October 2021 & Advent – Christmas selection

October 2021 & Advent – Christmas selection

Here are a selection of new Advent and Christmas books for children and adults, along with old favourite Wombat Divine.

Our suppliers in the USA and the UK have told us that they are experiencing delays with getting stock in from publishers and in sending books to us. We therefore urge you to order Advent and Christmas books on this list promptly, so your books will have the best chance of arriving here in good time.

Topics of other books include:

  • five transformative values to root us in the Way of Jesus
  • embracing social media for church growth and transformation
  • conversations about transforming conflict
  • sitting quietly in God’s presence
  • simple practices for a contemplative and fulfilling life.

For deliveries to Rural Delivery addresses an additional fee applies.
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Overseas customers, please email us at books@pgpl.co.nz for a total cost, which will include airmail postage. See https://pgpl.co.nz/shipping-orders for more information about ordering and payment options, and our current postage charges.

[Prices, stock levels and estimated delivery time for titles on this page were last updated on 2 October 2021]


Tomie Depaola’s Christmas Tree Book.
Tomie dePaola’.
Pbk 32pp. ISBN 9780823449927.
Holiday House (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

While picking out their Christmas tree, a couple of curious children start to wonder where Christmas trees came from. Who invented the first one? How did they become so popular? And how have they changed over the years?

With bright illustrations and child-friendly text, celebrated children’s author Tomie dePaola is here to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Christmas trees.

Includes instructions for making your own Christmas tree ornament!


Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems.
Maren C. Tirabassi.
Pbk 146pp. ISBN 9781098333041.
Bookbaby (2020).
[Allow 4-6 weeks].​

This book of poetry for the Christmas Season tells stories of ordinary lives – putting wooden trains around the tree with a three year old boy and hanging an ornament with a 95 year old grandma, learning that the little girl who wore her Belle dress to play the Bethlehem star has been deported and finding a way to tie a mask on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and discovering that Blue Christmas is less a religious service than baking the cookies a friend used to give as gifts.

Along the way we realise that the images of this season, both from Christian scripture, such as manger or magi, and the secular world, such as Scrooge or the Grinch lead us to care for the most vulnerable.

Every year at Advent, we are not the same people we were a year earlier. The coronavirus pandemic and the United States struggle for racial justice in 2020 made that clear. Every December, some of us will have greeted new children, some will have grieved dear friends, and all of us will have experienced hope and sadness. Christmas will come anyway in precious and ordinary ways. This book hopes to tell that story.


Celebrating Christmas:
Embracing joy through art and reflections.
Amy Boucher Pye; Leo Boucher.
Hbk 128pp. ISBN 9781800390515.
Bible Reading Fellowship (2021).
[Allow 4-6 weeks].

Grab a cuppa and sink into a cosy chair as a father-daughter duo leads you into the celebration of Christmas through their art and reflections.

They consider not only the story of Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, but also our modern-day expressions of Christmas, and they bring light and life to what can be a fraught and exhausting season.

“Daughter and father, wordsmith and artist, combine seamlessly to create a celebration of the warmth, love, promise and glory of Christ’s birth on earth, and what that means for us today.” Pam Rhodes, broadcaster and writer

The Whole Christmas Story:
An Advent adventure through Genesis, Revelation, and points in between.
Jo Swinney.
Pbk 144pp. ISBN 9780857469410.
Bible Reading Fellowship (2021).
[Allow 4-6 weeks].

Advent offers us the chance to come again to the manger, to sit and wonder at the birth of God’s son Jesus, and to receive his gift of shalom – wholeness, healing and peace.

Come and explore the whole Christmas story, and find your place within it.

This Advent journey through the Bible, explores the brokenness of the world and the gift of a saviour to bring healing and wholeness.

Advent is a time to remember and reflect on the Christmas story and the baby at its heart. But the virgin birth, the manger, the mysterious eastern visitors and their portentous gifts – all these hint at a much grander narrative.

Advent in Plain Sight.
Jill J. Duffield.
Pbk 140pp. ISBN 9780664267148.
Westminster John Knox Press (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

At Christmas, God came into our ordinary world in the form of a child, and still today, God is at work through the ordinary stuff of life, if we train our eyes to see.

In this daily devotional for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, Duffield draws readers’ attention to ten ordinary objects that appear in the biblical narratives of messianic prophesy and incarnation. Through objects such as gates, trees, cloth, light, and water, readers will find new meaning in the biblical account of Jesus’ coming.

By connecting everyday objects with biblical texts, she prompts readers to see the near kingdom of heaven on earth and ponder what that divine closeness enables and asks them to do and be.

