I’d heard of Daneen Akers’s new book, Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints in a Facebook Writer’s Group. So I was excited to get the chance to review the book through the Speakeasy network.
When I received the book in the mail, I was struck by how large it is. This is a beautiful 8 x 10 hardback storybook…with a red ribbon attached to mark your place! Clearly, this book project was born of love. The artwork is also beautiful and represents the diversity of God’s people.
In the preface, Akers reveals the need she seeks to meet with this book of unconventional saints:
Most faith-based books aimed at families and children are fundamentalist in their worldview without any room for questions or diversity of faith. For too long, many Christian children’s book publishers have printed books that only show a very narrow type of Christianity. These books often exclude the stories of women, LGBTQ people, people of color, disabled people, Indigenous people, and people from other faiths. This is especially true of books past the picture book stage of reading.
I’m slowly making my way through the book, but you can expect to read about some familiar people such as Francis of Assisi, Fred Rogers, Harriet Tubman and Thich Nhat Hanh. But you’ll also read stories about Bayard Rustin, the lesser known civil rights leader who was one of Martin Luther King’s most trusted advisors, Alice Paul, a suffragette who led the protests that eventually won women the right to vote, Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian priest and the father of liberation theology, Paula Stone Williams, who was raised in a conservative Christian church but came out as transgender late in life to found her own church and fight for gender equity and LGBTQ inclusion, Ani Zonneveld a progressive Muslim and female imam, and Valerie Kaur, a Sikh American activist calling for “Revolutionary Love” after her uncle was murdered in a hate crime.
In a book such as this, the choice of which unconventional saints to include would be incredibly difficult. That said, I questioned a few of the choices. But overall, this is a beautiful and much-needed book that I will encourage my children to read. We need more models of “Holy Troublemakers” in our world today and more books that reflect God’s inclusive love for all people.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.