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Soul Searching: Thirteen Stories about Faith and Belief Hardcover – November 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although its 13 original stories introduce dramatic episodes-e.g., a Jewish-American girl's belated discovery of her father's escape from Nazi Germany; a Palestinian-Israeli showdown-and cover a wide spectrum of religious beliefs, this anthology is generally tame. The most successful contributions stake claims in well-known territory. Minfong Ho's "The See-Far Glasses," for example, explores a family of Chinese immigrants as the teen protagonist absorbs her grandmother's practice of tending the family altar; in her author's note, Ho moves beyond the particulars of the story to identify the Confucian tenets informing the customs described and mentions the roles of Buddha and Lao-Tse in shaping Chinese religious thought. Unfortunately, many entries attempt to shoehorn novel-length plots into short-story formats. Linda Oatman High's "The Shunning of Sadie B. Zook," about a pregnant Amish teen sent to a home for unwed mothers, introduces compelling themes but doesn't develop the characters beyond their immediate situation; the author's note, identifying High's husband's grandmother as the model for Sadie, is more intriguing than the fiction. Other writers here include Jennifer Armstrong, Shonto Begay, William Sleator and editor Fraustino (Dirty Laundry: Stories About Family Secrets). Readers in search of a more vibrant and accomplished collection should try Marilyn Singer's I Believe in Water: Twelve Brushes with Religion. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10-This varied collection seeks to foster thought and discussion on the sometimes-conflicting themes of faith and belief. The book starts on a decidedly strong note: Linda Oatman High's "The Shunning of Sadie B. Zook" is a poignant story in which an Amish girl must cope with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Many stories show how teens deal with their faith. In "A Daughter of Abraham," Dianne Hess introduces readers to a Jewish girl who feels no strong ties to her heritage until she meets a cousin who hid in Italy during Word War II and learns that her great-grandmother died in Auschwitz. William Sleator's "The Funeral," set in Thailand, tells how an apprentice monk finds his place in the world through singing at funerals. Fraustino's "The Tin Man" shows how faith helps a young woman waiting for an organ transplant. On the other hand, Dian Curtis Regan's "The Evil Eye" is just plain weird. A young man is kidnapped by a voodoo cult in Venezuela and must escape with the assistance of the young woman who lured him into the group. The characters are stereotypical, and the protagonist is not fully realized. Overall, though, teens will find new ideas to consider, new worlds to explore, and perhaps see themselves in some of the protagonists. This book would be an especially appropriate selection for church-related discussion groups or ethics and morality classes.
Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; First Edition edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689834845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689834844
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,318,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dian Curtis Regan is the author of 60 books for young readers, ranging from picture books to novels for teens. Popular titles include Princess Nevermore, Monster of the Month Club, The World According to Kaley, and Barnyard Slam.

She is a former "Member of the Year" of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, has been inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers' Hall of Fame, and has received a "Distinguished Medal of Service in Children's Literature" from the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Also, a library in South America has been named after her.

Dian graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and taught school in Denver. She is a frequent speaker at writing conferences and schools.

A native of Colorado, she has also lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Venezuela, and Kansas. In 2012, she moved home to Colorado.

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