Each daily devotional features a Scripture reading, prayer, and reflection, reminding Christians that God still dwells among us, even in the most ordinary places.

The Christmas Story.
Karen Williamson; Marie Allen.
Hbk 112pp. ISBN 9781781284025.
Lion/Candle (2021).
[Allow 4-6 weeks].​

A delightful re-telling of the Christmas story ideal for sharing with toddlers, with bright charming illustrations by Marie Allen.

An engaging re-telling of Mary and Joseph’ journey to Bethlehem, the birth of their special baby, and all the wondrous events that surround them. The story is expanded to give a little more detail and to enable it to be read as a continuous story over a number of days or weeks leading up to Christmas.

This is a Christmas story with a difference for young children, perfect for bedtimes or church groups throughout the Advent season.

My First Advent Storybook.
Laura Richie; Ian Dale.
Board Book 14pp. ISBN 9780830782994.
David C Cook (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

In this book little ones hear about the promise God made from the days of Abraham all the way to the arrival of baby Jesus. Thoughtful, rhythmic text highlights special themes of Advent and invites children to be part of the story with fun, interactive prompts.

This simple, sturdy book is ideal for:

  • ·Children ages 0-3
  • Parents, grandparents, and children’s ministry leaders
  • Baby showers, adoption parties, birthdays, Christmas, and Advent.

Because the Fable.
William Milligan.
Pbk 24pp. ISBN 9781098082826.
Christian Faith Publishing (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

In 1978, a young boy was sleepless on Christmas Eve, picked up a red felt-tip pen, and began writing what turned out to be a poem about the real reason for Christmas. The poem was tucked away inside a memory book for many years.

When that poem resurfaced and was read by the now grown adult, the wheels started churning. Wheels that were heading in the direction of a dream. A dream that parents, godparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, and even friends would be able to read an entertaining and also meaningful bedtime story to those deserving children in their lives. This is that poem. This is that story.

A Surprising God:
Advent Devotions for an Uncertain Time.
Thomas G. Long; Donyelle C. McCray.
Pbk 112pp. ISBN 9780664267230.
Westminster John Knox (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

The world is slowly emerging from the worst global emergency in a century, and the myriad struggles of the contemporary moment – division, isolation, illness, and uncertainty – make living our faith a challenge. For Christians, these questions have gained new urgency:

  • Where do we find hope when it seems in such short supply?
  • Where are the signs of God’s peace in this divided world?
  • Where do we find a deeper sense of joy?

These devotions for Advent and Christmas invite readers to honest reflection on the challenges of being people of faith in this moment. Long and McCray explore what it means to wait for our salvation, to be open to the surprising thing that God is about to do, and to find hope in God’s choice of the small and the insignificant.

The Deeply Formed Life:
Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus.
Rich Villodas.
Pbk 288pp. ISBN 9780525654407.
Waterbrook Press  (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

During our chaotic times, Villodas helps us discover five forgotten values that can spark internal growth and help us reconcile our Christian faith with the complexities of race, sexuality, and social justice.

The values are:

  • Contemplative Rhythms: slowing down our lives to be with God.
  • Racial Justice: examining a multi-layered approach to pursuing racial justice and reconciliation.
  • Interior Examination: looking beneath the surface of our lives to live free and love well.
  • Sexual Wholeness: exploring how our sexuality connects with our spirituality.
  • Missional Presence: living as the presence of Christ in a broken world.

Here is a roadmap to live in the richly rooted place we all yearn for: a place of communion with God, a place where we find our purpose.

The Great Digital Commission:
Embracing Social Media for Church Growth and Transformation.
Caleb J. Lines.
Pbk 118pp. ISBN 9781725287846.
Cascade Books (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Attendance in US churches continues to sharply decline. As church leaders struggle to identify both root causes and possible responses, they often feel a sense of despair … but there is hope!

When social media is used intentionally, it is the greatest tool that the church has ever had to fulfil the Great Commission. Caleb Lines  offers a theological reflection on the importance of social media and suggests practical steps that can help congregations think about strategies for church growth and transformation.

This book is designed to be approachable for pastors, church leaders, and church social media managers, as well as congregation members who want a clearer sense of why social media is important to use within the church and how they can foster healthy social media accounts.

We have been called to spread the Good News from our doorsteps to the ends of earth using not only our words, but our posts, our tweets, our memes, our videos, our events, our pins, and our very lives. May it be so.

