Last spring, I received the wonderful news that Zondervan would be my publisher for my next book, Small Talk (subtitle to be decided), which is scheduled to come out next August. It took a few months of back and forth to finally receive the signed contract, so I’ve written twenty chapters in the meantime. I am thrilled to announce it here at long last.
To give you a sense of what you’ll be reading should you decide to buy it, here’s a description of the book from my proposal:
Small Talk is a parenting memoir about the “big questions” children ask, the thoughts they provoke, and the laughter, investigation, and soul-searching that follow, for parent and child alike.
Almost every day, one of my children says something or asks something that prompts me to think more carefully: “Why Mommy crying?” (Marilee, when we learned a young boy had died of cancer); “Booful, Mommy” (“Beautiful, Mommy,” as Penny happened to proclaim just as I was criticizing my post-pregnancy body in my head while looking in the mirror); “What lasting mean?” (William, when he heard a song in church about God being an everlasting God). These conversations deepen my relationships with my children, but they also deepen and refine my own understanding of what I believe, why I believe it, and what I hope to pass along to the next generation.
Small Talk is a narrative based upon these conversations. It is not a parenting guide. It does not offer prescriptive lessons about how to talk with children. Rather, it tells stories based upon the questions and statements my children have made about the things that make life good (such as love, kindness, beauty, laughter, and friendship), the things that make life hard (such as death, failure, and tragedy), and what we believe (such as prayer, God, and miracles). Small Talk contains three parts—body, mind, spirit—as it moves in rough chronological order through the basic questions my kids asked when they were very young to the intellectual and then spiritual questions of later childhood. It invites other parents into these same conversations, with their children, with God, and with themselves. Moving from humorous exchanges to profound questions to heart-wrenching moments, Small Talk encourages parents to ask themselves, and to talk with their children about, what matters most.
If I seem a bit distracted in the weeks ahead, it’s just because I’m working on writing chapters instead of blog posts. The manuscript is due January 3rd, and I have seven chapters left to write and a lot of editing to finish. Writing it so far has been a great gift to me: with each chapter I ask myself, “What have my children taught me about __________?” and I am so grateful to realize that I have been learning and growing throughout these early-child-raising years! I hope the words and thoughts and stories that have spilled over will be a gift to you as well.