Stephanie S. Tolan A Good Courage

ISBN 13: 9780688161248

A Good Courage

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9780688161248: A Good Courage

Having been dragged by his mother from one commune to another as she searches for a place to belong, fourteen-year-old Ty finds conditions at the new place intolerable, even while realizing that for some this way of life is a haven. Reprint.

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About the Author:

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 7-9 When 14-year-old Tie-Dye's flower-child mother, finding it impossi ble to take responsibility for either her self or him, accidentally stumbles on still another commune, Tie-Dye is cer tain that her affiliation, as usual, won't last long. Instead, weak-willed and re lieved to give herself wholly to God and the gospel according to Brother Daniel in return for food and clothing, his mother pledges his life as well as her own to fanatic, charismatic Brother Daniel. As Ty becomes part of the com mune, he is horrified to discover the virtual slavery in which the commune's children are heldunschooled, under fed, subjected to harsh rules, over worked, without joy, and without es cape. Increasingly realizing that his mother will never be free of the spiritu al imprisonment by which The King dom holds her, Ty begins to understand that whatever escape he can find will be of his own doing. The climax of the sto ry reveals a betrayal that threatens not only the lives of Ty and his new friends, but their sanity as well. With the cour age born of desperation and the twin passions of love and friendship, Ty finds the bravery he needs to re-enter the outside world and make a new life for himself. This well-told survival sto ry is frightening in its examination of cults and communes, a setting unusual in novels for young YAs. There is an aura of science fiction about the story that heightens the drama of an entirely realistic plot peopled by distinctive, be lievable characters that will be long re membered. Marjorie Lewis, Scars dale Junior High School, N.Y.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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