About the Awards

The Illumination Awards are intended to celebrate and recognize the exemplary books produced by the ever-growing Christian branch of publishing and bookselling. A vast array of new titles is released from this thriving sector each year, bringing inspiration and answers to millions of readers exploring their faith.

“Our world is filled with anger and selfishness, and people are looking for something to have faith in, something beyond themselves,” says Awards Director Jim Barnes. “The Bible was the first ‘self-help’ book, filled with stories meant to show us how to live together in peace. These awards are dedicated to that spirit, and to books that help answer the simple question: ‘What Would Jesus Do?’”



A portion of the Illumination Awards entry fees will be donated to a worthy charitable organization to be chosen each year. This year, Jenkins Group has chosen Habitat for Humanity, “a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.”

Yes, books can change the world – especially books about faith, love and spiritual joy. The list of Illumination Award-winning books will both inspire readers and further the sales and marketing efforts of authors and publishers for years to come. 



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2016 Illumination Awards Results

Shining a Light on Exemplary Christian Books

Jenkins Group is proud to announce the winners of the Third Annual Illumination Book Awards. The awards are designed to honor and bring increased recognition to the year’s best new titles written and published with a Christian worldview.

This year's 78 Illumination Award medals went to books from 27 U.S. states, Canada, and New Zealand. The diversity of Christian publishing was also demonstrated by the fact that winners came not only from long-established publishers, but also from small presses and self-published authors.

Below are the Illumination Book Awards results, listed by category, followed by the Enduring Light medals, which reward exemplary Christian-themed books published since the year 2000. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded in each category. 

Congratulations to all the winners!


1. Bible Study

GOLD: How to Read the Bible, by Harvey Cox (HarperOne)

SILVER: Sick, and You Cared for Me: Homilies & Reflections for Cycle B, Edited by Deacon Jim Knipper; featuring Rob Bell, James Martin SJ, Jan Richardson, Richard Rohr OFM et al. (Clear Faith Publishing)

BRONZE: Simply Good News: Why the Gospel Is News and What Makes It Good, by N.T. Wright (HarperOne)

2. Christian Living

GOLD: The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art, by Erwin Raphael McManus (HarperOne)

SILVER: Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God, by Lauren F. Winner (HarperOne)

BRONZE: What’s Your Function? Working It Out with God, by Aaron M. Basko (Judson Press)

2b. Christian Living – Family / Parenting

GOLD: Christian Active Parenting: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Children of Joy, Character and a Living Faith, by Michael H. Popkin PhD, Melody F. Popkin, & Sue Allen, MA (Active Parenting Publishers)

SILVER: Persevering Parent: Finding Strength to Raise Your Child with Social, Emotional or Behavioral Challenges, by Dr. Karen Crum (Persevering Parent Ministries)

BRONZE: Wait On God, by Briana G. Whitaker (Heritage Press)

3. Devotional

GOLD: When Chocolate Isn’t Enough: An Inspirational Survival Guide for Moms, by Michelle Medlock Adams (Worthy Inspired)

SILVER: Sisters of Scripture: Mentors in Womanhood, by Billie Montgomery/Cook (Judson Press)

BRONZE: A Walk to Wisdom: 31 Days Through the Proverbs, by Trog Trogdon (Brown Christian Press)

4. Theology

GOLD (tie): Abounding in Kindness: Writings for the People of God, by Elizabeth A. Johnson (Orbis Books)

Did God Kill Jesus? Searching for Love in History’s Most Famous Execution, by Tony Jones (HarperOne)

SILVER: The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus, by Dallas Willard (HarperOne)

BRONZE: Authenticity as Self-Transcendence: The Enduring Insights of Bernard Lonergan, by Michael H. McCarthy (University of Notre Dame Press)

5. Ministry / Mission

GOLD: Everyone Belongs to God: Discovering the Hidden Christ, by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt; Edited by Charles E. Moore (Plough Publishing House)

SILVER: Spiritual Practices for Effective Leadership: 7 Rs of Sanctuary for Pastors, by Debora Jackson (Judson Press)

BRONZE: The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth, by Dallas Willard and Gary Black Jr. (HarperOne)

6. Catholic

GOLD: Jesus: A Pilgrimage, by James Martin, SJ (HarperOne)

SILVER: The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer, by Father Jonathan Morris (HarperOne)

BRONZE (tie): Dear Young People… Inspiration from Pope Francis for Everyone, by Michael O’Neill McGrath (World Library Publications)

Green Street Park, by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; illustrated by Jill Arena (Loyola Press)

7. Education

GOLD: Evangelicals Around the World: A Global Handbook for the 21st Century, Edited by Brian C. Stiller, Todd M. Johnson, Karen Stiller, and Mark Hutchinson (Thomas Nelson)

SILVER: Purified and Enlightened: RCIA Sessions for Lent, by Mary Birmingham (World Library Publications)

BRONZE: You Have Put On Christ: Cultivating a Baptismal Spirituality, by Jerry Galipeau (World Library Publications)

8. Spirituality

GOLD: Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne)

SILVER: Grounded: Finding God in the World–A Spiritual Revolution, by Diana Butler Bass (HarperOne)

BRONZE: The Way of the Wind: The Path and Practice of Evolutionary Christian Mysticism, by Bruce Sanguin (Viriditas Press)

9. Self-Help / Recovery

GOLD: The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World, by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu (HarperOne)

SILVER: As Long As There Is Breath in Your Body, There Is Hope, by Rosalind Y. Tompkins (Creation House)

BRONZE: Girls Watch Too! Female Fascination with Porn: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do About It, by Dana Brown Smith (Exalted Publishing)

