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See below for the list of 2024 winners in the RELIGION category, for books with a copyright date of 2023.

Nature Unveiled: 40 Reflections on Experiencing God's Creation
2024 Gold Winner

Author: Jill Smith

Publisher: Dexterity Books

ISBN: 9781947297807

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Nature Unveiled by author and former forester Jill Smith is a 40-day devotional blending scripture with nature, encouraging reflection on God's Creation to deepen stewardship and faith. Offering daily insights into plants, animals, and natural phenomena, these devotions help readers foster a connection with the environment and grow spiritually. 

All My Clothes Were White: The Spirited Life, Pre-Heaven Visit, and Peaceful Death of My Mom, Jean Mruz
2024 Silver Winner

Author: Bart Mruz

Publisher: Spirited Choices

ISBN: 9798987772126

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Jean Mruz's passing brought peace, joy, and reassurance to her son Bart and his siblings, despite dreading the impending separation. Before her passing, a series of experiences convinced him that she was preparing for the transition to another realm, including a pre-death visit to heaven.

Narratives of Trauma and Moral Agency among Christian Post-9/11 Veterans
2024 Silver Winner

Author: Thomas Howard Suitt, III

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

ISBN: 9783031310812

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Relying on qualitative interviews with post-9/11 veterans, Suitt examines the impact of military service on their Christian identity, revealing shifts due to moral injury, trauma, and exposure to military religious culture, ethics education, and just war theory. It highlights the role of faith in navigating war-related identity transformations.

See below for the list of 2023 winners in the RELIGION category, for books with a copyright date of 2022.

Trauma in the Pews: The Impact on Faith and Spiritual Practices
2023 Gold Winner

Author: Janyne McConnaughey

Publisher: Berry Powell Press

ISBN: 9781957321066

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Trauma in the Pews is a practical and compassionate roadmap for spiritual leaders to effectively minister to those struggling with the effects of trauma. In spite of the challenges of our increasingly complex world, together we can create safer spaces for authentic healing and a deeper connection with God.

It's Considerate to Be Literate About Religion
2023 Silver Winner

Author/Illustrator: by Dr. Steven Clark Cunningham, illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing

ISBN: 9781645384366

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It’s Considerate to Be Literate about Religion is a book of poems and prose for all ages. These lyrical poems and engaging illustrations give each topic traction to get youth (and adults) reading right into the poems and on through the expansive “Learn More!” Sections that follow each poem.

A Sky of Infinite Blue: A Japanese Immigrant's Search for Home and Self
2023 Silver Winner

Author: Kyomi O'Connor

Publisher: She Writes Press

ISBN: 9781647422271

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Kyomi O'Connor's A Sky of Infinite Blue is a multi-award-winning memoir, and "An engaging and poignant immigrant account with sharp, sincere, and tenderly insightful writing" according to Kirkus Reviews. Kyomi examined her life with deep reflections, introspection, love, and compassion for the people in her life and the world.

See below for the list of 2022 winners in the RELIGION category, for books with a copyright date of 2021.

The Bible: Enter Here: Bringing God's Word to Life for Today's Teens
2022 Gold Winner

Author: Spencer C Demetros

Publisher: Theodosia Press

ISBN: 9781737120001

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The Bible has answers to life’s biggest questions. But the message can get lost in confusing terminology, dry language, and lengthy history lessons. The Bible: Enter Here opens the door to God’s Word by breathing new life into key stories, retelling them in a fresh, fun, and relatable way.

From Plain to Plane: My Mennonite Childhood, A National Scandal, and an Unconventional Soar to Freedom
2022 Silver Winner

Author: Patty Bear

Publisher: Barnstormers Press

ISBN: 9780997573503

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After her father is excommunicated from their insular Mennonite community, a young girl is thrust into a scandal that headlines prominent national newspapers for years, forcing her to come of age outside the traditions of female subjugation and experience a mystical awakening and possibilities for freedom she never imagined. 

The Garden of Flowers and Weeds: A New Translation and Commentary on The Blue Cliff Record
2022 Silver Winner

Author: Matthew Juksan Sullivan

Publisher: Monkfish Book Publishing Company

ISBN: 9781948626491

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This new translation and first contemporary commentary on the Blue Cliff Record offers readers the first truly accessible version of this key Zen Buddhist text. The Garden of Flowers and Weeds draws on contemporary scholarship and the author’s extensive experience with Zen. For centuries, the Blue Cliff Record has stood as one of the preeminent scriptures of the Zen Buddhism. 

See below for the list of 2021 winners in the RELIGION category, for books with a copyright date of 2020. Click here to watch the Gold and Silver winner speeches.

Freedom in the Fight: Daily Reflections for Recovery
2021 Gold Winner

Author: Scott Abrams, M.D.

Publisher: Tristan Publishing, Inc.

ISBN: 9781939881199

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Freedom in the Fight is a 365-day devotional meant to challenge and encourage us on our daily walk. Drawing from personal experience with drug addiction, Scott writes on faith and recovery, relating those topics to the common struggles we all share that rob us of joy, peace and authentic life.

The Blessed Life: That No One Really Wants
2021 Silver Winner

Author: Troy Dobbs

Publisher: Tristan Publishing, Inc.

ISBN: 9781939881205

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Troy Dobbs confronts the wildly popular prosperity gospel—that God promises health and wealth—which has gained a foothold in the world today.  He unpacks the profound message from Jesus that will make you think and rethink, and maybe even change your mind, about what a blessed life really means.

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Tales of the Holy Mysticat: Jewish Wisdom Stories by a Feline Mystic
2021 Silver Winner

Author: Rachel Adler

Publisher: Banot Press

ISBN: 9780976305019

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This engaging book, interspersed with cleverly drawn black-and-white illustrations, is a guide to Jewish literacy, using the behaviors of esteemed feminist theologian Rabbi Rachel Adler’s most peculiar cat to lead readers on a journey through thousands of years of Jewish thought, history, and practices.


See below for the list of 2020 winners in the RELIGION category, for books with a copyright date of 2019.

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Wisdom to Heal the Earth: Meditations on the Teachings of the Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
2020 Gold Winner

Author: Tzvi Freeman

Publisher: / Ezra Press

ISBN: 9780826690036

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Wisdom to Heal the Earth is a revolutionary new look at Tikun Olam from the perspective of “the most influential rabbi in modern history,” — the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson.

The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Martin Mosebach

Publisher: Plough Publishing House

ISBN: 9780874868395

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Behind a gruesome ISIS video lies the story of the men in orange and the faith community that formed these unlikely modern-day saints and heroes.

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Jewish Living Simply Explained: Based on the Teaching of the Rebbes of Chabad
2020 Silver Winner

Authors: Rabbi Zalman Goldstein and Rabbi Michoel A. Seligson

Publisher: The Jewish Learning Group

ISBN: 9781891283290

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Written in a simple, easy-to-understand language, this book summarizes core teachings that explain and inspire Jewish faith and observance. It will engage, educate, and inspire readers from all backgrounds.

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Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective & Higher Purpose
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Sarah Bowen

Publisher: Monkfish Book Publishing Company

ISBN: 9781948626040

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Mining the world’s philosophical, scientific, and wisdom traditions, Spiritual Rebel offers 21 days of unconventional practices to help readers deepen their unique life purpose.

About the
Independent Book Publishers Association

Founded to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,200 members, IBPA is the largest independent publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industry.


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