Stephanie S. Tolan Ordinary Miracles

ISBN 13: 9780380733224

Ordinary Miracles

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9780380733224: Ordinary Miracles
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That's what Mark Filkins has always believed. But it seems as if he's also gotten a lot he hasn't asked for, like feeling that he's a slightly faded copy of his twin brother, or his parents' plan that both boys will grow up to be preachers.

When he meets Dr. Colin Hendrick, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose research Mark's family disapproves of, Mark realizes that he can -- and should -- make choices for himself. But when Colin reveals a terrible secret, Mark knows the time has come to ask for the most important thing of all...and put his own faith on the line.

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About the Author:

Stephanie S. Tolan is the author of more than twenty-five books for young readers, including Listen!, which won the Christopher Award and the Henry Bergh ASPCA Award. Her New York Times bestselling novel Surviving the Applewhites received a Newbery Honor and was named a Smithsonian Notable Children’s Book, a School Library Journal Best Book for Children, an ALA Booklist Editor’s Choice, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book, and an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Tolan has left her home by the small lake in a big woods of North Carolina and now lives in the Hudson River Valley of upstate New York with a view of the Catskills Mountains and the prospect of wintertime cross country skiing. You can visit her online at www.stephanietolan.com.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5 Up-Tolan revisits the Filkins family, introduced in Save Halloween! (Morrow, 1993). This time the focus is on Mark, the second-by a few minutes-of twin sons as he begins to create a separate identity for himself. Until now, being almost indistinguishable from his brother hasn't really bothered him. When their father asks the boys to deliver the sermon at a mid-week prayer service, Mark finds that he's not as excited at the prospect as Matthew is, even though both of them have always assumed that they would be preachers when they grew up. After the service, Mark begins to question whether this career path is what he really wants. The arrival in town of a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who works in genetic engineering ultimately leads Mark to question his faith as well. Colin Hendrick is dying of cancer and has returned to his hometown to spend his final days with his father. He is also helping Mark's class with a science research project. For the first time in his life Mark is doing something without his twin, and he likes it. He also begins to pray that Colin will be healed, and soon has his family, friends, and even the churches in town praying with him. Tolan has created believable, likable characters who are wrestling with serious spiritual and emotional issues and describes their struggles with sensitivity, compassion, and respect. While some may question the use of a miracle to resolve Mark's crisis of faith, it's not the miracle readers might expect, and it is a satisfying conclusion to Mark's story. It is also very satisfying to see religion treated as an important and integral part of people's lives, without either negative stereotyping or heavy-handed preaching.
Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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