Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Joan Wester Anderson  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: 1938 in Evanston, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and a former adjunct professor at Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and Catholic publications, and was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980s. She has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of publications, including ''Woman’s Day'', ''Modern Bride'', ''Virtue'', ''Reader’s Digest'', and the New York Times Syndicate. Wester Anderson is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.= Published Works==*''Dear World: Don't Spin So Fast, I'm Having Trouble Hanging on'', Abbey Pr., 1982*''The Language of the Heart'', Zondervan, 1985*''Teen is a Four-Letter Word: A Survival Kit for Parents'', Betterway Books, 1990*''Where Angels Walk'', Ballantine Books, 1993*''Where Miracles Happen: True Stories of Heavenly Encounters'', Ballantine Books, 1995*''An Angel to Watch Over Me'', Ballantine Books, 1996*''Where Wonders Prevail: True Accounts That Bear Witness to the Existence of Heaven'', Ballantine Books, 1996*''Angels We Have Heard on High'', Ballantine Books, 1997*''Forever Young: The Life, Loves, and Enduring Faith of a Hollywood Legend ; The Authorized Biography of Loretta Young'', Thomas Moore Publications, 2000*''In The Arms of Angels: True Stories of Heavenly Guardians'', Loyola Press, 2004*''The Power of Miracles: True Stories of God's Presence'', Loyola Press, 2005*''Guardian Angles'', Loyola Press, 2006*''Angels and Wonders: True Stories of Heaven on Earth, Loyola Press, 2008*''Where Miracles Happen: True Stories of Heavenly Encounters, Loyola University Press, 2009*''Moms Go Where Angels Fear to Tread: Adventures in Motherhood, GuidepostBooks, 2009*''If Moms Are Angels on Earth, Then Where's My Halo?: One Mom's Humorous Reflections, GuidpostBooks, 2011*''Angelic Tails: True Stories of Heavenly Canine Companions'', Loyola Press, 2011*''An Angel to Watch Over Me: True Stories of Children's Encounters with Angels'', Loyola Press, 2012*''Mom Knows Best: Classic Stories Every Mom Will Love'', Cedar Fort, Inc., 2012==Titles at Your Library==0870291882,0310469228,15

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Dear World: Don't Spin So Fast, I'm Having Trouble Hanging on
ISBN: 0870291882

Abbey Pr. 1982

Book by Anderson, Joan W.

The Language of the Heart (Serenade/Serenata No 24)
ISBN: 0310469228

Zondervan. 1985

There are many ways to say "I Love You." Sometimes the most eloquent is without any words at all...... Carrie Craig recognizes God's love everywhere - in the first crocuses of a Midwestern spring, in the tentative smile of a lonely child, even in the fallow field of a man's cold heart. And through her optimism and joyous faith, she speaks the language of the heart. Matt Braden's bitter past has left him cynical and distrustful, causing him to distance himself from anyone who threatens his self-imposed exile. Can he, too, learn the language of the heart before he destroys the best thing that has ever happened to him?

Teen Is a Four-Letter Word: A Survival Kit for Parents
ISBN: 1558701567

Betterway Books. 1990

Describes common problems teenagers and their parents face, and discusses step-parenting, negotiation and family contracts, and college

Where Angels Walk
ISBN: 0345383389

Ballantine Books. 1993

Just when you thought you were alone, along comes "Where Angels Walk," the heartwarming, spine-tingling, TRUE account of people just like you. People who, in a time of need, found themselves in the loving presence of Beings who led them out of the threatening darkness and into the light of hope. Defying explanation or description in our everyday terminology, the Beings they encountered can be called only…angels. For years, many of these people have cherished their extraordinary experiences in the secret depths of their hearts. And then author Joan Wester Anderson encouraged them to come forward with their spiritual treasures. Now YOU can share their wonder and their awe – and, by sharing it, transform and enhance your life.

