Three Marriages book coverThe Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship – The author of Crossing the Unknown Sea and The Heart Aroused encourages readers to reimagine how they inhabit the worlds of love, work, and self-understanding. Whyte suggests that separating these “marriages” in order to balance them is to destroy the fabric of happiness itself. Drawing from his own struggles and the lives of some of the world’s great writers and artists, Whyte explores the ways these core commitments are connected. Only by understanding the journey involved in each of the three marriages and the stages of their maturation, he says, can we understand how to bring them together in one fulfilled life.

Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside book coverDare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside: Live Your Legacy Now – In this inspirational book, Gloria Burgess uses the touching story of her father’s relationship with William Faulkner as a starting point to explore a classic topic: how to bring forth the character qualities of love, wisdom, trust, faith, gratitude, creative action, vision, and integrity. Burgess declares the sacred promises of legacy living as part of a transformational process that helps us connect to our past by honoring those who came before us, living with intention in the present, and freeing our talents so we can realize our potential. Dare to Ware Your Soul on the Outside also includes practical exercises for fostering greater authenticity and purpose in our lives.

Imagination First book coverImagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility – The best corporations know that innovative thinking is the only competitive advantage that cannot be outsourced. The best schools are those that create cultures of imagination. No wonder then that the decisions that compromise our economy, and even our national security, are often blamed on the “failure of imagination.” This book introduces us to a wide variety of individuals who have learned how to make a habit of imaginative thinking and creative action. It offers a set of universal practices that anyone can use to transform their life at work, home, and play.

How to See Yourself as You Really Are book coverHow to See Yourself As You Really Are – According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we each possess the ability to achieve happiness and a meaningful life, but the key to realizing that goal is self-knowledge. In How to See Yourself As You Really Are, the world’s foremost Buddhist leader and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize shows readers how to recognize and dispel misguided notions of self and embrace the world from a more realistic — and loving — perspective. Through illuminating explanations and step-by-step exercises, His Holiness helps readers to see the world as it actually exists, and explains how, through the interconnection of meditative concentration and love, true altruistic enlightenment is attained.

Awakening Intuition book coverAwakening Intuition: Using Your Mind-Body Network for Insight and Healing – Awakening Intuition explores the idea that learning to use intuition and understanding its connection with memories, dreams, and healing can strengthen your body against disease and enrich your life. Using case studies, author Mona Lisa Shultz portrays her belief that emotions and diseases are linked, what areas of the body are affected by what kinds of feelings, and how we can tune in to the cause of an ailment.  Schultz is a physician, neuropsychiatrist, and neuroscientist who has worked as a “medical intuitive” for more than a decade. Far from claiming extraordinary powers, Schultz believes we are all intuitive and can train ourselves to tap into our resources.

The Sacred Universe- Earth Spirituality and Religion in the twenty-First Century book coverThe Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-first Century – In four parts, this book addresses how the history and diversity of world religions offer ways to engage with Earth; how it is necessary to connect with a spirituality that is Earth derived; how science can be in conversation with the religious sensibilities of wonder and awe; and how our relationship to the natural world is crucial to our spirituality. In the earliest essays, Berry sounds most optimistic and urges readers to reconcile modern impulses and technology with religious traditions. The later essays strike a more imperative tone, pressing for a change of mind and soul to deeply engage our sacred universe.

Anger- Wisdom for Cooling the Flames book coverAnger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames – Anger can be one of the most frustrating emotions, carrying us headlong away from ourselves and depositing us into separation and dismay. Vietnamese monk and world teacher Thich Nhat Hanh tackles this most difficult of emotions in Anger. A master at putting complex ideas into simple, colorful packages, Nhat Hanh tells us that, fundamentally, to be angry is to suffer, and that it is our responsibility to alleviate our own suffering. The way to do this is not to fight our emotions or to “let it all out” but to transform ourselves through mindfulness. Emphasizing our basic interdependence, he teaches us how to help others through deep listening and how to water the positive seeds in those around us while starving the negative seeds.

