by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague, published 2014
“The present is here and here and here, a sky full of light, a path under your feet, your hair lifted by wind, the smell of flowers, green grass, red rocks, all of it tumbling toward summer, and all of it yours. All you have to do is set fear aside and stretch out your hand.”
This is a fascinating children’s book – it is completely contemporary, set right in the culture of 2014, at the same time that it offers a message to young people that completely transcends time. I never thought I would find a thoroughly modern children’s book that I would resonate with as much as I did with this one. The power of the book comes from the commitment to peace throughout, and the element of the magical – in this case, the ability to travel into the past. The book zooms around time into a cosmic message of cause and effect. Bravo!
The characters in the book are terrific, as we meet them in several time settings and discover what it means to have lasting character traits. The book offers so many messages – about hope, friendship, the Quaker ideals of peace, and the power of the present moment. That’s quite a bit, especially when you combine it with very real drama of intrigue, murder (alas, but it’s not too horrid) and oppression.
In short, this children’s book covers a lot of territory with uncanny ability to hit the mark in every way. I personally think it is better for older children because of the element of criminal justice, but I suppose an 11-year-old could handle it. I leave this to parents to decide. (Thanks to Ellen at Wildpresence for the book recommendation.)