Where Miracles Happen: True Stories of Heavenly Encounters
ISBN: 0345393058

Ballantine Books. 1995

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the miraculous."
--Albert Einstein
Where do miracles happen? Nearly a hundred wonderful true stories in this book abundantly testify that they happen everywhere, all the time. "Sometimes," writes the author, "we recognize one by a tiny quiver in the pit of our stomach, a prickle of tears, our hearts lifting up." And sometimes they simply bowl us over.
A destitute mother feeds her children for a week from a mysteriously refilling pot. A rainbow celebrates a child's release from suffering. An angel protects a teenager from terror in a hayloft. A medic at an isolated accident site suddenly finds the equipment needed to save a life. An imperfect heart is spontaneously made whole.
Many of the stories here came from people who had read Joan Wester Anderson's bestseller Where Angels Walk. They showed, she says, that "the greatest and most profound adventures with Him were taking place not at the feet of distant gurus but in our own kitchens, our cars, wherever hearts were open. Such happenings were far too precious to hide in my files." Instead she shares with us a book of wonders: amazing, uplifting, inspiring.
"In short, unadorned stories, Anderson retells fresh accounts of modern miracles...She emphasizes that miracles most often happen in partnership with a loving, attentive God and her prevailing message of hope is irresistible."
--Publishers Weekly

Angel to Watch Over Me
ISBN: 0345397738

Ballantine Books. 1996

"INSPIRATIONAL AND HEARTWARMING...Anyone who was ever once a child will enjoy it--and so will those who are still children, or children at heart."
Perhaps because children have not yet learned to disbelieve what their eyes, ears, and hearts tell them, they have a special closeness with angels. After the publication of Joan Wester Anderson's New York Times bestseller Where Angels Walk, people urged her to write a book entirely about children's experiences with angels--and sent along their own personal narratives as witness to these miraculous visitations.
An Angel to Watch Over Me is the result: a wonderful collection of stories that documents and describes extraordinary encounters between children and celestial visions. There's the grandmotherly angel who consoles an ailing girl in a hospital emergency room, and the angel who helps a Texas boy lose his fear of thunderstorms. There are angels who combat darkness, bring glad tidings, and offer comfort. Angel prayers, mothers' memories, beautiful illustrations, and some heavenly hugs also grace these pages. For those who read this wondrous book, angels become a warm and loving presence in everyday life, a blessed part of being.
--Antoinette Bosco
"MIRACULOUS...Poems, songs, and other angelic messages dot the text along with sweet drawings."

Where Wonders Prevail
ISBN: 0345397312

Ballantine Books. 1996

Years ago we might have assumed that miracles were possible, but surely not for ordinary folk like us. Today we are learning that such a philosophy is too limited. God has not abandoned His people. He continues to call uswith little signs or awesome wonders--every day of our lives.
Is there anyone who does not long for signs of God's loving presence, some token of guidance and protection? Joan Wester Anderson's cherished books testify to that deep human longing and to the miracles that God has wrought in answer to His children's needs.
In Where Wonders Prevail, the author gathers dozens of true stories that tell of safe passage through the very heart of trouble and danger. The missionary priest in the Nicaraguan jungle whose life was saved by the prayer of friends in Michigan. The New York City cop who went about his dangerous work protected by heavenly bodyguards. Teenaged best friends Patty and Joni, whose closeness not even death could erase. Two-year-old Erin's last-second reprieve from disease. The lonely Seattle man whose life was transformed by a mysterious little messenger. Another young man who was literally wrapped in angel wings on a Georgia highway and the author's own sign from heaven, glowing on her front lawn.
In Joan Wester Anderson's simple and moving narrative, we find many such glimpses of heaven--wondrous rescues and answers to prayer, visions of life hereafter, and inspirational healings. It reminds us that God is always near, every step of our way.

Angels We Have Heard on High
ISBN: 0345412036

Ballantine Books. 1997

In this beautiful book, New York Times bestselling author Joan Wester Anderson weaves a wreath of the blessings we receive when we least expect them--a joyful reminder that today, no less than two thousand years ago, Christmas is the season of miracles.

Prayers from people on a Christmas card lists bring a long-lost son home. The music of Christmas transforms an irritable Santa Claus line at a mall. A cross glows without electricity in a message of hope, and an angel warms a freezing child. All these and other wonderful stories reveal that when we have faith, we can find ourselves unexpectedly blessed, during Christmas and through every day of the year.

Forever Young : The Life, Loves, and Enduring Faith of a Hollywood Legend ; The Authorized Biography of Loretta Young
ISBN: 0883474670

Thomas More Pr. 2000

Recounts the life and career of Academy Award-winning actress Loretta Young, and discusses her relationship with her daughter, Judy Lewis, her humanitarian activities, and her Catholic faith.

