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In a thought-provoking novel by the author of A Good Courage, Johnna is excited when her sixth-grade teacher asks her to write a pageant--until Johnna's famous evangelist uncle launches a crusade against Halloween.
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Stephanie S. Tolan's earliest memories involve books -- those that were read to her and those she read to herself, often late at night with a flashlight under the covers. She always thought there was a special magic in the little black marks on paper that could turn into whole worlds and real people. Born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin, she wrote her first story in the fourth grade. It was thrilling to discover she could make the magic herself, and she decided then and there to be a writer.
Other ambitions came and went, but writing stayed on, and she majored in creative writing at Purdue University, then went on to a Master's Degree in English. Marriage and the sudden addition to her life of three young stepsons, and then a son, forced writing into the nooks and crannies, but she wrote poetry and plays for adults as she taught college English. Her husband's career in professional theatre moved the Tolan family around the country, and writing was a comforting constant. In the mid-seventies, Stephanie began working in the Poets-in-the-Schools program in Pennsylvania. Her first group of students were fourth and fifth graders, and she found among them a new generation of intense readers, still using the flashlight-under-the-covers trick.
"They brought back to me that special reading joy that most adults -- even the readers among us -- have lost, and I wanted to try my hand at writing for those kids, so like myself at their age and yet so different."
The difference, she felt, was less in the children themselves than in the fast-changing world they lived in. Her writing for children and young adults, beginning with Grandpa -- And Me in 1978, has reflected that contemporary world. Tolan's suspense novel A Good Courage looks at the dark side of life in a fictional cult/commune. Plague Year is a harrowing story of hatred, fear and harassment in a small town high school, and the violence eventually spreads into the community. With Who's There? and The Face in the Mirror, Tolan ventures into the spine-tingling realm of the contemporary ghost story. Save Halloween! tells of conflicts faced by Johnna Filkins, daughter of an evangelical Christian minister, when her understanding of democracy collides with her family's wish to impose their beliefs on their hometown. And Ordinary Miracles revisits the Filkins family, this time following Mark, one of the twin future preachers, who meets a Nobel laureate and must find a way to reconcile his faith with the world of contemporary science.
Stephanie Tolan is also well known as an advocate for extremely bright children. She co-authored the award-winning nonfiction book, Guiding the Gifted Child, and has written many articles about the challenges gifted "asynchronous" children and adults face as they find a way to fit into their world. She lectures throughout the country to audiences of parents, educators and counselors attempting to find ways to meet the children's needs. Her experiences with these "amazing, off-the-charts" young people inspired the themes of Welcome to the Ark, a powerful novel about four brilliant young misfits in a world teetering on destruction. The first volume of a projected trilogy, Ark is followed by Flight of the Raven, due out in the fall of 2001.
Mrs. Tolan currently lives on a little lake in a big woods in Charlotte, NC with her husband, one dog, one cat, two fish and plenty of outdoor creatures.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-7-Johnna is pleased to have been assigned to research and write her sixth grade class's Halloween play with another classmate. There is a major problem, though-she is the daughter of an evangelist minister. As such, religion is a major part of her daily life, and she is forbidden to celebrate "the devil's holiday." However, she agrees to write the script, gaining confidence in herself as her ideas are accepted by her peers. But as she is gaining in confidence at school, the home front is fraught with tension. Uncle T.T., a charismatic traveling minister and fund raiser, agrees to do a tent crusade to help increase the coffers. His thrust is to unite the town against the devil's handiwork, and the school superintendent subsequently bans all Halloween activities. The sixth graders mount a campaign of their own, and the pageant goes on as planned. The story melds the history of the holiday, plus the fundamentalist objections to it with a degree of success. While some readers may have difficultly relating to Johnna's many conversations with Jesus, they should find the plot thought-provoking and engrossing. Tolan provides the holiday's historical background in detail, using the script writing of the pageant as a vehicle to bring up her point, as she contrasts it with the fundamental revivalist beliefs. She also arrives at a logical "meeting of the minds."-Beth Irish, Orange Public Library, CA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description William Morrow & Co, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110688121683
Book Description William Morrow & Co, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0688121683