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Aaron J. Ratzlaff

Quills, a picture book from Herald Press, lays out rhyming verse about a porcupine who loses her quills and gains an understanding of friendship. Inspired by author/illustrator Aaron J. Ratzlaff’s wife’s condition, alopecia areata, which causes unexplained hair loss, porcupine’s story of anxiety, embarrassment, anger, sadness, searching, and acceptance can reassure children experiencing loss, or feeling “different,” of their unchanging identity and value.

—Angeline Schellenberg
Desert Spirituality and Cultural Resistance: From ancient monks to mountain refugees
Belden C. Lane

“The desert is where things fall apart and where things may come together for us in an unanticipated way.” Belden C. Lane, professor of theological studies at St. Louis (Mo.) University, gave lessons from the wilderness as he spoke on the spirituality of Desert Fathers and Mothers and of the early Anabaptists at Canadian Mennonite University’s J. J. Thiessen lectures. His talks are transcribed and published in this volume.

—Karla Braun

Can’t get enough of atonement? Direction Journal, a semiannual publication of North American Mennonite Brethren schools and conferences, published the 2010 “Mystery of the Cross” study conference plenary addresses, papers from some of the workshops, and several more articles on atonement in the Spring 2012 issue. Back issues of Direction content are online at

—Karla Braun

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