Once upon a time I was an English teacher. Middle school was my favorite. People often gasp when I admit this. My absolute favorite? 7th grade. What?! Yep. These tweens are in the metamorphosis years. The years between childhood and adolescence. The years when they are assimilating what they've been told/taught to what they actually believe. They have heard the what, and now they want to know the why behind the what.
As their teacher, I looked for Literature that challenged, that encouraged them to ask questions. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare was a favorite. Why? Because the story is about a boy who is angry, and has a sense of right and wrong. One who wants to seek justice and fight for what he believes, but desperately needs adult guidance. But who does he listen to and why? Sound familiar?
Below is the summary provided by Amazon.com:
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)
The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from his land of Israel. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A fast-paced, suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, the idea of home, community . . . and ultimately, as Jesus says to Daniel on page 224: “Can’t you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love.” A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.
It's still considered one of the top reads for teens. My personal recommendation would be for middle grades and up. It is available in print, kindle, and audio. Perfect for summer reading!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.