‘Everyone Has a Story to Tell’
COVER STORY—All of us at our publishing house are joining Ellen DeGeneres and the Zac Brown Band in falling in love with Stan Tucker, because this Georgia-based educator has become such an evangelist for literacy as well as kindness in our communities.
Please, enjoy our Cover Story about Stan and his work, this week. We guarantee you’ll smile and feel better about this world—especially after watching the 7-minute video about Stan that appears at the bottom of this Cover Story. Stan’s example just might inspire you to share a book with a child you love, this week.
But, wait! There’s more! Our Marketing Director Susan Stitt rode along with Stan’s Read-n-Roll bus recently and brings us this delightful, first-hand story from the road. That column is in our Front Edge Publishing website.
Holidays & Festivals
MARKING PRESIDENTS’ DAY
DUNCAN NEWCOMER—Our newest author is crisscrossing his home state of Maine, talking with groups about the enduring power of Abraham Lincoln to pull Americans together again—reminding us of our “better angels.” This year, Duncan hopes to crisscross the U.S. as well. His book, 30 Days with Abraham Lincoln, “is like chicken soup for the soul, drawing on Abraham Lincoln’s character and courage for its wisdom. But ultimately, what emerges is a portrait of what made Lincoln extraordinary. In a word: reconciliation.” So writes the Editor of the Christian Science Monitor Mark Sappenfield.
Feeling angry about your political opponents this week? Don’t wait! Visit Amazon and get your own copy of this transformative book. Enjoy it over the course of a month, review the book on Amazon—and tell friends you’re starting to read this book to mark Lincoln’s birthday on February 12. Invite them to join you!
ARE YOU READY FOR LENT?
EAST and WEST MEET IN LATE FEBRUARY—As our Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton reports this week: “Lent is quickly approaching for the world’s 2 billion Christians, and on February 23, Eastern Orthodox churches take the first steps toward their traditional Lenten fast with Meatfare Sunday, after which no meat may be consumed until Pascha (Easter). One week later, Cheesefare Sunday will mark the end of dairy products until Pascha. For Orthodox Christians, Great Lent begins the day following Cheesefare Sunday, on Clean Monday—this year, March 2.” Please, read Stephanie’s entire column, which includes links to recipes appropriate for those special days.
And, Western Christians? Come back next week for a column about Ash Wednesday, February 26, which starts Lent for most American Christians.
Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com
FAITH & FILM
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:
- DOWNHILL—This remake of the highly regarded 2014 Swedish film Force Majeure stars Will Farrell and Julia Luis-Dreyfus in the tale of a family confronted with an avalanche in the Alps. Called a “black comedy” or a “comedy-drama,” the film revolves around family tensions and responses to the sudden onslaught. Ed says the remake is interesting but only worth 3.5 out of 5 stars.
- THE LAST FULL MEASURE—Todd Robinson’s The Last Full Measure includes combat scenes, but it is not your usual war movie. Instead it is about the aftermath of the Vietnam War, dealing with a 30 year long attempt by veterans to obtain the Congressional Medal of Honor they fervently believe their heroic comrade deserves. (4 out of 5 stars)
THE SONG OF NAMES—French Canadian filmmaker writer-director François Girard, who gave us the exquisite The Red Violin in 1998, gives us another film in which a violin is important. Instead of transpiring over several centuries, this film spans the years from Hitler’s invasion of Poland to the night of a concert in 1951 to the 80s when a mystery is at last solved and a broken relationship—and heart—is restored. (4 stars)
- LES MISERABLES—Don’t confuse this 2019 French film with the Victor Hugo classic, except in the film’s underlying theme. Ed gives this provocative story about France’s present-day oppressed minorities 5 out of 5 stars and says it’s well worth making an effort to see this movie.
- DOLOMITE IS MY NAME—Ed writes, “This is one of Eddy Murphy’s funniest movies, but due to its extremely vulgar language and nudity, not one that I can recommend for any faith group to discuss. Director Craig Brew and the scriptwriters seem to be trying to outdo Quentin Tarantino in the use of the F word, so be forewarned.” He gives the film 4 out of 5 stars.
- 1917—Ed writes, “The action in most WWI films is confined to the trenches, but Sam Mendes epic is a journey film—one of just 9 miles, but given the obstacles, the trek couldn’t be more difficult and harrowing if it were 900. It is a race against time, and the stakes are high.” He gives the film 5 out of 5 stars.
- JUST MERCY—”Within ten minutes into the film I knew it belonged near the top of my annual 10 Best Films list,” Ed writes. (5 stars)
- THE TWO POPES—”Brazilian director Fernando Merilles (City of God and The Constant Gardener) makes theological discourse exciting in this speculative film about the encounters between Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) and Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins).” (4.5 stars)