Better Because of You book coverBetter Because of You – This book shows you how to make life just a little bit better in all 7 facets of your life.  It includes  true-to-life, inspirational stories that can help you do small things each day to make a big difference.  The authors are successful Fortune 100 executives who wanted to make a positive difference in the world.   Simply revealed are their 3 core beliefs based on the valuable (and humorous) lessons they learned in the corporate world, decades of marriage and raising children.  This book shows you how you, as one individual, can be an irresistible force for positive change.

A Life at Work book coverA Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do – In this book, bestselling spiritual guru Moore (Care of the Soul) says that finding the right work, finding one’s vocation, is also part of the care of the soul. Moore urges people to think about having not just one but a variety of callings. His consideration of the pleasures and foibles of friendship in the workplace is especially insightful. Although confident that even the most mundane job can be enjoyable and life-giving, Moore sets the question of vocation in a broader frame, suggesting that it is best addressed as a part of fashioning lives that are organically whole and meaningful.

Like Me book coverLike Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer – Chely Wright, singer, songwriter, country music star, writes in this moving, telling memoir about her life and her career; about growing up in America’s heartland, the youngest of three children; about barely remembering a time when she didn’t know she was different.   She writes about her parents, putting down roots in their twenties in the farming town of Wellsville, Kansas, Old Glory flying atop the poles on the town’s manicured lawns, and being raised to believe that hard work, honesty, and determination would take her far.  Like Me is fearless, inspiring, true.

Are You Really Listening book coverAre You Really Listening?: Keys to Successful Communication – Paul Donoghue and Mary Siegel have written a very concrete and understandable book that educates the reader in the fine art of communication.  By indentifying the many ways that we can slip into old communication patterns, without being aware of it, the authors ensure that anyone reading this book will come away with a new understanding of how to be heard and to listen.  In a compact presentation, with a wide array of engaging stories, the authors engender the necessary self-awareness of nonlistening behaviors, practiced with automatic ease even by those who see themselves as good listeners.  Enjoyably readable, both practical and profound, this book hits all the right notes.

The Sacred Meal book coverThe Sacred Meal: The Ancient Practices Series – In her inimitable style of memoir and personal reflection, Nora Gallagher explores the beauty and mystery of this most fascinating of topics. Whether exploring the history of Christian Communion, taking us inside the workings of a soup kitchen or sharing times of joy and sadness with friends, the author reminds us what it means to partake of and be part of the body of Christ.  Nora Gallagher gives us a fresh take on church, one that invites us to the banquet table without demanding that we dress for dinner. In the manner of a true wisdom teacher, Gallagher shows us communion rather than telling us about it.

The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee book coverThe Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children – Frustrated with a therapeutic practice that “shifted too frequently to be an anchor” for parents struggling with issues like overindulgence and overscheduling, clinical psychologist Mogel turned to her religious heritage for ways to help her clients and her own family “find grace and security” in an increasingly complex world.  Her thoughtful observations consistently illuminate and reassure. Impassioned, lyrical and eminently practical, this inspiring volume is a real treasure.

The Blessing of a B Minus book coverThe Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers – Dr. Wendy Mogel is an internationally known clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times bestselling parenting book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. A popular keynote speaker, she lectures widely at conferences, educational and religious organizations and schools.  This title is a soon to be released companion to her earlier work.

Crisis - 40 stories book coverCrisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America – A mental health crisis faces American teens right now. Hundreds of thousands of gay teens face traumatic depression, fear, rejection, persecution, and isolation–usually alone. Studies show they are 190 percent more likely to used drugs or alcohol and four times more likely to attempt suicide. Homophobia and discrimination are at the heart of their pain. Love, support, and acceptance–all within our power to give–can save them.  Here are revealing stories by forty diverse Americans, some well known and some not, plus insights from straight clergy and parents explaining their support of gay people as whole human beings guaranteed equal rights by our Constitution.

