I noticed something as I was preparing the Spotlight on Religion & Spirituality for the November 15, 2014 issue of Booklist. Just as we need more diverse books, we need more books about religion and spirituality as well. There have been some great ones over the years. I think my favorite remains The War of Jenkin’s Ear (1995) by Michael Morpurgo, which is about how life at a British public school changes—especially for Toby—when a new boy arrives who just may be an incarnation of Jesus. Toby, as the reluctant disciple, mirrors the ecstasy and anguish any one of us would feel at being “chosen.” And David Almond’s terrific oeuvre maintains a spiritual undertone, even when the books aren’t specifically about religion.
Just as we need more diverse books, we need more
books about religion and spirituality as well.
But books about contemporary kids struggling with their faith are few and far between. This seems odd to me, when religion, faith, and spirituality are flashpoints here in the U.S. and around the world. Why wouldn’t kids be thinking about these subjects both personally and globally? And why aren’t authors writing more about it? I was ready to do a longer blog post about this, but happily, Michael Cart has already made the point in his November 15 column, “Religion and Young Readers.” And here are several more books that do the subject justice, too.
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel Fatah
Godless, by Pete Hautman
The Path of Names, by Ari-Goelman
Something to Sing About, by C.C. Payne
When Pirates Came to Brooklyn, by Phyllis Shalant