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Fire in the Heart: A Spiritual Guide for Teens (Chopra, Deepak) Hardcover – May 1, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–Chopra presents inspirational life lessons spoken in parables by a mysterious teacher who leads an unnamed narrator through a four-day retreat of self-discovery. With the guidance of Baba, the 15-year-old comes to know his true self by generating answers to four major questions: "Do I have a soul? How do wishes come true? What is the supreme force in the universe? How can I change the world?" The teen and Baba spend a day discussing each question; these four sections are divided into smaller lessons or chapters that end with the young man describing what he learned and how he has applied Baba's wisdom to his life. The didactic text demonstrates a cosmic connection between the soul and all things in deliberate, forced dialogue between the teen and his teacher, and the narrator's internal conversation. The prominent themes are consistent with those common to the genre: finding order in chaos, looking for the missing "something" in life, meaningful communication, and understanding and belief in what one cannot see. The book is rather like Antoine de Saint Exupéry's Le Petit Prince meets Chicken Soup for the Soul. The final section, "A Soul Alphabet," contains inspirational words and motivational prose: appreciation, beyond, communicate…. This nondenominational offering could serve as a textbook for a course on self-exploration, faith, or spiritual discovery.–Jodi Kearns, University of Akron, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 8-12. Chopra, who has been very successful writing self-help books for adults, now turns to a teenage audience. The messages about one's spiritual self and enlightenment he presents here are not noticeably different from those that he gives to older readers. To deliver the information, he uses a literary device (which the book presents as true, not metaphorical): a wise old man, Baba, comes out of the mist to pass on knowledge to a young Deepak. Older teens will probably smirk, but younger ones may find the interaction both accessible and inviting. Baba's teachings revolve around the questions that most people ask, beginning in young adulthood. "Why am I here?" "Do I have a soul?" "Do wishes come true?" "What is the supreme force in the universe?" Along with answers, Chopra offers words of encouragement and simple suggestions to improve relationships and make the world a better place. Familiar philosophy youthfully repackaged. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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With regard to the references to autism in this book, Portia Iversen's son Dov, the boy featured in "Strange Son" and Tito Mukhopadhyay are included in this book. Dov was the young man who was actively listening although he was nonverbal during his early years and Tito Mukhopadhyay was the gifted poet/author who has severe autism.
I want to add that the claim made in this book that people with autism "go inside of themselves" and "don't respond to the outside world" simply isn't true. Dov himself said he was listening at all times and Tito Mukhopadhyay was acutely aware of his environment.
Autism is a sensori-neurobiological condition that affects sensory processing and communication. For individuals with severe autism as these two young men have, communication is severely impacted. People with autism are generally acutely aware of their environments; however, the sensory processing issues can create false impressions. For people on the autism spectrum (and it IS a continuum), sensory input can be confusing and hard to separate into discrete units. When a person is on overload, it is not uncommon for them to appear non/unresponsive. That is when the person is "coming even," trying to tone out the overload and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Communication is an inherent part of all individuals; it is listening to people on the spectrum that hopefully will create a more tolerant world and put false claims about autism permanently to rest.
My fiancé is very picky when it comes to spiritual books like this, but when he read one random page from this book, he got hooked and I was very happy to see him want more and more of this book. So when his birthday came in July I bought it for him as a gift. He was very happy!! Thank you