Gods To-Do-List book coverGod’s To-do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God’s Work on Earth – This practical guidebook to repairing the world–often in simple everyday ways–details the biblical accounts of what God does, not what God says: God creates, blesses, rests, calls, comforts, cares, repairs, wrestles, gives and forgives. For each of God’s actions, this provocative resource suggests what might be on God’s To-Do List for you, the many ways you can make small and great differences in the lives of others and find the ultimate source of meaning for your own.

The Final Deadline book coverThe Final Deadline: What Death Has Taught Me About Life – In contrast to religious traditions that attempt to shield us from death by promising eternal life or by denying or demeaning physical existence, Glaser looks at death directly and with appreciation for what it teaches us about life. Death is an inscrutable and even stern Zen master ready to teach us, a spiritual director eager to inspire us, a soul-friend reminding us that our lifespan has sacred worth.   Glaser writes movingly of the deaths that have shaped his soul, whether those deaths occurred through assassination, murder, suicide, accident, divorce, illness, or AIDS. A few deaths were especially transforming and personal, and all will open readers’ hearts to their own discoveries when facing The Final Deadline.

We Really Need to Talk book coverWe Really Need to Talk: Steps to Better Communication – Every day we talk to convey information, clarify responsibilities, smooth difficult situations, and encourage others. Words can create deep emotional intimacy with spouses and friends, but often our words seem to thwart true communication rather than sustain it. Psychologists Paul J. Donoghue and Mary E. Siegel, longtime counselors and experts in communication, walk readers through some of the most frequent mistakes we make in talking to one another and offer simple practical corrections.   Building on the insights contained in their best-selling book Are You Really Listening?, Donoghue and Siegel guide readers through engaging real-life stories, including the boss who needs to advise a failing employee, the parent whose daughter flouts curfew, the wife who wants to go back to school but thinks her husband will not approve, and many more. With clarity and humor, they encourage readers to pursue healthier and more satisfying relationships with six steps toward clear, honest, and effective self-expression.

sword-of-the-lord-book-coverThe Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family – Christian fundamentalism in America emerged a century ago, the faith of generations of immigrants who had experienced war and revolution, removal and upheaval. The Scots-Irish who had settled the South inherited both an evangelical legacy of abolitionism and social reform on the one hand, and complicity in human slavery and racial oppression on the other. This book brings the story of fundamentalism to life through the generations of the Rice family–immigrants, soldiers, farmers, slaveowners, refugees, and preachers. This is a work of history, memoir, and personal testimony about the changing shape of a faith that seeks to transform the world. Foreword by Parker J. Palmer

taking-the-leap-book-coverTaking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears – This gently encouraging book by popular teacher Chödrön applies Buddhist wisdom to the problems of deeply ingrained reactions.  She writes that we already have what we need to change and heal. Her focus is on the preverbal moment in which individuals are hooked into harmful stories, emotions and actions within the flux of their experiences. Clear descriptions of how this process works are accompanied by simple techniques to begin to break the cycle. With anecdotes from her teachers and examples from her own and others’ lives, Chödrön demonstrates that people can stop their suffering and access their natural intelligence, warmth and openness.  This short guide provides valuable tools for change in uncertain times.

god-is-not-a-christian-and-other-provocations-book-coverGod Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations – In this essential collection of Desmond Tutu’s most historic and controversial speeches and writings, we witness his unique career of provoking the powerful and confronting the world in order to protect the oppressed, the poor, and other victims of injustice.  Renowned first for his courageous opposition to apartheid in South Africa, he and his ministry soon took on international dimensions. Rooted in his faith and in the values embodied in the African spirit of ubuntu, Tutu’s uncompromising vision of a shared humanity has compelled him to speak out, even in the face of violent opposition and virulent criticism, against political injustice and oppression, religious fundamentalism, and the persecution of minorities.  In a world of suffering and conflict, where human laws all too often clash with God’s law, Tutu’s hopeful, timeless messages become increasingly necessary and powerful with each passing year—and are needed now more than ever.

