1. Lonely Castle in the Mirror, Mizuki Tsujimura
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a sweet novel that delves into simple, complex natures of seven students who–for reasons disclosed throughout the book–no longer attend school. Beginning and written from the perspective of Kokoro, Lonely Castle in the Mirror explores the emotional weight of bullying on children, no matter the age or severity.
In Lonely Castle in the Mirror, all seven students discover a glowing castle in their mirror. The gorgeous, storybook-like castle offers them an unusual escape. A petite character, wearing a wolf mask, gives the characters a treasure hunt task; a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, will grant whoever finds it one wish.
But realities permeate both the world in the mirror and the world outside. Lonely Castle in the Mirror received much acclaim after its publication in 2019 (Eng. pub, 2022), becoming the No. 1 Japanese Bestseller and Guardian 2021 Highlight. Translated by Phillip Gabriel, this novel marvels at human connection; its themes of sadness and vulnerability make it a heart-warming read for all ages.
2. Story Bearer: how to share your faith with your friends, Phil Knox
This Christmas, Phil Knox mailed the graduate team at the Evangelical Alliance a copy of his brilliant book, which discusses and encourages Christians in their walk with God – to behold his creation with compassion and authenticity, as witnesses (story bearers) of his goodness and grace.
In Story Bearers, Knox connects four distinct stories: God's story, our story, the story of our friends and the story of our culture, with dives into technology's role in shaping how we share the Gospel.
One of my favourite quotes from the book was this:
Great tales of lives changed begin not with 'Once upon a time...' but with 'So we started to pray...'
Story Bearers was a wonderful read – I am blessed by the sincerity of Knox's words and anecdotes.