Click above to listen to an interview about Joseph’s Heart with Jeanne Wells of Iowa Catholic Radio in Des Moines, Iowa. Taped December 14, 2014.
Joy of adoption highlighted in new book, ‘Joseph’s Heart’
By Rick Smith San Angelo Times
Posted December 15, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.
In her new book, “Joseph’s Heart: A Story of Adoption,” writer and illustrator Mary Clare Evans retells the timeless story of the famous adoption. “This is the story of Joseph,” the book begins. “He lived a long time ago in Nazareth, a village in the small country of Israel. Life was not easy.”
The daughter of retired San Angelo Episcopal priest Father Bob Hedges, Mary Clare will be in San Angelo on Sunday for services at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. She also will be selling and autographing her new book there at noon and 4 p.m.
Proceeds from the sales go to San Angelo’s Healthy Families organization.
“They encourage and help young men who are new fathers,” Mary Clare said.
Promoters of adoption awareness and education, she and her husband have two sons, one adopted and one theirs by birth.
“We feel blessed by the birth and the adoption,” she said. “We encourage people who have been touched by adoption to inspire those who are considering it. It’s beautiful.”
The idea for her book was born one Christmas when she was putting up a Nativity and thinking of the “amazing miracle that God would create a family for his son of birth through adoption.
“I wanted to share that with the kids. I thought it would make a wonderful children’s book, but I couldn’t find anything close to what I was looking for, so I ended up writing it myself.”
The book is “a gentle story about a baby coming into the world,” she told me by phone from Columbus, Ohio, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their sons.
“Joseph stepped up and did what God asked him to do. He was a quiet superhero.”
The book is filled with her beautiful illustrations that will appeal to people of all ages.
The story, powerful yet simple, can be understood and enjoyed by children as well as adults.
It tells of the young Joseph’s early life and his plan to create a family with God’s blessing.
“Joseph prayed he could help fulfill God’s promise of children as numerous as the stars in the heaven,” the author wrote.
“But God had a different plan, one Joseph could not foresee. A plan that would change the world. God could only carry out his plan if two people said yes. One of them was Joseph.”
Mary Clare’s book closely shadows the Christmas story we learned as children.
It asks us to consider the decisions Joseph faced when he learned his wife-to-be was expecting a child and he wasn’t the father.
“There was no good solution,” Mary Clare said. “He was faced with a dilemma.”
If he married a woman who had broken Jewish law, she would be stoned to death.
If he sent her away to somewhere else, she would have to beg to survive, a slower way to die.
“There was no good choice,” she said. “Then God sent an angel, and the rest is history.”
Though the Biblical stories sound simple, “they are so much richer than at first glance,” Mary Clare said.
The book quotes passages from the Bible but “only a few stories about (Joseph) even exist, and no words he spoke were ever written down,” she said.
“We only know what he did.”
Beautiful story with stunning artwork make this THE book to get this Christmas season
By Carol Townsend on December 19, 2013
This is the story of the nativity from the perspective of Joseph, Mary’s betrothed. We usually hear about Mary, Jesus, the Wise Men…even the shepherds get more “airtime” than Joseph does. Mary Clare Evans takes that story and names Joseph for who he really is: the adoptive father of Jesus.
I had seen a few teaser pictures of this book on Facebook and knew that I had to get it. The artwork is truly stellar and is what drew me to this story in the first place. I ordered it the day it was published. I was expecting a good book. I was blown away. Each gorgeous page held my eyes, the well-written prose drew me into the story and the struggle – and joy – of adoption was illustrated in such a wonderful way.
This is *the perfect gift* for anyone who has been touched by adoption. I have recommended it to just about everyone I’ve seen since the book arrived and every single person who has looked at the book has said “Oh, I’ve got to get this for….(insert name here).” Usually it’s for a family member or friend who has adopted a child or who is themselves adopted.
Every church, every Sunday School, every person in youth ministry should have a copy of this book. It brings home a part of the Christmas story that has always been there…if we were just willing to look for it.