In the Arms of Angels: True Stories of Heavenly Guardians
ISBN: 0829420401

Loyola Press. 2004

I am going to send an angel in front of you, to guard you on the way.
Exodus 23:20 NRSV
When Joan Wester Anderson wrote Where Angels Walk, millions of readers were captivated by her inspiring collection of true stories of angelic intervention. The book remained on the New York Times Best-Seller List for over a year.
In the Arms of Angels is Anderson’s newest collection of mysterious and heart-stirring stories of heavenly guardians. From the harrowing account of a World Trade Center survivor to a miraculous rescue during the first Gulf War, these powerful stories invite us to take another look at the “coincidences” in our lives—to open our eyes to the angels who walk beside us.
“In times of uncertainty, we long to be reminded that, as Joan Wester Anderson writes, ‘We are not alone.’”
—Rev. Timothy Jones, author, The Art of Prayer, Workday Prayers, and Celebration of Angels
In the Arms of Angels is a true gem, a book to be treasured.”
—Jessie Frees, radio host, WMTR/WWTR New Jersey

The Power of Miracles: True Stories of God's Presence
ISBN: 0829422137

Loyola Press. 2005

From the New York Times best-selling author of Where Angels Walk
Now, for the first time in paperback, The Power of Miracles brings together Joan Wester Anderson’s most glorious and remarkable accounts of unexpected healings, celestial visions, mysterious rescues, and angelic encounters.
The amazing occurrences shared within these pages teach us to be conscious of God’s work in our everyday lives. These wonderful stories light up the pages, bringing comfort and renewed faith to everyone who reads them.
“Joan Wester Anderson once again convincingly shows how
heaven bursts into the lives of ordinary people. Readers will
watch more closely for divine intervention in their daily
circumstances—I know I will.”
—Bert Ghezzi, author, Mystics and Miracles and Voices of the Saints
“Nobody tells miracle stories better than Joan Wester Anderson. The Power of Miracles is a heart- and soul-nourishing book you’ll cherish and want to buy for all your friends and family.”
—Mitch Finley, author, It’s Not the Same without You: Coming Home to the Catholic Church

Guardian Angels: True Stories of Answered Prayers
ISBN: 0829421696

Loyola Press. 2006

These remarkable stories of answered prayers remind us that we are never alone
In this inspiring collection, the work of angels takes many forms, including miracles, healings, and heavenly visitations. These events all convey a single, urgent, and loving message: God answers prayer. “There’s real power in prayer,” writes beloved New York Times best-selling author Joan Wester Anderson. “We can trust that God’s intense love for us will carry us through.” Help is at hand when we need it most.
Anderson’s astonishing first-hand accounts testify to the hope that prayer offers: a dying infant inexplicably recovers after an encounter with a mysterious visitor a long-lost son suddenly returns home for Christmas a young man drowning in an icy river unaccountably finds himself on shore a grieving widow, alone and far from home, receives comfort and counsel from angels in disguise. These stories and dozens of others reveal the care of a loving God who touches the most intimate parts of our hearts.

Angels and Wonders: True Stories of Heaven on Earth
ISBN: 0829427333

Loyola Press. 2008

Sometimes, the only answer is an angel.

As a woman flees an abusive boyfriend, her gas tank on empty, money materializes in her empty purse. Millions of fireflies suddenly appear and offer guiding light to desperate refugees trying to find a path through a mountain storm. Two women strongly sense that a missionary priest, far away, needs prayer at the exact moment when he faces catastrophe.

These are just a few of the more than thirty true stories recounted in Angels and Wonders, a book that points readers to the spiritual realm for answers to otherwise inexplicable occurrences. For anyone inclined toward spirituality, each amazing story provides further proof of God’s heavenly care in difficult times for those who aren’t sure if heaven really does intervene on earth, this book provides plenty of reasons for them to doubt their disbelief.

Where Miracles Happen: True Stories of Heavenly Encounters
ISBN: 0829429034

Loyola Press. 2009

In our highly scientific age, even the possibility that modern-day miracles might occur is often cast to the side of the rational road. But to those individuals who have actually experienced amazing, supernatural occurrences first-hand, modern-day miracles are just as real as the air we breathe.

