by Daneen Akers – Watchfire Media

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“Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints” is an illustrated children’s book about people of diverse faiths working for more love and justice in their corners of the world, even when that means rocking the religious boat. With original portraits from more than two dozen artists and engaging profiles of people from different faiths and different eras, these are stories that inspire, educate, challenge, and encourage.

Some of the people featured in this book are well known, like the beloved St. Francis of Assisi (a favorite of Hufflepuffs everywhere for his love of animals), who gave up a wealthy inheritance to serve the poor, Rumi, the Sufi poet, and Thich Nhat Hanh the beloved teacher who developed the concept of engaged Buddhism. Some are well known, but the deep faith motivating their work is lesser known, such as Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, and Mr. Rogers. Others are less known such as Bayard Rustin, an American Quaker whose role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s is often downplayed because he was a gay man; Maryam Molkara, an Iranian Muslim transgender rights advocate; and Regina Jonas, the first female rabbi to be ordained whose story was almost lost to history.

In particular, “Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints” emphasizes the stories of women, LGBTQ people, people of color, Indigenous people, and others who are too often written out of religious narratives. These stories move us towards more love and a faith that works for the common good of us all.

“Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints” is a middle-grade nonfiction (ages 8 and up) book.

This book is written by Daneen Akers, a writer, producer, teacher, and mother who believes deeply in the power of stories. Her past projects have explored faith, identity, and belonging. She is the mother of two girls who are the true inspiration for this book.

“I love this project.” —Glennon Doyle

“This book introduces kids to a wide array of spiritual leaders who believe in the power of revolutionary love. I’m thrilled that my five grandchildren will have a resource like this.” —Brian D. McLaren

“I haven’t been this excited about a children’s book in a long time.” —Kaitlin B. Curtice