CHARLES AND EMMA: THE DARWINS' LEAP OF FAITH -- an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion for young readers
Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman (2009, Henry Holt and Co.; 281 pages)
Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates. This 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature is a thought-provoking biographical account of the personal life of the man behind evolutionary theory. Deborah Heiligman makes a connection between Darwin's work and his personal life, and how each affected the other. This is a fascinating exploration of history, religion, and science for young readers and also for adults.
To read a very interesting New York Times review on Charles and Emma, click here
Find this title in our catalog: Charles and Emma
Recommended by: Maite
Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt (2011, Clarion Books; 368 pages)
As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the "skinny thug" that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer -- a fiery young lady who smells like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain. In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon's birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
I've recommended this book to two childless grown-up adults and they both came back to me saying thank you. You will laugh and cry, and you will finish the book with the feeling that the world is just okay, for now. Beautiful writing, wonderful characters, and an extraordinary story that is perfect for lovers of baseball, birds, art, and public libraries. A must read.
Find this title in our catalog: Okay For Now
Recommended by: Maite