10. Biography/Memoir

GOLD: Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith, by Tom Roberts (Orbis Books)

SILVER: A Warrior’s Faith, by Robert Vera (Nelson Books)

BRONZE: In Duet With God: The Story of a Lifelong Friendship, by Jessica Roemischer (CreateSpace)

11. Holiday

GOLD: Goodness and Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, by Michael Leach, James Keane, Doris Goodnough, editors (Orbis Books)

SILVER (tie): The Story of Christmas, by Martina Smith, Peter Grosshauser & Ed Temple (Sparkhouse Family)

The Star, by Michele Breza (Diamanda Publishing)

BRONZE: If He Had Not Come, by David Nicholson: illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz (West Bow Press)

12. Children’s Picture Book

GOLD (tie): Emily Lost Someone She Loved, by Kathleen Fucci; illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez (Kathleen Fucci Ministries)

God Whispered Your Name, by Philip Haussler; art by Brad Sneed (MarbleSpark)

SILVER: Fast Freddy, by Lee Ann Mancini; illustrated by Dan Sharp (GLM Publishing)

BRONZE: The Virgin Mary Around the World: A Pilgrimage of Faith, by Chantal Baros (Shining Light Dolls)

13. Juvenile / Young Adult Fiction

GOLD: A Time to Speak: Out of Time Book 2, by Nadine Brandes (Enclave Publishing)

SILVER (tie): Addison's Mark, by Matt Kuvakos (G.I.G.)

The Perfect Blindside, by Leslea Wahl (Pauline Books and Media)

BRONZE: Hope and Grace in Piney Woods, by Lisa Major Elders (Hearts of Grace Publishing)

14. General Fiction

GOLD: Death Comes for the Deconstructionist, by Daniel Taylor (Slant)

SILVER: Mercy’s Rain, by Cindy K. Sproles (Kregel Publications)

BRONZE: The Abbey: A Story of Discovery, by James Martin (HarperOne)

15. Inspirational/Romance Fiction

GOLD: Always October, by C.E. Edmonson (Aventine Press)

SILVER (tie): Cassia, by Susan F. Craft (Heritage Beacon Fiction)

Lake Surrender, by Carol Grace Stratton (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

BRONZE: Hooked, by Allen Wolf (Morning Star Publishing)

16. Keepsake/Gift/Specialty Bible

GOLD: The Spark Story Bible, by Debra Thorpe Hetherington (Sparkhouse Family)

SILVER: Good Saint John XXIII, by Bro. Mickey McGrath (Clear Faith Publishing)

BRONZE: Birth of an Angel, by Judy Rae Smith (Smith Marcley)

17. Ebook Non-Fiction

GOLD: Beyond Betrayal: How God is Healing Women (and Couples) from Infidelity, by Lisa Taylor (Oil of Joy Press)

SILVER: An Encouragement Journey: Overcoming Adversity, Misfortune, And Barriers To The Good Life, by Bill Carlson

BRONZE: Wavemakers: How Small Acts of Courage Can Change the World, by Chris Brady (Obstaclés Press)

18. Ebook Fiction

GOLD: Unintended Target, by D.L. Wood (CreateSpace)

SILVER: The Journal of the Watcher, by Timothy R. Jennings (Lennox)

BRONZE: Picture Me, by Amy Schisler (Amy MacWilliams Schisler)

Enduring Light Medals

The Enduring Light medals reward exemplary Christian-themed books published since the year 2000. These medals are presented to books with enduring messages in five categories: Christian Thought; Devotional; Inspirational; Christian Fiction; and Christian Children’s Book.


L1. Christian Thought

GOLD: A More Christlike God, by Bradley Jersak (CWR Press)

SILVER: The Divine Progression of Grace: Blazing a Trail to Fruitful Living, by Bob Santos (Search For Me Ministries, Inc)

BRONZE: Crossing Swords: Mary Baker Eddy vs. Victoria Claflin Woodhull and the Battle for the Soul of Marriage, by Cindy Peyser Safronoff (This One Thing)

L2. Devotional

GOLD: Come Empty: Pour Out Life’s Hurts and Receive God’s Healing Love, by Saundra Dalton-Smith (SonRise Devotionals)

SILVER: Living the Word in Lent, by Laurie Brink and Deacon Frederick Bauerschmidt (World Library Publications)

BRONZE: An Imprisoned Heart, by Petra Alexander and Gerardo Gomez (World Library Publications)

L3. Inspirational

GOLD: Life After Lightning: A Journey of Spiritual and Self Discovery, by Beth Peterson (diamondstudded treetoes)

SILVER: Don't Lick the Flagpole: A Spiritual Quest for Meaning, Identity & Purpose, by David Banman (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing)

BRONZE: Faith of a Father: A Father's Open Letter to His Daughter, by Frank Barbehenn (Clovercroft Publishing)

L4. Christian Fiction

GOLD: Resistance: Ilyon Chronicles Volume 1, by Jaye L. Knight (Living Sword Publishing)

SILVER: The Chamomile, by Susan F. Craft (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

BRONZE: Chasing the Butterfly, by Jayme Mansfield (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

L5. Christian Children’s Book

GOLD: The Great Carp Escape, by Irish Beth Maddock; illustrated by Lucent Ouano (Word Alive Press)

SILVER: Mommy, Am I Strong? by Michelle S. Lazurek; illustrated by Scott Spinks (Pauline Books & Media)

BRONZE: Brighty’s Special Gift, by Dee Wallain; illustrated by Wendy J La (Meryton Press)