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1. What are the underlying beliefs in the Storybook Advent?
The Kingdom Principles guiding the Storybook Advent Calendar are predominantly from the New Testament.
The underlying theme is Matt 5:3-10 & Matt 25.
Additional themes come from: John 3:16. 1 Cor 13, Matt 25:35-40, Matt 22: 7-40, the entire book of Luke, Matt 2:1-14, Matt 5:28, Proverbs 23:21, Ephesians 4:19, Proverbs 15:1, 1 Peter 2: 1-2 Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 6:16-19, Galatians 5:22, Exodus 20:2-17, Matt 6:10-14, Duet 11:19, Matt 28:19 and John 19:30. See the full statement here
2. What age group is the book for?
The stories appeal to people age three and older. Adults especially seem to enjoy many as we've included all-time favorites from Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Khalil Gibran, Hans Christian Anderson and others in addition to several new stories. We've included historical notes about the authors, making this a wonderful literary learning tool.
The only story in the book recommend for age 8 and above is Matthew, Mohammed and Micah. This story discusses the similarities and differences of the three faiths of The Book and the holidays each celebrates during December and why. For children under eight, we've included L Frank Baum's (Author of The Wizard of Oz) First Journey with Reindeer.
3. Why is the color paperback so expensive?
Printing costs. If you purchase the book through Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble or any other online retailer, we only gross $1.49 on each color paperback. We had to price it at $28.95 because we're charged $27.46 for it by the retailers and printer. We're not getting rich on these and we really did want to make it less expensive but for the time being, our hands are tied.
Our solution to this since we really wanted to be able to offer the book for under $20, is to create a black and white paperback version for $19.95 and of course the full color digital version via PDF, iPad, epub or Nook for $9.95. In essence, depending upon which version you want, you can get the book for anywhere between $9.95 and $28.95, which we hope makes it affordable to all.
4. Where do your story ideas come from?
A variety of sources: folktales, bible stories, real-life observations, news stories, bible verses...anything that inspires us.
We're beginning work on a second edition due out in 2011. If you have a favorite passage from the New Testament, tell us about it and why. We just might build a story around it and credit you in the next edition!
5. Why haven't you gone through a regular publisher?
Frankly, we never approached any. We decided to self-publish because it was faster and we could create multiple products with this and share the profits with non-profits easily. This may change. We've been approached by several publishers around the world for multiple language versions of this book and we've received inquiries from traditional US based publishers as well.
Creating the Storybook Advent required a lot of work, nearly 12 months total spread out over two and a half years. A traditional publisher will enable us to delegate many of the aspects like editing and marketing that require a substantial amount of time and energy; it also would allow us to generate larger press runs thus creating a lower price for you so we are seriously considering offers. Concurrently, a traditional publisher makes it much easier to generate book tours and media appearances. Of course this also means the first editions you're purchasing may be worth something extra one day. Both DH Lawrence and Mark Twain were self-published first before a traditional publisher brought them on.
6. Is Lewis Brech Christian?
Yes, we both are. Lewis Brech is our pen name for the team of Laura Lewis and Michael Brech. We've both had a variety of Christian influences. Lewis is baptized and confirmed Lutheran, but went to a Roman Catholic High School in South America for awhile and today attends several churches: Lutheran, Reform and Evangelical, online and brick and mortar. Several of her cousins and an aunt are Mormon. Brech was baptized and raised Anglican outside of London and continues to perform concerts in Latin as well as other languages. Both have friends ranging from atheist to hard-core conservatives in you-name-the-faith.
7. Are the book and CD available in other languages?
The CD is all instrumental so language isn't an issue. The book right now is only available in English. However, since Lewis and Brech both speak several languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Arabic) we hope to have the book available next year in at least two to three other languages. We can proof read in these languages. We just can't write too well!
How many languages we're able to offer the book in depends on how well it sells this year. We have to pay to have it translated. Most of the funds we make will go into creating next year's books and CD's. The better we do this year, the more languages we'll be able to offer.
8. Why did you include the Story Matthew, Mohammed & Micah?
Since age ten I'd been asking pastors why if we share portions of the Old Testament with Jews and Muslims, we don't celebrate the same holidays? No matter how many times I asked this question, or how many different ways, I never got an answer. I found that frustrating! I really wanted to know.
I decided to research it. Matthew, Mohammed & Micah answers that question and many others and I think you'll be amazed and pleasantly surprised.
The response to Matthew, Mohammed and Micah has been better than we could have hoped for. The fact is, evangelizing, that is sharing the good news of Jesus is central to Christianity. But you'll notice in the bible, when Jesus spoke to those outside of the Hebrew faith, He spoke in language and used examples they could understand. He didn't apply Hebrew laws and traditions to their situation. He took their beliefs and traditions, then showed how these applied to God's plan. It's called being sensitive to another culture and it makes all the difference in the world when speaking to others about our faith.
By being sensitive to other's beliefs, Jesus invited those outside of the faith to learn about Jesus and relate His message to themselves. The problem many Christians have when speaking about our faith to those outside it, is most Christians really don't understand what Judaism or Islam are about. Some, emphatically don't want to know. The problem is, you can't talk to people outside the faith and make sense unless you understand what they believe and why. Matthew, Mohammed and Micah will give you that edge while strengthening your commitment to Christ.
9. Are there people who will be offended by this book?
It is impossible to please everyone. I think every pastor knows that. Surprisingly the most controversial article, the one that gets us the most hate mail on my relationship site is Ten Reasons not to Date a Married Man or Woman. That shocked me. There are actually people out there who think violating the covenant of marriage is good thing. Go figure.
The only negative comments (about 5%) Storybook Advent has received come from Christians who self-identify as the Christian Right or they have political agendas that require either/and or Jewish and Muslim people be seen as enemies or not like everyone else. We don't support that ideology or the political agenda it embraces and we respectfully disagree with their position.
We see all people who do not follow Christianity as human, simply humans with a different faith, no better or worse and still children of God. We believe it is the duty of all Christians to reach out and attempt to understand others, even if we disagree with their beliefs. There are those in the Christian community who disagree with this principle strongly and they have communicated to us they are offended by our position and the story Matthew, Mohammed and Micah a story that talks about the similarities and differences between the faiths. This book isn't about dividing people or promoting ideas that split the body of Christ. It's about the messages of the New Testament and building bridges between people through understanding. Jesus always sought common ground and understanding and He always spoke to those outside the faith from their position and beliefs. To successfully evangelize, Christians need to understand what other's believe, why they believe it, how they're different and where we share common ground. This is the spirit in which this controversial story was written and created.
Some in this same self-identified group have also chastised us for including stories with Santa Claus in a Christmas book as well, also from the same self-identifying group. It's a children's book. It is the message not the icon that counts. Santa stays.
10. Can we review the book and CD before we commit?
Yes! Amazon.com has done a wonderful job of creating an mix of each Album online. Simply click 'Preview all Songs' and over the next five minutes you can preview the music on each album.
One Can be Previewed Here
Storybook Advent Carols Collection Volume Two
11. What if we don't like it? Can we return the book or CD?
We offer a 60-day money back guarantee. If anyone who purchases it is not completely satisfied with the book or CD, they've got 60-days to return it. Details on how to do this are included on your receipt.