Where Miracles Happen by Joan Wester Anderson contains 45 stories of miraculous events and angelic encounters. From physical healing to bodily protection to divine guidance and provision, each story is firmly grounded in orthodox Christian beliefs and reminds each of us that God continues to make Himself known to us through modern-day miracles.

Moms Go Where Angels Fear to Tread: Adventures in Motherhood
ISBN: 0824947819

GuidepostsBooks. 2009

New York Times best-selling author Joan Wester Anderson, in the tradition of Erma Bombeck, shares funny, wise, wacky and faith-grounded experiences of family life. Hysterical one minute and touching the next, the book's bite-size chapters contain hilarious personal stories and observations about the everyday experiences of motherhood that culminate in unexpected insights. Joan Wester Anderson uses humor from her own life to help make sense of a mom's everyday chaos and has readers laughing out loud in the process. In reflections with such titles as Homemaker Trapped in Frozen Foods, Pills, Drills and Me, and Wanted: Just One More Closet, Joan tells stories that run the gamut from the day to day high drama of trying to do too much in too little time (balancing kids doctor appointments, car repairs, pre-vacation planning and her own part-time career) to trying to find a life beyond motherhood. The truth can hurt ( The first party I ever threw as a newlywed was so dull that even my husband left, Joan admits) but sometimes it can set you free as in the free therapy of monthly lunch dates with fellow moms. What else can you do after you ve talked the kids out of a dog and instead get a low maintenance gerbil which immediately gives birth to 14 baby gerbils! Moms Go Where Angels Fear to Tread is a delightfully funny and touching read that will inspire you one minute, and have you laughing out loud the next. For every woman, mother-to-be, mother, grandmother, and anyone who had a mom.

If Moms Are Angels on Earth, Then Where's My Halo?: One Mom's Humorous Reflections
ISBN: 0824948548

GuidepostsBooks. 2011

Angelic Tails: True Stories of Heavenly Canine Companions
ISBN: 0829435433

Loyola Press. 2011

Angelic Tails is a collection of down-to-earth true stories from ordinary people who believe that God has graced their lives through heavenly canine companions. Each of the 30 stories challenges readers to reconsider their conception of angels - from the story of a former Air Force colonel whose golden retrievers served as his heavenly helpers in the Colorado wilderness to the account of St. John Bosco, who, for more than 30 years, was protected by an angelic dog as he walked the dangerous city streets. In the end, for all who see through the eyes of faith, this book is evidence that God can use even muddy paws and cold noses to fulfill his purposes in our world.

An Angel to Watch Over Me: True Stories of Children's Encounters with Angels
ISBN: 0829436545

Loyola Press. 2012

Children are known to have wild imaginzations, which explains why their stuffed animals talk and invisible friends get invited to tea parties. So it's no wonder than when a child reports a personal encounter with an angel, adults tend to dismiss it with a wry smile and say, "That's nice, sweetie. Why don't you go outside and play?"

But Joan Wester Anderson says "not so fast." If Jesus himself taught that the kingdom of heaven belongs to children, there's no reason in the world not to believe that God can reveal his love to little ones through angels. In An Angel to Watch Over Me (originally published by Random House in 1994, with sales of 150,000 copies), Anderson shares more than 30 stories of children's experiences with celestial beings--from a boy whose angels helps him conquer his fear of thunderstorms to a girl who is miraculously rescued from her burning home.

From angels who combat evil and darkness to angels who bring news of comfort and joy, each of these accounts is grounded in traditional Christian belief, eschewing any New Age interpretation of the events. For all who are open to the possibility that even children can have authentic spiritual lives--and that attaining a certain age is not a prerequisite for God to touch our lives in the form of heavenly helpers--this book is sure to stir the soul and fan the faith.

Mom Knows Best: Classic Stories Every Mom Will Love
ISBN: 1462110495

Cedar Fort, Inc.. 2012

Beloved and bestselling author Joan Wester Anderson takes you past preschool and on through college in these hilarious and witty observations on mothering at all ages. And while Joan's mothering instincts may not be the most conventional, they sure are entertaining. Encouraging and uplifting, this book reassures mothers everywhere that things really will be okay---even if there is peanut butter on the curtains.


  • Her 15 books include

    , which was on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year, has sold almost two million copies and been translated into fourteen languages

    Speaking Engagements

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