Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Young Adult Fantasy at the Core of the Earth

Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller
(Young Adult Fantasy)

How many of us remember those days when we were smaller and reveled in the moments when we first learned to skip a rock?  For me, it was my grandmother and I still remember every quiet, reverent moment.  I hope that all of you had a moment like that in your childhood-one so special that it remains with you years later.  I hope that all of you had a person like that in your childhood-one who saw past the outside ugliness and awkwardness to the potential inside.
Calvin Cobble is one such boy who has both that moment and that person.  Good thing, too, because little else goes his way.  Calvin Comet Cobble (I want his name!) lives at an orphanage deep inside the earth.  (What a powerful statement on throw-away kids like those who languish in orphanages!)  Calvin is subjected to tyrannous treatment by bullies, teachers and principals and decides one day to run into the darkness because that has to be better than the light.  The darkness is the ‘other side’ of the island where they keep prisoners. (What a powerful statement on throw-away adults!)  Once in the darkness Calvin meets a mysterious man who helps him to unravel his own life mystery.

While the plot is difficult to explain without giving too much away, it isn’t a difficult read. Reading the book felt just like those skipping stones of my youth—quiet and powerful and filled with meaning.   It is one of those books that has an adventure just waiting for the reader on the next page and, like the stone that is skipped, the reader jumps to the next page, not sure of the how’s or what’s but following the author confidently along.
The author’s writing style is beautiful; there just aren’t other words for it.  Reading the story was peaceful and quiet and true.  There are so many moments in the book that just took my breath away, moments where I put down the book and said, “So true.  I’m glad someone else noticed this.”  Truths about curiosity…”The talented educator understands that when Curiosity visits a classroom, magic happens.”  Truth about stones…and life….”But you can’t control the water.  You cannot…what you can control is the stone you throw.” 

This won’t be a book for every child but, if you own one of those unique kids who love an adventure, a story, a fantasy, a mystery, then this is a sure bet.  Adventure, wonder, mystery—a story for any author or reader to be proud of spending time with.

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