The Whispering Rod: A Tale of Old Massachusetts

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9781572492486: The Whispering Rod: A Tale of Old Massachusetts
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The Whispering Rod tells the story of 14-year-old Hannah Pryor who lives with her father in Puritan Boston. In 1659 Quaker preacher Mary Dyer and two companions are about to be executed for breaking anti-Quaker laws. Fired by the injustice of this event, Hannah seeks to learn about Mary Dyer and finds that her own deceased mother was involved in past scandals. Helped by friends, Hannah stands up to the Puritan elders and moves from childhood to adulthood during a period of social, political and religious upheaval. The Whispering Rod was selected by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association's annual list of best selections for young adults. It has also been featured at National Historic Park bookstores.

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From the Publisher:

The story of Hannah Pryor brings to life the very different world of the Puritan Massachusetts Bay colony in the mid-17th century. Yet the dramatic story of Quaker preacher Mary Dyer reveals a fight for human rights and sheds light on the influence of women on American history. Hannah’s courage, her coming of age from child to adult, and her sense that injustice should not be allowed are paralleled by the struggles against religious, racial, and social intolerance today.

From the Author:

As a long-time resident of Boston's Beacon Hill, I found my inspiration for The Whispering Rod in the statue of Mary Dyer, which sits on the Massachusetts State House lawn. As I began to research the Quaker woman's life and times, what I found was a remarkable story, which I wished to share with young people who, like myself, may have been unaware of Dyer's historical significance as an advocate of religious freedom.  

She never held political office, an official title, or professional status, yet her impact is profound. Along with her friend and teacher, Anne Hutchinson, Mary Dyer defied the Puritan church-state by defending freedom of conscience and the rights of women.  For that defiance, both Dyer and Hutchinson were banished at separate times from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Anne Hutchinson eventually moved to a settlement in the wilderness of what is now Long Island, New York, where she was killed in an Indian raid along with five of her fourteen children.  Mary Dyer was hanged on Boston Common for her refusal to relinquish her Quaker beliefs.

Having played major roles in the country's early development, their stories deserve to be told not only for their historical importance, but also because they are lessons in personal courage in a world far removed from the sensibilities, legal protections, and conveniences of contemporary society. The Whispering Rod seeks to capture their stories and the very different world of Puritan Boston.

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