Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Faith in Literature

This year I joined a "grown up" book group. The theme has been Faith in Literature and the list has been interesting and challenging. We read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Kite Runner, Pope Joan, (all of those had YA elements so they have been my favorites) Wise Blood, The Memory Keeper's Daughter and others.

We will be taking the summer off but some of the folks have expressed an interest in some reading over the summer months. It occured to me that it might be interesting to have a list of YA or children's titles that could be discussed in this context, the role of a faith, no faith, looking for a Sign, faith-who-needs it-bah-humbug, faith in God, faith in self, in society, searching for meaning ... We are not limited to any denomination or religion.

The Giver
and Harry Potter were YA/Children's titles that I referenced in the course of our discussions this year.

Can you help me think of some other titles that I could share that might make for some thought provoking discussions?

17 comments:

Sylvia said...

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel about the power of faith and resolve in the face of destitution.

BlueRectangle Books

Elaine Magliaro said...

Camille,

Here are some suggestions. I loved all three of these books.

LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary D. Schmidt is based on a true event that took place in Maine in 1912. This is a tale of poor people, minorities, faith, and prejudice.

FEED by M. T. Anderson. Great science fiction tale of a society that has lost its soul.

GIRL IN A CAGE by Jane Yolen & Robert J. Harris. This is a work of historical fiction about Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce. Imprisoned in a wooden cage in the center of a town square, Marjorie has to muster the strength to stand up to Longshanks, the King of England.

Claire said...

How about Godless by Pete Hautmann, where two boys start a religion to worship the town's water tower?

Camille said...

These are excellent!

Cindy said...

Ellen Wittlinger's BLIND FAITH would be a possibility.

Pooja said...

LOOKING FOR BAPU by Anjali Banerjee

Susan said...

Because of Winn-Dixie.

Kelly Fineman said...

I AM THE MESSENGER or THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak.

Ruth said...

My favorites are:

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Philip Pullman's Dark Materials Series (3 books): The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

These books were extremely popular with the teens and the adults in my book discussion group.

Chris said...

I second A Wrinkle in Time.
Also, The Last Battle by CS Lewis.

Phil said...

Yes, Godless by Pete Hautman. Also, check out A Fine White Dust, which is an older Cynthia Rylant title. You may also want to check out I Had Seen Castles, a very relevant for our times.

Lady S. said...

Aside from L'Engle and Lewis, a couple of strong YA contenders might be Hattie Big Sky, several (if not all) of Karen Cushman's books, and The Perilous Gard. And in the non-historical line, definitely, positively both Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines. I also loved Chaim Potok as a teen, and my younger daughter recently enjoyed a couple of his too. Oh - Born Confused might work: teen growing up in America and trying to balance her Indian-born parents' religious and cultural beliefs and discovering her own.

Non-YA but my two read her as teens - Connie Willis. Especially Passage (the book she claimed would infuriate both fundamentalists and scientific materialists!), but faith of a variety of types comes into a lot of her books.

TadMack said...

A much older title which I still cherish is A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles. It is really heart-gripping.

Your group sounds really great.

Camille said...

This is an absolutely FANTASTIC list!
You all are terrific!

Lady S. said...

Sorry - I keep thinking of more books! Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy and Gatty's Tale are a fascinating look at a variety of religious beliefs at the time of the Crusades (among other things). And Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur is a deeply cynical debunking of the Arthur myths (with Merlin as his spin-doctor). Amazing book.

Camille said...

I am so glad you keep thinking of books! What good ideas!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I second the Chiam Potok books, especially My Name is Asher Lev. What about The Sea of Trolls? There, you've got the protagonist dealing with both the Norse gods and the Christian God.