Books – Fiction

Saints at the River book coverSaints at the River: A Novel – In his second novel set in Appalachia, poet Rash blends a classic environmental struggle with a budding romance. A young girl drowns in South Carolina’s Tamassee River, her body lodged in a deep eddy, making it impossible to retrieve except by damming the river upstream. Backed by the Wild and Scenic River Act, environmentalists protest loudly. Photographer Maggie Glenn, who grew up in Tamassee, is assigned by her paper to cover the story, along with reporter Allen Hemphill, a Pulitzer finalist whose work Maggie admires. Locals objecting to precedents that would allow future alterations to the pristine river are pitted against the drowned girl’s parents, who make an impassioned plea for the recovery of her remains. At the same time, Maggie and Allen’s relationship gradually shifts from professional to romantic, as he begins to put aside memories of the deaths of his wife and daughter.

Playing the Enemy book coverPlaying the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation – After being released from prison and winning South Africa’s first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long an embodiment of white-supremacist rule-to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela’s miraculous effort to bring South Africans together again in a hard-won, enduring bond.

Books – Poetry

Evidence - Poems book coverEvidence: Poems – Oliver has been publishing poetry collections since 1963, and her latest is gloriously alive, inquisitive, and welcoming. A prolific and cherished poet, she makes readers feel as though they’ve been part of the quest for wisdom and grace she records in her lucid, giving, prayerful poems. Oliver writes of meditative walks and moments of radiant recognition. Gratitude is the mode here, and sustained attention is the vehicle, as acknowledged with her signature clarity in two of many bird poems.

How We Became Human book coverHow We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 – Harjo’s new collection gathers work from her now hard-to-find early chapbooks, The Last Song and What Moon Drove Me to This?, as well as four later collections. Thirteen new poems are included, in addition to excerpts from Secrets from the Center of the World (a collaborative effort with astronomer and photographer Stephen Strom).  Her critically praised work has taken her all over the world. Defining the poet’s role as a “journey for truth, for justice,” she explores the role of the artist in society, the quest for love, the links among the arts, what constitutes family, and what it means to be human.

Books – Children

Stop Picking On Me (A First Look At Series) – Barron’s “A First Look At” books explore the dynamics in relationships among children of preschool through early school age, and encourage kids to understand personal and social problems as a first step toward solving them. Written by an experienced psychotherapist and counselor, these books promote positive interaction among children, parents, and teachers. The language in each book is simple and direct–easy for younger children to understand. This approachable picture book explores the difficult issue of bullying among children. It helps kids accept the normal fears and worries that accompany bullying, and suggests ways to resolve this upsetting experience. Full-color illustrations on every page.

Everyone Matters book coverEveryone Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others – Children learn that having respect means treating everyone fairly. But there are some types of respect that each person must earn for themselves–by keeping promises, by being honest in what they say and do, and being polite and respectful to others. Most important of all, boys and girls learn that people who are different deserve just as much respect as close friends. This new title in Barron’s growing series of A First Look at . . . books is written especially for preschool and early-grades children. Books in this series feature sensitively written stories that encourage boys and girls to explore their feelings, face new challenges in their lives, and talk to trusted elders about how to deal with things that bother them. The books feature child-friendly color illustrations on every page. An advice to parents section appears at the end of each book.

Mr. Peabodys Apples book coverMr. Peabody’s Apples – With Mr. Peabody’s Apples, her gorgeous sophomore venture into the realm of children’s literature, Madonna sustains her transformation from material girl to mom. Inspired by a 300-year-old Ukrainian story and illustrated by the talented Loren Long, Madonna’s tale is about the dangers of gossip.  Madonna has created a tribute to 1940’s small-town America that delivers a fundamental message about respecting others. Children will love Mr. Peabody and parents will appreciate the gentle nudge with which he delivers his message.

Lucy and the Bully book coverLucy and the Bully – There are lots of books about bullies, but this one is especially thoughtful (and a pleasure to look at). It frames the problem around the relationship between a sweet lamb and a belligerent little bully.  This simple story puts bullying in kids’ terms, showing a positive world in which the adults are in control; one wishes that all situations were handled so well. The animal characters are conveyed through bright colors and thick strokes, and their expressive faces garner empathy for bully and victim alike. Overall, an appealing story on a timely topic.

