Friday, January 7, 2011
Book review: "Saurcana, Terror from the Sea"
One of my favorite publications is Rethinking Schools, an excellent quarterly magazine written largely by and for educators. I read it cover to cover. In the current issue, I am pleased to have a book review published.
The review came about in this way: Summer before last, I attended the national conference in Chicago organized by the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (nnomy). There, I met many dedicated people who are working in highschools to teach peace and justice and truth-in-recruitment. Among the attendees was Robert Hager, a disability rights attorney from Houston who was doing outreach in the schools with other Houston educators. I learned that he also had directed an alternative "Adventure Playground" program in the 1970s and that he'd written a novel for middleschoolers based on that experience and in response to US "Wars on Terror." I was glad to meet a fellow Texan, and also was curious about his book, so he sent me one.
I read Saurcana, Terror from the Sea during a Greyhound bus ride (great venue for reading, in my experience), and was very taken with the novel. So, I asked the author if I could write a review and submit it to one of my favorite mags. He graciously agreed. The author and the editors of Rethinking Schools were all wonderful to work with, and I am glad to have had the opportunity.
The story is interesting on several levels -- it's simple while intricate, gentle while suspenseful, imaginative and real. The action takes place along a shore -- a significant setting, since, where land and water meet, there is found the richest mix of life. Yet, in the story, as in the real world, border lands become places where barriers of various kinds are often erected. Weapons are poised. Enemies are created. The protagonist in the story, a youngster on the verge of adulthood, asks why.
Check out the review AND, even if you aren't a teacher, if you have a tween in your household, order up a book and leave it lying around. I bet it gets read!
Above: Cover art by Bill Hughes