Charles raised his hand. It took a moment for people to acknowledge him. He stood up and cleared his throat. The room went silent. “Um, so if you want American to believe in you again, what about just telling the truth?”
I picked this book at our library used book store thinking it was a different story. After reading a few pages, I didn’t expect much. The Corporate Kid didn’t earn a five star rating from beautiful or well polished pros. This story is unique because it’s a general market book with a purpose. Instead of the normal twaddle and/or junk of various descriptions that fills young adult stories, this one embodies and promotes morality. And it does so without preaching. That’s a pretty impressive resume…especially for a general market book.
Fifteen year old Charles Sullivan has never had much. After his father’s death, his mother has worked two jobs and struggles to maintain their home in the hood. Their world crumbles yet again when a distracted driver hits her as they leave their church one Sunday morning. That driver, Bill Bradford, is CEO of Hospital of America. The last thing he wants to deal with is bad press over hitting a woman on the wrong side of town. He calls his lawyer and tells the man to take care of the situation. He doesn’t realize till later that he dropped his wallet at the sight of the accident. He doesn’t know that Charles Sullivan picked it up. That wallet, and the boy who picked it up, will bring the two families together in ways they never expected, and will challenge the way they think of each other.
I’m so glad I mistook this book for the one I was actually looking for! Definitely recommend it!
There are no easy answers except to walk away. But we dare not, because Jesus Himself said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 19:14).”
Lots of people know about adoption and are at least aware of the fact that our world is home to tens of millions of orphans. The number of people acquainted with the social, moral, and political problems creating orphans is much smaller. This book seeks to solve that. However, it’s much more than a methodical fact book about these issues. It delves to the heart of problems like sex slavery, HIV/AIDS, abortion, poverty, foster care, and more. It’s heart wrenching, challenging, and thought provoking.
I grabbed this book for my kindle because I needed to read some more orphan care related books to fill up the slots for this months book review theme. I have to admit, I’m one of those people who often judges a book by its cover, and I didn’t find this cover too impressive. However, it was either free or 99 cents so why not. (It was on sale, it’s $9.99 for kindle now.) I’m so glad I read it. The second chapter dealt with human trafficking and had me sliding out of my bed at midnight to kneel and pray for these girls. If you’re a young teen I would recommend running it by your parents before you read this. If you’re an adult or older teen, though, just go get it. It’s a book that will shake you and challenge you in a good way.
Did your church do anything for Orphan Sunday on the third? Do you have plans to do anything for National Adoption Awareness Month?
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my new blog over at Teens Interceding for Orphans.
A Little Princess, starring Shirley Temple:
This is the video version of A Little Princess that I grew up with. It’s a classic Shirley Temple movie. Though built around the original story, it is not faithful to the book but it’s charming anyway (it is Shirley Temple after all). For example, Sara (aka Shirley) is friends with Rose, a young teacher at the boarding school (not in the book), and Rose falls in love with the riding teacher (not in the books), and Miss Minchin kicks Rose out for getting engaged (obviously not in the books since Rose wasn’t in the books), etc. My pet peeve as I got older (and read the book) was that Sara’s father was still alive (he’s not in the books). Still, their reunion is sweet, and I loved it when I was younger. There’s nothing objectionable in this film.
A Little Princess, staring Liesel Matthews:
This was my second foray into the world of Little Princess movies. I had just read the book and realized that the Shirley Temple version did the story wrong, so I decided to see if the library carried a different version. (I was hoping to find one where Dad actually died and his friend rescued Sara.) This movie is a bit more accurate. The old man next door at least plays a part in Sara’s happily ever after. Miss Amelia (Miss Minchin’s sister), is particularly funny in this movie. And Becky is so sweet. My one complaint/warning about this film is that the Buddhist/Hindu culture Sara was raised in (she grew up in India) came through much more in this film than in others.
A Little Princess, staring Amelia Shankley
This version of The Little Princess is my most recent discovery, my favorite movie rendition of the story, and (not surprisingly!) the most accurate to the book. It was originally created for PBS and the film quality is similar to classic BBC films. It still does not adhere 100% to the books, but it comes about as close as a movie rendition can (and, yes, her father dies, and it’s his friend who finally rescues Sara from her life of drudgery). If you can get your hands on it, this is definitely the version I recommend. You’ll probably want to check with your library, though. Used copies on Amazon start at $75.
What’s your favorite movie version of A Little Princess? Did I miss any of them?