We Can Get Along book cocverWe Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices – Written with clarity, authority, and empathy, this text explores the universal feelings of children in the area of getting along with one another. Good times such as laughing, working, and playing together make them feel happy and safe, while quarreling, hitting, bullying, and teasing make them angry and afraid. These are the givens of everyday life. The empowering theme here is that individuals choose how to behave. Everyone can share, respect others, think before speaking, work out problems, and enjoy many types of friends. Caring adults can be consulted in times of puzzlement and trouble. To make this didactic message lively and appealing, the short blocks of text are enclosed in double-page frames of imaginative and charming illustrations done in pen and ink and bright markers.

Gods Dream book coverGod’s Dream – Tutu teaches a message of peace and hope in this gentle picture book, echoing the theological ideology of his memoir, God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time (Doubleday, 2004). “Dear Child of God,” the narrator begins, “what do you dream about?” While children may dream about “flying high” or “being treated like a full person,” God dreams about a world in which all of his children join hands in peace, reconciliation and unity. In simple, eloquent language, Tutu conveys the message that although we come from different lands, have different eyes and skin, and talk to God in different ways, we are still brothers and sisters. By “sharing, loving, caring” and “knowing we are family” we can “make God’s dream come true.” The incandescent graphite, watercolor, and ink illustrations of captivating multicultural youngsters engaged in the carefree pastimes reinforce the overarching themes of love and inclusiveness. The angelic, trusting faces reflect the hope that Archbishop Tutu holds for all the world’s children of God.

nelson-mandelas-favorite-african-folktales-book-coverNelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales – This collection of short fables compiles writings and translations by numerous authors and features illustrations by a diverse collection of artists. Together, the tales and their accompanying artwork create a patchwork of legends drawn from all over the African continent, from Morocco to Kenya to Swaziland. Snakes with seven heads and Zulu tricksters are found here, as well as various creation myths and a Kenyan lion (with the familiar name of Simba) who teaches a cunning hyena a lesson. The colorful birds, giant elephants and mischievous children populating the volume teach sometimes cryptic lessons about obedience, perseverance, cooperation and the simple strangeness of life.  In tales such as these, the dream-like, unpredictable symbology and sometimes cruel morality of myths resonate, and, in Mandela’s words, the “gritty essence of Africa” shines through in stories with universal themes.

Music

Close to Silence CD coverClose To Silence– – The incredible range of Thomas Otten’s voice is a happy accident: instead of shifting wholly to a lower register during puberty, it simply added that depth to Otten’s boyhood vocal range, allowing him to sing contralto as an adult (in addition to more typical parts). The results, as displayed on his debut album, Close to Silence, are frequently stunning, with Otten using his increased expressive powers to achieve a correspondingly wide emotional range.  New-age fans will likely find this album inspiring and uplifting.

Luminosity CD coverLuminosity – The etherial, beautiful sounds of multiple human voices combined with pipe organ, sitar, viola and other instruments is unique in such a modern work.  Composer James Whitbourn has turned lucid reflections of seers through the ages into choral psalms of illumination. Their confessional moments of clarity give form to hope, and beaming paths for the chorus. The monumental seven-section title piece “Luminosity” interprets brilliant quotes in spectral chorales with undertones of Indian trance.  Revelation can be put into words, and other times it goes past that into pure feeling. This music captures both beautifully.

Lifted Off the Ground CD coverLifted Off the Ground – This is Chely Wright’s with her most personal and best album to date. Written while she was in a crucible of personal depression, many of these entries reflect her frustrations with her life, sexuality, failures and her thorny relationship with her mother.   This bears little resemblance to commercial country.   Rather, it’s a singer-songwriter soft rock to rock album with some country touches here and there.There is an immediacy, honest and heartfelt quality to these paeans that make this a great CD for your collection.

With Mr. Peabody’s Apples, her gorgeous sophomore venture into the realm of children’s literature, Madonna sustains her transformation from material girl to mom. Inspired by a 300-year-old Ukrainian story and illustrated by the talented Loren Long, Madonna’s tale is about the dangers of gossip.