Defiance

Dear Reader,

What are signs that you are growing up? That you are starting to leave childhood behind and starting to become a young adult? It can’t be that you merely want to make decisions for yourself. Two-year-olds want to make decisions for themselves. It can’t be that you secretly do things your parents forbid. Most children of all ages at least occasionally disobey their parents. So how does thinking for yourself and making your own decisions show maturity rather than mere selfishness?

Hobbs, Valerie. Defiance. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005. 

Eleven-year-old Toby wants to have fun. His parents want to protect him from any possible danger. Toby has cancer. His mother wants him to stay close to their cabin in the country, out of the sun and away from anything that could cause him to get hurt or even tired. He wants to go exploring. So he does. He wakes up early in the morning, sneaks off on his bicycle, and meets an elderly neighbour, Pearl, and her old cow, Blossom. They become friends and life changes for Toby.This story is about growing up, about learning to think for yourself without thinking only about yourself. 

The reading level of this book is not difficult. There are only 117 pages and the lines on each page are spaced far enough apart to be easy on the eyes. But there is a lot to ponder in this story. So don’t read it when you are in the mood for a quickly-paced humorous story. Read it when you have the time to slow down and consider this question: What is the meaning of life?

Ms. R.

More stories of thinking for yourself

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Happy Easter!

He is risen!

People die and come back to life in many religions.

Christianity’s most important story focuses on a character who is resurrected from the dead. Jesus, a Jewish teacher living in Israel during ancient Roman times, is viewed as a threat to society. He is sentenced to crucifixion on a cross. But three days after he dies, he comes back to life just as he’d promised. He is seen by several people. He speaks with them, spends time with them, and gives them hope. They spread the good news that God – in the form of a man – came down to earth to redeem all people from death, so that they could live forever. Every spring, Christians celebrate this miracle of life over death.

“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” – Mahatma Gandhi

French, Fiona. Easter: with words from the King James Version. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.

Grimes, Nikki. At Jerusalem’s Gate: Poems of Easter. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2005.

Wildsmith, Brian. The Easter Story. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000.

An overview of world religions

Novels and picture books about faith

Filled to the brim…

Cuevas, Michelle. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016.
A lonely man lives his life by the sea, faithfully watching for letters to deliver. Messages that almost always deliver joy to the recipients. Will there never be a message for him? This poignant tale of hope – softly illustrated by Erin E. Stead – will appeal to gentle reflective readers 8 years old and up. [Friendship, Letters, Oceans]

More stories of friendship and love

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“A friend is what the heart needs all the time.” – Henry Van Dyke, American writer