In recent years, Wendee Wilcox Rosborough was searching for a book that celebrated the Easter holiday throughout Holy Week, which is the week that starts with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. She wanted something simple with colorful photos, scripture verses and interesting activities that also taught children a spiritual message about the final days of Jesus Christ's mortal life.
When she couldn't find a book that fit her vision, the married mother of two decided to take on the project herself.
Now with the Easter holiday approaching, Rosborough's "The Holy Week for Latter-day Saint Families: A Guide for Celebrating Easter" is currently in the top half on Deseret Book's top 10 best-sellers list.
"The highlight is seeing it come together and having it match my vision," Rosborough said. "I hope it helps bring deeper meaning to why we should be grateful for the Atonement and offers a more hopeful way of celebrating Easter."
The 72-page "The Holy Week for Latter-day Saint Families" (Deseret Book, $14.99) came about through a long and thoughtful process.
Rosborough, the daughter of Brigham Young University professor, author and popular speaker Brad Wilcox, grew up in a devout Mormon home. Her family celebrated Easter with candy from the Easter Bunny and listened to talks about Jesus Christ's resurrection on Sunday. Rosborough's first true introduction to Holy Week didn't come until she attended BYU, she said.
Then Rosborough married an Italian man whose family took a more religious approach to holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Her sister-in-law Monika Rosborough-Bowman served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Europe, where she gained a greater appreciation for Jewish and Catholic holiday traditions. She impressed Rosborough by making "empty tomb rolls," dinner rolls baked with a marshmallow inside that dissolves in the oven. The roll emerges resembling an empty tomb.
Rosborough-Bowman's open-minded example intrigued Rosborough.
"I wasn't used to that, but I thought it was cool," Rosborough said. "She was the first to expose me to the idea that we should do more for Easter."
Since becoming a mother of two boys in recent years, Rosborough has pondered how she might make the Easter holiday more meaningful for her young family. She looked for a book that provided religious artwork and summarized information about the Holy Week in kid-friendly terms, with scripture references or stories, songs and other fun activities that didn't require extensive preparation.
Rosborough found a few books with some of the elements she wanted but not the complete package. In the process of looking around, Rosborough developed her idea of the right book, she said.
"How could this (activity) fit into the day's theme so there is a reason for it, not just be a craft or art project?" Rosborough said. "I wanted activities that involved kids and could be turned into a lesson."
She approached Deseret Book with her idea, and it was approved. Last summer, Rosborough recruited family and friends to help her brainstorm ideas and experiment with different activities. They tried recipes, took photos and compiled relevant Holy Week information. She added QR codes to LDS Church Bible Videos and songs from the LDS Children's Songbook.
What Rosborough came away with is a concise guide to orchestrating memorable family devotionals for each day of the week, including Palm Sunday (the triumphal entry); Cleansing Monday (sanctifying the temple); Parable Tuesday (teaching the disciples); Betrayal Wednesday (offering and receiving forgiveness); Last Supper Thursday (the first sacrament); Good Friday (Jesus' sacrifice); Salvation Saturday (Jesus Christ in the spirit world); Easter Sunday (life after death); and Conference Sunday (when Easter coincides with general conference).
The biggest challenge was narrowing down the list to fit the book's size, Rosborough said.
The book opens with a foreword by Wilcox, and each chapter focuses on a day of Holy Week with religious artwork, scriptures related to the day's events, an inspirational message, recipes that reinforce the day's theme and a variety of activities for all ages that communicate a spiritual lesson.
"I can use this for years and have different spiritual experiences with my kids. It will last for a long time," Rosborough said. "I'm really happy with how it has turned out, and I've received good feedback. It's neat to see people get excited about it for themselves, but then they want to share it, and that's what makes me feel like I accomplished something worthwhile."
Spencer and Julia Darley became part of the "The Holy Week" when Rosborough took pictures of their four children engaged in one of the recommended activities. Julia Darley thinks Rosborough's book is a home run.
"It's super easy to create meaningful devotionals for your family," Darley said. "I like that there are several ideas for each day so you can use it year after year and have a new experience each time. It's also designed so you can make each lesson simple or extravagant, whatever you have time for. If you spend an entire week focusing on the last week of the Savior’s life, it will be in the forefront of your children’s minds instead of looking forward to the Easter Bunny on Sunday morning."
"The Holy Week" is Rosborough's second book. She previously collaborated with her father on a children's book titled "Practicing for Heaven: The Parable of the Piano Lesson." Rosborough graduated from BYU with a degree in home and family living.
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