If you’re anything like me, you love a good book list — especially for summer. The sun is brighter and the heat invites us to bask in the delight of a season that reminds us to rest and make space for fun. I recently asked my co-workers at World Relief what books they’d recommend for our summer reading list and today, we’re sharing a few of those recommendations.
Whether you are looking for a book to read poolside, on your next flight or at home in the cool evening, we hope this list of varied experiences and notable voices helps engage your mind and your heart this summer!
“We read to know we aren’t alone.” C.S. Lewis.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Chimamanda’s fictional story about a Nigerian couple separated by war, forced to take separate paths in completely different countries while boldly commenting on today’s realities in race and class promises to leave you different than when you began it. It’s no wonder this book made it onto countless Best Book of the Year lists.
- Beyond Welcome: Centering Immigrants in Our Christian Response to Immigration by Karen Gonzalez – Former World Relief staff member, Karen Gonzalez reminds us how centering immigrant voices when discussing immigration is not only important but critical to following a gospel-centered approach to how we advocate for, vote on and learn about the marginalized. A must-read for anyone looking to take their advocacy and solidarity to a deeper level and a top resource we recommend in learning about refugees and other immigrants.
- Creating Cultures of Belonging: Cultivating Organizations Where Women and Men Thrive by Beth Birmingham and Eeva Sallinen Simard – Co-written byWorld Relief’s very own, Eeva Sallinen Simard, this book explores how faith-based organizations can create and sustain a safe work environment for a diverse workforce to flourish. With practical steps and solutions, Creating Cultures of Belonging will inspire you to bring change and best practices to your own organization.
- Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri – This young adult autobiographical novel has won countless awards for its immense heart and masterfully written storytelling. It tells the story of Daniel and his family’s journey as Iranian refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. after his mother embraces Christianity. Daniel shares what it’s like to cope with forming his identity while navigating a new culture in a new world.
- His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God by Kristie Anyabwile – This inspiring collection of stories written by women of color from different cultural backgrounds will leave you in awe of God’s intentional purpose for his daughters. As a Latina Christ-follower, these words ministered to my whole self and reminded me of how a good God perfectly created us to do his work in a multicultural and diverse world.
- Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul by Dorcas Cheng-Tozun – Often times when we think of advocacy or working in social justice, we think of loud marches or individual voices speaking out to the masses. While that is a small part of it, Dorcas highlights the vital role the quiet observers and thinkers play in the pursuit of justice while freeing us from the myth of an ideal activist.
- The Stranger At Our Shore: How Immigrants and Refugees Strengthen the Church by Josh Sheriff – Josh shares his personal story of leaving Islam as a child into a new life in Christ while speaking into a new vision of what missions can look like and discipling to people different from yourself. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Josh’s commitment to God’s people when he was a pastor at a local church in Chicago. I know that anyone who reads this book will glean so much wisdom from his experience and devoted heart.
- The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World by Sandra Van Opstal – Worship does not look any one specific way. If we are joining together in church with God’s creation in mind, then our worship is full of all tribes and all nations- honoring the many ways he has made us to glorify him. Sandra dives deep into what that looks like and her expertise will convict you into bringing this wisdom to your church, your life and your own worship.
- This Here Flesh by Cole Arthur Riley – This book of reflections and life lessons from Cole’s family history while written in prose, is pure poetry. Cole’s writing will remind you of the beauty of the written word and her insights will serve as a balm to your soul. If you only read one book this summer, let it be this one.
- Thou Shalt Not Be A Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics by Eugene Cho Gear up for the upcoming election season by learning how to engage in healthy and graceful (God-centered) political discussions. Eugene’s book boldly confronts the challenges we face today in talking about why politics matter, how to live out your convictions while loving the very people you disagree with and how those convictions should be Bible-centered vs. directed by political party agendas.
Enter the Summer Book Giveaway
This summer we are giving away 3 books from the list above. Fill out your information below for a chance to win!
(A winner will be announced on July 21.)
Jessica Galván is a Content Writer at World Relief. She is passionate about storytelling and amplifying diverse voices to reveal the beauty of God’s creation. She is also the Editorial Director for Chasing Justice and prior to World Relief, she was a freelance writer and editor for a variety of clients in publishing, most recently Penguin Random House. When she isn’t wordsmithing for the pursuit of faith and justice, she is spending time with her husband and their 3 children in the Houston, TX area.