After a top award is handed out, the spotlight is so brightly fixed upon the winner, the books that "almost won" are often lost in the shadows. There were five finalists for The National Book Award in Young People's Literature. All are granted excellence by virtue of their nomination. They'll be on library shelves for years. But will they be read? I hope you won't miss the following title. Read it before you leave it around for your kids to find. You'll want to be prepared.
CHARLES AND EMMA: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman. This biography for middle school readers brings Charles Darwin to life as much more than a white bearded man who wrote a controversial book, THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES. His wife Emma is very real, too, as a strong partner whose firm religious convictions contrasted with his radical science. Theirs is a story of love and strong devotion to each other and to their own beliefs. This would be a great springboard for discussion for parents whose teens are beginning to search for answers in their own worlds.
What kind of discussion did this book stir up at your dinner table?