The Space Between Us:
Conversations about Transforming Conflict.
Betty Pries.
Pbk 216pp. ISBN 9781513808680.
Herald Press (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

Conflict is inevitable. But rather than approaching conflicts as threats or problems to be solved, what if we could see our disagreements as opportunities for personal growth? Could our differences push us toward developing healthier relationships and communities?

Facilitator and mediator Betty Pries gently guides readers toward seeing discord as an opportunity for positive change and a way to build resilience. Rooted in the conviction that conflict can strengthen our relationships and deepen our self-knowledge, Pries offers practical skills for engaging conflict and casts a vision for a more joy-filled future.

Rooted in Christian practices of mindfulness, connecting with our most authentic selves, and deep listening to uncover new possibilities, this book offers new ways forward in the face of interpersonal and organizational conflicts.

A Spacious Life:

Trading Hustle and Hurry for the Goodness of Limits.
Ashley Hales.
Pbk 168pp. ISBN 9780830847389.
IVP (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

The life we crave is found within the confines of God’s loving limits. Hales helps us recognize that when we live within these boundaries, we discover a life filled with purpose, joy, and rest.

This book offers us a glimpse of the steady beauty that a small life can provide. Interspersed with descriptions of everyday beauty that we so often overlook, she invites us to slow down and savour the fullness of Christ manifested in every moment.

She invites us to find respite from the noisy, squawking world that so often distracts us – to find rest (and purpose) in Jesus. Reading her writing is a wonderful first step to the restfulness of which she speaks. It is a balm for a weary soul.

Centering Prayer:
How Sitting Quietly in God’s Presence Can Change Your Life.
Brian D. Russell.
Pbk 176pp. ISBN 9781640606432.
Paraclete Press (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

When biblical scholar and coach Brian Russell discovered centering prayer at a difficult crossroad in his life, he had no idea how his life would change. “Sensing God’s love for me has been so transformational that it almost feels as though I’ve experienced conversion all over again,” he writes. He became calmer, less anxious, less reactive, freed of past wounds, and a better listener in the presence of others.

Centering prayer, also known as the prayer of silence, helps you quiet your mind from the constant thoughts and impulses, and frees your true self to experience more of God’s love in the very core of your being.

This inviting guide gives you practical tools to make centering prayer a consistent habit in your life, gives the history and theological foundation for the practice, and helps identify and overcome common obstacles.

Beginners, as well as seasoned practitioners, will gain inspiration, rich insight, and practical knowledge of a contemplative prayer practice that can open you up to deep experiences of inner healing and peace.

Whistlestop Tales:
Around the World in 10 Bible Stories.
Krish Kandiah; Miriam Kandiah.
Hbk 240pp. ISBN 9781529377538.
Hodder & Stoughton (2021).
[Allow 4 weeks].

  • A superspy from Syria on a surprising secret mission.
  • An ancient mystery unlocked by a senator from Sudan.
  • A brave refugee from Jordan who makes history.
  • An Italian soldier whose world is turned upside down.

Discover these and other brilliant Bible stories from around the world to inspire you on your own adventure with God!

Krish and Miriam Kandiah tackle a serious and timely issue – flagging that racial diversity is a big feature of God’s story in the Bible and that we often overlook this.

Their book combines Biblical and theological expertise with a generous helping of artistic license and fun, and, with help from our incredible illustrator Andy Gray, show how a wonderful array of characters are swept up in God’s plans for the whole world!

The Monastic Heart:
50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life.
Joan Chittister.
Hbk 288pp. ISBN 9780593239407.
Convergent (2021).
[Allow 3-4 weeks].

At a time when people around the world are bearing witness to human frailty – and, simultaneously, the endurance of the human spirit Chittister invites readers from all walks of life to welcome this end of certainty and embrace a new beginning of our faith. Without stepping foot in a monastery, we can become, like those before us, a deeper, freer self, a richer soul – and, as a result, a true monastic, so “that in all things God may be glorified.”

This book carries the weight and wisdom of the monastic spiritual tradition into the 21st century. Sister Joan leans into Saint Benedict, who, as a young man in the 6th century, sought moral integrity in the face of an empire not by conquering or overpowering the empire, but by simply living an ordinary life extraordinarily well. This same monastic mindset can help us grow in wisdom, equanimity, and strength of soul as we seek restoration and renewal both at home and in the world.

Each month we choose a selection of titles that we think you will find stimulating and satisfying to read. So come back to the Monthly Selections section of our website regularly.


Are you looking for a specific book?

Please also ask us to find any other books you are interested in. We will give you a price and time to deliver. Emailing us at books@pgpl.co.nz  works best.