“Queen Abigail the Wise” and “Vanessa the Wonder-worker” fill a gap in Orthodox fiction for children
Bookended by heavily illustrated readers for toddlers and serious tomes about dating for teens, the world of Orthodox children’s fiction hasn’t had much to offer tweens – young readers between 9-12. But a new series of chapter books from author/illustrator Grace Brooks, a parishioner at St. Paul Church in Las Vegas, promises to change that, engaging tween readers at an age when crucial long-term ties to the faith are formed.
The intersection between Church life and "real life" is fertile ground for adventure to the tween characters of the Every Tuesday Club. Thrown together at church once a week, the girls start as acquaintances, become friends and find themselves learning about their faith and themselves in ways that are engaging, thought-provoking and easy for young readers to relate to.
In addition to the two Every Tuesday Club books published, Brooks said at least two more are planned. The first two books in the series are “Queen Abigail the Wise” and “Vanessa the Wonder-worker”:
Queen Abigail the Wise: When 10-year-old Abigail is having trouble paying attention in church, her priest makes a deal with her: At stake is an icon she knows will help her focus, but to get it, she'll need help from four other friends. She starts the Every Tuesday Club so they can go to work on this and other problems, and over the weeks of Lent leading up to Pascha, her adventure ends up bringing them closer to their faith, their family and each other.
Vanessa the Wonder-worker: In this sequel to "Queen Abigail the Wise," 12-year-old Vanessa turns to the Every Tuesday Girls Club when her older brother is going through a crisis of faith. Vanessa must learn how to express matters of faith in ways that a skeptic can understand, and she gets help from a pious stranger who seems to just know things. If Vanessa wants to find the miracle she's looking for, she will have to learn more and confront her own desires to be successful in the world.
Both books have enjoyed strong reviews in the Orthodox community.
Molly Sabourin, author of “Close to Home: One Orthodox Mother's Quest for Patience, Peace and Perseverance,” said that “Queen Abigail the Wise” was “a delightful read for kids and a wonderful resource for parents looking for engaging Orthodox literature to include in their family’s home library… This book is a treasure!”
Elissa D. Bjeletic, host of the "Raising Saints" Orthodox podcast and author of “Blueprints for the Little Church,” had similar praise for “Vanessa”: “My ten-year old absolutely loved this book! She could not stop talking about how great it was. I recommend this whole-heartedly!”
The Very Rev. John Dresko, Rector of St. Paul Church (Grace's pastor) and proofreader of both books before publishing: "Grace has captured the essence of a pre- and young-teen's struggles, which mirror in a small way the struggles of all of us. Her writing is vibrant and captivating. I have the highest recommendation to pastors and parish bookstore managers — your parish young people will love these books."
The books are available on Amazon and wholesale pricing is available directly from the author for orders of three or more copies. For more information, visit http://queenabigail.com or call the author directly at (816) 985-0305.
Queen Abigail the Wise
On Amazon: http://bit.ly/QueenAbigail
Amazon price: $14.99
Bulk price (3 or more) from the author: $10 plus shipping
Vanessa the Wonder-worker
On Amazon: http://bit.ly/VanessaTheWonderWorker
410 pages, illustrated
Price on Amazon: $16.50
Bulk: $12 plus shipping
Additional discounts possible for orders of 10 or more.