“Left just one for herself,” she said in a low voice. “And she could have eaten the whole six–I saw it in her eyes.”
Little Sara Crewe lives a charmed life (figuratively, not literally ;)). Though she is devastated by the separation from her beloved father, there is little else she could want as she begins life in Miss Minchin’s boarding school. A few students, and even Miss Minchin herself, develop a distaste for Sara’s quaint ways and ridiculous wealth, but Sara makes friends of most. She captivates the school with her imaginative stories and consistent politeness. As she says when one of her most treasured games is revealed, ” I pretend I am a princess, so that I can try and behave like one.” Her courage is put to the test when she receives word that her father is dead and his fortune gone, wasted on an investment in diamond mines. Sara is turned into a maid and ill treated. Can she behave like a princess even when she is hungry and in rags?
I can’t remember when this story first captured my heart. In fact, I can’t remember a time I didn’t love A Little Princess. After countless readings over the year, I still haven’t tired of it. The luxurious extravagance lavished on Sara by her father during the first part of the book always fascinated me and engaged my imagination, while Sara’s humility and friendliness make her a lovable person to read about. When she loses is everything, her determined courage strengthens the desire to see her happy once again. And who doesn’t like a rags to riches story, especially one enacted in such a unique way?
While I love A Little Princess, I’ve never been able to get through reading The Secret Garden. Which story do you prefer?
Today marks the last day of our Christmas themed book reviews. And what better book to end with than A Christmas Carol?
Ebeneezer Scrooge is a miserly old man who loves money, hates Christmas, and isn’t too fond of his fellow man. After a ghostly visit from his ex-business partner, Jacob Marley, Scrooge spends the night before Christmas being visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. Each spirit teaches him things about himself and the world around him until Scrooge awakes Christmas morning a changed man.
I must confess that my preferred way of “reading” this story is not in book format. Each year at Christmas time we dig out the Focus on the Family Radio Theater presentation of the story. A Christmas Carol is probably my favorite traditional Christmas story.
As this year’s Christmas season comes to a close, remember the lesson Scrooge learned. In his own word,
I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
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He’s a father, a father
To many sons and daughters.
To those who live in loneliness,
To those that wander in distress.
He sees the child by the road
Hungry, dying all alone;
Bids you take that child’s load,
Bids you quiet every groan.
For these souls he gave his life,
Rescued them from endless strife.
Jesus bids us come and see,
Asks us now to set them free.
You have felt his heav’nly love.
You will dwell with him above.
Here below, his hands and feet,
To go to every town and street.
If we do not help them now,
Who will bend to wipe their brow?
If God’s people do not care,
Who will then salvation share?
We who see can’t walk away.
God within us bids us stay.
Asks us now to wash each wound,
And tell of One who’s coming soon.
(Copyright 2012 by Leah E. Good)
“Is Honorable Sister going to die?” I asked. I could not stop the tears.
With her mother dead and her father missing, thirteen year old Yoko, older sister Ko, and her older brother Hideyo struggle to survive. When Ko is seriously injured in a fire, Hideyo searches for more work to pay hospital bills and Yoko takes on the responsibility of caring for Ko. When Ko is accused of murdering their landlords, Yoko is determined to prove her sister’s innocence.
This is a great story about a Japanese girl in the aftermath of World War II. It is based on a true story. I recommend this book as a gripping and educational read.
Author: Yoko Kawashima Watkins
Audience: 12 and up
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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More laughter. No surprise. Among all the boys, Nate didn’t have a single friend.
Expelled from school, Nate Tanner has no friends to leave behind and doesn’t expect to find any friends when he arrives home in disgrace. Even his father seems to be against him. Then Nate meets Johnny. Johnny and his family work in the coal mine Nate’s family owns. An unlikely friendship springs up between the two boys, but Nate doesn’t dare reveal his true identity. When Johnny finally finds out, Nate fears their friendship is over for good. Can he do anything to make things right?
I read this book quite a while ago. It caught my imagination and still hasn’t let go. Reading Breaker Boys will introduce you to the fascinating but heart-rending world of coal mining 1890s. A lot of facts and historical events are mixed into this gripping story. The one downside is Nate’s penchant for lying, but he learns the consequences of his actions and owns up by the end of the book. definitely recommend Breaker Boys.
Author: Pat Hughes
Audience: 10 and up
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Join me Wednesday for an interview with Pat Hughes!
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