Elizabeth George Speare (Newbery Award 1962)
Genre: Middle Grade historical fiction
For: a read along with my 7th grade daughter
From: the library
My daughter's 7th grade English class just read this one for their December book and my daughter begged me to read along with so she could better understand things. I'd never heard of this book before even though I'm sort of familiar with the author (Witch of Blackbird Pond.)
This is a great story to introduce kids to what it might have been like to live during Jesus' time, during the years he went about teaching and meeting with people. This boy, Daniel, has big reasons to hate the Romans who have taken over the country and killed his parents. His sister was emotional damaged by this incident and so he now has her to deal with along with his grandmother who takes care of them. He actually can't handle things so he runs away from home and meets up with a band of ruffians who live in the caves outside the city and are plotting to strike back against the Romans.
He meets some friends from the city and together they become spies for this rough rebellion. Meanwhile, he has several different encounters with a man named Jesus who everyone is talking about. He sees how people come to him to hear teachings of God and to hopefully get healed of their many ailments. He feels wonderful when he sees this Jesus and wonders if he can perhaps help his sister some day.
Even though he feels so good hearing Jesus' message, he is still driven mostly by his hatred of the Romans. It is this issue that in the end, may be his family and friends undoing.
I really enjoyed this sweet and powerful book about this time in the world's history. It's very interesting to get a glimpse of how it may have been like back then. Not an easy time, that's for sure. But it's a great book with a great message that is especially meaningful this time of year, without being overly preachy.
Bottom line: I like this one a lot.
What KT Reads