By Laurie Gray, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 4, 2010
In Summer Sanctuary, Matthew, a twelve-year-old preacher’s son, plans to spend the summer researching his theory that Einstein’s work on time dilation is biblical: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” He meets Dinah, a temporarily homeless teenager, at his local library and convinces her to live secretly in his church for the summer. Rich in literary allusions and humor, this novel overflows with music, poetry and science, all appealing to and suitable for middle grade readers.
The book creates a safe place for tweens and teens to explore and appreciate their own experiences as well as the diverse experiences of others. Matthew and Dinah come from very different worlds, yet they form a genuine friendship that shows how connected we all are. The novel also addresses very real social issues such as homelessness, poverty and even sexual assault without using profanity or situations that are inappropriate for this age group.
Part muse and part siren, Dinah’s goal is to avoid foster care. Her friendship comes with the heavy price of keeping a significant secret from his parents and at times being less than honest, if not actually lying. But Matthew perseveres, developing his own conscience and personal accountability, knowing God is in on his secret. Matthew initially misjudges Dinah, whose name actually means “good judgment” in Hebrew. Matthew learns about himself as he learns about Dinah and becomes more accepting of himself as he accepts her. Readers of all ages will, too.
About the author: Laurie Gray is the founder of Socratic Parenting, LLC (www.SocraticParenting.com) and co-creator of Token of Change™. An attorney and child advocate, she lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband and daughter. Laurie loves to talk with parents, teachers, teens and tweens about reading, writing, creative living and anything else that interests them. Summer Sanctuary, Laurie’s first young adult novel, was recently awarded a Moonbeam Children’s Book Gold Medal.
Add this book to your collection: Summer Sanctuary by Laurie Gray
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